Chile occupies a thin strip of land between the Andes and the Pacific, stretching 4,200km from the desert to the glaciers of Patagonia. It is a culturally vibrant and stunningly beautiful country, made up almost entirely of some of the world’s last true wilderness areas.
Despite being one of the most ‘European’ communities in South America, Chile has indigenous traditions that persist in the Andean foothills and in the southern plains, and most travellers are lucky enough to experience the traditional warmth of the hardy local people. Chile provides the intrepid with the opportunity to experience both the lush wine-growing regions around Santiago and the harsh wilderness of the Cape Horn fjords, where seals and penguins frolic in the bitterly cold waters. For sheer drama, the granite peaks in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park are breathtaking.
We can combine any of these South American countries — so do call Fiona with your thoughts. We can also build in wildlife voyages to South Georgia, the Falkland Islands and Antarctica to make yours a trip beyond all others.
Itineraries relating to South America
Trip Reports for South America
Fiona’s travel tips
FOR THE LESS ACTIVE: If you don’t want to trek the whole Inca Trail, take the train and hop off early to enjoy a wonderful day’s walk instead.
MY FAVOURITE PLACE: (Once I had got over a slight vertigo moment), sitting atop Wayna Picchu watching the cloud drift over the ruins of Machu Picchu spread out below me.
DON’T MISS: Superb camping at the edge of the Salar de Uyuni. The walk-in tents, though not en-suite, each have a built in stove and the view from the loo is to die for.
TOP TIP: See Lake Titicaca and its floating reedbed islands from the Bolivian side — it’s much less visited than from Peru.
BEST TIME TO GO:
Argentina: October to April
Bolivia: April to September
Chile: October to April
Ecuador: October to June
Peru: April to October
Argentina: 16 hours (indirect)
Bolivia: 18 hours (indirect)
Chile: 18 hours (indirect)
Ecuador: 14½ hours indirect
Galapagos: 14½ hours indirect
Peru: 14½ hours (indirect)
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“A wonderful wildlife experience. The guides are excellent, accommodation super and your arrangements were first class. The explanations of how the Kichwa people used the rainforest plants were enlightening and the national parks showed Ecuador’s diverse landscapes and yet more unusual wildlife. The Galapagos Islands from our beautiful yacht were amazing in every respect. We couldn’t believe how close you could walk to the birds and reptiles and swimming with the sea lions was another lovely experience. Thanks Fiona for a brilliant holiday.”
Sue and Ken Miles, Ecuador and The Galapagos
“We had a fabulous time – thank you for all your help in arranging it. So much to see, we could have easily added on another fortnight.”
Eoin Murray and family, Chile and Easter Island
“What a place! Amy and James had the time of their lives swimming with sea lions and penguins and spotting whales. I even managed to snorkel! David was in seventh heaven on the boat and I managed not to feel seasick at all which was great.”
David and Bryony Lloyd and family, Ecuador and the Galapagos
“Your arrangements for our recent trip worked well and we had outstanding help from our guide in Buenos Aires.”
James and Shelagh Westwood, Argentina
Excerpt from an email sent to their guide by our clients:
We should like to thank you for all the hard work and research which you did, particularly on my behalf, to find out all that you discovered about my grandfather, my uncle and my aunt. Your guided tours each day in Buenos Aires were excellent (it must be so difficult to know what to show clients of your fascinating city) and your choices of where to take us and what to show us were perfect. I now have a much clearer picture of my family background and, thanks to you, have learnt so much more about the Cromwell roots. Once again, enormous thanks for all that you did to help to make our visit to Buenos Aires so unforgettable.”
James and Shelagh Westwood, Argentina
“Having arrived back overnight, I was going to email you, but you got there first! It was a wonderful trip. Awasi, in particular, was amazingly good in every respect. I’ll get to the questionnaire in due course, but I did want to say thank you and how much we enjoyed ourselves. I do hope we will get to travel with Arcturus again”.
Andrew and Hilary Reicher, Argentina and Chile
“The whole trip was successful and memorable. I was very pleased with the private guides you arranged who were charming and helpful. The drivers were excellent and all very polite and pleasant. I had the services of the same guide three times in Buenos Aries and she was she was very keen to make sure that I was safe before she left.”
Eileen Turner, Argentina
“We loved exploring a part of the world that neither of us knew previously. Without your guidance we would not have known where to start and we felt we came away with a very good and broad experience”.
Mr and Mrs Charles Pybus, Argentina, Chile and Brazil
“From the moment I contacted Fiona again, I knew that I was going to have a fabulous time. She always seems to make my trips holidays of a lifetime. I loved the dramatic way in which we travelled to the Napo Wildlife Centre and the MV Santa Cruz was great despite being quite a large ship. The guides were tremendous. I cannot thank you enough for all the hard work you put in”.
Charlotte Langley, Ecuador and the Galapagos