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ATACAMA DESERT :: CHILEAN FJORDS :: EASTER ISLAND :: PUERTO NATALES/PATAGONIA :: PUNTA ARENAS :: SANTIAGO
A virtually rainless plateau, the Atacama Desert is arguably the driest place on Earth. Explore one of Chile's most important archaeological centers in San Pedro de Atacama; learn about the desert's native Indian culture, and see ancient artifacts and mummies at the Father Le Paige Museum; experience the moonscape-like scenery in Moon Valley-especially at sunset; and marvel at an immense million-year-old inland sea. From volcanoes and high plains lakes fringed with salt deposits to high-altitude geysers and hot springs, the Atacama Desert is sure to impress you.
Situated off the southwestern coast of Chile, the Chilean Fjords pass through the Strait of Magellan-a historically significant region and one of the most magical landscapes on the planet. This wonderland of magnificent lakes, massive glaciers, snowcapped mountains, pristine forests, and hot springs is rich in wildlife. Keep your camera nearby and your eyes open for Magellanic penguins, condors, Antarctic terns, Chilean green parrots, kingfishers, seals, sea lions, and even whales.
One of the most isolated islands on Earth-located in the Pacific Ocean between Chile and Tahiti-is enigmatic Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Formed by massive volcanic eruptions and uninhabited for millions of years, by about 300 AD, a small group of Polynesian seafarers settled on the island, and eventually began carving the hundreds of giant stone head statues that still pepper the island. Who were these people and why did they disappear? Why did they create the huge monuments? How did they move them? The mysteries surrounding Easter Island may never be solved. Today, the destination's appeal is in its indescribable monuments, ruins, and complex petroglyphs, as well as its natural beauty, volcanic caves, lava tubes, enormous caldera, and freshwater crater lakes.
The primary transit point in Chilean Patagonia for visits to spectacular Torres del Paine and Bernardo O'Higgins National Parks, Puerto Natales is a place of cascading waterfalls, alpine lakes, imposing glaciers, and unspoiled rainforest. Drink in marvelous panoramas at every turn, and encounter intriguing wildlife, including guanacos, foxes, pumas, 15 bird of prey species, flamingos, swans, and ibis.
Spanish for "Sandy Point," Punta Arenas is the third-largest city in the Patagonian region and one of the southernmost cities on Earth. Overlooking the Strait of Magellan, the city is strategically located on one of the world's historic trade routes-and it enjoyed tremendous prominence up until the opening of the Panama Canal. City attractions include the Ferdinand Magellan memorial, Salesiano de Mayonino Borgatello Museum, and the Braun-Menendèz Cultural Center in the mansion of one of the city's most prosperous families. Its collection of ceramics, antiques, and rare animal artifacts offers an intriguing glimpse into the area's colorful past. From Punta Arenas, it's an easy day trip to the nearby penguin settlements and magnificent Torres del Paine National Park.
Framed by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the majestic Andes to the east is Santiago, Chile's vibrant capital. Dating back to the 16th century, the city is a hub of entertainment, culture, international cuisine, historical attractions, shopping...the list of things to see and do is extensive. Check out La Moneda, the country's imposing seat of government; spend time at the beautiful Plaza de Armas, the main square; marvel at the ornate 18th-century cathedral; and visit the rolling hills of Chile's wine country, stopping at a local winery for a tasting. Outdoor recreation opportunities are also abundant, including hiking, climbing, horseback riding, skiing, and kayaking.
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Santiago. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Santiago and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Santiago insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
My name is Viviana, and I am from Santiago, Chile. I studied tourism at the University and I have been working as a Host for 7 years. I love my job, and I especially love it when my passengers tell me that it was a surprise for them how wonderful my country is. After studying tourism, I earned a degree in Quality Management Systems, knowing how important it is to be a professional in an industry where every day we use the word ¨Quality¨. We extend these services to all of our guests and I love sharing the hospitality of Santiago!
Crafts markets can be found around Santiago, as either permanent installations or weekly events; however Los Dominicos is highly recommended above all other markets for selection and quality. Popularly known as Los Dominicos after its nearby San Vicente Ferrer de Los Dominicos Church built in the 18th century, Los Graneros del Alba is a colonial village of more than 200 shops where you can find everything from fine leather to semiprecious stones, copperware, huaso horsegear, furniture, sculpture and alpaca woolens as well as a wonderful display of cockatoos and other live birds. Besides it has good food for a variety of budgets and often features folkloric music and dancing on weekends. It is located in Las Condes district nestled in the foothills of the Andes.
Occupying an entire block bounded by San Pablo st.,Puente st.,21 de Mayo st. and Balmaceda Av. next to the Rio Mapocho Santiago's Central Market is a distinctive wrought-iron building dating from 1872. Here you will find a matchless selection of creatures from the sea. Depending on the season you might see the delicate beaks of ´´picorocos´´,the world's only edible barnacles;the orange stars of ´´erizos´´,the prickly shelled sea urchins as well as an appealing selection of fresh fruit and vegetables.There are a number of eating places ranging from modest to the finest.Open all year around.
Providencia is mainly a business district, but it has one of the city's most captivating and least publicized public parks. From Pedro de Valdivia Metro stop ,walk a block north to the Rio Mapocho and cross the bridge .Here you will find Parque de las Esculturas where the gardens are filled with a score of sculptures by Chile's top artists. Because of its pastoral atmosphere the park is quite popular with joggers. In the center is a wood pavilion that hosts very good changing sculpture exhibitions. International Jazz Music festival takes place in here during summer season.
One of the more interesting neighborhoods in the city, its streets are lined with trees and colorful antique homes many of which have been converted into restaurants, theaters and studios for artists and musicians. It's a pleasant place for an afternoon stroll and in the evening Bellavista pulses to the beat of music pouring from its many discos and bars. Located at the foothill of San Cristobal you can also visit La Chascona, one of the three homes once owned by Chile's most famous literary artist, the Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda.
Palacio de La Moneda Cultural Center is a cultural facility in the heart of the civic quarter under the Citizenry Square in the southern facade of the Palacio de La Moneda. It is intended to place the chilean capital in the international cultural circuit allowing participative and formative access for all citizens to the cultural and audiovisual richness of the nation. It was opened in 2006 as a part of the Bicentennial project in preparation for the 200th anniversary of Chile 's republican life. This center houses two main exhibition halls and other minor rooms as the Centro de Documentación de las Artes 'Arts Documentation Center' with information and resources concerning modern and contemporary art and Cineteca Nacional ´´National Film Archive´´ a digital laboratory for film restoring and digitallization. There are also a handicraft shop a cafeteria and two excellent restaurants.
Cajon del Maipo is part ´´huaso´´(a Chilean cowboy from the Central Valley),part artist's colony, part small-town charm tucked into a valley in the foothills of the Andes. From Santiago it's less than one hour to the heart of the Cajón, if you have a day and would like to get a feel for the Andes and its rugged beauty I highly recommend a visit here. The well paved road through this valley follows the path of the Maipo River. Along the way you'll pass dozens of stalls set up by locals who sell fresh bread, honey, kuchen (a dense cake), empanadas and chocolate to passersby. Then you'll pass the tiny hamlets of Las Vertientes and San José de Maipo, the principal city of the area founded in 1792 when silver was discovered in the foothills. Plan to come on a week day if you can.
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