Extreme! 3 Affordable (+1 Pricey) Adventures You Can Experience in Chile Mark Silvester February 27, 2017 Adventure Travel Chile is without a doubt an adventure traveler’s paradise. It’s covered almost entirely by mountains, spans 2,610 miles north to south, and is home to five UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The country also boasts one of the most pristine and diverse landscapes on Earth with everything from parched dunes and fertile valleys to volcanoes and massive glaciers, and now there’s even the newly opened 650,000-acre Patagonia National Park, which is perfect for hiking. If you’re looking for an enormous variety of outdoor fun (spanning a range of prices) Chile won’t disappoint. So pack your bags adventurer, and add these Chilean trips to your list of adrenaline-fueled international exploits! Carve Up The Dunes (Image via Flickr CC – Nyall & Maryanne) In northern Chile, on the edge of South America’s second largest desert, sits the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama. Used as a stepping stone to the amazing landscapes that surround it, the town has become a hotspot for one of the country’s up and coming activities, sandboarding. What started as an alternative to surfing, sandboarding is the perfect mix of sun, sand, and adrenaline. And, in a valley just outside of town, called Valle de la Muerte (or “Death Valley”), you can experience the adventure of sliding through the steep heights of never ending dunes. Sandboard San Pedro offer daily excursions out to the valley, including night-time tours where you can actually surf the cool night away on illuminated dunes! (Even more special is if you happen to catch a full moon). Although sandboarding is accessible to beginners, make sure you take into account that it also requires significant physical exertion and that the Atacama is the driest non-polar desert in the world. So, hydration and supervision should go without saying! The daily tours start as little as $30, and the best time of year is June through August. Conquer a Volcano (Image via Flickr CC – amira_a) Láscar is one of the most active volcanoes in all of South America (it last erupted in 2015), and as it just happens, the perfect destination for aspiring mountaineers. Located in the northern Andes of Chile, Láscar is open to those who want to (and are able to) conquer its impressive summit of 5,592 meters (18,346 ft.). The summit is a solid 2-mile hike, but once on top, you will be able to see a panoramic view of the entire Salar de Atacama, the largest salt flat in Chile. In fact, during the entire climb, you will be surrounded by stunning scenery and diverse plant and wildlife. Altogether, including the ascent and descent, the hike takes about four hours and under good conditions, warm clothes and trekking boots are all you need. Atacama Mistica offer experienced guides that will take you for a full day excursion for $136. The Láscar volcano is the real deal and before participating in this excursion, you must have completed at least one other high altitude hike. Just remember that when it comes to awesome adventure travel experiences, the more you challenge yourself, the sweeter the reward. Best time of year to go is December through March, or if you wanted to tackle it after some snowfall, then June through August is your best bet. Navigate Between Icebergs (Image via Flickr CC – Linda De Volder) With its majestic icebergs and reflections of the surrounding rocky mountains in the water, Grey Lake is undeniably beautiful. Located in southern Chile, in the Torres del Paine National Park, Grey Lake was born from the Southern Patagonia Ice Field and is home to huge icebergs that have detached from Grey Glacier. The lake is an ideal place to practice some kayaking and to get up close and personal to these mammoth icebergs. Swoop Patagonia, are specialists that offer a wide range of outdoor activities in the remote and varied region, including hiking, mountaineering, horse riding and of course kayaking. A one-day kayaking trip with them is $290, and as you coast through floes of ice, and come face to face with these icy giants, your appetite for adventure will surely be satisfied. Best time to go is October to April, and the day trip is suitable for kayakers at any level. Challenge Yourself on the Rapids (Image via Flickr CC – Kari Bluff) Located in northern Patagonia, the Futaleufú river (which means “Big River” in the local Mapuche dialect), is one of the world’s premier whitewater rafting hot spots. With its aqua blue water, alpine setting, and combination of large waves and boulders, the Futaleufú is as picturesque as it is powerful. These wild waters, which are fed by melted glacial snow are guaranteed to take you for the ride of a lifetime! And, when it comes to taming this beast, Earth River Expeditions have pioneered commercial rafting on the Futaleufú for 25 years. They provide a unique, multi-camp, journey that considering the price ($3,400), is well worth it. The trip includes riverside stone hot tubs, hot showers, cliffside dining, tree houses, cliff dwellings (with beds) as well as a whole host of other adventurous activities. What’s even better, is that by booking a trip with Earth River you will be contributing to the Earth River Land Trust, which strives to preserve this irreplaceable treasure. Best time to go is February. Love adventure? Love Chile? Tell us all about it in the comments below!