Chile is one of the most geographically diverse countries in the world, featuring virtually every climate imaginable, and is a place of extremes and contradictions. Stunningly beautiful, it is a hiker’s paradise offering towering volcanoes, glistening lakes, forests and snow-capped mountains. There are three main areas for walkers; Torres del Paine National Park, the Atacama Desert and the Lake District.
Torres del Paine National Park is a spectacular area of fragmenting glaciers and teetering icy peaks. It feels like nowhere else on earth. This national park is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is ideal for walkers, with many mountains, lakes, rivers and glaciers to explore. It is also possible to spot guanacos, the largest land mammals in Patagonia.
The Chilean Lake District is the perfect place to explore on foot. The area has been likened to Switzerland in terms of landscapes and beauty. There are twelve major lakes in the area as well as many smaller ones to discover. Pucón is one of the most popular destinations in the Lake District, where trekkers often base themselves for visiting the 2840 metre high Villarrica Volcano, which dominates the view to the south and can be climbed on a day trek.
In complete contrast to Torres del Paine and the Lake District is the Atacama Desert. This is the driest place on earth but still has plenty to discover, including volcanoes, lakes, hot springs and geysers. There are several routes across the desert including to the Valley of the Moon.