Chile

With over 4,300 kilometres of coastline, Chile is a land of extreme contrasts and staggering beauty, from towering volcanoes to quiet colonial towns and miles of great cycling roads in between.

Most travellers arrive in Chile via the capital city of Santiago, where the top hotels include the Aubrey, the new Singular Santiago, and the W.  If you fly north from Santiago, you arrive in Calama, the gateway to the Atacama Desert. If you head east for 1.5 hours, you arrive in the famous city of Valparaíso—a colourful UNESCO World Heritage Site that is among our favourites. Hotel Casa Higueras is a renovated 1920’s mansion in the heart of the old city. There's biking outside of town in the Casablanca vineyards. Then it’s south towards the sprawling Colchagua Valley vineyards near Santa Cruz. Dubbed “the next Napa,” it features newly paved roads and spiffy tasting rooms. The four-room Clos Apalta Residence lies on the grounds of the Lapostolle vineyard, owned by the Grand Marnier dynasty. Nearby lies the new Viña Vik—Vik developers' fabulous art hotel.

Puerto Montt is the gateway to Northern Patagonia, the land of glacial lakes and volcanoes with few people, fewer roads, and immense natural beauty that encompasses fjords, old growth forests, craggy peaks, and a multitude of pristine lakes. Accommodations rise to the challenge, starting with the island of Chiloé stunning Tierra Chiloé—the perfect base from which to explore the island's many UNESCO-protected wood churches. On mainland, from the small lakeside town of Puerto Varas we bike to farming villages, beaches and the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park to see the impressive Saltas de Petrohue waterfalls.  Further north of Puerto Montt lies the Chilean Lake District, long recognized as a Mecca for adventure travellers.  The newly opened Hotel Vira Vira is a 21-room luxury lodge located just a 10-minute drive from the town of Pucón.  Owned and operated by a Swiss couple, Vira Vira is a working farm nestled in 23 hectares of native parkland.

Beyond that, it's pure Patagonia where Torres del Paine's Awasi Patagonia can't be beat.

Another terrific gathering of great guys in great venues – thanks to your superb skills. Regards and gratitude to Paola also.
All the best,
US Ambassador H.C.

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