|Santiago is the capital city of Chile, located approximately half way down the country and inland, within the central valley. It is a modern city with a beautiful mountain backdrop, though also has lovely parks and interesting architecture too.
The Parque Metropolitano for example is a huge park which contains two swimming pools, a botanical garden and a zoo and from its elevated position you can see a wonderful view of the city, and the Andes on a clear day.
The Cerro Santa Lucia is another attractive park which features water fountains and a summit, again with great views.
Chile produces some great wines, and you can go wine-tasting in the city at one of Chile’s largest producers, Concha y Toro! In addition, Santiago is famous for its jazz scene, so is a great city to visit if you enjoy jazz. There are clubs across the city and each summer (usually February) is the Festival de Jazz de Providencia.
There are many coastal towns in Chile, varying in popularity with tourists and varying in size. In the far north, the smallish resort town of Arica has some nice beaches, whilst a little further south is Iquique, a growing resort town with high-rise hotels lining the beaches. This is a great place to come for cheap duty free goods as the city is within a duty free zone!
More centrally located along the coast is the larger town of Valparaiso, known for its brightly coloured houses and coastal views. The town was actually declared on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2003, and is a culturally bohemian place, fun to just wonder around and enjoy!
For a quite different experience, head to Chile’s extreme south and the largest town in the area, called Punta Arenas. Here you are just 1,418km from the coast of Antarctica and can see penguins at the penguin colony outside the town, whilst further away you can also go skiing and visit the Torres del Paine National Park.
This is an extremely beautiful national park which is situated at the southern end of the Andes. Rock towers, glaciers and lakes make this park what it is.
Chile also has a large number of other national parks. Huerquehue National Park, for example, is in Chile’s Lakes District, Villarrica, and offers hikes to the summit of Volcano Villarrica, as well as caves, hot springs, flora and fauna.