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Hike, sandboard and whitewater raft your way through the breathtaking contrasts of Chile

September 28, 2017 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Clinging to the west coast of South America, Chile is a mythical land of distinct culture, diverse landscapes and mysterious history, although it’s Chile’s more hard-to-reach wonders that have helped secure the top spot at the 2017 World Travel Awards.

Discover the region’s top five best kept secrets with these insider tips and experiences to get the adrenaline pumping:

Trek Torres del Paine – Hike amidst the giant mountains of Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park and discover why the region has been dubbed the ‘end of the world’. Push the body to the limit through rich forests, steep slopes and over roaring rivers to reach the towering holy grail of Cerro Paine Grande, more than 2,000 metres above the Chilean Patagonian steppe.

Sandboard Death Valley – As the name eludes, this is one Chile’s wildest regions and certainly not for the faint-hearted. Explore the surrounds of San Pedro de Atacama with its monster wave-like sand dunes in Death Valley for a ride, and no doubt a bruised behind, like no other, as you hurtle down 100 metre-high dunes and sand surf through the world’s driest desert. Then whilst the body is recovering after an epic day on the dunes, take in the desert from a different perspective and marvel at the galaxies from the clearest skies on Earth for the ultimate stargazing experience.

Ice Trek Carretera Austral – Don crampons and an ice-axe for an adventure through a desert of a different kind – Explorador Glacier – in the legendary Carretera Austral. Step back in time to discover ancient ice formations, mysterious fjords and immense forests in the undiscovered heart of Chile’s Patagonia. The route also allows hikers to visit local villages and meet the neighbourhood gauchos along the way, making for the perfect all-encompassing Chilean adventure.

Whitewater rafting – Race, paddle and squeal as the rapids weave through dense forest, lakes, fjords and inlets, with levels to suit both the young, and young-at-heart. Pucon has cemented itself as a household name amongst adventure enthusiasts the world over, and its Trancura River is the place to head for those keen to get the pulse working overtime, with boulders and swirling currents making for stellar four and five class rapids. But for that next-level thrill, head south to the notorious Futaleufú River in Patagonia for fast, intricate class five rapids that will have even the most seasoned rafters letting out a shriek at every drop. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Summit a volcano – Take a breath and look up…mountains, snowy peaks and volcanic craters are waiting to be summitted across the country; though why not set the challenge high with the tallest active volcano in the world. Soaring at 6,893 metres and deep in the Andes, Ojos del Salado, is the ultimate challenge for experienced mountaineers looking to test their skills. This strenuous hike is well worth the mental and physical battle, with 360º summit views that take the breath away – if the altitude hasn’t already.

There’s never been a better time to discover Chile’s thrill-seeking adventures; they won’t keep the crowds away for too long – especially following the industry’s most prestigious awards, the World Travel Awards, which saw Chile voted as ‘Leading Adventure Tourism Destination’ in South America for the third consecutive year as well as taking out the same title, worldwide, in 2016.

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