My name is Jamie and I’m in love with Chile.

There I said it!

I am a safari specialist in love with Chile, and here’s why…

I’ve done my fair share of travel around the world, and one of the things I’ve noticed is that the guidebooks and “Top 10” lists often value man-made marvels more than natural ones.

But like Africa, it is the natural marvels that make Chile so special and impossibly multidimensional. If you loved your safari (or just the idea of a safari) definitely add Chile to your list.

EcoCamp Patagonia, Torres del Paine

Chile’s diverse landscapes

Chile has it all: the Martian desert landscapes of the Atacama Desert (hello, Namibia), a ski-lover’s paradise in Portillo, the fertile wine regions of the Colchagua Valley (Cape Winelands, anyone?), mysterious moai of Easter Island, and of course the magnificent massifs of Torres Del Paine in Chilean Patagonia (Mt. Kenya meets Zambian walking safari) where the craggy mountains tower over tourmaline-hued glaciers sliding into aqua lakes. These dramatically different regions and landscapes are one of the things that make Chile such a special destination.

EcoCamp Patagonia, Torres del Paine

Chile has luxurious, experiential eco-lodges

Another thing to love about Chile, and which is important for any safari-lover, are the unique luxury lodges throughout the country, which offer an enormous range of activities.

Properties like Awasi Atacama in the Atacama Desert, where in three to five nights you can do everything from walking, to sandboarding, to horseback and bike rides, to visiting hidden lagoons and hot springs, to exploring local villages, to stargazing. There are several stunning properties in Atacama including Alto Atacama, Tierra Atacama, and Explora Atacama, but I really love Awasi because it is the smallest property in the area and offers all of its activities on a private basis, giving you a vehicle and local guide all to yourself.


Awasi Atacama, Atacama Desert

Patagonia is a crown jewel

Of course, for many people a visit to Patagonia is the big draw of a trip to Chile and let me tell you, you will not be disappointed.

The setting is absolutely stunning and the hiking is second to none. Trekking and horseback riding around the park is the best way to spot the growing puma population, grey fox, or endangered South Andean deer, but even driving will afford you guanaco or condor sightings.

Tierra Patagonia, Torres del Paine

EcoCamp Patagonia, Awasi Patagonia, Tierra Patagonia, and Explora Patagonia all have properties in Patagonia as well. I love that Awasi is in an enormous private area just outside Torres Del Paine National Park (important in an area that can get crowded), and Tierra Patagonia is visually stunning. All offer fully inclusive activities such as horseback riding, trekking, and drives.

For foodies, a night at The Singular Patagonia in Puerto Natales (outside the park) offers a gourmet entree to Patagonia and boat trip that offers an entirely unique glacier viewing experience to anything you’ll do inside the park. It’s one of our favorite secrets, but one that is starting to leak out!

Tierra Patagonia, Torres del Paine

Lake District: a laid-back stopover steeped in nature

A few days in the Lake District is the perfect way to end a trip to Chile or break up the distance between the Atacama and Patagonia. The area is beautiful and lush and still fairly untraveled. In addition to delicious food and wine, the Lake District offers a lot of hiking that is less rigorous than trekking in Torres del Paine, a great way to spend a day for travelers of all fitness levels. At a property like Vira Vira which is near Pucon, you can also get a sense of Chile’s indigenous culture that’s not often seen in southern South America.

Hotel Vira Vira, Lake District

Hotel Vira Vira, Lake District

I particularly loved Vira Vira because it is an intimate, boutique property on an active, self-sufficient farm. You can do everything from making cheese and jams picked from the Farm’s fruit trees to hiking, biking, kayaking, water sports, and fishing!

Hotel Vira Vira, Lake District

Chile trip takeaways

Like many, I tried to squeeze it all into one trip, only to realize that I just scratched the surface of it all.  (And I was there for two weeks!) There are countless things to do in Chile. Much like Africa, it is the perfect destination to dig into a couple of places for three or four days at a time to get a good taste of the area—even longer if you have the time—while still having plenty to do. (These are the destinations we think are the best places to visit in Chile.) 

Combine that with a cruise through the glaciers and around Cape Horn, or some trekking around Torres del Paine, or stargazing in the painted desert, or exploring the enigmatic Easter Island, or the bucolic and untouched island of Chiloe, and a couple of nights in the port town of Valparaiso or Colchagua Valley and you’ll return home with a stir in your soul rather than boxes checked in a guidebook.

Private luxury Chile travel

Australis Chile
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Chile’s Seaside Highlights

Coast through the fjords and glaciers of Patagonia, and around Cape Horn, ending in Buenos Aires

12 Days | $10,100 per person
alpacas
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Sustainable Chile

Travel consciously through Chile’s magnificent landscapes

12 Days | $9,250 per person
Landscape view of the lakes district with mountains
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Chile Wine and Lakes

A Chilean blend of wine, lakes, and volcanoes

10 Days | $7,200 per person
Salt Mountain Range in the desert
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Highlights of Chile

Wild Patagonia meets the lunar landscapes of the Atacama and lush wine valley of Millahue

11 Days | $9,600 per person
turquoise water and mountains near Estancia Cristina
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Adventurous Argentina & Chile

Glaciers, Lakes and Peaks Of Patagonia

10 Days | $8,400 per person
Line of waterfalls above jungle
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Luxury South America: Best of Argentina & Chile

Luxury lodges and top experiences across South America’s most iconic regions

15 Days | $18,550 per person

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