International Tourism Day: What makes Chile a world-class travel destination?
At the Annual Tourism Dinner, President Michelle Bachelet noted that the number of tourists visiting Chile is expected to rise by almost 20% in 2017
For the third year in a row, Chile has been named South America’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination at the famed World Travel Awards. This is in addition to a series of positive comments on Chilean tourism in internationally renowned publications and an annual increase in the number of foreigners coming to Chile for a memorable vacation. Today, we are South America’s second most competitive nation (after Brazil) in terms of tourism. What makes Chile attractive to foreign tourists? Here are some of the main features attracting attention around the world.
“The road we have taken brings together private entrepreneurship and public investment in order to make Chile’s abundant natural gifts first-class destinations.”
President Michelle Bachelet, 2017 Annual Tourism Dinner
Wine and Cuisine
Chilean cuisine combines delicious seafood, a variety of food from the earth and sophisticated preparation — always perfectly paired with wine. A rich fusion of the ancient traditions and ingredients used by our indigenous peoples together with European trends. One of the country’s greatest features, its Pacific coast, provides a great variety of fish and seafood.
Tourists in Chile will always find top-quality white, red and sparkling wines with which to pair their culinary journeys. Wine lovers can visit any of dozens of vineyards and learn about the different varieties that Chile proudly exports throughout the world.
Fresh air blows in from the more than 4,000 kilometers of coast. The immensity of the desert in the north and the coolness of the evergreen forests in the south share the stage in Chile’s breathtaking landscape. You can explore the salt flats of the Atacama Desert and the ice fields of Patagonia. Between them, you will pass though fertile valleys, Biosphere Reserves and national parks that span the length of the country. In northern Chile, you will also find oases tucked between the sand dunes, an ideal place to disconnect.
On the other hand, the immense ocean, lakes and rivers invite visitors to contemplate majestic landscapes or take a dip in their refreshing water. The Andes mountain range and its thousands of volcanoes scattered throughout Chile are other “must sees”. The flamingos, penguins, alpacas and countless harmless animals living in marine reserves and national parks will bear silent witness to your journey through Chile.
Chile is definitely the place for those who love an adrenaline rush! Visitors can ski down mountains and volcanoes; do water sports, like scuba diving, surfing, kayaking and kite surfing in the great Pacific Ocean; slide down dunes on a sand board; or take a canopy walkway among lush vegetation.
Chile’s long Andes mountain range offers many hiking trails. Options include hikes at altitudes of more than 4,000 meters through the heart of the Altiplano in the north and mountaineering, at various levels on complexity, in the internationally renowned Torres del Paine National Park.
When it comes to sport fishing, visitors to one of the world’s best fly fishing destinations can fish Patagonia’s rivers and lakes and catch its famous trout. All of this is possible in places surrounded by unrivaled natural beauty.
Chilean expressions and wisdom passed down from generation to generation come to life in customs as diverse as the landscape. Visitors are enchanted and enthralled by celebrations as costumes and masks shine under the Altiplano sun at the “La Tirana” festival, while myths and legends come back to life in the magical Polynesian rituals of Easter Island. Meanwhile, on the island of Chiloé, communities come together in a traditional “Minga” to celebrate the construction or relocation of a local house.
Chile has a wide variety of celebrations, with Fiestas Patrias being the most important. Folk festivities commemorate national independence each year on September 18th and 19th. We gather at eateries to enjoy traditional fare while dancing to cueca and other folk music. It is the picture a country and its people, who preserve and recreate the essence of its ancestral past throughout the country.
Constellations, planets, shooting stars and all kinds of astros appear at nightfall thanks to Chile’s marvelous skies, the clearest in the Southern Hemisphere. Northern Chile offers more than 300 clear days a year and has little light pollution, so visitors have an opportunity they can find in few other places: stargazing in the middle of nature. Several of the country’s astronomical observatories are open to the public. Some of the most popular stargazing destinations are the Elqui Valley and San Pedro de Atacama.
You can do these activities and much more in Chile! To find out about them all, including beaches and city life, visit Chile Travel