What to do

Nature and Wildlife Holidays in Chile

Where to go for nature and wildlife in South America's longest and thinnest country...

For many, the nature and wildlife to see in Chile is the main reason they want to come here. With territory stretching from dry desert in the North to ice-covered fjords in the South and bordered on one side by the Andes Mountains, Chile has some of the most diverse and beautiful landscapes in South America.

The fact that the majority of Chile’s population is centred in and around Santiago, means that much of its countryside remains pristine and untouched. The Torres del Paine National Park is home to four different types of vegetation, including pre-Andean shrubland, Magellanic polar forest, Patagonian steppe and Andean desert and a huge variety of wildlife including pumas, guanacos, foxes and condors. Patagonia is also home to Magellanic and King Penguin colonies, making it a great area for wildlife enthusiasts.

For those looking to get off the beaten track, further north is Chile’s Lake District and the mystical island of Chiloé, with its covering of Valdivian forest, wetlands and beaches. These are the areas to really go and off and explore on your own with vast national parks, towering volcanoes and turquoise lakes. Chiloé island, in particular, is home to a variety of species, including birds, fish, shellfish and mammals such as the Chiloé fox, ‘mountain monkey’, pudú deer, black-necked swans and dolphins and is periodically visited by whales, making it a rewarding area to visit for wildlife enthusiasts.

Despite being one of the driest places on earth, the Atacama desert and the high Altiplano, is home to a wide range of species of birds, making it one of the key places to go for bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. Chilean and Andean flamingo, Andean avocet and puna plover live on the Salt Flats, while the open altiplano wetlands are home to Andean geese, rufous-bellied seedsnipes, golden-spotted ground doves… the list goes on! Which species you are able to see will depend on the time of year, migratory cycles, temperature and availability of food so it’s worth thinking about this before you travel.

The important thing to remember when planning a nature and wildlife holiday to Chile is that despite seeming small, in comparison to the size of Argentina and Brazil, distances in Chile are still considerable, especially in the Torres del Paine area, and it can often require an internal flight, plus a road transfer before you get to where you want to be. It’s therefore a good idea to focus on a couple of main areas so that you don’t have to stretch your time too thinly.

To speak to us in more detail about planning a nature and wildlife holiday in Chile then please feel free to give us a call or send us an email and we’ll be happy to help!

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    At a glance…Chile

  • Population: 17 million+
  • Location: South America
  • Recommended time to go: 5 to 14 nights
  • Time to visit: November to March
  • Go here for: Walking, nature and wildlife, activities
  • Further reading...

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  • Our Top Five Nature and Wildlife Hotels in Chile:

    1. Awasi Atacama - Atacama desert

      Awasi Atacama

      Many would argue that the Awasi is the best property in and around San Pedro de Atacama…and for good reason. This small and very private property is made entirely in the local adobe fashion and so merges with its surroundings perfectly. Located a little closer to town than its competitors it is... More...

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    2. Hotel Antumalal - Main building

      Hotel Antumalal

      Built in the 1950s Hotel Antumalal was one of the first hotels to be established in Chile’s Northern Lake District. Having hosted a number of famous of names and faces over the years, including the Queen and Neil Armstrong, its appeal lies in its sense of history and strong ties to the local area... More...

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    3. Patagonia Camp - lake Toro view

      Patagonia Camp

      Definitely one of our favourite camps in and around the Torres Del Paine, the look and feel of the camp is superb…but, due to its location a good hour from the Park’s northern entrance, it is a bit of an “inbetween” hotel for most. What the Patagonia Camp does provide is a quirky and luxurious... More...

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    4. Los Caiquenes Hotel Boutique - Gardens

      Los Caiquenes Hotel Boutique

      Caiquenes is a property with plenty of character surrounded by a nice garden plot and at a stone throw away from the beach. Coming here means opting for a more relaxed stay and enjoying all the benefits of a boutique hotel experience, great personal service, a meal when it suits you and tailored... More...

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    5. Huilo Huilo - External View

      Huilo Huilo

      Set within a lush biological reserve in Chile’s Lake District and surrounded by peaceful lakes, snow-topped volcanoes and the Andes mountain range, Huilo Huilo is made up of a number of lodges and hotels, which offer immediate access to stunning nature. The Nothofaghus, Montaña Mágica and Reino... More...

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    Our top five travel itineraries for Nature and Wildlife in Chile: