Chile

From outstanding scenery to picturesque villages and dramatic wildlife, there's so much to experience: the vibrant cultural scene in cosmopolitan Santiago, Parque Torres del Paine in Patagonia, the wooden churches on the island of Chiloé, the colorful port of Valparaiso (a UNESCO World Heritage site), the stunning altiplanic lagoons in northern Chile, the flowering desert in spring, Easter Island and its Moai, and, of course, winetasting in the central valley.

In autumn, the grape harvest takes over in the central, wine-producing region of the country, and wine festivals are organized by each of the dozen-odd valleys to celebrate the fruit of the vine. At Easter, the traditional Cuasimodo festival, dating back to colonial times, still takes place in the countryside, where a priest brings the Holy Communion to the sick, escorted by costumed horsemen. In mid-June, in the northern Tarapaca region in the small town of La Tirana, dancers and musicians enact La Diablada, the “dance of the devil.” This carnavalesque event features scary masks and elaborate costumes as dancers move to the rhythm of drums and flutes. The 18th and 19th of September marks the National Holidays, a near weeklong celebration of Chilean cuisine and roots. Early spring is celebrated in open-air fondas that serve up classic dishes, empanadas, grape cider, and red wine, while locals try their hand at cueca, the national dance.