From the untamed natural beauty of Patagonia to the quaint coastal charm of Valparaiso and from the Spanish colonial architecture of Santiago to the mystery-filled Easter Islands, the nation of Chile has many treats in store for travelers. For those who wish to imbibe in outdoor activities, the country is a wild open book waiting for your next adventure to be written. For those who seek to imbibe in…well…headier blends, there are luscious vineyards with no shortage of great wines! So whether it’s high energy or high intoxication that’s on your mind, this is why you need to make your way to Chile right now.
You can adventure in Chile by…
Sandboarding in the Atacama Desert
Right at the edge of South America’s second-largest desert lies the town of San Pedro de Atacama. The town has become a popular spot for tourists who use it as a base to explore the beautiful, desolate landscape that surrounds it. It’s also become a hub for adrenaline junkies with a different activity in mind: sandboarding! On the outskirts of the town lies Valle de la Muerte (or “Death Valley”) where you can hop on a board and propel yourself down the mountainous sand dunes. Before you go, make sure you’re in good shape for some physical exertion and also make sure to stay hydrated, as the Atacama is the world’s driest non-polar desert.
Hiking the Láscar Volcano
How can you get more excitement than trekking up the heights of South America’s most active volcano? Having last erupted as recently as 2015, Láscar is a magnet for avid hikers tempted by the challenge to conquer its impressive summit of 5,592 meters (18,346 ft.). Be warned: you need to have at least one high-altitude climb under your belt before giving Láscar a go. The climb to the summit is 2 miles, but once on top, you’ll be able to enjoy a panoramic view of the entire Salar de Atacama — the largest salt flat in Chile. The best time to visit for your ascent would be the period between December and March. If you prefer the sound of snow crunching under your boots, then June through August is going to be the perfect time for you.
Kayaking between Icebergs
Born from the Southern Patagonia Ice Field and filled with huge icebergs from the Grey Glacier, the Grey Lake in Torres del Paine National Park is an exciting place to explore by kayak. Perfect for both beginners and pros, you’ll be astounded by the chance to get up close to the gigantic icebergs and snap a few great photos along the way. It’s an awe-inspiring activity and one travel memory you’ll fondly store away to share with friends and family years down the line! For those who want a little variety in adventure when in the region, there is also a range of outdoor activities like hiking, mountaineering, and horse riding that you can enjoy.
Challenge Yourself on the Rapids
The Futaleufú River in northern Patagonia has some of the world’s best whitewater for rafting. With its clear, light blue water peppered with boulders and tumultuous passes surrounded by rugged rock formations and greenery, the river is also famous for its beautiful appearance. The rapids are fueled by melting glacier snow and you can test your mettle by exploring various degrees of intense passes for the ride of a lifetime! Don’t forget to visit in February, when the rapids are at their glorious, full-flowing best.
All that adventure made you thirsty? Just make your way to these astounding wine regions. Salud!
You can enjoy a great glass of Chilean wine at…
The northernmost wine region of the country has nothing but sunny days and hot and dry temperatures, which all add up to the special flavor of the wines produced here. Due to its climate and the significant solar radiation the grapes receive, they develop a more intense taste that’s low in acidity. Pour yourself a refreshing glass of Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, or Carménère — just a few of the amazing wines produced in the region.
If you want convenience, then this wine region is just a 60-mile stone’s throw from the capital of Santiago, making it the perfect day trip on your visit. Casablanca is home to over 75% of the white wine varieties produced in Chile and also has 17 boutique wineries that can cater to even the pickiest of wine connoisseurs in your group. As it sits on the Pacific coastline, the valley enjoys a cool climate that makes it perfect for the white wine varieties that have made it so popular. Sit back, kick your feet up, and pour yourself a big glass of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, or Pinot Noir — widely acclaimed as some of the best wines produced in Chile.
Situated south of the capital Santiago, Maule is known for being the oldest wine region in Chile. With heavy annual rainfall, rich volcanic soil, and fairly moderate temperatures, the region’s warm and earthy reds evolve from the En Cavasa grapes that grow low to the ground. You can take in some robust Cabernet Sauvignon as well as some Carménère wines that a rich in their spicy aromas.
It’s no surprise that the Maipo Valley gets the title of the “Bordeaux of South America”. Its Francophile reputation derives from the wealthy Chileans of the 1500s who frequently traveled to Europe and fell in love with the diverse wines they enjoyed in France. When they returned home, they were inspired to build wine estates based on what they had seen and tasted. The mighty Andes Mountains separates the valley from Argentina, resulting in low rainfall and warmer temperatures. As a result, the grapes here will make you fall in love with amazing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc. Make sure to bring some extra luggage for those bottles you’re going to want to take home with you!
With outdoor adventure and great wines, how could any trip go wrong? So go ahead, take the plunge and enjoy this amazing South American country!