Chile

ChileChileChile is located in South America. It occupies a long and narrow coastal strip between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Chile borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage at the country's southernmost tip. It is one of two countries in South America that does not have a border with Brazil.

Chile is a country known for its natural beauty. From glaciers to beaches to volcanos, Chile has it all. The main language spoken in Chili is Spanish.

Climate and When to Travel to Chile

Chile's southern charms, including Torres Del Paine and the Lakes District, these are best visited in summer (December through March) as some are all but impenetrable in winter (June through September). The summer's long days boost outdoor fun, though the spring months of November and December and fall months of March and April can be nearly as good.

In winter Chile is a wonderland for skiers, the country's resorts attract a lot of tourist from July through to September. Middle Chile is best visited in spring (September through to November) or during the fall late February into April.

To cut  costs in getting to Chilli it is best to take advantage of seasonal discounts and try to avoid peak times such as Christmas, New Year's or Easter. Advance purchase will normally provide the best, but not necessarily most flexible, deal. Discount ticketing is rare in Latin America. If buying on the web, shop around as prices vary. Tickets for midweek flights are cheaper than weekends.

Chile is not cheap, but is more economical than Europe or North America. Prices can double during the late-December to mid-March high season, but travel just before or after the official season and you should be able to score bargain accommodations.

Travel in Chile

The public transportation system in Chile is large. There are buses, cabs and shared taxis that are called colectiyos. Some of which run 24 hours a day, although at night this is lower. Trains are not a very useful mode of transportation in Chile.

Chile has an excellent bus system for travel within the country. Buses are popular, comfortable, and very cheap. They normally run on time and tickets should be purchased before hand.

Things to See and Do

There are many opportunities for outdoor fun in Chili. Climb an active volcano; there are 50 to choose from in chili. White-water rapids or paddling through ice-carved fjords are also a must when you visit.

Looking for adventure and you can hike, bike, ski, surf, swim, horseback ride and even paraglide your way from desert to ice fields. But you don't need to sweat it to enjoy the best of Chile. You can soak in hot springs until your skin wrinkles, ogle at glaciers crumbling into the sea or stargaze alongside top international observatories you could even ponder the ancient mysteries of Rapa Nue or soak up the urban buss of Santiago or Valparaiso. The coast of Chile has numerous small resorts, fishing villages and the pair of cities Vina del Mar and Valparaiso. Empty all year except for Jan and Feb, these beaches are spectacular, the water freezing and a fantastic escape from modern life. Many cabins are available near the waterfront and increasingly junkies are flooding to Chile.

The Lake District

The Lake District stretches for 339 km south from Temuco until the land starts to disintegrate into the archipelago of Chiloe just below Puerto Montt. The scenery is stunning: lush farmland, dense forests, volcanoes, and of course lots of lakes.

Taken from scenic Road in PatagoniaTaken from scenic Road in PatagoniaPatagonia

Stretching across southern Chile and Argentina, it has no definite boundaries; taking in both the Pacific and Atlantic coastlines, it encompasses a wild area of rugged cliffs, misty fjords, rolling plains, towering mountains, temperate forests, tumbling rivers, vast lakes and glaciers.

Santiago

Santiago is the capital and the largest city in Chili it is a mix of glitzy skyscrapers, shopping malls, Spanish colonial architecture, parks and grand plazas, set against the backdrop of the Andes Mountains (an impressive sight when not obscured by smog). Santiago may not be the highlight of your trip, but a day or two's sightseeing is definitely worthwhile and will at least give you time to recover from your long flight.SantiagoSantiago

Chiloe

Chiloeis a magical place of dense evergreen forests, undulating hills, small farms and picturesque fishing villages. Along its eastern shore are several tiny islands, many of which remain uninhabited. Being somewhat isolated from the rest of Chile and strongly influenced by colonial settlement and Huilliche Indians, it is quite distinct from the rest of Chile. Spending a few days there will allow you to soak up its rich local culture, visit its unique wooden churches, sample excellent seafood and buy some cosy hand-knitted woollen jerseys.

Food

Chilean cuisine takes full advantage of the huge variety of local produce from excellent fresh seafood to tender beef. Local delights include empanadas (a type of meat pasty), cazuela (meat soup) and humitas (grains of corn mashed and cooked in their husks). On the island of Chiloe they have their own speciality, the curanto el hoy, an ingenious feast prepared in the ground, with a mixture of meat, vegetables and seafood all thrown onto glowing coals and left to steam under nalca leaves.food market in Chilefood market in Chile

Visa

British and U.S citizens do not require a visa to enter Chile - the requirement is only a passport valid for at least 6 months and (in theory, although rarely requested) an onward ticket. Upon arrival you will be issued with a tourist card, which must be retained throughout your stay, and an entry stamp, valid for 90 days (and renewable at certain outlets at the cost of $100, or by a quick trip across the Argentinian border).

Citizens of New Zealand, Guyana, Kuwait and some communist, former communist and African countries do need a visa, and are likely to be turned away at the border without one. It is worth checking with the Chilean consul in your country before departing.

Where to Stay

Regional Metropolitan Hotel ChileRegional Metropolitan Hotel ChileChile and surrounding cities have a large selection of accommodation to suite almost every type of budget. Whether it is bed and breakfast, hotel, motel or back packers style accommodation you will find it in Chile. No matter what type of accommodation you are looking for try http://www.chilediscover.com/chile_hotels.htm

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