When backpacking Chile, there’s a trusty tale I guarantee you’ll hear time and again from locals. They say that when God created the world, he (or probably she, let’s be honest) had a little of everything left over – mountains, volcanoes, glaciers, deserts, the whole shebang. So, she mixed it all together and created Chile. This country’s natural credentials are seriously impressive – 4,300km of coastline, the driest desert in the world, 90 active volcanoes, including Ojos del Salado – the highest (6,893m) active volcano on the planet, and 36 national parks that will have you rubbing your eyes wondering whether you are in fact, in heaven. The Andes mountains run the entire length of the country and account for 80% of its land. The rest is made up of cities that will steal your heart, and that have inspired some of the greatest creative minds of all time.
If you like a decent tipple, Chile is also known for its superb wine and there are a number of wine valleys to explore, both to sample their wares and marvel at the surrounding countryside. While the sights and sounds of Chile’s mainland could keep you busy for a good few years, don’t forget that the country also includes the Pacific Islands of Easter Island, Juan Fernández, Desventuradas and Salas y Gómez in its repertoire. So, if you’re looking to get your party on, fill your boots with some of the best food in South America, hike through the wilds of Patagonia and get a good old peek at what’s going on up in the night sky, Chile ticks all boxes, plus it’s an easy country to pop into on your South America tour, either from Argentina, Bolivia or Peru.