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Cruises through Chile
Chile, located on the western side of South America, and with more than 4,200 kilometers of coastline, is the perfect scenery for cruise lines. That is why the number of companies that are including Chilean ports on their itineraries increases year by year.
The geographic diversity of Chile comprises from the Atacama Desert on the extreme north, and goes South towards milder climates on the Central Region, famous all over the world for its wines - and even further South up to the Lake District with astonishing landscapes of lakes and volcanoes, and continues towards the fjords of Patagonia, reaching the legendary Strait of Magellan before Antarctica, the last, and least known continent, the dream of so many explorers. Last, but not least, Chile also extends towards Rapa Nui, the original name of Easter Island, in Polynesia, and the most pristine Juan Fernandez archipelago with its main Island and the legendary name of Robinson Crusoe.
The northern area of Chile is highlighted by the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world. However, the coastal cities of Arica and Iquique offer real oases that display a variety of attractions going from the world-famous mummies of the Chinchorro culture, to enigmatic geoglyphs, similar to Nazca lines, and to the remains of the nitrate ghost towns that contributed so much to agriculture in the whole world during the 19th century.
Cruising southwards Antofagasta is a gateway to San Pedro de Atacama, and Coquimbo provides the beautiful Elqui and Limari valleys, and its famous grapes from which pisco is made, and the possibility to get to know famous observatories like Cerro Tololo.
The two homeports in Chile are Valparaiso and San Antonio, being both of them used as embarkation/debarkation ports because of its proximity to Santiago, the capital of Chile where all international flights arrive. Chile is known also for its wines and in the central zone there are seven different wine routes. Right between these ports towards Santiago, at least two of them can be visited, like the famous Casablanca valley, known for its splendid whites, and nowadays, also for some of its reds.
Santiago, being the capital of Chile allows visiting the Andes mountains for the day, or some more valleys, and coastal areas. A good alternative is also staying in town and discover its architecture, museums, and also, the more modern districts.
The Chilean Lake District with famous snowcapped volcanoes such as Osorno and Calbuco, and the villages surrounding the lakes, in an evergreen landscape, is the perfect place to discover the wonders of the area, as Petrohue falls, the Emerald Lake, and get to know the local culture in Puerto Varas and Frutillar.
The very south of the American continent, from the Fjords of Aysen Region, where nature shows its astonishing landscape, with the famous valley of Simpson River, or sailing towards south, where the famous Magellan Strait is, with the penguins at Magdalena island, or the beauty of the world-voted 8th wonder, Torres del Paine. Punta Arenas, the main city in the area of this unique land of Estancias (sheep farms), and rich in architectural heritage, due to is famous past before Panama canal, and its promising future, as main gate of this wild and beautiful region.
Antarctica, the extreme continent, the most isolated, the coldest, the highest, the windiest and the driest. Gone are the days of Amundsen and Scott when going to Antarctica was only for the toughest. So far a continent to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and scientific research.
Below 60 degrees south latitude lies the immense white continent of Antarctica, occupying 1/10 of the earth’s surface and holding over 90% of the world’s freshwater ice. Surrounded by a deep and circumpolar ocean with unique characteristics and over 1000 km to the closest continent, South America. Totally different than the Arctic in the north as there is a mass of land under the very thick layer of ice and there are no terrestrial animals due to its isolation. All the wildlife in Antarctica are seasonal visitors that come on shore only in spring and summer.
Chile is blessed to have as part of its territory two of the most important islands in the world, namely, the archipelago of Juan Fernandez, more widely known as Robinson Crusoe, because of the book inspired in the life of Alexander Selkirk on this remote piece of land. And also, the enigmatic Rapa Nui, the original name of Easter Island which is the world's most remote inhabited island, flying 3.700 km west off the Chilean mainland. To its inhabitants it has always been the center of the world, a fact reflected in its name, Te Pito o Te Henua, meaning "navel of the world", in the belief that they were the only inhabitants.