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Ten reasons why you should travel to Chile

Ever wondered why you should travel to Chile? Do you want to know what the highlights of Chile are?

Squeezed between the depths of the Pacific and the volcanoes, peaks and glaciers of the Andes, Chile stretches from the driest desert in the north, to the ice fields of the south. In between you will find numerous landscapes from deep fjords and mountain-ringed lakes, to dunes, vineyards, fertile valleys and dark forests. The capital Santiago is cosmopolitan and sophisticated, while out in the Pacific, time has all but forgotten magical Easter Island and its treasure trove of moai.

Here are ten great reasons to travel to Chile.

1) Hike the Andes Spectacular Torres del Paine and the mountains around Pucón and Puerto Varas offer some of the finest hiking in Latin America.

2) Cruise the fjords Breathtaking sunsets, stunning fjords and mountains and fascinating wildlife - it is all in a day on a cruise through the Chilean Fjords. Choose from 3, 5, 6 or 7 nights and enjoy side trips to the far reaches of the continent, including legendary Cape Horn.

3) Visit with penguins Near Punta Arenas in the fjordlands of the south, 120,000 Magellanic penguin can be found on tiny Isla Magdalena. The colony at Seno Otway is smaller but easier to reach.

4) Cosmopolitan Santiago Travel high above the Chilean capital, and take in the view from Cerro San Cristóbal. A stunning sunset bathing the city in rich hues, surrounded by the snowcapped Andes. Down below a cosmopolitan city awaits, full of world-class museums and restaurants.

5) Colchagua valley wine tasting A mere two-hour drive from Santiago, the pretty Colchagua Valley offers some of Chile's best wineries such as Casa Laspotolle, Montgras, Viu Manent and Laura Hartwig. The valley is particularly well known for bold, full-bodied Cabernet, Carménère, Syrah, and Malbec.

6) Hiking Volcán Villarrica Don your crampons, boots and ice-axe and make the four hour non-technical trek up Volcán Villarrica, just outside Pucón. The views from the rim of the smoking crater are simply stupendous.

7) Visit a glacier Take an exhilarating boat ride in San Rafael National Park or Torres del Paine and witness huge blocks of ice calve off the fronts of enormous glaciers.

8) Seeing stars Northern Chile’s night skies are some of the clearest in the southern hemisphere, as witnessed by the many observatories located here. Visit Elqui Valley’s Cerro Mamalluca observatory and gaze into the endless mysterious depths of the universe.

9) Sunset at Valle de la Luna Hike across this aptly named moonscape and as the sun sets see the surrounding landscape of volcanoes, wind-eroded hills and sand dunes turn to purples, reds, pinks and golds.

10) Tapati, Easter Island The annual Tapati Rapa Nui, a vibrant festival celebrating the island’s Polynesian culture with traditional dancing, a bareback horse race, woodcarving, basket weaving, singing and dancing contests and surfing competitions, all set amid the mysterious moai statues.

For more on Chile, including highlights, must-have experiences and tours, visit out Chile page.

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