Photo: Juan Carlos Martins
To be sure, the towering granite peaks of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park are one of the country’s most stunning (and iconic) landscapes. Yearly, international visitors from all over, and Chileans alike, make the Torres part of their summer vacation. There are day trips, either on the Lago Pehoé side or the Torres side (or both), and the two different hiking trips, the W and the O-shaped circuit. But this is just one of the many national parks Chile maintains. Below are three others for when you’ve got a shorter trip in mind, or want to explore parts of natural Chile that might not make it onto a postcard, but definitely should.
For a thoroughly crazy, unexpected day in what is a fairly quirky city to begin with, stay off the funiculars and out of the museums this Sunday, February 23rd in Valparaíso, Chile. Once a year, parts of this city become an urban downhilling course for some of the world’s best competitors. Valparaíso Cerro Abajo is routinely referred to the world’s most insane downhill race, and if you come to see it, you’ll know why.
When you think of ethnic food in Santiago, you might think of food from other Latin American nations. We have our share of Peruvian restaurants, and a few Brazilian and Colombian places, including some new eateries serving arepas and tropical juices. And of course, there are also a couple of well-reviewed Argentine steakhouses.
But what might surprise you is that in recent years, as the face of immigration to this sizeable city changes, and the Chilean palate opens to new experiences, we’re also seeing a large culinary expansion into Asian food.
Chile is well-known for having a coastline that is almost 3,000 miles long. And with all that beachfront real estate, there is something for everyone. There are horseshoe-shaped coves for splashing, in the north at Guanaqueros, or in the central region, at El Canelo. There is surfing, in the north near Iquique, and famously at the big wave competition site Pichilemu in the central south.
And, since 2007, on the central coast, just a little over an hour’s drive from Santiago, there is also the world’s largest swimming pool, located at the beach. And it makes perfect sense.
It’s hard to know what to expect at Boragó, one of the world’s best restaurants, ranked 8th in Latin America, and first place in Chile. Chef Rodolfo Guzmán dishes out innovative small-plate creations into a several-course tasting menu, featuring harvested products from all over Chile, much of it from close to Santiago.
Photo: Pablo Trincado
Iquique is one of the emblematic cities of the Chile’s Norte Grande, the vast northern part of Chile that crosses the Atacama Desert, which is the driest in the world. Iquique is a modern city sandwiched between dramatic cliffs and the Pacific Ocean, and has an interesting history as one of the opulent cities in Latin America up until about the 1930s, to the end of the nitrate boom, which had fueled the city’s growth for many years. The well-preserved architecture from that time makes for good sightseeing at any time of year, with sunshine nearly assured, and temperatures never dropping below about 45, nor climbing above about 85 degrees.
Train lovers and travelers who love everything antique and picturesque about a country won’t want to miss Chile’s “last ramal,” a narrow gauge train that runs from the mid-sized city of Talca, south of Santiago to the beachside city of Constitución.
Photo: Edsel Little
January means summer in the southern hemisphere, and as a break from the heat, Chileans eat quite a bit of ice cream. On any given bus ride an ice cream vendors will board, shouting “helado helado” (ice cream, ice cream). In minimarkets, they do brisk business selling popsicles and ice cream on a stick, and fast food restaurants (local and international) sell soft-serve out of store windows.
But the real Chilean ice cream experience is had at a sit-down ice cream shop. There are a few local chains in Santiago, some of which also show up in other parts of Chile. And then there is the helado artesenal, or small-batch ice cream. It is at these smaller ice cream shops, that you tend to find some of the most unusual flavors. Below are five you might want to give a try.
Santiago is Chile’s cultural center, and there’s no better time to check out international and national performances on offer than during the annual Santiago a Mil festival that takes place from early to mid January. The festival was started in 1994, and has grown tremendously since then, both in terms of the performances, and the audience that attends.
Chile has a long tradition of drinking tea. In fact, the evening meal, when it is a selection of cakes and sandwiches, is sometimes referred to simply as té (tea). But just like in other parts of the world, having a cup of tea with someone is not just about the beverage, it’s about taking some time out of your day to relax, catch up, have a conversation, and rejuvenate. On a daily basis, you may see regular bagged teas at restaurants and at people’s homes. But for true tea lovers, here are three places in Santiago that know about brewing tea, both traditional and innovative, and create a lovely atmosphere for you to drink it in.
Terms & Conditions
Comments or opinions expressed in the Only in South America blog (the “Blog”) are those of their respective authors and contributors only. LATAM Airlines Group S.A. does not guarantee that the information contained on this blog is accurate or complete, and that it does not necessarily represent the views of the company, its management or employees. LATAM Airlines Group S.A. is not responsible for, and disclaims any and all liability for the content of comments written by authors to the Blog.
Although the Company welcomes feedback from customers, this Blog is not intended to replace its Customer Relations Service. Comments or queries relating to specific issues beyond the scope of the Blog discussions should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org×