Tuesday, October 3, 2017

* Chile and the World Travel Awards

     Hello dear readers, I want to share a news with you, an achievement hard to beat in its field: Within the framework of the World Travel Awards, equivalent to the Oscars of the Travel Industry, Chile was crowned for the third consecutive year as the Best Adventure Tourism Destination 2017, leaving behind other major countries of the region such as Argentina, Brasil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Uruguay. The ceremony was held in Mexico, and now, with this important achievement, the country aspires to win the Award for the second straight year at Global level, which will be conferred on December 10, 2017 in Vietnam. It is worth mentioning that since 1993, World Travel Awards has been continuously recognizing, through the direct vote of the people, the best exponents of each area of the Tourism Industry.


Popular Tourist Places in Chile 



City of Iquique and San Pedro de Atacama 


Geysers of El Tatio in Northern Chile.
Geysers of El Tatio, Atacama Desert. Photo:  ahoranoticias.cl
      At the extreme North stands out the city of Iquique,  considered as one of the ten best places in the world to paraglide, besides having Historical Museums, an important Duty Free Zone and temperate beaches, with the best conditions for Surfing and water sports. Located a bit further South, in the province of El Loa, and well into the Desert you can visit San Pedro de Atacama, of an immense archaeological wealth, and whose main source of income is Tourism. Besides the R. P. Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum, San Pedro de Atacama is surrounded by major attractions such as El Tatio Geyser Field, the largest in the Southen Hemisphere, El Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), the Atacama Salt Flat, ALMA Astronomical Observatory, the largest facility of its kind in the World among many other attractions. 

City of La Serena


     Located in IV Coquimbo Region, also known as "Norte Chico" (Chile's Near or Small North),  stands out the city of La Serena, founded by the Spanish in 1544, the second oldest city in Chile after the capital Santiago. Currently, La Serena is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Chile. A regional capital which combines harmoniously its rich colonial architecture and the comforts of a moden city at the same time. It is also popular by its beaches, green spaces, shopping malls, etc. 

Viña del Mar, the "Garden City"  


     Located in Chile's V Valparaiso Region and called "The Garden City", Viña del Mar has been par excellence the capital of national tourism regarding Beaches, Entertainment Centers and Popular Music Festivals. Strategically located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, next to Valparaiso, the main commercial and military port of Chile and just over 100 km from Santiago, the capital. Today, Viña del Mar, together with the neighboring city of Valparaiso and other smaller communes practically make up a single urban area, the Metropolitan Area of Valparaiso.

The Chilean Capital


     Santiago de Chile or simply Santiago, is the main urban center and capital of the country. It is a large and modern city of approximately 7,000,000 inhabitants, made up in total of 37 communes, with Santiago being its hub. In recent decades the Chilean Capital, at the foot of the Cordillera de Los Andes,  has become one of the most sought after places to visit in Latin America, because of its beautiful natural setting and many attractions, both inside and outside Santiago de Chile. Besides Santiago, as well the rest of the country, has strongly grown as a Shopping Destination, especially forb the visitors of the neighboring Argentine Republic. Currently, the Chilean capital has been called "the Miami" of South America, due to the opportunities offered in the commercial, business and tourist areas.





Tourism in Southern Chile


     The so- called "Sur de Chile", which covers the Regions of Biobio, La Araucania, Los Rios and Los Lagos, is one of the five natural regions in which Chile has been traditionally divided. The South of Chile is another of the destinations not to be missed, privileged zone in the World, owner of a unique scenic beauty. Forest and vegetation are abundant, full of unforgettable landscapes among dozen volcanoes, lakes and rivers. The main cities are Concepcion, Talcahuano, Temuco, Valdivia, Osorno and Puerto Montt. One of the places you can not miss is Pucon, a famous resort town, in either Summer or Winter, on the shores of Lago Villarrica and facing the homonymous volcano. Here you can find tourists from all over the World. Other must-sees are the tourist village of Licanray, on the shores of Lago Calafquen; the city of Valdivia, capital of Los Rios Region, which in 1960 suffered the brunt of the strongest earthquake ever recorded in human history but today transformed into one of the most beautiful cities in Chile, full of traditions of German settlers; Puerto Varas, town on the shores of Lago Llanquihue with fantastic view of Volcan Osorno; Puerto Montt, capital of Los Lagos Region, located just over 1000 km South of Santiago, on Reloncavi Gulf, famous for its cuisine rich in seafood and point of departure towards many other interesting spots; finally and in order not to prolong this listing too much, I must mention the Chiloe Archipelago, last refuge of the Spanish during the Independence period, a place with countless beautiful islands to visit, a very typical architecture as well as its folk music and very particular culinary traditions.

Tourist Places of Patagonia


Adventure Tourism in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, Chilean Patagonia.
Photo: latercera.com
     Patagonia is a vast territory on the Southern tip of South America, shared by Chile and Argentina. Although the Chilean side of Patagonia is a little smaller, it has great natural attractions making it one of the favourite destinations for Adventure Tourism lovers from around the World. Although there is discrepancy about where the Patagonia (Chilean side) begins in the North, the most traditional stance indicates that Chilean Patagonia includes the Regions of Aysen and Magallanes, excluding the Antarctic Territory. Without a doubt, the most important city of Patagonia is Punta Arenas, also called "The Capital of Patagonia", although this as such has no capital because it is a binational region. Other important but smaller cities are Puerto Natales, Porvenir, Puerto Williams and in the Region of Aysen Coyhaique, Puerto Aysen and Chacabuco.

     Just to name some of the Touristic Circuits in Patagonia: Torres del Paine National Park, recognized as "The Eighth Wonder of the World", the city of Punta Arenas, strategically located on the Strait of Magellan; the island of Tierra del Fuego, shared between Chile and Argentina, very little inhabited in the Chilean part but one of the most growing tourist destination in recent years for its extraordinary sport fishing, natural parks, snowy mountains and galleries of glaciers in the south end. The world-renowned Cabo de Hornos is located at the subantarctic Patagonia, forming part of the southernmost national park in Chile and the World. Cape Horn is considered the Everest of sailing sailors. The provincial capital of the Cape Horn area is Puerto Williams, still a small town of less than 3000 inhabitants, being in fact the southernmost village in the World, located South of the Argentine city of Ushuaia. Unforgettable for travelers are the tourist cruises around the Strait of Magellan, Cape Horn, the southern fjords and the glaciers that slide down into the Beagle Channel. There are touristic circuits offering different programs, by the "Cruceros Australis" shipping company. The city of Punta Arenas, because of its solid airport and maritime infrastructure, besides its proximity to the White Continent, also offers great advantages for the development of the incipient Antarctic Tourism.  

      The Patagonian Region of Aysen, offers wonderful tourist postcards, highlighting the Carretera Austral (Southern Highway), or Route 7, of a little more than 1200 Km., a spectacular way to know this part of Patagonia, a sparsely populated region but with countless natural attractions such as the Queulat National Park, with its hanging glacier, the Termas de Puyuhuapi (Puyuhuapi Lodge and Thermal Baths) in the middle of a spectacular landscape, the Catedral de Marmol (Marble Cathedral), an impressive group of mineral formations of Calcium Carbonate at General Carrera Lake. Another great highlight when visiting Aysen is Laguna San Rafael National Park, with its great attraction the San Rafael Glacier, one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the region. 


Easter Island (Rapa Nui)  


      Separate chapter deserves this small Polynesian island, in the middle of the South Pacific, whose closest point on the Chilean coast is 3700 Km. away. Worldwide known for its Moai, stone giants scattered throughout Rapa Nui which until today leave us many questions, for the spectacular volcanoes that gave rise to the island and  the small beaches of turquoise waters. Its archaeological sites, as fascinating as enigmatic, contain remains of a great culture now disappeared but that reached great splendor in spite of the remoteness of the place. In addition, Easter Island is a privileged place for the practice of Submarine Sports such as Diving, where every year hundreds of tourists arrive attracted by the great visibility and richness of the seabed, rich in tropical fish, marine wildlife and volcanic lava caves.