Chile is a constant reminder of the beauty and energy of nature. Around every turn a geyser is bursting from the ground, a river is splitting through rock, or a glaicer slowly shaves the terrain. Chile's natural parks offer great trekking, while the Lakes District attracts travelers interested in everything from sea kayaking to climbing Volcan Osorno. Chile also has a unique cultural history, seen in the mysterious ruins of Easter Island and the thriving indigenous communities that undure in the Andean foothills. From the haunting Atacama Desert to its flourishing vineyards, a Chile tour always has something new to offer its travelers.
In the southern tip of Chile is Torres del Paine National Park. Granite peaks, enormous glaciers, waterfalls, turquoise lakes and temperate rainforests supply visitors with wonderful trekking set against an extraordinary backdrop. Its ecosystem is uniquely its own -- territory is secluded, uncharted and simply breathtaking. This famed park has a well-developed trail network and opportunities for cross-country trekking.
The vast and colorful Atacama Desert is said to be the driest desert on Earth. In some areas no precipitation has every been recorded! During a Chile tour, visitors can opt to take an archeological tour at the famous Museo Gustavo Le Paige, explore the Lasana Valley and its preserved petroglyphs, or witness a sunset at the Valley of the Moon.
Since its 'discovery' in 1722 the island has been a place of intrigue. One of Easter Island's greatest wonderments are the 100-ton basalt sculptures, the Moai. Little is known about the Moai or its creators. Other evidence of Easter Island's puzzling past is at Orongo village. Partially restored, the village has 48 buildings of overlapping stone slabs. Over the cliffs is a string of "bird man" petroglyphs. Travelers can also visit the volcanic crater of Rano Raraku where the Moai were cut from volcanic tuff. Some 150 figures remain in all stages of completion.
A beautiful region of southern Chile, the Lakes District has been described as stunningly beautiful with its volcano skyline, glacial lakes and ancient forests. The region has a European feel -- remenants of the German immigrants who settled in this area during the 19th century. But the Lakes District is also home to the remarkable indigenous Mapuches, who continue to protect their cherished territory. Seaside towns, Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas are great jumping-off points to explore the landscape during a Chile tour. Activities include hiking, kayaking, horseback riding and more! Travelers to the district also have the opportunity to visit nearby Chiloe Island, renowned for its folklore, traditional farming and fishing culture, charming residents and Punihuil penguin colony.
As the Andes cut through the countryside it shaped a spectacular river system that seems to be made for whitewater rafting. The Futaleufu river offers some of the best rafting opportunities in the world. The river traverses through the heart of Patagonia and offers exciting Class III, IV and even a Class V rapid! Its famous rapids include Inferno Canyon, Zeta and the dangerous Throne Room. The river's surrounding region is ideal for hiking, camping and horseback riding.
Following the path of the adventurous explorers that came before, visitors board the Mare Australis that was built specificially to navigate the incredible waterways around the Strait of Magellan and Beagle Channel. The voyage enters the northwest arm of the Beagle Channel and sails through Glacier Avenue past a succession of glaciers. Sea lions are commonly found in this area. The yacht disembarks at Cape Horn National Park. The cape marks the southernmost point in South America. It protrudes into the Drake Passage, the Antarctic strait connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Nearby is Wulaia Bay, the site where Charles Darwin landed during his voyage of the Beagle.
Although wine making is a 400 year-old tradition in Chile, the rest of the world has just begun to appreciate its deep flavor. The climate and soils are ripe for wine-making. Travelers are invited to experience the history, talent and the taste that goes into Chilean wine.