Arica is Chile's northernmost gateway. Located 2,065 kilometers from Santiago, and 19 kilometers south of the Peruvian border, this port city with a population of 170,000, spreads out at the foot of its historic landmark, the steep Morro Hill which plunges to the Pacific below. Arica depends primarily on commerce and tourism, and is experiencing increasing development due to the central-Andean integration that has taken place in the area between the north of Chile, Peru and Bolivia. It is the main shipping port for Bolivia 's and South Peru 's trade because of their interconnecting highways and railroads. Arica sits at the entrance of the flourishing Azapa Valley which provides water and vegetation, making it exceptional in the dry Chilean northern desert. It has a growing agricultural industry focused on olive orchards and tropical fruit plantations, along with many archaeological remains. The geoglyphs of Sombrero and Sagrado Hills and the Miguel de Azapa Archaeological Museum, which features the world's oldest mummies, are remarkable sightseeing experiences. In summer, Arica's attractions, markets and hotels become lively with the thousands of tourists that flock in to enjoy its beaches. A city of traditions, it welcomes visitors with an attractive casino and well-groomed parks.
Antofagasta is Chile's fifth city in terms of population and the most populated city in the northern desert. It is dynamic and industrial, with an important major port and a railway that connects it with Bolivia for tourist and commercial purposes. It is also the shipping port for the copper extracted from the country's most important mining sites: Chuquicamata and Escondida. With a population of 250.000, Antofagasta is the Chilean north's economic and cultural capital. It is presently undergoing an urban renewal process, triggered by the mining industry's growing development. Being a port in the heart of the desert, Antofagasta has always depended on the sea. It is a long and narrow strip along the coastline, at the foot of the coastal mountain range's arid hills. The urban renewal carried out in the past decade opened a beautiful coastal road over 20 kilometers long – the longest in Chile - which attracted urban life to the sea coast. The architecture in Antofagasta's downtown bears the mark of the city's two economic booms: the nitrate boom, in the late 19th Century, and the present one, thrusted by copper mining. Unfortunately, successive earthquakes and major fires have destroyed an important part of the past's architectonic wealth. New residential neighborhoods have emerged in the city's southern and northern areas. Climate: Antofagasta has a mild, dry coastal desert climate. In winter (June, July, August), temperatures range from a maximum of 17°C and a minimum of 14°C . There is hardly any rain, the rainiest month is July when rain amounts to 3mm.
La Serena. This seaside resort city, located 450 kilometers north of Santiago, has a population of 110.000. La Serena is Chile’s second oldest city and is the main urban center of the so-called Norte Chico region. It is famous for its marked neo-colonial architectural style in its public buildings and its 29 churches. Its urban layout, in which square blocks surround the main plaza at the center of the city, is the legacy of the Spanish colonists who founded it in 1543. The mining boom that started in 1825 provided some of its main architectural attractions, built by European architects in a neo-colonial style. Finally, in the 1950’s, an extensive renovation plan was undertaken that imposed a Spanish style in the facades of public and private buildings. Today, La Serena enjoys an intense economic activity. Part of this success responds to the significant increase in the number of tourists that flock in, attracted by its long beaches and the beauty of nearby valleys. Another factor has been the increase in the student population as result of the new universities that have settled in the city, along with the recognized quality of life that La Serena boasts. This area also benefits from its clear skies. It is surrounded by the greatest concentration of major astronomic observatories in the world. I n addition, it continues to increase its production of export fruits and its traditional production of “pisco”, one of Chile’s most popular spirits. Climate: La Serena has a coastal desert climate. Winter (June, July and August), temperatures drop to a minimum of 7°C and a maximum of 15°C. The rain levels are low and the yearly average is 18mm. June is the rainiest with 15mm.
Santiagois Chile’s capital city. The imposing Andes Mountains rise majestically around it, with their snow-capped summits and hills that slope down to the very heart of the city. Such is the case of the Santa Lucía and San Cristóbal Hills, the city’s green lungs that have become typical excursion sites for Santiago dwellers. Santiago’s setting in the heart of a fertile valley and its pleasant Mediterranean climate make it a modern and lively city all year round. Santiago is 543 meters above sea level and 100 kilometers from the coast, where tourists may enjoy beautiful beaches and picturesque resort towns. An hour away from the city in the other direction are excellent skiing slopes in what are considered to be Latin America’s best ski resorts, Valle Nevado, La Parva and Colorado. Santiago has a population of approximately 5,5 million, a third of the country’s total population, and is Chile’s political, economic and cultural center, in addition to being one of South America’s main financial hubs. The avant-garde architectural lines of the modern constructions that make up the business district blend in full harmony with turn-of-the-century buildings, such as La Moneda (Government House), and the Civic Center. This blend of modernity and tradition has given Santiago -Chile's gateway- its distinctive seal as a cosmopolitan city that is open to welcome its visitors. For those who love amusement, culture, entertainment, shopping and much more, this city offers all these alternatives along with the necessary infrastructure to spend some unforgettable days. Santiago has fine international-level hotels, a wide variety of restaurants offering a vast and diverse gastronomy, and a lively nightlife. Its privileged climate makes the neighboring valleys of Maipo, Colchagua, Curacavi and Casablanca excellent grounds for the production of the famed Chilean wine. Climate: Due to its position in the central zone, has a Mediterranean climate with well-defined seasons, which are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere. In general, the climate is mild, and there is a long dry season from September to April. Rain normally falls between May and September. The rainiest months are June and July, with amounts that exceed 75mm. It sometimes rains in the summer, with amounts that do not exceed 3mm. Temperatures throughout the year: Spring (September-November) is mild, with temperatures ranging from a maximum of 23ºC to a minimum of 6ºC. Summer (December-February), is dry and hot with temperatures that can reach over 30°C, but cool down to 12ºC at night. Autumn (March-May) temperatures range from a maximum of 22ºC to a minimum of 7ºC. Winter (June-August) mornings are cold, some as low as -2º C, but temperatures rise at midday to about 15°C.
Easter Island or Rapa Nui is the easternmost Polynesian island and one of the planet's most remote insular territories. It is located 3,800 kilometers west of the Chilean coast and 2,200 kilometers northeast of the closest island in the extensive Polynesian archipelago. With a population of approximately 3,000 and a scant 166 square kilometers in area, Easter Island is full of legend. A world-renowned tourist destination, Easter Island is known for its moais, massive stone sculptures that sit on its coasts, rising as high as six meters. Among the many other sites of interest on the island are the ceremonial village of Orongo, center of the ”birdman” ritual, and the beautiful fine white-sand beaches with transparent waters that contrast with the island's rugged volcanic landscape. Today, Easter Island is one of the most unique places on earth. It is in itself an outdoor museum of a culture that has unfortunately vanished. In addition, the rapanui – the descendants of the original inhabitants– are among the friendliest people you will come across. Climate: The climate is of a sub-tropical sea nature, with sub-tropical rains all year round, reaching an annual average of 1,126mm. The rainiest month is May, and the driest is September. In spite of the cloudiness, the island is very clear and it is not unusual to see several rainbows at the same time. In October, temperatures range from a minimum of 17ºC (62º F) and a maximum of 22ºC (71º F).
Viña del Mar, known as the “Garden City” for its beautiful gardens, tree-lined avenues, and well kept parks, is Chile’s main resort city located 120 kilometers from Santiago. It is a favorite destination of domestic and international tourists for its proximity to Santiago, its long and sandy beaches, lively night life, diverse and fine gastronomy, the stately and traditional casino with its wide array of game rooms, auditoriums, restaurants, bars, etc. One of Viña del Mar's main attractions is its extensive coastline - 8 kilometers of beaches, coastal promenades and rocky landscapes. The city also displays elegant palaces, and notable museums housed in restored turn-of-the-century mansions. Viña del Mar is also known for its intense cultural and artistic life. Its concert seasons and international and national music competitions have a long-standing tradition and renowned prestige. Among the more popular is the Viña del Mar International Song Festival which takes place every February, congregating musical groups and singers from throughout the world. Viña del Mar started out as a neighborhood separate from Valparaíso, but today both cities practically form one urban locality, with a combined population of over 600.000. Another delightful sightseeing experience is to tour the city on traditional and old-fashioned “Victorias” or horse-drawn carriages. Climate: Viña del Mar has a temperate Mediterranean climate with rainfall in winter and a long dry season. Maximum temperatures in summer (December – February) range from 25ºC to a minimum of 13ºC.
Valparaíso, Chile’s main seaport is located 120 kilometers from Santiago. It is the seat of the Legislative Power and an important international trade business center. A significant part of the increasing number of Chilean exports is shipped out from its modern port facilities. Valparaíso offers many attractions, such as an eclectic and very colorful architecture nestled among its steep hills, most of which can only be reached through the unique public lifts located throughout the city. Because of its architectural wealth, Valparaíso was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its various vantage points provide stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and nearby localities. Museums, handcraft markets, a bohemian nightlife and a wide-ranging gastronomy are part of this picturesque port’s attractiveness. Climate: Valparaíso’s climate is a mild Mediterranean one with winter rains and a prolonged dry season. Average temperatures throughout the year: Spring (September - November) between 20°C to 10°C. Summer (December-February) between 23ºC and 13ºC. Autumn (March – May) between 15ºC and 10ºC. Winter (June – August) between 17ºC and 8ºC. The rainiest month of the year is June in which rainfall levels can reach just above 28mm.
Pucón is a resort town located 870 kilometers south of Santiago, on the banks of the Villarrica Lake and at the foot of the Villarrica Volcano. It has a population of 16.000 and is a popular summer resort and a favorite winter sports center. Its attraction dwells on its natural beauty and the outstanding volcanoes, lakes, national parks and hot springs that surround it. It is a favorite destination for both national and foreign tourists because of the countless possibilities it offers for recreation and adventure. In Pucón, you can enjoy ecotourism adventures or just relax in a stunning landscape. Discos, pubs and a casino crown the fun and offer a bustling nightlife. Pucón is located in the Araucanía, a native Mapuche region that offers wide-ranging handcraft typical of the Mapuche culture. Climate: In Autumn (March-May) the weather can be rainy and cold. Average temperatures range from a minimum of 7°C to a maximum of 15°C. In winter (June – August) they drop to a maximum of 12º and a minimum of 1°C.
Puerto Varas is a scenic resort town that sits on the shores of Lake Llanquihue surrounded by forested green hills. It has impressive views of the towering snow-capped Osorno Volcano as a backdrop. Located 1,000 kilometers south of Santiago and with a population of 28.000, it is one of Chile’s most visited tourist destinations. Puerto Varas is the starting point for excursions to the many towns and attractions dotted along the lake's 156 kilometers of shoreline. Despite its increasing tourist popularity, Puerto Varas continues to be a peaceful place. Its structure and architecture still bears the stamp of the German immigrants who founded it in the 19th Century, with most of its houses overlooking the magnificent lake. Puerto Varas has a gambling Casino and events center with a capacity for 1,800 people. Its various restaurants offer the region’s typical cuisine as well as a wide variety of international cuisine. The traditional German “kuchen” made with the region’s fruits forms part of Puerto Varas’ gastronomic tradition. Climate: Puerto Varas has a rainy temperate climate. Rains diminish in the summer months (December – February) and the average daily temperature is 22ºC and drops to 10°C at night.
The seaport city of Punta Arenas, capital of the Chilean Patagonia, is located 3.000 kilometers south of Santiago on the shores of the Strait of Magellan. With a population of 140.000, it is the world’s southernmost continental city. Punta Arenas is a European style city. It bears the seal inherited from the colonists who disembarked from the Old Continent in the mid 19th - early 20th Centuries. A city of immigrants, the presence of different customs and traditions has left deep traces in the architecture of its buildings and the physical appearance of its inhabitants. The Croatians make up the most numerous and influential group in the city’s development. Conveniently situated in one of the historic international trade routes, Punta Arenas’ prosperity has been closely linked to trade flows. It enjoyed its first great boom during the California Gold Rush, when it served as an obligatory supply port for the ships that sailed across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Although the port's importance diminished after the opening of the Panama Canal, the city reached even greater prosperity in the early 20th Century as the center of Chile's international wool trade. Today, Punta Arena’s economic activity is linked directly to its surrounding area’s natural resources: wood, fishing, stockbreeding, oil and gas. It is also the starting point for excursions to the Antarctic and the world-renowned Torres del Paine National Park. Climate: The climate of this area is of a cold steppe variety. Temperatures in spring (October) are around 7ºC. This zone is an area of constant wind, which is especially strong during the spring and summer when the average wind velocity is 30 to 40 kilometers an hour.
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