Chile is an incredibly diverse country in many ways, not least in the geographical sense. From the snowy stretch in Patagonia in the South to the dry terrain in The Atacama Desert in the North, Chile is the perfect place for people who are looking to visit places with varied landscapes and cultures. WWChile offers travel programs that can be done throughout the year in individual and group packages taking you on unforgettable journeys where you will meet friends for life as well exploring this amazing country. All of our trips aim to take you off the normal beaten track so that you can fully understand and experience the true makeup of Chile and thus making your visit a far more valuable one.
N.B. It is important to note that these trips are coordinated relative to the time of year, type of program and number of clients.
Some of the places visited on our Travel programs:
Valparaiso & Viña del Mar
Valparaiso is a true labyrinth of a city: the best way to get to know it is to climb its hills and walk down its narrow backstreets to find its most picturesque spots. Our guide will accompany you and show you not only Valparaiso’s main tourist attractions but also charming places right off the beaten track to give you a better insight into this intriguing city. You will of course be shown the Unesco World Heritage Site – the Historic Seaport. Strategically located on Chile’s Pacific coast, it played a vital role in late nineteenth century world trade.
You will find taking public transport in Valparaiso a real adventure: twenty-two funicular railways (ascensores) climb up and down impossibly vertiginous inclines, offering spectacular views of both the city and the Pacific. You will be able to travel not only on the main ascensores but also the more obscure routes, rarely visited by tourists.
Due to Valparaiso’s unique blend of history, architecture, culture and natural beauty our team at WWC believe its an open-air lesson in all these areas where it also has the feel of a museum thanks to the graffiti and art that mask the walls.
And just 7km from Valparaiso is its sister town and summer resort of Viña del Mar, with both its historic and modern elements. You will enjoy comparing the two cities, so different yet with so many similarities. Known sometimes as the “Cannes of the Andes”, it is famous for its beautiful beaches, avenues, gardens, castles, and even a casino: for so many reasons a walk through Viña del Mar is not to be missed.
Our route will take you from the town centre to the sea, visiting parks and nineteenth-century mansions. You will get to know some lovely beaches as well as the stunning surrounding landscape, helped along the way by a gentle breeze……
Valle del Elqui
Quiet, rural and extremely beautiful, the Elqui Valley unfolds east from La Serena and into the Andes. Irrigated by a system of canals, the valley floor is given over entirely to the cultivation of fruits such as papayas, custard apples (chirimoyas) and most famously the vast expanses of vines grown to produce pisco, giving the valley a fluorescent green colour in stark contrast to the brown hills on either side, adding to this natural paradise. Away from the valley, the peaks of this district conceal a wealth of gold, silver, copper and iron-ore.
The coastal areas are also stunning with long wide, unspoilt sandy beaches perfect for bathing, fishing and aquatic sports.
It is often said that the climate of this region is one of the most pleasant, with some of the clearest skies in the world, particularly in the inland area: the stars at night are a sight to behold, and not to be missed. In fact, it is the extraordinary clarity of the skies which has led international scientists to place observatories and astronomical museums here from which to view distant galaxies.
Rich in history, the area of Atacama has been inhabited for thousands of years and is thecentre of an ancient culture. The indigenous peoples of the area were South American Indians known as Atacameños who made their living from farming and were also known fortheir fine craftsmanship. Some of the most ancient mummies in the world have been foundin the Atacama Desert. The archaeological museum is a good place to learn more about their culture, and some 3km from San Pedro you can find the Quitor Pukara fortress ruins built by the local inhabitants.
Recognized as the driest place on Earth, the Atacama Desert is located along Chile´s Northern Pacific coast extending to the magnificent Andes. The town of San Pedro itself is surrounded on one side by the Desert and on the other by the mountains, making its location one of the most stunning in Chile.
It is the perfect place for outdoor activities such as sandboarding, pony trekking, mountain climbing and walks around San Pedro.
Some flora and fauna are exclusive to this very arid part of the world including flamingos, llamas and alpaca goats. Amid this vast wide-open space you will experience the silence and ancient history of this extraordinarily mystical place. It is an opportunity not to be missed.
You can visit the Atacama Desert throughout the year. In the summer months the days are hot and the nights are cold with the average temperature between 0 and 25 degrees Celsius.
Trips and activities:
- A walk through the town of San Pedro. Starting at the town square, you can visitthe church, Archaeological Museum and the high street. You will enjoy walkingthrough this tranquil historical town.
- Valle de la Luna: Located in the area of the Cordillera de la Sal mountain range you will experience the enormity of the lunar-like landscape best seen from a large sand dune.
- Toconao and Atacama Salt Flat: you will be able to witness the impressive Salt Flat as well as experience the view of the volcanos nearby. Then you will see the extraordinary Chaxa Lagoon inhabited by flamingos.
- El Tatio Geyser: Situated in the Andes at an altitude or 4200 metres, this natural phenomenon is a site to behold when plumes of steam rise and condense at sunrise.
- Termas de Puritama: These are a series of eight geothermal pools at the bottom of a canyon. It is a place of great natural beauty and you will find that bathing in these pools a soothing experience you will never forget. Traditionally these warm thermal pools were used for medicinal purposes. They are currently managed by Hotel Explora but are open to the public.
- Valle de la Muerte: It is a sandy valley very close to San Pedro de Atacama. It runs across the Cordillera de la Sal and it is known as a place of great natural beauty.
- Lagunas Antiplánicas: the stunning Miscanti and Miñique Lagoons situated at an altitude of more than 4000 metres above sea level are of an unusual intense blue colour and are really worth a visit. The route from San Pedro also passes through Toconao and the Atacama Salt Flat.
You cannot set foot on this land without first becoming acquainted with the tales that have become an intrinsic part of the culture of its inhabitants.
During the rainy nights of winter, the people of Chiloe in the region of Los Lagos, take part in a tradition whereby they sit around a fireplace with children (and strangers to the area) and tell them about the magical fables and beliefs which make up the cornerstone of their culture. And it is the lakes, rivers and forests together with a mild, windy, misty climate which feature prominently in their mythology.
Oresthe Plath, researcher and expert in Chilean ethnic culture, maintains that their beliefs are to do with a desire to make sense of the unknown. “Myths are explanations given by primitive peoples to natural phenomenon which otherwise could not be explained. As a result, they invented divine beings and super-humans.” Even though many of these stories no longer exist in written form, they still are still a big part of people’s daily lives here. So ingrained is this culture, that the myths and traditions can still be found in modern books, films, comics and local crafts. The traditions are quite separate from the folklore of the rest of Chile.
The fact that the island culture of Chiloe developed separately from the rest of Chile is demonstrated by the uniqueness of its cuisine. The most famous dish, the Curanto, was traditionally cooked in an oven dug into the ground and is said to have been eaten for hundreds of years, pre-dating even the Spanish conquest. It is made predominantly of shellfish such as mussels and razor clams, potato dumplings, meat and the leaves of the locally-grown nalca plant. Locals believe this dish gives them strength and good health.
Chiloe boasts a great variety of potatoes, varying greatly in colour and shape, now very fashionable in expensive American and European restaurants. Indeed, Chiloe is considered to be the area where potatoes were first grown and the potato crop here is known for its enormous genetic richness with experts estimating the existence of nearly 1000 varieties.
Situated at the northern point of the Chilean lake district, Pucón is an attractive lakeside town dominated by a smoking, yet snow-capped Volcán Villarica looming high on the horizon. The town combines a legacy of the indigenous Mapuche people who originally created the settlement and the German colonists who first arrived in the nineteenth century and who built the first hotels. It has been a tourist resort for several decades and from the early twentieth century was known to be frequented by Chilean high society. The town itself has a rustic Alpine feel with many buildings having wood cladding to the extent that, for a brief moment, you can imagine yourself in Switzerland, Germany or Austria!
However, what makes it a really attractive tourist destination is as a base for all the excursions and activities nearby: you can climb the volcano, go skiing or snowboarding, relax in thermal pools and springs, or sit on the black sand lakeside beach. Moreover, you can go white water-rafting, kayaking as well as fly-fishing and water skiing. In the evening, you can enjoy the wealth of restaurants and bars in the town, and there is plenty to do once you have finished your day-time activities.
Torres del Paine National Park
Voted by National Geographic magazine as one of the ten most beautiful sites in the world and declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the spectacularly dramatic scenery of Torres del Paine will not disappoint. Situated in Chilean Patagonia at the southern tip of the Andes, it is said to be one of the most impressive geological spectacles on Earth with its dramatic granite snow-capped mountain peaks, aquamarine glaciers, turquoise lakes, roaring rivers and emerald forests. It is a dream destination for hikers of all levels. Most people visit the park to see the extraordinary Torres del Paine – sheer granite towers that seem to have defied erosion – and a stunning collection of lakes such as Pehoe. The is known for its rich wildlife with the most prolific being the elegant yet tame llama-type guanacos grazing on the grass. Decorating the landscape too are flamingos, Andean condors and even the occasional puma.
It remains to be said that the stunning views and impressive scenery of this National Park will more than make up for some unpredictable weather. If you enjoy nature and wildlife in a remote setting, Torres del Paine is definitely the place for you.