I’ve been living in Chile for just over a yer ago and on the whole I love it.
In case you’re not convinced from my instafeed alone, here are nine reasons to visit Chile in 2019:
- Festivals – Chile is a land of saints days, parties and indigenous festivals. The biggest celebration of them all comes with Fiestas Patrias which marks the foundation of Chile as an independent state and takes place on 18 and 19 September. This year the festival falls on Wednesday and Thursday and the government has taken the very generous step of declaring Friday a holiday too, so visitors to Chile can expect an even bigger party than normal. Salud!
- Solar eclipse – On 2 July 2019 a spectacular solar eclipse will be visible from the southern Pacific Ocean east of New Zealand to the Coquimbo Region in Chile. The sun will be blocked out for a few minutes, leaving a dramatic hole in the sky. This extremely rare celestial event will be watched by millions around the world on television screens, but what better way than to experience it firsthand? Budding astronomers can catch the eclipse from the comfort of their own pad – Elqui Domos feature seven spherical domes with removable roofs, as well as four stilted beautiful wooden cabins with glass ceilings.
- Wine – Chile is known throughout the world for its solid, reliable wines, but the country is now working hard to position itself more in the luxury segment. In his ‘Wines of South America: The Essential Guide’, Master Sommelier Evan Goldstein, writes: ‘Signs of a renaissance in Chilean wine can be tasted in many of the new terroir-focused wines being produced in new regions by gifted young winemakers.” Top boutique winery Casa Marin has routinely won awards for its exceptional wines and this year it is set to open its very own boutique hotel.
- Flora – Chile is a country like no other, especially in botanical terms. In fact about half of its plants are endemic, i.e. they can be found only in Chile. From its extraterrestrial like cacti in the northern deserts, to its towering forests of the south, Chile’s plant life is beautifully unique.
- Fauna – Forget safaris, take a Chilean road trip (or flight, it’s a long country!), where you can expect to see an incredible variety of wildlife. Its southern Patagonia region is home to many species of penguins, while flamingos can be spotted along the Chilean coastline. Chile is also home to the largest flying bird in the word, the Andean Condor, and the smallest (and cutest?) deer in the world, the pudu. Even on a short drive from Santiago, you can expect to see packs of sea lions or alpacas.
- Luxury hotels – There are some fabulous hotels across the country, from boutique boltholes to eco adventure hideaways. This year major renovations on the Mandarin Oriental will finish, with even more luxurious rooms and facilities in store for its guests. Alas visitors will have to wait until 2020 for the opening of its sister hotel in the coastal resort of Vina de Mar.
- Sunshine – Chile has a glorious climate! While the best time to visit is in spring, from September to November, or autumn from March to May, the climate varies so much from one part of the country to the other, so it’s easy to chase the weather you want. Warm up in the desert, cool down in the mountains, strip off or layer up: it’s your choice.
- Travel convenience – Chile is not rural Switzerland, but it´s the safest country in Latin America, making it a great, gentle introduction for anyone discovering the continent for the first time. Chile is a great balance between the rustic charm of Latin America and travel practicality. In short, it´s pretty and things work.
- Landmarks – Easter Island is home to over 900 imposing Moai statues. Modern researchers now believe that the ancient figures may have served a practical purpose, signalling the availability of fresh drinking water underneath. Last year Chile restricted tourism to the region in order to protect the region, but sustainable travel to the region is still possible, with eco adventure travel agency Cascada Expediciones leading the way.
If you’re visiting with as a family, check out these 10 fun things to do with your kids in Santiago.
If you’re keen to check out other parts of the world, read these recommendations from a luxury travel expert.