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Four Chilean Hot Spots to Visit Now

From deserts to coastal cities to glaciers, experience the best of Chile’s many varied regions

With savvy planning you can take in Chile\’s regions of Santiago, Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, Patagonia, and the Atacama Desert in a week.
Chile is an up-and-coming destination with fast-growing cities, extraordinary natural landscapes, modern infrastructure, and a reputation as the safest Latin American country. Find yourself navigating frigid Antarctic waters one day and hiking a northern desert plateau the next.

1. Santiago. Chile’s capital city deserves more than a pit stop. Culture and history are the main attractions, including La Chascona, Pablo Neruda’s former home; the 1805 La Moneda presidential palace; and the hilltop Cerro Santa Lucía park, where the city was founded in 1540. Stay in one of many stylish lodgings, such as The Aubreyboutique hotel, in a 1920s mansion in the bohemian Bellavista district.

2. Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. Coastal Valparaíso is a jumble of colorful historic buildings and street art. Funicular railways (ascensores) navigate the city’s steep inclines, adding to the charm. In contrast, the neighboring city of Viña del Mar is a luxury resort town with beaches and surfing that hosts the huge annual International Festival of Song.

3. Patagonia. Encompassing all of southern Chile and Argentina, Patagonia is a vast, near-untouched wilderness with mountains, rivers, rare wildlife, and seemingly endless once-in-a-lifetime adventures. Take a cruise or stay at a luxury eco-lodge to explore the forests, fjords, and glacial waters.

4. Atacama Desert. The driest place on Earth is now a resort destination with newcomers like the ultra-exclusive Alto Atacama Desert Lodge and Spa, whose terracotta-colored structure appears to morph organically from a ridge behind it. Popular area activities are hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, and the Laguna de Chaxa nature reserve and flamingo breeding ground.

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