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  • Chile a la Carte with Carolina Bazán

    By Nora Walsh

    Chile is widely known for its premium wines that are sipped around the world. As its emblematic varietals continue to rise in quality, Chile’s gastronomy scene is keeping pace. The country’s established and up-and-coming chefs are putting their stamp on contemporary Chilean cuisine by refining traditional recipes using local, and many times indigenous, ingredients to make Chile’s indelible mark on South America and the culinary world.

  • 3 Deserts in South America to Help You Beat the Winter Blahs

    As the weather turns colder and Jack Frost begins nipping at your nose, there’s no better time to start planning your next great escape. If you’re stuck in a snowbird state of mind, one of the most enticing ways to beat the cold is to head south of the equator where the seasons are conveniently opposite the icy north. South America offers a number of intriguing retreats, but to really find forever summer, head to one of the desert regions for an epic warm weathered getaway.

    When you’re ready to fly the coop, check out these South American deserts to help beat the winter blahs.

  • Photo: Kevin Dooley

    Santa In South America

    Every country in South America has its own holiday traditions, but some aspects of seasonal celebrations are universal: being surrounded by family and friends, plenty of food and drink and Santa Claus…or at least a variation on the Santa Claus theme.

    In Chile, for example, children write their letters to the Viejito Pascuero, who comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve. As in many countries, Chileans take the tree down after January 6th, the popular Día de Reyes (Three Kings Day), which in Chile is known as, Pascua de los Negros.

  • Photo: Near Miami? Don't Miss Pinta Miami 2015

    Near Miami? Don’t Miss Pinta Miami 2015

    There’s a palpable buzz here in Miami. Art Basel is upon us, which means our city is swarming with art lovers from around the world to attend Basel and the satellite art fairs that surround it . They’ll be taking in the efforts of some of today’s internationally recognized masters, as well as some rising stars.

  • Win 10 Days of Outdoor Fun in Chile

    If you like to breathe fresh air, bask in the sunshine, be surrounded by the beauty of nature and finish the day with a fine meal, bottle of world-class wine and luxury accommodations, have we got a trip for you!

    Best of all, it could be free.

  • The Corks Pop, and the War Is Declared

    Okay, you’ve got four sommeliers, 32 of the best Chilean wines and eight hours. We need you to build a Chilean-inspired wine bar, and be ready to serve over 500 people this evening.
    Oh, and this is a competition. There are three other teams with exactly the same assignment. Yes, it’s going to be challenging, but the reward is pretty sweet; LAN Airlines will fly the winning team in our Premium Business class for a once in a lifetime trip to Chile.
    Ready? Go!

  • We Made the Dean’s List

    LATAM Airlines Group, comprised of LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines, was just named “The Best Airline for Students, Latin Market.” That’s according to StudentUniverse, the world’s leading travel booking site for students and youth.

  • FODOR’S Is Fond of Our Premium Business Class

    The folks at Fodor’s know a bit about travel, so when they recently cited LAN as having one of the “6 Outstanding International Business-Class Experiences,” well, we felt pretty honored.

    But then, our Premium Business Class has been getting rave reviews from our passengers for years. And given the myriad amenities we offer, including our flights to South America, it’s easy to understand why.

    • Full-flat 180 degree reclining seats
    • Menu of regional cuisine created by Head Chef Hugo Pantano
    • Wine list curated by Hector Vergara, South America’s only Master Sommelier
    • Individual, 15.4-inch, high-resolution screens for onboard entertainment
    • Over 110 films, 40 TV programs, 1,300 CD’s and 20 games to choose from
    • Data posts compatible with tablets, cell phones, digital cameras and USB devices
    • Amenity kit with products from Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Meet the newest member of our family – The Boeing 787-9

    So when we heard Boeing was making a new 787, you know we had to get some. And now they’re here. The new 787-9 aircraft became a part of the LAN Airlines fleet back in April, and we’ll gradually roll them out across the fleet.

    For you, this means some welcome advances in in-flight comfort:
    • New air humidification techniques reduce feelings of dryness and fatigue by providing cleaner air
    • Windows with up to 40% greater surface area
    • Overhead luggage compartments 30% larger (!)
    • LED illumination and aerodynamics that provide for a smoother flight

  • Gretchen Bleiler:
    Protecting Winter… All Year Long

    Gretchen Bleiler is one of the most accomplished women in all of snowboarding. She’s an Olympic Silver Medalist; four-time X-Games Gold Medalist; two-time US Open Champion; World Cup Champion; World Superpipe Champion; Espy Award Winner and more. Gretchen lives in Aspen, and is on the Board of Directors of Protect Our Winters (POW), a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing climate change’s effects on snow-based sports and local mountain communities. As a part of the Peak Seasons promotion, LAN will be making a donation to POW.

  • Gretchen Bleiler: Crossing the Equator with a Snowboard

    Gretchen Bleiler is one of the most accomplished women in all of snowboarding. She’s an Olympic Silver Medalist; four-time X-Games Gold Medalist; two-time US Open Champion; World Cup Champion; World Superpipe Champion; Espy Award Winner and more. Gretchen lives in Aspen, and has ridden at Chile’s Valle Nevado numerous times, so who better to shed some insight on the two resorts featured in our Peak Seasons promotion?

  • LAN Airlines and TAM Airlines Opened the Largest VIP Lounge in South America! couldn’t have said it better – our new VIP Lounge launched this April 2015 is a physical representation of the diverse cultures of our region, South America.

    Located on the 4th and 5th floors of the western sector of Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport in Chile, this space is much  more than just a VIP lounge. Here are some fun facts and main features of our sleek new space in SCL:


  • Elite Hotels of Santiago, Chile

    For years, Santiago had a reputation as a sleepier version of other cities on the continent, with adequate lodging offerings, but not much that really stood out. In recent years, that trend has reversed, and Santiago has several elite options, from traditional international chains, to fashion-forward boutique hotels. There’s something to fit nearly every upscale taste in Santiago.

  • The French Café Boom in Santiago

    Got an early morning in Santiago and want to start it off with flaky pastry, or some crusty bread? Or you’ve already had a hotel breakfast but walking around downtown Santiago and beyond has got you hankering for a mid-morning snack? The French are masters of pastry, and whether it’s a second breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up, Santiago’s many French bakery/cafés have got you covered, from downtown, up through Bellas Artes, Providencia, in Las Condes and Vitacura. A croissant and a café au lait, or your drink of choice is never too far away at one of these French or French-inspired cafés.

  • LAN Airlines and Easter Island: Our Unique Relationship with A Special Place

    Geography is destiny. For proof, look no further than Easter Island. It sits in blessed isolation, in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean, with nothing around it for over 1,000 miles. The closest continental point is in Chile, over 2,000 miles away.

    As one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands, it has managed to preserve much of its aboriginal Rapa Nui culture. Its isolation, however, has also created some unique challenges, many of which LAN Airlines is helping to solve.

  • Vendimia: The Wine Harvest Festival

    Vendimia is the wine harvest festival and associated activities in Chile (and Argentina) related to the harvest of the wine grapes, and is generally celebrated in Chile in March and April, though dates vary from year to year, and valley to valley. Celebrations include tastings, music, food, dance, contests, and much merriment. They’re a great way to spend a day, afternoon, evening, weekend or more, getting to try many wines for a reasonable price, and all in one place. Here are some spots you may want to check out for Vendimia events in 2015. 

  • Rafting in Chile

    Starting in about October and November, the Andean snowpack in Chile starts to melt, increasing water flow to the country’s many rivers. By December, they are in full force, and, not coincidentally, that is when some of Chile’s best river rafting starts. There are four main places where river rafting takes place in this long, skinny country, and below are details of each, what to expect, and how long to plan for. 

  • 3 Neighborhoods for Shopping in Santiago

    One of the fun things about visiting a new city is finding something perfect to bring back with you that reminds you of where you’ve been. Maybe it’s something small, like jewelry, something you forgot to pack, like a sun hat or an exquisitely woven or knitted sweater, or something you thought you’d never buy, like an antique milk bottle, scale or even a chandelier.

    Santiago has a neighborhood for everything, and in fact, souvenirs aside, much of the commerce in the city is arranged in zones, where certain streets have certain items, such as Bandera for used clothes, 10 de julio for car parts, and San Diego for bicycles. And while you might not need any of the above items as souvenirs from your trip to Santiago, the following three neighborhoods might yield something more memorable or useful. And if not, or you’re just not a souvenir person, all three are also pleasant places to stroll.

  • Photo: LWYang

    3 Ways to Cool Off in a Santiago Summer

    Visiting the southern hemisphere in December, January and February is a great way to get away from the colder temperatures (and snow) back home up in the United States. And while Patagonia generally has cool temperatures, and the coast is breezy and cool much of the year, it can get pretty warm in Santiago. Here are a few ways to cool off if the change proves to be a bit more than you expected.

  • Photo: BruceW.

    4 Ways to Enjoy the Trip up Cerro San Cristobal in Santiago

    Cerro San Cristobal, the large hill that overlooks much of Santiago, Chile, is many things to many people. It’s a spot for religious pilgrimage, visiting the 22-meter marble statue of Mary atop the hill, or the small chapel nearby. It’s a proving ground for cyclists and runners, who use the hill’s smooth asphalt to train. And it’s a spot for family outings and photo-ops, atop the hill at Plaza Tupahue, where several vendors sell mote con huesillo, a local (nonalcoholic) drink made of reconstituted peaches and wheat kernels.

    How you get up the 300-meter hill is up to you. If you’ve got a bit of time and energy, maybe you’d like to walk. A little less time but more energy, maybe a bike rental is for you. Or if not, there are a couple of motorized options listed below.

  • Photo: Avodrocc

    Activities for Families With Kids in Santiago

    Bringing your kids traveling is a great opportunity to spend some family time together. With schedules changed, the family in (usually) closer proximity, and favorite pastimes left at home, it’s the perfect time to explore the food and culture of a whole new place. And when that place is Santiago, Chile, there are many choices that are great for families. If you want to be nearly assured of a good day, make sure to pack in some kid-specific activities like those listed below.

  • The Fruits of Chilean Summer

    One of the joys of traveling is trying out local tastes and traditions. Chile has many main dishes and drinks both alcoholic and non-alcoholic that are part and parcel of summer. For example, the stewy potage of porotos granados, with corn, squash and beans is typical of summer, as those ingredients come in to season. Mote con huesillo, the sweet peach punch with wheat kernels and reconstituted, dried peaches, and cola de mono, a sweet café-con-leche concoction made with pisco are also popular at this time of year. But if you want to get a little more basic, head to the markets (or supermarket) and check out some of the fruit that comes into season as if to remind us that the long days of summer are just ahead. 

  • Three Lunchtime Market Options in Santiago, Chile

    One of the main reasons we travel is to try foods from other countries. Coincidentally, all that sight seeing, museum hopping, checking out parks, long walks, photography tours and all the rest can leave you hungry as well. The main meal in Chile is often eaten at lunchtime, and there’s no better place than the few blocks surrounding the Cal y Canto Metro/Estación Mapocho in Santiago to see what’s on people’s plates come noon (or two, the preferred lunchtime). If you’re feeling peckish, here are three markets, all within a few blocks of each other for you to try.

  • Chile Picante Restaurant: A Surprise in Puerto Montt

    Puerto Montt, one of the most important ports in Chile, has a gorgeous coastline, and great access to both the lakes region and journeys through the fjords of Chile as well as the large island of Chiloé. As a port town, it’s mainly a workhorse for Chile, and you can see this reflected in some of the industrial areas, and even in the food offerings. Food is cooked traditionally (and plentifully), especially in the market area of Angelmó, where a set of restaurants on stilts lays down giant plates of fried reineta (pomfret), steaming bowls of caldillo de congrio (conger eel soup), and other Chilean specialties. But what might surprise you is that Puerto Montt also has a restaurant for those looking for a more delicate touch, foodies in search of what’s cool and new and traditional all at the same time. 

  • Photo: ruggin

    Five Stunning Views in Chilean Patagonia

    Patagonia is an area extending down from about the Lakes Region in Chile (and Argentina) to the southernmost reaches of the continent. Most visits to Chilean Patagonia include a little bit of the Lakes Region (near Puerto Varas), and then a flight much further south to the area near Puerto Natales. From streaky sunrises to fiery sunsets, and all the hues of daytime blue from glaciers and lakes, it’s no surprise that the area packs a photographic punch. Here are some stunning views you can catch in Patagonia, though of course, there are many more spots to photograph and pick as your own favorite.

  • Microbrews in Chile

    Chile, the long, skinny country that takes up much of the west coast of South America, is perfectly situated for wine. It’s the place of the rediscovery of the long-thought-lost Carmenere grape, and a country that bases much of its export economy on Chilean wine. Certainly no visit to Chile is complete without a vineyard visit, or at the very least, some wine tasting. But beer lovers need not fear, there is plenty of cerveza to go around.

  • Spending an Afternoon in Santiago’s Quinta Normal Park

    Every day traveling with kids is an adventure. But after a series of art and history museums, long walks in the hot sun and/or foreign foods, what every kid needs is an afternoon of free (or semi-structured) time in the park, where all you need is a ball, a blanket, or some imagination to wile away a few hours in the dappled shade of old trees. The city of Santiago has several parks to choose from, but perhaps none so varied and metro-accessible as Parque Quinta Normal, which is just east of downtown, and has its own metro stop.

  • Day Trips from La Serena

    With long white sand beaches, and a tranquil vibe throughout most of the year, La Serena is one of Northern Chile’s most popular beach vacation spots. For Santiaguinos and foreigners alike, the city’s location on a long beach with swimmable warm waters makes it ideal for a couple of days’ stop on a longer trip, or as a destination unto itself.

    Once visitors have seen the sights in town, which include the beach, the local market and the lighthouse, many choose to head out of town to do some exploration. In nearby Coquimbo are both the Cruz del Tercer Milenio, a monument in the form of a giant cross (visible from La Serena, and you can go inside for great views over the bay) and the mosque. There is also a very lively fish market. But there’s no reason to limit oneself to Coquimbo, either. The area is full of day trip possibilities, some of which are detailed below, so when you find yourself traveling through Chile, check them out.

  • A Day North of the Mapocho River in Santiago, Chile

    Tourists visiting Santiago usually divide their time among uptown, downtown and out of town, where out of town includes the wine country, the coast, the mountains, or a combination of all three. But there’s another way to think of the city, which is to use the Mapocho River—which runs down from Cajón de Maipo through the city—as a dividing line between north and south.

  • Best Indian Food in Santiago

    In recent years, Santiago has seen changes in immigration, which can be seen on the street where, for example, certain neighborhoods attract stores catering to specific nationalities, such as a strip of shops along the Plaza de Armas selling Peruvian products and courier services to Peru. We’ve also seen a change in culinary offerings from other countries in Latin America, but since the early 2000s, from considerably farther afield. This is due not only to immigration, but also to increased Chilean interest in trying foods from other cultures. One of those is Indian. We still don’t get restaurants specific to different states of India, but if you’re looking for something a bit more saucy, spicy and international than the usual Chilean offerings, the following Indian restaurants are a good place to start.

  • Eating Brunch in Santiago, Chile

    Chile’s gastronomic scene is hopping, with new ingredients, and new spins on old ingredients. And now, a new (to Chile) spin on a meal itself, the introduction of brunch to the Saturday and Sunday culinary scene in Santiago. Brunch is a combination of breakfast and lunch, and can include savory and sweet at the same meal, and essentially flies in the face of both the Chilean breakfast (it’s too big), and the Chilean lunch (it’s too varied). And while that might be the case, it’s catching on like crazy, with options at nearly every price point, and much of the length of the red line metro, from Las Condes down to Santiago Centro. 

  • Visiting Luxury Hotels on Easter Island

    On a tiny, far-flung island—thousands of miles from any other populated land—that 6,000 people call home, hundreds of giant stone statues that used to stand sentry, lay in various states. Half-buried, fallen over, repurposed, and most famously, standing tall and photogenic, the moai of Easter Island are part of the mystery that makes this such an enticing tourist destination.

    There’s a long oral history, as well as recent archaeological investigations, to answer questions about why they were erected, why the culture of carving and transporting moai stopped, and later, why the people themselves decided to topple them. There exists a living culture that involves traditional dance, music, food and carving, mostly Polynesian-influenced, but with touches of South America as well.

    There’s no denying the island’s appeal, for cultures present and past, as well as its stark natural beauty. It’s an island with volcanic craters, just a handful of paved roads, few vehicles, a postcard-perfect white sand beach, and a calm vibe that means you can be as active or as relaxed as you like.

    There are four world-renowned 5-star hotels on Isla de Pascua, each with a different architecture and focus, allowing travelers to choose the luxury experience that best suits them.

  • Turbo Down to Southern Chile and Antarctica

    The south of Chile and Argentina are some of the most photogenic places in the world. Stark blue skies, soaring granite peaks, giant rock formations in glacial valleys that show the soft slope where thousands of years ago, giant blocks of ice carved their way down from the mountains to flat land and beyond. And there are glaciers as well, dappled, blue-grey-white jagged surfaces that creak and groan, and sometimes calve into lakes below. Plan a trip to South America to find out for yourself or sign up here for a chance to win a trip to southern Chile and Antarctica with a friend!

  • Gearing up for a Hike in Santiago

    It almost goes without saying that one of the major draws to visiting Chile is the Andes. Soaring peaks, some of the tallest in the world, are part of our daily view on clear days in Santiago. And after a snow, well, half the city has their head turned to the east, because even if you’ve lived here your whole life, whether you’re a hiker or not, you’re still amazed.

    And it’s not just the Andes that you can hike. There are several hikes between Santiago and the coast, such as the visit to the National Park of La Campana, which has two different hikes, as well as natural areas near Santiago like the Rio Clarillo natural reserve or the Santuario de la Naturaleza in El Arrayán. And if you want to make the most of these close-by hikes, or make a go of a bigger trip, you’re going to need the right gear. Maybe you brought most things from home, but just remembered something you’re missing. Or maybe you are just getting started. Here are some places to visit to stock up on hiking gear in Santiago.

  • Photo: garchauro

    Where to Find Wi-Fi in Santiago

    Now that many of us carry smartphones in our pockets, those multi-functional cameras/voice recorders/GPS devices, it’s easy to grow accustomed to the convenience. When you’re on the road, it can be a bit trickier if you don’t have a local SIM card, or if your phone is not compatible with the local system, especially if you want to avoid data charges. The most elegant and inexpensive solution in Santiago, Chile is to disable roaming, and seek out free WiFi in this capital city. WiFi is often available, in some places you’d expect, and some places you probably wouldn’t. You’ll probably find more free WiFi in Santiago than you will in your home city.

  • Go To Extremes: Glaciers and Desert

    Verdant and desert, cool and warm, glaciers and sand dunes, these are the extremes of Chile. If you think of a map of the world and fold it in half, the south of Chile lines up with the Canadian Rockies, and the north of Chile lines up with the California desert. Except that the Andes are taller than the rockies, and the Atacama drier and larger than the desert in the southwest of the United States. So what’s it like to be in a country that has both extremes, such that you could visit them both on a single trip? In a word: stunning.

  • Spending a Day in Viña del Mar

    Viña del Mar is Santiago’s weekend and summer getaway, a coastal city with a long beach walk, museums, a castle, a large park, interesting architecture, a famous casino and of course, wide expanses of the Pacific Ocean to look at from many points of the city.

    Below are some places and activities to interest visitors of all ages to this sunny city that’s just 15 minutes from the UNESCO-listed Valparaíso, and about an hour and a half from Santiago.

  • Photo: Viernest

    Four Ways to and from the Airport in Santiago, Chile

    At the beginning of every trip, you arrive, and from that moment, you’ve got to figure out where you’re headed next. Santiago’s Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport airport is located quite close to the city, especially in comparison to some other major cities of the world, where getting to and from the airport can take an hour or more. During low-traffic times, most of Santiago is within about a half-hour’s drive of the airport. Here are four ways to make the most of your time and money when transferring between the airport and your hotel.

  • 3 Winter Soups to Try in Chile

    Winter is upon us in Chile, and that means cooler temperatures, with more humidity, and the ever-present snow capped Andes on clear, sunshiny days. And with those cool temperatures come all the ways in which humans like to keep warm. We’ve got layers, and scarves, woolen gloves, hats and scarves. But perhaps the most warming thing of all is a nice bowl of hot soup.

    Chile has many soups to call its own, and though they are popular year-round, this is a particularly good time of year to order some cazuela, a caldillo, paila marina or mariscal.

  • Where to buy Lapis Lazuli in Chile

    Lapis lazuli, a dark blue semi-precious stone, is a popular souvenir from Chile. Chile is one only a few countries in the world that mine the stone in quantity, with the other major source of lapis lazuli being Afghanistan. Lapis lazuli is naturally-occurring, and is considered more valuable the darker the stone, and the more golden (but fewer white) streaks and flecks it has. The golden flecks are pyrite, also called “fools’ gold,” and the white ones are calcite.

  • 2 Sweet Wintertime Chilean Treats

    You can count on winter weather in Chile starting in about May. By June, the Andes are covered in a blanket of white, waiting for eager skiers and snowboarders to take to the slopes, and on clear days, after a rain, everyone keeps one eye on the snowy Andes at almost all times. There are lots of places to get a good view of the Andes in Santiago, from a bridge over the Mapocho River, from up on Cerro San Cristobal, or even just peeking between the buildings downtown or on a trip to the mall.

    And that winter chill will have you wrapping a cozy scarf around your neck, or planning your run between the occasional raindrops down in the city that mean snow in the mountains. Now you’ve got keeping yourself warm, or warming yourself up from the outside down pat. But what about warming yourself up from the inside? That’s where these two sweet treats come in. They are traditionally consumed in the winter months in Chile. There’s one to drink, and one to eat, never together. That would be too much sweet goodness all at once.

  • Where to See Live Music in Santiago

    If you’re visiting Santiago, Chile, and want to hear some local (or international) music, you’re in luck. You can choose from symphonic, jazz, blues, rock, indie, or traditional Chilean, in neighborhoods from Bellavista to Vitacura, and in settings as large as the 15,000-seat Movistar Arena, to standing-room-only for intimate concerts at places like the Centro Alameda’s El Living.  And if you’d like to listen to music while you eat, you can do that, too.

    Below are a list, of spots to check out for live music in Santiago, as well as tips on how to find your own.

  • Photo: 2ilorg

    Skiing with the Pros in Chile

    In addition to incredible terrain, with alpine bowls, sleep couloirs, and plentiful square miles of ungroomed slopes, Chile has what no country in the northern hemisphere has to offer: Off-season snow. Because while it’s off-season in the United States, Canada, and Europe, Chile’s ski season is just getting underway. From June to October, you can find some of the world’s best skiing just a few hours drive from Santiago, Chile.

  • Family-Friendly Skiing in Chile

    More and more, families are realizing that traveling with small children is easier than they think. Chile is very child-friendly year-round, and for the upcoming southern winter (June through September), skiing with kids is a cinch. And if your kids are too little to ski, or don’t yet know how, here are several resorts that will keep them entertained, regardless.

    Near Santiago, there are several ski areas that cater to families traveling with children, including Portillo, Valle Nevado, La Parva and Colorado/Farrellones. In the south, families traveling with slightly older children should try the spa and resort at Chillán for family-friendly skiing and relaxation.

  • Visiting Santiago with Children

    More and more, parents are realizing that children can make great travel companions. They keep you focused on smaller details, give you lots of time to run around (or sit still while they do), and to see parts of a city you might not visit if it was just you and your other adult companions. You’ll find people in Santiago are very friendly to families. And children stay out until fairly late with their parents to eat at restaurants being the norm. Here are a few places to help your kids (and you) truly enjoy your stay in Santiago.

  • Ñam: Unmissable Gastronomical Party

    For the fourth year in a row, the food summit ñam (say: nyam) will take place in Santiago Chile. This event, the name of which means, simply “yum” in Spanish, pulls together some of Latin America (and Spain)’s best chefs. The chefs will give workshops, talks, demonstrations, and of course, prepare food that participants can taste. In attendance there will be chefs from Chile, as well as visiting chefs from Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela and Mexico.

  • Postcard-Perfect Beaches

    With a stunning coastline of almost 3,000 miles, Chile definitely has a beach to suit every taste. There are beaches for checking out tidal pools, like Isla Negra, and for big wave surfing like Pichilemu, a couple of hours south west of Santiago, and of course, beaches for rock-scrambling, wading, long walks at sunset, and even the occasional chungungo (marine otter) sighting. The last one I saw in Maitencillo, on an early morning walk.

    But if I had to pick just one beach, from the north, center and south of Chile’s extraordinarily long coastline, for long days at the beach, azure waters and sheer entertainment, I know which ones are my favorites, starting from the south.

  • Photo: rafa-alves

    Day and Night: Santiago’s Bellavista Neighborhood

    Every day of travel brings something new. But most people like to try to fit in a bit of food, drink, activity, culture and shopping in there somewhere. The problem is planning on getting to the places where these things can be had at exactly the right time.

    Enter Santiago’s quirky Bellavista neighborhood. Sandwiched between the Mapocho River to the south, and the towering Cerro San Cristobal to the north, this area has something to offer in all of the above categories with something to suit every budget and taste, from backpacker to luxury.

  • 3 National Parks in the South of Chile

    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.

  • Photo: avlxyz

    Eating Asian Food in Santiago

    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.

  • The World’s Biggest Pool: San Alfonso del Mar

    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.

  • Visiting Iquique in Chile’s Norte Grande

    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.

  • Unusual Ice Cream Flavors

    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.

  • Photo: Loretin

    Santiago a Mil: Summer Performance Festival

    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.

  • Teatime in Santiago

    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 (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.

  • The Towns of Chile’s Carretera Austral

    Chile’s Carretera Austral, or Southern Highway is one of the world’s great drives. The road is an improbable project, started in the 1970s to connect far-flung Chilean towns and villages to the rest of Chile by road, rather than small plane or overland via Argentina. Even now, traveling the length of this remote (mostly gravel) 1200-km road takes days, and gives travelers a taste of untouched rural Patagonia, the way it has looked for thousands of years. There are giant rivers with snaking tributaries in and placid lakes in blue, green, turquoise and every color in between. Stands of thick forests, including giant, sequoia-like alerces trees line parts of the road, and in the early summer, colorful lupins in yellows, purples and pinks fringe the lakes. Glaciers and steep mountains complete the picture of rugged Patagonia. Below are a few of the towns and highlights you’ll see on your way down this road. 

  • Photo: Rafa Alves

    Visiting Pablo Neruda’s Three Houses-Turned-Museums

    Pablo Neruda is one of Chile’s favorite, and best-known poets, and also served as a diplomat in Argentina, Spain and Mexico. He was born in 1904, won a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971 and died shortly after Chile’s coup d’etat, in 1973. His poems range from historical epics to love poems, surrealist writings and whimsical odes, including one to an artichoke. He is well known internationally and his time in exile in Sicily (for political reasons) was fictionalized in the movie Il Postino.

  • Photo: SF Brit

    Visiting Antarctica from Chile

    For penguin peepers, glacier chasers, cruise fans, and those who love to visit far-flung places, Antarctica delivers. There are long days of summer sunshine, glassy waters and a constantly-changing seascape. Dolphin, whale and albatross sightings are practically guaranteed. From closer to the coast, or from landings, penguins, sea lions, different species of seals (including sometimes southern elephant seals) are also a sure thing.

  • Photo: Andres04

    Surfing in Chile

    Chile’s long, narrow geography with 3,000 miles of coastline, mean visitors and locals can have beach access almost any time they want, and even go from the Andes to the Pacific in a single day. Every beach, from north to south (and on Easter Island) has its own personality, with some being connected to fishing villages, while others are right outside of cities, and bring together families on weekends and all summer long. Some are protected, shallow coves with calm water, and some frothy and rocky. And then there are the surf beaches.

  • Hot Springs in Pucón

    Volcanic activity in Chile’s main adventure sport destination, Pucón, assures visitors of a few things. First, on clear days, there is a great view of snow-covered Volcán Villarrica (travelers can climb with a guide), second, visitors are sure to take a photo of the signs downtown advising of volcanic conditions, and third, a visit to the local hot springs is a great way to spend an afternoon, evening, or even a few days.

    There are hot springs to suit most tastes, from rustic to Asian-inspired, family-friendly and boutique. Below is a description of some of our favorite.

  • Photo:

    Boutique Hotels in Santiago

    Santiago, Chile, is a large city of almost 7 million people, and hotels to suit most budgets. And while some of the world’s most well known 4 and 5-star chain hotels can be found in the city, but for a more personal touch, a boutique hotel may be just what you had in mind. Below are three of Santiago’s best-reviewed boutique hotels, one in Bellavista, and two in Providencia.

  • Spending Time in Cajón del Maipo

    Cajón del Maipo, a valley etched into the foothills of the Andes, and a short drive from Santiago, Chile, is where well-heeled Santiaguinos take weekend drives and where the wealthy buy homes perched on steep overlooks. It’s also a great place to go rafting, hiking, horseback-riding, camping, or just take a day trip up into the mountains. There is plenty of food and drink to sustain you, no matter what you choose to do. And if a single day isn’t enough, there are plenty of places to stay as well.

  • Photo: Ben Bowes

    Unusual Hotels in Chile

    Chile’s variety of natural landscapes, from glaciers and granite spires in the far south, to Valdivian rainforest in the mid-south, and up through all the shades of the Atacama desert in the north, create a great backdrop for a variety of adventures. To add another element of adventure, choose from one of the following non-conventional hotels that span the length of the country, and include domes, traditional stilted houses and a hotel that itself looks like a rainfall-covered mountain.

  • European Architecture in Santiago

    Many travelers know Santiago for the sleek, uptown neighborhoods of Las Condes and Vitacura, with glassed-in towers, an area referred to as “Sanhattan,” and the brand new Costanera Center, which at 300 meters (nearly 1,000 feet) is the tallest building in South America, and home to a new, multi-level mall.

    And while what’s new in Santiago can keep you busy for a pleasant afternoon, the city’s history is far older than that, and digging a little deeper gives travelers a look into the history’s regal past, when palaces and little enclaves were built into what is now the bustling downtown.

  • Day Trip to Pomaire from Santiago

    If you’re looking for traditional Chilean crafts, along with a traditional hearty country meal, Pomaire (po-MAI-ray) is one of Chile’s most vibrant crafts-oriented town, and it’s just a short ride from Santiago. The main street stretches several blocks, and all along are stores on either side selling the terracotta dishes, vessels and figurines for which the town is known.

  • Stargazing in Northern Chile

    Chile attracts some of the best, brightest and luckiest astronomers to come and do research in some of the clearest skies in the world. With more than 300 nights of cloudless skies, the north of Chile, with its pristine atmosphere, is ideal for stargazing by professionals and amateurs alike.

    With or without a telescope, in the north of Chile, once you get away from the cities, a stunning array of stars, and quite often, even the white blur of the milky way is visible. Below are four observatories that up the ante for night sky lovers.

  • Typical Food of the Chilean National Holiday

    September in Chile means several things. It represents the much-awaited beginning of spring, the time of year when you first start to see kids and their parents out flying kites, and most importantly, it’s when the national holiday (Fiestas Patrias) is celebrated.

    Every year, the 18th and 19th of September, are given over to celebrating chilenidad, all things Chilean, which means the cueca, which is the national dance, national costumes, typical games such as spinning tops and flying kites, and of course, enjoying the national foods.

    Below are some foods you won’t want to miss during Chile’s colorful Fiestas Patrias celebrations! Many of these are available year-round, but never in such great quantity, and usually not all together.

  • Photo: Lindsey G.

    Breweries at the Bottom of the World: Part 2

    Making your way down to the bottom of the world is thirsty work, and Chile’s got a number of tasty beers that come from some of the southern reaches of Patagonia. The Spaniards’ arrival brought beer to Chile, and it has been developing since then, with several waves of immigration.

    These three breweries at the bottom of the world offer a great way to unwind after a long Patagonian day, or to raise a glass to toast to recent and future travels.

  • Urban Parks of Santiago

    Gently swaying plum blossom trees and blooming yellow-pomponed aromos (acacia trees) are two signs that spring is upon us in Santiago. By the end of August, as trees are turning gold in the northern hemisphere, ours are blooming in a profusion of colors that will take us through to our fall, in April. There are the pink plum blossoms, and the yellow aromos, the purple jacarandas and the fiery red peumos. Flowers thrive in front of buildings and in gardens, and of course, in the parks.

  • Photo: BernieCB

    Typical Foods of Chiloé

    Chiloé is a large island in the south of Chile that has unique geography, history, culture, architecture and food. It is famous the world over for its palafitos, stilted houses that jut over the water, and the wooden churches that dot the island. Visitors also come to shop for the thick, water-resistant woolen sweaters and blankets and to take long drives down the winding roads lined with bright yellow flowers, which were originally brought to fence in sheep.

  • 3 Peruvian Restaurants in Santiago

    Gastronomical offerings all over Chile are growing more and more international, with an African fusion restaurant way down south in Puerto Natales, and a cluster of gourmet restaurants in the northern outpost of San Pedro de Atacama. In Santiago, sushi and pizza are popular and newly, so are Thai, Korean and fusion. But one of the most popular international cuisines among Chileans and international visitors alike is from our neighbor to the north, with many Peruvian restaurants all around Santiago. Here are some that span a few different neighborhoods, and to suit every budget. Here are three of our favorites.

  • Daytrip to Isla Damas

    Wildlife lovers visiting La Serena, one of Chile’s favorite northern coastal cities, should make time for Chile’s National Humboldt Penguin Reserve. The reserve is part of the Chilean national parks (CONAF) system, and is a favorite among locals and visitors to the area. There’s something for everyone, with a boat trip out to the reserve, plentiful wild life sightings, desert plants and flowers, and white sand beaches which make this park one of the highlights of the Norte Chico, the northern part of Chile that is closest to Santiago.

  • Visiting Torres del Paine

    Vast Torres del Paine national park, located in Chilean Patagonia, just a few hours from the southern city of Punta Arenas, is one of Chile’s proudest and most-visited national parks, and with good reason.

    The park’s 600,000 acres comprise a vast ecosystem of glaciers, forests, steppe, glacial valleys, lakeside camping, a striated massif, and the granite spires of the towers for which the park itself is named.

  • Souvenir Shopping in Santiago

    When you go on a trip, half of the fun is looking through pictures, and telling stories of the great times you had. But after the newness of that wears off, you’ll always remember the lapiz lazuli earrings you bought for yourself, or the delicate woven scarf you brought for a friend, saying, “I saw this in Chile, and I thought of you.”

  • Photo: BitBoy

    72 Hours in Santiago

    Santiago, Chile, a city of more than 6 million people has ultramodern glassed-in towers, colorful traditional markets, a resurgence of interest in old folkloric traditions, a sparkling metro, a large hill-turned-backyard to take it all in from and is overlooked by the towering, often snowcapped Andes. There’s way more than 72 hours worth of sightseeing and activities in and around Santiago, but if you had to limit it to just a long weekend, here are plenty of activities to keep you entertained, and give you a good overview

  • Photo: - photo courtesy of Eileen Smith

    Vintage Paradise on Bandera Street

    Bandera, a downtown Santiago street, the name of which means flag, starts off at the Alameda (Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins), and heads north, for several blocks, passing under a colorful skybridge between two buildings (which is lit up, and changes colors at night).  It passes the PreColumbian Art Museum and the former National Congress building and ends one block from the Mercado Central (central market).

  • Wine Tasting in Santiago

    One of Chile’s main attractions, and one of the products for which it is best known, is wine. From the areas nearby Santiago such as the Santa Cruz, Maipo and Colchagua valleys, to the warmer, more arid areas of the Aconcagua valley and further to the north and south, Chile produces wines, most famously, Carmenere, but Cabernet Sauvignon is growing in popularity, as are (newly) a few white wines, including some grown closer to the coast. Pinot Noir is also up-and-coming in Chile, in addition to the better-known reds.

  • Ski Arpa

    For pristine, above-the-treeline back-country skiing, tremendous vertical drop and the opportunity to ski in the shadow of Aconcagua, South America’s tallest peak, cat-skiing at Ski Arpa, has an offer that is unparalleled in Chile, and much of the world. Add to that the fact that Chilean winter comes during North America’s “off season” period, and the decision is simple.

  • Pucón: Chile’s Adventure Capital

    Pucón is Chile’s adventure sports capital, with a beautiful, volcanic-formed topography including the snow-covered Villarica volcano that peeks out on sunny days. In and around Pucón there are great opportunities for biking, hiking, canopy, rafting, skiing, horseback riding, canopy, rock-climbing (some of these only in season), and to wrap it all up at the end of the day, plentiful hot springs to choose from to suit every taste from rustic to elegant, and all-inclusive resorts.

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