Overview

Introduction

In South America’s Pacific coast, ranging from the Atacama desert to the Antarctic, Chile’s coastline is nearly 3000 miles long although rarely wider than 100 miles. The imposing Andes mountains separate Chile from Bolivia and Argentina.

Its coastline stretches for nearly 3,000 miles and at its widest point is rarely over 140 miles - as a result the Chileans describes their country similar to a long string of spaghetti. Chile features an amazing variety of different landscapes; the arid Atacama desert, a Mediterranean-like central valley with vineyards, a mountainous and striking lake district, sandy beaches, Patagonia’s spectacular alpine glaciers and fjords encompassing Chile’s showpiece Torres del Paine National Park and the archaeological treasures of Easter Island.

Since the establishment of it's first National Park: Vicente Perez Rosales National Park (Puerto Montt) in the mid- 1920’s, the parks have gradually become a major international attraction - with Torres del Paine, in Patagonia being one of its most famous.

For nearly two decades, Chile was in international exile because of the bloody 1973 coup that took the life of socialist Salvador Allende, the constitutional president, and resulted in his replacement by the military dictator General Augusto Pinochet. His regime represented a remarkable irregularity in the history of Chile, wheremilitary rule has been the exception rather than the rule ever since the country’s independence from Spain in the early 19th century. Since Pinochet’s rejection by Chilean voters in 1988, the country’s profile has improved. It is now one of Latin America’s fastest expanding economies and its political stability ensures that it is also a safe place to explore.

Salmon farming is perhaps the biggest success story of the last decade, and Chile now ranks only second to Norway in the exporting of Salmon. New world Chilean wines have also been making a strong claim for world recognition and have become particularly popular with the British market. Tourism generates approximately US$900 million per year, or 4% of GDP.

Chile also offers a level of efficiency in service that many will find unusual in Latin America! The country’s 95% literacy rate is one of Latin America’s highest - from the age of five to twelve, education is free and compulsory. Traditionally, about 90% of Chileans are Roman Catholic.

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Getting There

British Airways operates direct non-stop flights to Santiago from London Heathrow. LATAM Airlines operate daily via either Madrid, or Sao Paulo. European airlines flying to Santiago include Iberia (via Madrid), Air France (via Paris) or KLM (via Amsterdam although currently this service touches down en route at Buenos Aires).  Regional departures include Manchester, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Leeds Bradford and Newcastle.

Combinations

Chile is traditionally combined with Argentina where there are numerous land, sea or lake crossings. Equally, it can be combined with its other neighbours, Peru and Bolivia. Additionally Chile can also be combined with Brazil, or with Antarctica.

At a Glance

- Amazing variety of landscapes - Atacama Desert, wine route, lake district, glaciers, fjords, Easter Island
- Cruises through spectacular fjords and islands
- Fly drive options in the lake district and wine regions and other destinations are recommendable to explore independently.
- High season: November - February although some parts of the country may be visited all year round
- In order to secure hotel availability, advisable to book at least 9 months in advance
- The lakes region and Torres del Paine National Park are best seen in Chile’s summer months (Nov-Mar)
- Internal flights are the best way to travel around the country due to vast distances

Foreign Office advice

We’ve partnered with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Travel Aware campaign to help provide top tips and advice for planning for your trip abroad. It’s important to do some research before you travel to learn about any necessary visas and vaccinations required for entry to your destination, understand any unusual laws and customs and to be aware of the latest travel advice for the region. Click on the link below for more information on what to prepare for your trip overseas. You can also sign up for email alerts and follow @FCOtravel on Twitter for alerts whilst you are away.

Visit gov.uk/travelaware for more information

Useful information

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Chile was made for lovers of the outdoors and wonderful natural scenery. Very few countries can offer deserts, volcanoes, glaciers, snow capped mountains and emerald-green lakes. Away from these places, I feel very privileged to have also travelled to two of Chile’s extremities - Cape Horn and Easter Island; contrasting destinations but equally special.

Stephen Bray
Stephen Bray
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT - 4 hours

Currency

Chilean Peso

Language

Spanish

Average flight times

14 hours 35 minutes. BA direct flight to Santiago from London Heathrow

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Talk to our Chile expert

Stephen Bray
Stephen Bray

Chile was made for lovers of the outdoors and wonderful natural scenery. Very few countries can offer deserts, volcanoes, glaciers, snow capped mountains and emerald-green lakes. Away from these places, I feel very privileged to have also travelled to two of Chile’s extremities - Cape Horn and Easter Island; contrasting destinations but equally special.

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

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