Our recommendation to visit Chile
Our recommendation to visit Chile and neighboring countries
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Chile Travel guide
Events and festivals in Chile
This tri-continental country hosts a multitude of events and festivities: Chile’s popular festivals are many and varied. Both along its 3999 miles of coastline, and in the rest of its territory, Chile celebrates its homeland in style.
Chileans and tourists from all over the world come to Chile to celebrate their Fiestas Patrias (National Holidays). These festivities are none other than the celebration of its independence and bring together religious, secular and popular celebrations. From Catholic festivities to foundation celebrations to food festivals, the country is a non-stop event.
January - New Year
Chile welcomes the New Year with a multitude of firework shows throughout the country. Among all these cities, Valparaiso’s firework tradition for the night of the 31st of December stands out, attracting thousands of people.
Locals and tourists enthusiastically celebrate the explosion of fireworks with a good glass of champagne. Everyone has their own rituals, but they are all together in a moment of excitement and joy.
February - Tapati Festival of Rapa Nui
The Tapati Festival of Rapa Nui, one of the most unique festivities in Chile, is celebrated in February in addition to the carnival. On the distant Easter Island, locals paint their bodies and dance to music. This is a traditional festival, where traditional legends are told, and where artistic and sports competitions take place.
The Valdivian week or Valdivia festivities in the south of Chile also take place in February. It celebrates the founding of the city and includes fireworks, beer, and a gastronomic feast.
But without a doubt, the month of February is intimately related to Carnival, in this case, Carnavalón (Big Carnival). In Socoroma, Putre and San Miguel de Azapa, there is a tradition of unearthing Ño Carnavalón. It is a symbol of fertility, fortune and joy, a character who is the starting point for the most traditional Chilean carnival.
March - Harvest festivities
During the month of March, Chileans celebrate the harvest festivities, which actually begin in the summer. During this feast, there are grape-treaders, the electing of the festival queen and a religious ceremony.
In Curicó, the oldest city to celebrate the wine festival, the ceremony that blesses the first must takes place. This is the starting gun to kick off the grape harvest festivities across the country.
April - Fiesta de la Cultura
All over Chile, the Fiesta de la Cultura is celebrated during the month of April. A programme where film-makers, painters, poets, dancers, and musicians are the protagonists. This great festival of culture takes place in a multitude of cities to bring art to Chileans.
The National Council for Culture and the Arts sponsors all cultural events that take place in Chile during this cultural festival.
May - Naval Glories Day
On the 21st of May, Chileans celebrate Naval Glories Day, which commemorates the naval battle of Iquique. With parades and floral offerings that adorn public buildings. Adults and children alike celebrate this tradition.
More events are held to celebrate this day in Valparaíso, Iquique, Santiago, and Talcahuano.
June - New Year for the Indigenous cultures
Between the 21st and the 24th of June the Aymara, Diaguita, Kolla, Mapuche, Quechua, and Rapa Nui peoples celebrate the New Year. Indigenous cultures follow their own calendar related to harvests. They hold ancestral ceremonies and commemorate the arrival of a new annual cycle.
The festivities of San Pedro are another of the Chilean festivities that are celebrated in June. The patron saint of the sea is honored for abundant fishing and a good sea for the shell-fishers, divers, and fishermen of the country.
July - Festival of La Tirana
The festival of La Tirana, which begins on the 11th of July and ends on the 19th of July, is celebrated in Tarapacá. Every year this festival attracts thousands of pilgrims and tourists from all over the world. In this celebration, religion is mixed with indigenous tradition, dance, drums and dances to the Christian Virgin.
Also in July, the Winter Carnival takes place in Puerto Williams, better known as the Snow Festival. In Patagonia, the Winter Carnival takes to the streets to celebrate its special feast in the same month.
August - Assumption of the Virgin Mary
Within the popular celebrations of Chile, in August you can attend the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. This religious feast is also celebrated in Spain every 15th of August.
September - Fiestas Patrias
But it is in September that Chile celebrates its Fiestas Patrias, specifically on the 18th and the 19th of September. This popular festival has been celebrated since 1811 and commemorates Independence Day.
October - St. Francis of Assis
On the 4th of October, the feast of St. Francis of Assis is celebrated in different regions of Chile. It is a mixture of pagan and religious cults that combines different popular traditions of the country.
November - All Saints' Day
The 1st of November is All Saints' Day, just as in Spain. It is a holiday where believers practice their rituals, and non-believers enjoy a holiday.
December - Feast of the Virgin of Andacollo
In addition to Christmas, Chile celebrates the Feast of the Virgin of Andacollo in December. This «copper queen» has its festivities between the 24th and 26th of December. Its origin is Quechua and during the celebration, there are dances in her honor and religious ceremonies.
You can now choose the dates for your trip to Chile and make them coincide with a popular festival. This beautiful country will surprise you, not only with its landscape but also with its culture and traditions.
Food in Chile
When you are thinking about typical Chilean dishes, or about what to eat in Chile, you inevitably associated it with South American gastronomy. But Chile is a country of fusions of gastronomy half way between modernity and tradition.
In Chile, the typical dishes depend on the time of year, each season has its own gastronomy. In winter, soups, stews, and dishes eaten with a spoon are at the forefront. In summer, however, the food is lighter and made with fresh products.
In general, Chilean gastronomy comprises of one dish, although sometimes it is accompanied by a starter. But let's look in more detail what to eat in Chile and which are its typical dishes.
This dish is a vegetable soup to which meat is added, it can be chicken, beef, or lamb. It is a typical dish that you will find throughout the country, especially if you visit during the winter months.
Caldillo de Congrio (conger stock)
Belonging to the northern part of Chile, this is a very well-known dish. It is a stock based on fish or crab, although it is also made with prawns and cream.
This traditional dish is made for a minimum of 25 people, so it's more than a traditional dish, it's a celebration. Seafood, potatoes, beef, chorizo, chicken, and seaweed are cooked in an enormous hole in the ground. The hot coal is placed above the hole, giving it a mixture of very characteristic flavors. It is typical of the south of the country and is usually made during the traditional festivals that are celebrating in the summer.
It is a typical Chilean winter soup which has minced meat, potatoes and noodles. A very tasty and hearty soup which helps you to re-energize and warm up.
Pastel de Choclo (sweetcorn pie)
Of the dishes to eat in Chile, sweetcorn pie is a must-try. It is made with a corn dough (choclo) on a base of meat. Sugar is often added on top. The mix can seem strange, but you can’t go to Chile and not try it.
Empanada de Pino (pasty)
Chilean empanadas are different from other South American countries. They are cooked in the oven, although if they are made of seafood or cheese they are sometimes fried. The empanada de pino (pasty), however, is made from a base of meat with egg and olives. A perfect place for trying Chilean empanadas is in the central market of Santiago.
It is a grilled fish dish made with cheese, tomato, and sausage. This dish is typical of the Llanquihue province in the south of Chile. Its name is of Mapuche origin and you can find it in many restaurants in the south of the country.
They are a dough of boiled potato, similar to a large dumpling that can be sweet or savory. They are boiled and served with honey or sugar in their sweet type, or with pork scratchings if they are savory.
This dish from Chilean gastronomy is a traditional stew of dried meat, which also includes pumpkin, peas, corn, carrots, and potatoes. Other typical ingredients are boiled Swiss chard.
It is a typical food based on fries with fried onion and egg, which becomes a good dish of fried egg with chips. Originating from Valparaíso, Chorillana also contains meat in some parts of the country.
Milcao or Milcado is a stew of grated potato to which lard is added. To make the dish, half of the potatoes are cooked and crushed whilst the other half are grated and squeezed out. There are different varieties: Roasted, fried, curanto, peeled or potato flour Milcaos.
It is a soup made to use up leftovers from a barbecue, to which potato, onion, and egg are added. A good and tasty way of not wasting food at the same time as making a delicious dish.
But, as well as all of the typical Chilean dishes that you can try, don’t forget the desserts. In Chile, there are delicacies such as Chilenitos, similar to cake or doughnuts, which are doughnuts with honey. Pan de Pascua (Easter bread), Leche nevada (‘snowy milk) or Torta curicana (curican tort) will make you drool.
Don’t forget, traveling to Chile is also a journey of discovery for your palate. Don’t miss the chance and try all of the charms of Chilean gastronomy.GO TO GASTRONOMY
Shopping in Chile
If you don't know what to buy in Chile, read our tips and advice! In Chile, there are plenty of typical products and souvenirs you can bring back as travel gifts. You can also take advantage of your trip to buy at a good price in the new Miami.
Buying souvenirs and handicrafts in Chile is very easy, as there are many places to find these products. Of all the cities in the country, Santiago is the best place to buy all kinds of Chilean handicrafts. Here you can find a sample of all the regions of the country without having to travel too much. But let's see which souvenirs of Chile will give you the most out of your purchases.
Among the most representative products of the country is lapis lazuli. This mineral is a semiprecious stone of intense blue color and of great aesthetic value. Lapis lazuli is typical of Chile, so you will find many handicrafts made with this mineral.
This stone is used in all types of handicrafts, but especially in jewelry. Silver bracelets, rings, and pendants with lapis lazuli are also beautiful, the perfect gift as a souvenir of your trip to Chile.
Another of Chile's most emblematic typical products is copper. Chilean handicrafts use copper in many of their traditional works. In fact, Chile is the world's leading producer of copper.
Chilean artisans create objects of great value such as pots, vases, kitchen utensils, and copper jewelry. Such is the mastery of their work that their products are in high demand. Chile doesn't just export copper but also makes copper handicrafts and objects for the rest of the world.
If you want a traditional Chilean souvenir, Mapuche craftsmanship won't let you down. Inspired by the native peoples of the country, they are mainly working in silver. The objects you will find are mostly reproductions of typical silverware used by the Mapuches.
Also within this typical craft are pots, plates, and other kitchen utensils, made of ceramics and clay. Greda is a sandy clay used to make pots, pitchers, glasses and other objects.
Rapa Nui Handicrafts
Although this type of craft is not easy to find outside Easter Island, in Santiago de Chile there are small reproductions. You can take home a replica of the famous stones of the Moais, the giant sculptures characteristic of the island.
You can also buy bone crafts, wood carvings, and other souvenirs. If you can't travel to Easter Island, you can at least take a souvenir with you. Although it is in Polynesia, Easter Island belongs to Chile, so don't miss the chance to get yourself a typical gift.
Traditional fabrics and ponchos
In Chile, just like the rest of South America, ponchos and woven blankets are also made. Wool and cotton are characteristic of traditional chamantos and ponchos. These garments together with the blankets are one of the most typical products of the country.
They also work with leather, with which they make wallets, purses, and belts. Anyone of them can be a good buy, both as a gift and for personal use.
The Naughty Indian
There is a souvenir that has become very popular in the past few years, and that is the Indio picaro (naughty Indian), a wooden figurine. This wood carving represents a Mapuche Indian who, when lifted, shows a sizeable male attribute.
It must be said that this Chilean souvenir is more of a popular souvenir used as a joke than a sample of the country's craftsmanship.
Now let's see what the best places are to buy handicrafts and typical products from Chile.
Where to buy in Chile
Los Dominicos is a small village where you can find all kinds of handicrafts. The village was created in the eighties to house craftsmen and artists. Its fame increased and now there are not only handicrafts but also antiques and gourmet products. And speaking of gourmet products, it's the perfect place to try traditional dishes of Chilean cuisine.
Another perfect place to find a great variety of handicrafts is Patio Bellavista. You will find a wide range of typical Chilean products in the heart of the Bellavista district. Here you can buy everything from lapis lazuli to textiles, including leather work.
Continuing with the places where you can do your shopping, under Cerro Santa Lucía, you will find the Santa Lucía Handicrafts Fair. It is a small fair where you can find Mapuche crafts and souvenirs of Easter Island. In addition, there is a larger fair in front of that one where you can buy leather objects, silver and a variety of souvenirs.
Now you know what to buy and where to buy souvenirs from Chile. When planning your trip, remember to leave time on your shopping itinerary.GO TO SHOPPING
Chile tourist attractions
More information about Chile
Sandwiched between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, Chile is a dream travel destination in South America. Bordered by Peru, Argentina and Bolivia, a trip to Chile is a journey through colossal natural beauty, brilliant wines and a friendly, welcoming national culture.
Travel to Chile has long been a favourite of backpackers, but a vacation to Chile has wide appeal, with destinations as diverse as the Atacama Desert and the glaciers of Patagonia. Soak up the innovative atmosphere of the capital, Santiago, cross the ocean to see the mysterious Moai statues of Easter Island and sip Chilean wines in the Maipo Valley. Stretching from the volcanic highlands in the north to the ice fields of Antarctica in the south, Chile is both the longest and one of the thinnest countries in the world, at only 150 miles across at its widest point.
This unique geography means you can experience a diverse array of environments, landscapes and culture if you travel to Chile. The most popular places to visit on a tour of Chile include Santiago, Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, the coastal paradise of Valparaiso, the geysers of San Pedro de Atacama, Easter Island and the charming Chiloe archipelago.
Considered one of the safest and most developed countries in Latin America, a package trip to Chile is the perfect choice for both first time travelers to South America and intrepid nature lovers.
History of Chile
Chile has a rich and long historical heritage. If you travel to Chile, you can visit the fascinating Milodon Cave Natural Monument, near Puerto Natales, to discover the remains of extinct animals and human ancestors dating back to 6000 BC! The neighbouring Inca Empire briefly extended into northern Chile during the 15th-century, but the indigenous Mapuche people successfully resisted Inca rule.
The first European, Ferdinand Magellan, arrived in Chile in 1520, followed shortly after by Spanish Conquistadors in 1540. The capital of Santiago was established the following year and if you travel to Chile today you can visit Santiago’s Plaza de Armas and La Moneda Palace to experience the Spanish influence of Chile’s colonial era. Despite this, the Conquistadors were unable to conquer the indigenous Mapuche community of south-central Chile, and the country gained independence in 1818.
In the 19th-century, Chile experienced a number of conflicts with Peru and Bolivia, culminating in the War of the Pacific, in which Chile claimed its northern territory from Bolivia. The 20th-century was characterized by political divisions, resulting in a Coup d’Etat in 1973. A right-wing military dictatorship was established under Augusto Pinochet which endured up until 1990.
Nowadays, Chile is one of the most economically and politically stable nations in South America, known for its high quality of life, cosmopolitan cities and immaculate natural landscapes.
Nature in Chile
A trip to Chile is all about getting outdoors and discovering this land of extremes. A paradise for nature lovers, Chile stretches for more than 4,300 kilometers from north to south. From the arid plains of the Atacama Desert, the Chilean landscapes unfold through volcanic highlands, lush valleys and ancient forests before culminating in the glaciers, fjords and ice fields of Southern Patagonia.
Due to the geographical isolation between the Atacama Desert and the Andes mountains, Chile has a rich biodiversity, whilst the length of the country ensures a mix of climate zones and environments to discover.
With 31 national parks and 48 national reserves, Chile is one of the worlds top nature travel destinations. If you visit Chile there are a number of natural wonders that you cannot miss. The Valley of the Moon, in the Atacama Desert, the driest non-polar desert on earth, is one of these.
A lunar landscape of red and orange rocks, this is the place to go to witness an unforgettable sunset. Nearby, the Tatio Geyser Field is another spectacular natural wonder, situated 4,320 meters above sea level in the Andes. Home to around 80 active geysers, a trip to Tatio reveals the amazing volcanic activity that has gifted Chile its unique landscapes.
You cannot travel to Chile without visiting Torres del Paine National Park, the most popular place to visit in Chile. Nestled in the heart of Patagonia, the soaring granite peaks, lakes, ancient glaciers and unique plant and wildlife of Torres del Paine have secured this parks place on the bucket lists of all intrepid travelers.
Culture in Chile
Since the colonial era, Chilean culture has been a fusion of Mapuche traditions and Spanish influences. If you visit Puerto Mott or Puerto Varas on a tour of Chile, you’ll also notice a strong German influence, the result of European migration during the late 19th-century. Chile is a Spanish-speaking country, although indigenous languages such as Mapudungun, Quechua, Aymara, and Rapa Nui are also widely spoken.
Chilean culture has a rich musical heritage and every year a series of excellent music festivals are held in Vina del Mar. Famously, Chile is known as the ‘Land of Poets’, and the national culture highly values its wordsmiths. In fact, Chilean writers, Pablo Nevada and Gabriela Mistral both received the Noble Prize in Literature for their poetry.
If you want to experience authentic folklore traditions during a trip to Chile, you’ll find that the cultural influences vary throughout the country, making getting to know the local customs a fascinating pursuit. Of course, you cannot speak about Chilean culture without mentioning football. Chileans love football and it’s a big part of the national culture. Furthermore, Chile has competed in nine FIFA World Cup finals so far.
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