Chile is one of the most geographically diverse—and stunningly beautiful—countries in South America, if not the entire world. Impossibly long, Chile stretches some 2,700 miles, from the middle of the continent to the southernmost tip, no more than 110 miles at its widest point.
To the north is the Atacama Desert, a high-elevation desert plateau that’s one of the driest places on earth. The country’s southernmost region is home to a much-lauded landscape, Patagonia, filled with snow-capped peaks, ancient petrified forests, fjords, glaciers, waterfalls, and icebergs. Elsewhere, to the east is the Andes Mountains range, to the west, the Pacific Ocean.
The Chilean people are as diverse as the county’s geography: the majority of Chileans are of Mestizo descent—the result of intermarriage between Spanish settlers and indigenous populations—though many inhabitants are of German, Italian, Irish, British, or Yugoslav ancestry. Three indigenous groups still flourish: the Araucanians of central Chile, the Changos of northern Chile, and the Fuegians of Tierra del Fuego.
No matter where you go, Chileans are friendly, open-minded, and welcoming to tourists (largely thanks to a stable government and prosperous economy). The country’s main heartbeat is its capital city of Santiago. Though often overlooked by travelers, who merely pass through the city (it’s the most common entry point for travel to Chile), Santiago is definitely worth exploring for a few days, especially during the pleasant climates of spring and fall.
Other hallmark destinations include Easter Island, a section of Antarctica that’s a Chilean territory; the Lake District, in the Andean foothills of southern Chile; ski resort towns, such as Portillo, La Parva, and Valle Nevado; and the numerous wine-making regions, including the Maipo Valley, the Colchagua Valley, the Casablanca Valley, and the Aconcagua Valley. Read on for our essential guide to Chilean honeymoons.
Because Chile is home to so many different microclimates, the optimal times for travel very by destination. High season in Patagonia is from December through March, summer in the Southern Hemisphere. During this time, precipitation is low and the days are long, allowing couples more time to experience all that southern Chile has to offer. Shoulder season (September to November, March to May) is ideal for visiting the Lake District or wine country, the latter of which is especially great during fall harvest. Low season (June to August), meanwhile, is prime for winter adventures among the country’s mountain resorts.
Just nine miles from the capital, Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) is your best bet for arrival. The airport offers taxi service, buses, and major car rental companies such as Avis and Hertz. If you plan to visit Patagonia, you’ll want to fly into Presidente Carlos Ibanez del Campo International Airport (PUQ), in Punta Arenas, which is accessible via one- stop itineraries through Santiago or Buenos Aires, Argentina.
A Downtown Walking Tour - Santiago's central historic district features amazing cathedrals (like Catedral at Plaza de Armas), craft markets (Aldea de Vitacura), museums (Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino), and city parks. The grid-like street pattern makes it very easy to walk around.
Bellavista and Parque Metropolitano (Santiago) - Home to Cerro San Cristobal, Santiago’s highest hill, featuring incredible 360-degree views after a short funicular ride. Also in the area: a beautiful botanical garden, zoo, and the home of famous poet Pablo Neruda.
Wine Time - Terrific wineries can easily be found in Valle de Maipo, just south the capital. Start your tour by visiting acclaimed spots such as Santa Rita, Concha y Toro, and Undurraga.
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine - Home to massive granite peaks (known as the “towers”), turquoise waters, mountain lakes, and snow covered peaks. The area is full of boating, hiking, and incredible wildlife viewing opportunities. The park is also packed with some of the best hiking trails in the world.
Parque Nacional de los Glaciares - This southern park just over the border in Argentina is perfect for hiking and boat trips on glacier-fed lakes. We recommend taking at least 2-3 days for full exploration. Drop your bags at Los Sauces Casa Patagonica, also noted in this guide.
River Fun - Whitewater enthusiasts head straight to Rio Futaleufu, which boasts adrenaline-pumping Class V rapids. Grab a paddle and head down river with Earth River Expeditions.
Horseback Riding - Believe it or not, horses are still the most common way for huasos (AKA Chilean cowboys) to get around. Head out to historic ranches like Estancia La Angostura for unforgettable trail rides that put you right in the lap of Patagonia’s extraordinary surroundings.
The Aubrey (Santiago) - A true urban retreat located in the trendy Bellavista neighborhood. The grounds, featuring a Beaux-Arts mansion, offer 15 well-appointed en-suite bedrooms, most with terraces featuring medieval stone arches. The heated outdoor swimming pool, free Wi-Fi, and piano lounge all round out this gorgeous property.
W Santiago - A stylish and sophisticated property amid a fascinating neighborhood that’s home to cobblestone streets and luxury high-rises. This modern utopia boasts three restaurants, state-of-the-art spa and fitness center, and 21st floor rooftop infinity pool.
The Ritz-Carlton (Santiago) - This acclaimed luxury hotel, located in the prestigious El Golf neighborhood, is home to 205 spacious rooms, four fabulous restaurants and lounges, and a rooftop fitness center and pool with mountain views thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows.
Remota Hotel (Patagonia) - Located in Puerto Natales, considered the cultural and geographical center of Patagonia. All of Remota’s buildings have been designed to be in perfect harmony with the environment and local culture. King rooms offer a private bath area, daily breakfast, and views of the fjord of Ultima Esperanza. Also on site, a restaurant, bar, spa, and easy access to outdoor excursions.
Los Sauces Casa Patagonica (Patagonia) - Features 38 suites with antique furniture, fireplaces, and extraordinary views of Mount Calafate. The property also has two fantastic dining options and a wonderful spa facility. If you’re heading over the border to Argentina to explore Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, this will be a perfect home base.
Bar Liguria (Santiago) - This immensely popular restaurant/bar (now with three locations across the city) is a hit with locals and visitors alike. The Liguria serves up excellent Chilean meat dishes and Italian specialties like lasagna and ravioli. With its terrific bar area, colorful decor, and overall bohemian vibe, this is a fabulous choice for a memorable honeymoon night out.
Barandiaran (Santiago) - Truly a must-visit dining spot featuring more than 300 varieties of vino — with a particular emphasis on Chilean wine. Be sure to ask for a “Bocanariz Flight”, where a sommelier will pour your three glasses and guide you through the selections. On top of that, this hotspot serves up innovated cuisine highlighted by cheeses, hams, main courses, and small bites.
Zully (Santiago) - Historic and absolutely charming, this restaurant is spread out over four floors within the walls of a wonderfully restored mansion. Expect Chilean cuisine with a twist from items like Easter Island tuna or seafood risotto.
Mesita Grande (Patagonia) - This gem in Puerto Natales delights with wood-fired thin-crust pizza.
Berlina (Patagonia) - Berlina is a fine brewery near Bariloche producing three varieties of craft beer. The perfect detour after a long day exploring the great outdoors.
Just 9 miles from the capital, Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) is your best bet for arrival. The facility offers taxi service, buses, and major car rental companies such as Avis and Hertz. As for Patagonia, you’ll want to fly into Presidente Carlos Ibanez del Campo International Airport (PUQ) in Punta Arenas via Santiago or Buenos Aires.