The skinniest of countries caresses the western coast of South America, snaking from the high altiplano and stark rust-red landscapes of the Atacama Desert to the glacier-topped mountains and turquoise lakes of Southern Patagonia.
Chile is a land of immense contrasts and unfathomably vast scenery, and well-deserving of its status as a must-visit destination for any intrepid traveller.
Its position as the furthest South American country from the UK has kept its expeditionary status intact as even reaching the capital, Santiago, involved lengthy journey times and a flight route with several stops. Chile was for those who had the luxury of time and patience to spare.
Thank goodness then, that January 2017 sees British Airways launched the first direct flight from London Heathrow to Santiago, serviced by the brand new Boeing 787-9 D ream liner fleet. British travellers are now just one convenient flight, one comfortable seat and one set of in-flight films, away from Chile.
That means more time to explore. Not a nation to ever fit into just one category, every square inch of the country is covered by staggering natural landscapes of which Chile has far more than its fair share. Pretty Sauvignon and Merlot-producing Winelands scatter across the fertile valleys around Santiago, while the dry Atacama Desert stretches out to the horizon in all directions, providing almighty skies for unrivalled stargazing opportunities.
The Moon Valley sand dunes and the driest desert in the world lie within the same borders as with Torres del Paine National Park, where soaring peaks tower over some of the world’s most recognisable glaciers.
As its long and slim character dictates, many of Chile’s communities and attractions are well spaced, spread across the great length of the country. Short, internal flights make it easy to create a holiday jam-packed with adventure, encompassing as many places as possible into one trip.
Rainbow Tours’ 13-day Essence of Chile tour gets under the skin of this intoxicating South American country. Effortlessly combining lively Santiago, the Atacama Desert, Chile’s award-winning Winelands and Torres del Paine National Park.