We visited Chile in 2003. The Thin Long Country has a wide diversity of areas to visit. The area around Santiago and just north is the prime Mediterranean area. The amazing Atacama desert is in the far northeast. The craigy windy cliffs of Patagonia are in the far South. Th Lake district and its amazing volcanos reminded us of the Pacific Northwest.
We bought an air pass on Lan Chile and spent four weeks. We started in Santiago and then flew to Arica where we rented a pickup truck to drive up to Putre at 11,000 feet. It was just over 100km from Arica to Putre and we ended up with altitude sickness from the quick transition. A day of rest helped and we were able to explore. We used Alto Andino Tours for a private botanical tour of the high deserts around Putre and Lauca National Park.
We traveled next to Villarica where we stayed at Hosteria de la Colina. We spent several days hiking and exploring the area with great advice from the owners of the Hosteria. From here we flew to Punta Arenas where we were met by the guide at Cascada Expediciones. We drove across the vast Patagonian steppe to Torre del Paines where we did the short W trek. It was fabulous.