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Archive for chile

Chile’s Oldest Park

By Linda Tancs

Chile’s Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park is the oldest park in the country. Created in 1926, it’s located in Chile’s pristine Lake District, featuring Lago Todos los Santos (All Saints Lake). Its fabulous emerald-green color makes it one of the most popular attractions in the park. Boasting over 600,000 acres, the park also features the turquoise waters of the Petrohué Waterfalls as well as Osorno Volcano. Travel up the volcano to a ski resort for striking views of the Petrohué River Valley.


To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

The Garden City of Chile

By Linda Tancs

Chile’s enchanting Viña del Mar is called The Garden City. Its gardens are indeed beautiful, as are its castles, old mansions and beach resorts. Think of it as a cross between Miami and Beverly Hills. And throw in a little Monte Carlo thanks to its glamorous Municipal Casino. You can admire all its charms with a horse and carriage ride along the breathtaking promenade. It’s easy to lose track of time, but you’ll find that, too, at the giant botanical clock (Reloj de Flores) on a sloping lawn at the foot of Cerro Castillo. An icon of the city, this fully functional musical flower clock was built for the 1962 FIFA World Cup. Thanks to the Mediterranean climate, it flowers year round.

Valparaiso’s Museum House

By Linda Tancs

Pablo Neruda was a Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, diplomat and politician. Of his three homes, his writer’s nook in Valparaiso became his favorite hideaway—although hardly hidden, since it towers above the other rooftops overlooking the south side of a broad, open bay of the Pacific Ocean. The multilayered, multicolored abode is named La Sebastiana after its original owner, Sebastian Collao, who assigned the whole third floor of the building as a bird cage. Neruda’s taste was no less whimsical. Some of the windows resemble a ship’s skylights, and the interior is littered with old maps, paintings, a merry-go-round horse and a large portrait of Walt Whitman, his “father in poetry.” The audio guide is available in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.

A Rise to the Top in Santiago

By Linda Tancs

In Santiago, Chile, you’ll find the highest man-made observation tower in South America and the second tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere (nearly 1,000 feet) at Gran Torre Santiago. The skyscraper’s observation deck, Sky Costanera, opened last summer on the 61st and 62nd floors to amazing views of La Moneda Palace, the National Stadium and the Mapocho River, which divides the capital city in two. The lookouts are open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Chile’s Storied Island

By Linda Tancs

Out of the three islands comprising the Juan Fernández Archipelago (so named for Spanish navigator Juan Fernández), Robinson Crusoe Island has a storied past—in the literary sense. Aside from the navigator and his sojourn in the 1500s, the only other visitor to the island over the centuries was Scottish seaman Alexander Selkirk, who was abandoned there for several years in the early 1700s. His adventures are commonly believed to have inspired Daniel Defoe’s novel, Robinson Crusoe. Sparsely populated today, it is administratively part of Chile and a mecca for scuba diving with visibility extending more than 65 feet. A World Biosphere Reserve, it also reportedly has 61 times more native plant species and 13 times more birds than the Galápagos Islands.

Absolute Desert

By Linda Tancs

The Atacama Desert is a 600-mile strip of land from Peru’s southern border into northern Chile, the driest non-polar desert in the world. So dry, in fact, that some stretches have not seen a drop of rain in over 400 years. But for all its aridity, don’t be fooled into thinking this is just some barren dust bowl; the oasis is teeming with native cultures, soothing hot springs and pluming geysers. That’s particularly true at San Pedro de Atacama, where just a short distance away you’ll also find the largest salt flat in Chile and volcanoes beckoning in the distance. Late June is a perfect time to visit because of the numerous festivals leading up to Saint Peter and Saint Paul Feast Day on 29 June. San Pedro lies at around 7,500 feet above sea level; take precautions against altitude sickness.

Running the Rapids in Chile

By Linda Tancs

Where is the best whitewater in the Western Hemisphere?  Some would say it’s the Futaleufú River in Chile.  The stunning, turquoise-colored river is 65 miles in length, of which 44 miles are in Chile.  With rapids boasting monikers like Throne Room and Terminator, you’re likely in for a white-knuckle ride.

Riding the Circuit in Patagonia

By Linda Tancs

Torres del Paine National Park is a UNESCO biosphere reserve in Chilean Patagonia. Rich with mountains (particularly the iconic Paine massif), glaciers, lakes and rivers, small wonder the area offers a plethora of activities like fishing, climbing, ice trekking, whitewater kayaking, environmental education and wildlife observation. The park offers a number of trails, or circuits, for day or overnight trekking. Those include the Pingo Zapata, Dickson and Grey Glacier circuits (leading to glaciers), the Paine Circuit (no pun intended–an arduous trail requiring seven to 10 days of walking), and Las Torres circuit (leading to the base of Torres del Paine). Get there via Santiago to Punta Arenas by air or via Puerto Natales overground.

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