The tropical regions of South America are full of sandy beaches and exotic jungles…but travel farther south and you will find a very different landscape, full of incredible rock formations and glaciers. For the adventurous traveler, Patagonia and the surrounding regions are undoubtedly the best South America destinations. The southern part of the continent is home to some incredible landscapes. And although less diverse than their northern relatives, the wildlife here is pretty impressive as well. In the spirit of celebrating this beautiful region, here is a list of some of our favorite southern South America vacations!
Travel to Bolivia and visit the largest salt flat in the world! The Uyuni salt flats cover over 10,000 square kilometers (more than 4,000 square miles). Tourists visit this South America destination to marvel at the salt flat itself and to for the incredible views it offers. When covered in water, the flat acts as a mirror, and its extreme flatness and size seem to erase all perspective of distance and size.
When you travel to the Atacama Desert, you may get the feeling that in reality you’ve arrived to another planet. This is the world’s driest non-polar desert, and it is full of strange, unique landscapes. Travel from the town of San Pedro de Atacama to some of the desert’s major sights: El Tatio Geysers, Valley of the Moon, and so much more.
This island, located far off the coast of Chile, is one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands. The main attraction on Easter Island are its ruins, in particular the enormous, stone moai statues that can be found along the coast. Once you’ve taken in your fill of the ruins, you can also enjoy the island’s beaches.
Also known as the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina. Explore the wide avenues and French architecture of the downtown area before branching off to the other tourist neighborhoods. La Boca, the colorful neighborhood of immigrants. San Telmo, and its historical bars and cafés. Recoleta, and its famous parks and cemetery. And last but not least, the trendy restaurants and shops of Palermo. And don’t forget to visit Say Hueque Argentina Journeys!
Next on our list is one of the most famous South America destinations in Patagonia. El Calafate is a small town in southern Argentina, located near the famous Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world’s only advancing glaciers. We recommend traveling to El Calafate for a couple of days and then continuing on to the nearby village of El Chalten for some incredible hiking.
Once you’ve explored the Argentine Patagonia, it’s only fitting that you would visit one of the most stunning Patagonia national parks in Chile. Torres del Paine is an indescribably beautiful park in southern Chile. With glaciers, lakes, mountains, and wildlife galore, this is one of our South America destinations that you definitely won’t want to miss.
Let us know in the comments which of these South America destinations you’d most like to visit. And feel free to add to our list! (And if you are more interested in a warm, relaxing vacation destination, check out this post on the best South American tropical vacations!)
By Michelle Lenze
In Say Hueque, we believe that traveling should be a transformational experience, as a matter of fact, we strongly believe it. That’s why we choose Explora as one of our partners because they understand the meaning of this, they share with our enthusiasm for unconventional trips with an inclination for the adventurous.
The concept behind Explora is to provide trips to remote destinations in South America, unique due to their close interaction with nature and local culture. Since 1993, they have opened several properties, offering unique experiences. Currently, Explora is present in Torres del Paine National Park, Easter Island and the Atacama Desert in Chile, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru, in Salta and El Chaltén in Argentina, and in Uyuni, Bolivia.
But what gives Explora such a different taste? Its care for details, taking pleasure in simplicity which defines the luxury of essentials, and commitment to sustainable development. These characteristics make Explora as a top-notch choice for travelers passionate about explorations and first-class quality service.
Explora takes care of every little detail of the experience you are going to have. For instance, guides are -and have to be!- enthusiastic about nature in order to be able to share and transmit their love for the surroundings. Being with a guide that is in love with the place where he is a completely different experience because one feels more inclined to appreciate the whole experience as other already values it. Their carefully chose guides are also bilingual (Spanish and English) and stand out for their warmth and kindness.
Another key element of Explora’s uniqueness is their explorations: they choose exclusive routes developed by their outdoor team, that allows travelers to get to know destinations in-depth, including popular sites and less explored areas. Other complements that make this experience complete is their detailed choice of food and beverages, adapted to every need.
Explora Patagonia was designed as the perfect base to explore Torres del Paine National Park, as it offers an exclusive location -anchored like a ship by Lake Pehoé- with unparalleled views.
Travelers can choose among 40 explorations –either hiking or horseback riding– to some of the circuits of the renowned W and other less explored routes to get to know the typical geography and wildlife of Patagonia. Their rooms have a perfect combination of simplicity and comfort, in order to ensure a deep rest after exploring. For a 30% discount, make a reservation for October 2019.
2. Machu Picchu & Sacred Valley
Explora Valle Sagrado was designed as a headquarter from where to explore Cusco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. All their programs include accommodations, transfers, meals and beverages, and a selection of more than 30 explorations developed by our outdoor team, either walking, by van or riding a bike.
Explora’s explorations take travelers through the colonial history of Cusco and the architectural magnificence of the Incas in Machu Picchu, isolated villages, archaeological sites such as Ollantaytambo, Moray, Chinchero and Pisac, to Andean pampas and mountains or Apus, considered by locals as guardians of people and nature. Have you made up your mind? Make the most of their promotions by taking your kids for free, or getting one night and the guided exploration to Machu Picchu for free too.
3. Explora in Atacama, Chile
Located in the oasis of San Pedro de Atacama, Explora Atacama was built in a 17-hectare plot as a base from where to explore the desert, the Andes highlands, and its surroundings.
Huge sand dunes, salt pans, impressive volcanoes, and cloudless skies inspired the design of each of their explorations. These can be completed hiking, cycling, horseback riding or through a combination of hiking and by van.
What should you expect to do in Explora Atacama? Horseback riding through red soil esplanades, walking on landscapes that seem like taken from another world, cycling through the Andes highlands, reaching summits of more than 5,000 m.a.s.l. (16,404 f.a.s.l.) or taking it easy in the Puritama hot springs are some of the experiences you can enjoy. Interested? Get up to a 1000 USD discount and kids free traveling before January 31st, 2020.
Looking for Things to do in Patagonia? Maybe stargazing jump on the list but this is not the only place..
Did you know
that almost half of all telescopes can be found in Chile? If anything at all,
this makes the country one of the most ideal and romantic places for some
excellent place for stargazing is none other than Argentina. With its clear,
dark skies, you will be left in utter awe at the magnificent beauty and allure
of nature in Argentina.
Here are some of the most gorgeous places for stargazing in Chile and Argentina that will leave you at a loss for words.
SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
There is no
better place for stargazing than San Pedro de Atacama. With its crystal-clear
skies, no light pollution and 300-plus cloud free days, it is no surprise why
San Pedro de Atacama is an absolute must-visit place for stargazing.
This place in
northern Chile boasts the ideal stargazing conditions, including a high
altitude, the driest non polar air on earth, and exceptionally unpolluted
This leaves you with dazzling night skies that tell you tales of the mysteries of this universe.
TORRES DEL PAINE
certainly has no shortage of beautiful vistas and endless spots for some exotic
stargazing. The jagged mountain
peaks with their skyward stretching glaciers is the perfect compliment
for the Southern Hemisphere skies that glow in the night as a myriad of blazing
stars light up the stark, white ice.
Chile’s perfect blend of low levels of light pollution, high altitudes and clear skies all year round pave the way for some of the most breath-taking night skies that your eyes could possibly ever witness.
As you peer at the cloudless and mesmerizing winter sky of Patagonia, your eyes will also witness the snowcapped Andean peaks of Patagonia. The beautiful night skies in this place make for some of the easiest and most breathtaking stargazing on Earth. With its pristine wilderness, unique wildlife, and gorgeous mountains, lakes and glaciers, all in plain sight, your stargazing experience in Patagonia will truly leave you mesmerized.
San Juan is a beautiful city located in west-central Argentina. It has some of the most magical and spectacular night skies to offer. As soon as darkness hits the skies, you will see a stunning spark across the skies laced with bright shimmering stars that give you the perfect opportunity for exceptional stargazing. What’s more? The province of San Juan is known for its world-renowned observatories. Hence, be sure to make your way to El Leoncito when you visit here. The institute holds stargazing events that are informative and entertaining. Subsequently, they provide you with an astronomical insight on the shimmering skies above.
Are you ready to embark on a spectacular and an unforgettable stargazing tour yet? Check our website or contact one of our sales representative to start planning the best experience for you!
Traveling to Chile? Check this guide before packing to be fully prepared to jump into this adventure!
Chile is an extremely exciting country with a storied past, beautiful natural environment, and world class attractions. Here at Say Hueque, we love arranging tours through Chile and introducing travelers to our next door neighbor – Be sure to check out our tailor made trips to Chile.
There are so many incredible sights to see, things to do, and people to meet. But if you’re planning a visit, you’ll need to do your research first. To help you get started, take a look at the top 10 things to know before traveling to Chile below. Feel free to add your own tips and tricks in the comments below!
1. No Visa Necessary!
This is definitely one of the most important things to know before visiting Chile. As a U.S. citizen (as well as citizens of the E.U.), you won’t need to acquire a visa or pay a fee to enter the country. In fact, you’re permitted to stay in Chile for 90 days (3 months) at a time on a tourist visa. Nonetheless, many people who want to stay in Chile for longer will either extend this visa for another 3 months or just leave the country and come back. Many times, expats will cross the border to Mendoza, Argentina for the weekend and come back.
2. Not the Spanish You Learned in High School
Students traveling to Chile to learn Spanish tend to be frustrated that it’s not exactly the same as the Spanish they were taught in high school. Yes, you’ll have to learn to use phrases like ¿cachai? and weon and maybe you’ll even start to conjugate verbs differently. Nonetheless, I promise that the Chilean dialect is not as difficult as everyone makes it out to be. Moreover, once you get the hang of it, it’s actually kind of fun.
3. When it Comes to Weather – Expect the Unexpected
All I need to explain here is that the northern part of Chile is a desert, while southern Chile is Patagonia. You know, the snow-covered mountains? If you were to check the weather for San Pedro de Atacama and then Puerto Natales (like I just did), you’d notice a huge difference in their highs for the day. When planning a trip to explore the whole of Chile, pack for extreme variations in weather.
4. Pack a Snack!
Look, I’ve always known that Americans are supposed to eat larger quantities than other countries, but who knew that we eat our meals so much earlier than everyone else? In Chile, finding a place to eat lunch at 11:30 isn’t a thing. In fact, most restaurants won’t open for lunch until about 1 P.M. Oh, and dinner? It’s not at 5 o’clock – more likely to have dinner around 10 or 11 p.m.
5. You Didn’t Imagine That…It Was Indeed an Earthquake
Being from the Southeastern United States, I’m not used to them. To be honest, I don’t even remember having felt one before I moved to Chile. Nonetheless, I remember my first Chilean earthquake vividly. I was terrified upon feeling the movement under my feet, but the Chileans around me weren’t even reacting and told me it was just a “temblor”. When visiting Chile, know that the country is 100% equipped to deal with earthquakes (and temblors). Oftentimes, earthquakes that would be considered to be large-scale in other countries barely do any damage in Chile. So, if you happen to experience an earthquake in this country, my advice is to look to the locals and follow their reactions.
6. It’s Not as Cheap as You Might Think
While I still think that Chile is cheaper than Europe, I’ve also noticed that foreigners often have a misconception about all of South America being cheap. Among the top things to know before visiting Chile, know that this generalization is not always true, especially in the case of Argentina and Chile. Keep in mind that, especially in Santiago, it’s the capital of the country and it houses approximately 1/3 of the entire country’s population, so expect it to be expensive.
7. Who is Lucas?
No..it’s not a person that everyone keeps mentioning. “Lucas” is definitely not a very common name in Chile, but you’ll hear it used commonly. That’s because the word refers to money in multiples of thousands. If someone says, for example, “cuatro lucas”, that person is not talking about “four people named Lucas”, but about “4000 pesos.”
8. Getting Around
To use public transportation, you must buy a card called BIP, that costs 1550 pesos, and it’s sold at all Metro stations, at the Centros BIP or at Puntos bip!. With it, you can add multiples of 10 pesos with a minimum of 750 pesos, at the selling points or at any other associated stores that enable to charge BIP cards. The card allows you to travel by bus (which are called micros in Chile) and by subway (also known as the metro). You can buy a single card and use it for you and your travel companions. You can use your credit card to recharge it. If you want to pay with your debit card you just need to pick the “tarjeta de credito” option (It’s odd, I know… but true) and you can do it at Station Los Leones of the new Line 6 (next to Line 1).
9. Santiago de Chile has Multiple Barrios
The capital city has many different barrios (neighborhoods), all of which can be easily explored through the city’s extremely efficient metro system. The different barrios are scattered across a hill. The basic rule of thumb is: the further up the hill you go, the richer and safer the neighborhoods become. The wealthier neighborhoods are often safer due to an increased police presence within the area. The safest comunas are Providencia, Vitacura and Las Condes. Some of the more popular tourist areas, like Plaza de Armas and Bellavista, are often safe during the day, however travelers need to exercise extreme caution in these areas during the night, as in any cosmopolitan city.
10. Be Smart and Observe Your Surroundings
This one may seem a bit obvious if you’ve traveled internationally, but it’s worth mentioning. When paying for something avoid pulling out your wallet in public and flashing large amounts of cash. Grab and runs are extremely popular in Santiago and if someone sees that you are carrying large amounts of cash on you, they will probably target you. Don’t draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
So there you have it! To learn more about Chile, feel free to read through our previous blog posts covering the country here.
Looking for Things to do in Chile while planning the best trip of your life?
Honeymoon in Chile As a newly married couple who has just finished having a blast at their wedding, you certainly want to give a spectacular end to the biggest event of your life with an amazing and exotic honeymoon. While you can never run out of options for a truly romantic and exciting honeymoon, have you ever considered honeymooning in Chile? Sounds surprising and unusual, doesn’t it? For you have probably never heard of enough couples celebrating their honeymoon in Chile. Well, truth be told, Chile is every honeymooner’s paradise. If you wish for a luxury, romantic honeymoon that will truly sweep you off your feet, Chile is the place
Santiago de Chile
Santiago, the capital and economic center of Chile, is possibly one of South America’s most vibrant destinations for the perfect honeymoon. With its bustling markets, the snow-capped peaks of the Andes, towering high rises and the sour cocktails; one can never have enough reasons to spend their honeymoon in Santiago. It has the most spectacular natural beauty to offer, along with excellent dining and thrilling nightlife.
San Pedro de Atacama
Known as the land of indigenous people, San Pedro de Atacama is home to some of the most fascinating tours that will allow you to explore the region’s most amazing attractions. A few of these include lagoons with intense, radiant colors, active geysers and mesmerizing salt flats that will definitely leave you in awe. After that, you can relax during the hot springs and massages of their recreational complexes, followed by mouth-watering and delicious international cuisines of the area’s restaurants. As the daylight fades away and the night falls, you can gaze at the stunning night sky with your partner that is shining bright with twinkling stars.
Torres Del Paine
Described as “one of the most spectacular sights that human imagination can conceive” by a visitor, Torres Del Paine is the ideal honeymoon destination for all married lovebirds out there. This breathtaking place will make you feel truly insignificant in comparison to the spectacular wonders of nature that it has to offer to you. It has some of the most jaw-dropping landscapes and beautiful turquoise waters that will leave you and your partner utterly mesmerized. With 17 hours of daily light in summer, you definitely don’t want to miss out on the dazzling sunrises that will make you fall in love.
With two menacing snowcapped volcanoes, Puerto Varas has to be the most picturesque place in Chile. While on your honeymoon, you will get to enjoy amazing benefits offered by wonderful Southern Chile and an experience that you are likely to remember forever. From some of the best culinary and dining experiences to magnificent adventures on the river, you will find a ton of things to do with our partner in this cozy, lakeside town.
Ready for a dreamy and an exhilarating honeymoon in Chile? Check all our Romantic Getaways and start planning the trip of your life!
You might have heard the name of this wonderful little town, but did anyone ever tell you about the endless possibilities that exist here? Starting from the basics, San Pedro de Atacama is located in the northern part of Chile. Named after the patron saint, San Pedro, San Pedro de Atacama is built around a laid back oasis in the driest desert of the world! For all the thrill seekers, it includes the perfect adventures between volcanoes, sand dunes and lagoons. With a blanket of crystal clear skies at night, this town is an amazing stop for all nature-lovers out there.
If San Pedro de Atacama is your first stop in Chile, get ready to be welcomed by this region in the best possible way! If you’re clueless about where to start, a little homework always helps. For your ease, here is a list of 5 things you must know before you tread to this beautiful town!
What a wonderful way to start your Chilean adventure! The Atacama Desert is 41,000 square miles and makes for a stunning sight, especially at dawn. If you’re seeking some adventure and the stunning terrain isn’t sufficient for you, use the striking golden sand dunes for surfing. Coupled with this, it is also the best location to explore the scintillating collection of stars! Due to its high altitude and cloudless skies, you won’t even need a telescope for a magnificent stargazing session.
Commonly known as Valle de la Luna, the Moon Valley is located in Atacama Desert. It finds its name from its moon shaped dunes, mountains as well as rock formations! To experience the surreal beauty of this landscape to the maximum, wait till sunset when the colors of the place will be most beautiful, appealing to your sensibilities. You can even opt for a mountain bike excursion for that extra adrenaline rush!
The terrains and gorgeous scenery of this little town tucked in the Atacama Desert render it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Chile. As a result, you need to steer clear of tourist traps to get a taste of the authentic cuisine offered by the region. Try their local drink, Pisco Sour Rica-Rica accompanied by authentic Chilean food. Some of the highly recommended restaurants include Charkikan and Baltinache.
Don’t rule off the weather as being hot just because it’s located amidst a desert. The weather and temperatures can fluctuate from the Geysers to the Moon Valley so it pays to have your winter gear packed with you.
Since Atacama is a wonderful but tricky place with high altitudes and rough terrains, it pays to travel with a tour agency that is reliable and has a well planned itinerary. Don’t risk your enjoyment in favor of cheap tours and deals and opt for an agency that is equipped in traveling to Chile and surrounding areas.
From the heart of the Andean high plateau to the rugged landscapes of Patagonia, Chile offers an incredible diversity of destinations. From north to south, this South American country spans more than 4,200 km (more than 2,600 miles) and it is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the east by the Andes Mountains. Given its enormous extent, there is no end to the incredible sights and things to do in Chile. Check out our list of our favorite Chile Destinations below, and get inspired for an incredible vacation to Chile!
Dynamic and cosmopolitan, the capital of Chile is a city of contrasts. Walking around Santiago, you will see both historic, colonial buildings and modern skyscrapers. Look to the east, and you will see the snow-capped mountains of the Andes, while just a few hours to the west you’ll find the Pacific Ocean. Home to many events showcasing the very best of Chilean culture, the city’s character also shines through in its many distinctive neighborhoods. No visit to Chile would be complete without a few days of Santiago de Chile Tours.
While visiting Santiago de Chile, be sure to leave at least a day to travel to Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. These vibrant cities make for the perfect escape out of the city to the Pacific coast. Once an important port city, today Valparaiso is known for its bohemian style and colorful street art. Spend some time exploring the colorful, cobblestoned streets before visiting the neighboring city of Viña del Mar. Literally meaning “vineyard of the sea”, this city is known for its resorts and major cultural festivals.
Now it’s time to escape the big city and head deep into the Chilean Patagonia, where you will discover the beauty of Torres del Paine National Park. This is the perfect destination for the adventurous traveler. Climb mountains, visit glaciers, and spot exotic wildlife. Torres del Paine hiking is challenging, but you will be rewarded by stunning views of the natural landscape. Be sure to plan ahead if you plan to visit Torres del Paine, as the park is becoming a very popular hiking destination, and accommodations fill up fast.
Outside of the North and South Poles, the Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world. Departing from the desert town of San Pedro de Atacama, you will have the chance to explore the otherworldly landscapes, from salt flats to geysers. Perhaps the most amazing attraction at all can be seen at night. Given the desert’s remote location and the lack of artificial light, this is one of the most incredible places for stargazing. Don’t miss out on a trip to the incomparable Atacama Desert.
This remote island, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, is known for its famous stone Maoi statues. The island is located more than 3,500 km (2,100 miles) away from mainland Chile, but it is well worth the trip. Discover the culture of the native Rapa Nui people, and enjoy the pristine beaches, volcanoes, prairies, and caverns of the island.
This “off The beaten” route is becoming very popular for adventure souls who wants to take amazing pictures, enjoy nature and be away from crowded destinations. The route is gravel and is in good condition, this is why Self-Driving is very simple because it is very well marked. We recommend to rent a good car and hit the road! The landscapes change constantly along the road and they are always incredible! The 4 main attractions, in order from north to south, are: Queulat Park, Marble Caves, Patagonia Park and Caleta Tortel.
Feeling inspired to visit these incredible destinations? Start making plans to travel to Chile with the unique journeys offered at Say Hueque.
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