Chile holiday highlights

Atacama in the north is the driest place in the world. Visit the Valley of the Moon, the Atacama Salt Flats and the Altiplanic lagoons.

Discover the spectacular fjords and glaciers of the ice fields in the south or take in mind-blowing scenery at Torres del Paine National Park. Explore gateway town Puerto Natales, nestled at the foot of the Riesco Mountain range and the last settlement before you reach the wilderness of Chilean Patagonia. Visit Puerto Varas, a small enclave of Germany in Chile's Lake District that's beautifully set on the edge of Lake Llanquihue opposite the perfect cone of the Osorno Vocano.

One of the remotest places on earth, Easter Island is covered in monumental volcanic carvings known as Moai. These human-like stone figures are an average of 4 metres in height, weigh approximately 14 tons and are between 500 and 750 years old.

The Essentials

•    Chileans' concept of personal space differs to ours; people stand closer to each other than in the UK.
•   Punctuality is rarely observed and locals often turn up over 20 minutes late.
•   Wine should be poured with the right hand and the glass held by its stem.
•   Latin Americans are casual and relaxed. Expect loud talking, exaggerated gestures and physical contact.
•   Learn a few Spanish phrases, such as 'buenos días' (good morning) and 'salud' (cheers).

Random Fact
The scorched Atacama Desert of Northern Chile attracted worldwide media attention with the disastrous partial collapse of the San José mine in August 2010. The world watched with bated breath on 13 October as the miraculous rescue of the 33 miners, who were trapped between 400 and 500 metres underground, began. At 9:55pm local time the final miner, Luis Urzua, reached the surface and parties began across Chile and all over the world.

Chile key facts

Time difference

GMT -4 hours

Capital

Santiago

Currency

Chilean Peso

Flying time to destination

18 hours

Language

Latin American Spanish

Passport & visas

Visas are not required