5 stunning natural scenery of Chile
Chile is a fast rising travel destination, with visitors to Chile up from 26% in 2016 to 5.64 million. European travelers, in particular, with Italians leading the way (+24%), are boosting tourism to the country. From the various volcanoes scattered across this South American country, which stretches more than 4.000 km from north to south, to the arid Atacama desert and its salty scenery, Chile promises stunning natural scenery and unforgettable travel experiences.
Mysterious Easter Island
More than 3.000 km off the Chilean coast, one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands intrigues travellers with its mysterious stone statues. Whether arriving on Easter Island by plane from Santiago or by boat, visitors are curious to find out how these monumental statues, known as “moai,” ended up on this isolated island. With a total area of just 163 square kilometers the island can be easily explored by scooter, for example. It has a selection of hotels, most of which require a comfortable budget, but lower-cost campsites are also available.
Sunset at the Salar d’Atacama
Starting from San Pedro de Atacama, adventurers can enjoy a day filled with amazing sights as they head off to discover one of Chile’s most iconic natural attractions. This salt flat, which is one of the world’s largest sources of lithium, is at its most stunning at sunset. The landscape seems unreal and otherworldly, with salty deposits that look almost like snow. Pink flamingoes are the star attraction, often seen strolling around the lagoon. The Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa (picture on top) is a superb base for visiting the Atacama Desert and blends seamlessly into its surroundings very much like the typical dwellings of the area and is located ten minutes outside of the oasis village of San Pedro de Atacama. Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa has 42 comfortable rooms, all have a private terrace designed in an elegant, rustic style featuring local crafts, which differ slightly in size and position, with the top level Tilo rooms having a privileged position with patios overlooking the lagoon. All guest rooms are the perfect spot to absorb the colour and silence of the valley. Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa has six small outdoor pools surrounded by extensive decked areas, an outdoor bar and it has a lighter menu option of sandwiches, salads and cheese platters, and they do BBQ on the weekend there in the outdoors near the pools, perfect for relaxing with a chilled glass of Chilean white wine and enjoying the dessert with mountain views. The cuisine at the hotel blends Mediterranean flavours with local organic ingredients. There is also a SPA featuring a Finnish Sauna, Turkish bath, Scottish showers and indoor & outdoor hot tubs. There is also a cosy indoor lounge area, library, and dining room decorated with local crafts and furniture.
Climbing the Villarrica Volcano
Look out for organised hiking and trekking trips to the summit of one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, rising to an altitude of 2.847 meters. Accompanied by a professional guide, travellers can get an up-close look at the volcanic crater. The summit is reached by ski lift or on cross-country skis. In winter, it’s possible to descend by snowboard or sledge. Once at the summit, visitors are rewarded with incredible views, looking out over the region’s lakes and volcanoes.
Chilean wine tasting in the Colchagua Valley
The Colchagua Valley is a great place to combine wine tasting with a scenic excursion. Chilean wine is recognised for its quality all around the world, and the Colchagua Valley, a two-hour drive from the capital, Santiago, is a perfect place to sample the county’s delights. Day trips take visitors around the region’s cellars, sampling its renowned cabernet sauvignon.
Experience the El Tatio Geyser field
San Pedro de Atacama, which shares its name with the famous Chilean desert, is also the starting point for excursions to another of Chile’s sensational natural sights: its geysers. In general, tourists arrive before sunrise to admire the columns of steam rising from the geysers in the cool morning air. The steam plumes then disappear as the air warms up. Visitors can even take a dip in a thermal pool of hot geyser water.