When you think ‘military parade,’ puppies are probably not the first thing that comes to mind. At least, not until the adorable police puppies of Chile recently stole the show at a Chilean military parade celebrating the country’s independence. While more than 9,500 Chilean troops marched in the Great Military Parade in Santiago’s O’Higgins Park as part of Chile’s 208th...
It’s the eighth world wonder.  One of the most legendary treks on the planet. National Geographic’s fifth most beautiful place in the world; Torres del Paine’s famous W and O circuits, trekked by visitors from around the globe daily. And yet, these renowned trails weren’t created by trail designers or experts. None of it was plotted or planned at all. No, for these famed paths...
As part of our continuing commitment to sustainability, we provide support to leading organizations dedicated to the conservation of the ecosystems in which we operate. We’ve recently teamed up with the Torres del Paine Legacy Fund in support of their inspiring and ambitious Tu Mejor Huella para el Paine campaign.To kick-off it off, we chatted with Emily Green, Director for the Torres del Paine Legacy...
If you’ve always dreamed of witnessing penguins in the wild, then our team of Latin America travel experts has you covered. While Antarctica is famously the best place to go if you’re looking for the ultimate penguin trip, there’s also no shortage of opportunities to do some penguin watching everywhere from the Galapagos Islands all the way through Peru, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. In...
  This past week you may have noticed penguins taking over your Instagram or Twitter feed as World Penguin Day was celebrated on April 25th and proved once again that pretty much everyone, everywhere loves penguins. Penguins are without a doubt the most sought after wildlife viewing experience we offer at Southern Explorations, and it’s no mystery as to why. Across the 17 species of penguins,...
Yes, it feels like 2018 just started, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start thinking about your 2019 Latin America travel plans! In fact, for some of our trips, if you don’t start planning now, you’ll miss out entirely, especially if you’re thinking of exploring South America in 2019 on a Southern Explorations luxury trip, particularly Luxury Patagonia. Our custom...
As we continue our Trips of a Lifetime series – in which we take a look at some of the most memorable and impressive trips our team of Latin America travel experts have designed – we take a look at an impressive itinerary custom built for a group of Southern Explorations guests who knew what they wanted to see and came to us to help make their dream a reality. As soon as we started putting together our...
It was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America and some archaeologists speculate it might well have been the largest empire anywhere on the planet in the 16th century. It was also the last chapter of thousands of years of Andean civilization. From 1483 to 1533, across a large portion of western South America, from Colombia, down through Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina, centered largely around the...
The accolades keep coming for Chile. Last month, the destination was named South America’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination at the World Travel Awards for a third consecutive year. Now, Lonely Planet has identified Chile as the number one country you need to visit in 2018 as part of their ‘Best in Travel 2018’ list. “Chile is a sinewy sliver of a nation, isolated from the rest...
The accolades keep coming for Chile. Last month, the destination was named South America’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination at the World Travel Awards for a third consecutive year. Now, Lonely Planet has identified Chile as the number one country you need to visit in 2018 as part of their ‘Best in Travel 2018’ list. “Chile is a sinewy sliver of a nation, isolated from the rest...
For the third consecutive year, Chile has been named South America’s Leading Adventure Tourism Destination at the World Travel Awards, the Oscars of the travel community. The World Travel Awards have been highlighting excellence across the travel industry since 1993, serving to acknowledge, reward, and celebrate excellence throughout the global travel and tourism industry. The most prestigious,...
Chile – like many destinations that have a rich and diverse history of people and cultures – has copious myths and legends to explain its creation and the origins of the unearthly collection of natural attractions and extreme environments found throughout the country. As one Chilean legend tells it, when the Earth was created, there was a little bit of everything – some mountains, some lakes,...
If you’ve traveled with us before, you know that one of the defining elements of our trips is taking our guests off the beaten path, no matter the destination you’re exploring. With that in mind we want to take you even further off the well-trodden trail as our team of Latin America travel experts give you the heads up on some of our most underrated trip itineraries. Ecuador Hiking Adventure - Savvy...
Justin Laycob, Founder and CEO of Southern Explorations was studying Spanish and – like many students pursuing a degree in a foreign language – was slated to spend a semester abroad to really dig into the language. The University of Oregon had set him up with an exchange placement in Spain when – as fate would have it - a well-timed envelope from friends in the Southern Hemisphere sent his...
While guests traveling to destinations such as Chile rarely meet our team members like Victor, he plays a massive role in making sure every part of their Southern Explorations guest experience is seamless. This is because Victor –  who works in Operations for Southern Explorations -  has spent the better part of the last two decades refining his local travel expertise. Based in Santiago, Chile,...
 Are you looking to challenge yourself, push the limits, and get your adrenaline up while exploring Latin America? Then you’re in luck.  Our team of travel experts came together to create a list of some of the most thrilling and boundary-pushing experiences and attractions in all of South America. White Water Rafting - The Futaleufú River, Chile The name Futaleufú is an indigenous Mapuche...
The truth is, there’s no secret formula when it comes to creating an unforgettable Southern Explorations itinerary. Which is kind of a shame, because if there was, it would save our team of Latin America experts a lot of time and energy putting in the research, exploration, and groundwork necessary to deliver the quintessential Southern Explorations trip. Luckily, the challenge of curating your ideal Latin...
It’s no secret that Latin America’s landscapes are the ultimate playground for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure travelers. Ancient ruins, active volcanoes, glacial lakes, friendly locals and countless waterfalls are just a few reasons why hikers should consider Latin America for their next trek – and it doesn’t need to be Machu Picchu. We rounded up our team’s favorite under the...
 Trip Advisor is one of the best-known and trusted travel resources worldwide, and every year they turn to millions of travelers to vote on the best of the best for the Travelers’ Choice Awards. We weren’t surprised to see many of our favorite Latin American destinations grab the spotlight for must-see landmarks, destinations, beaches, restaurants, and destinations on the rise in the 2016 Award...
You may be feeling the pressure of getting in your last few runs of the ski season back home, but in the southern hemisphere, things are just getting started on the slopes. South America is a paradise for avid skiers and boarders, and our team at Southern Explorations believes Chile is el mejor de los mejores. From breathtaking scenery to world-class ski resorts full of vertical drops and turns that will keep...
Chile's Colorful Birds, Rocks & SkiesThough some may think of deserts as desolate and devoid of interesting sights, to geologists and nature photographers, the Atacama is anything but. Clearly, barren is in the eye of the beholder. During travel to Chile here, it is impossible to view these unique landscapes without saying, “that would make a great shot,” even if you have never picked up a camera...
What Is A Multisport Adventure Trip?
As the name implies, multisport itineraries are active and most days are spent on one or more excursions that require at least moderate exertion. They usually involve a combination of different activities rather than focusing on just one. For many outings, guides transport passengers from their hotel to a trailhead or put-in at a river for a whitewater rafting trip. On others,...
SOUTHERN EXPLORATIONS 10 YEARS OLD AND GROWING!2015 marks Southern Explorations’ 10th year in business. What started as a two-person operation in a garage has grown into a company with destination coordinators in several countries, customers from throughout the world and awards from the national travel media for our authentic trips and sustainability values. Southern Explorations has become one of the leaders...
When Spanish missionaries arrived here in the mid-1500s, their cargo included wine grape vines, intended for use in Catholic rituals. They planted the new crop north and south of modern day Santiago. This Central Valley surrounding the new city proved favorable climate and growing conditions for the vines. And what good fortune for today’s travelers to Chile who appreciates fine wine. One can visit arguably...
Many of our full itineraries for Chile tours and travel to Argentina include destinations to observe penguins. For those that don’t, it is possible to add on a few days to the beginning or end of our tours in order to fit penguins into your vacation. These tour extensions range from day-trips to multi-day excursions in Peru, Argentina and Chile plus an exotic fly-in excursion to Antarctica.You will have two...
Reading about and preparing for your adventure is half the fun. For more book suggestions go to Chile
The Camelids of South AmericaMost of what we know about South American camelids is their hair. The fleece of these animals contains no lanolin, so it is hypoallergenic, and though not waterproof, it makes warm lightweight garments. The llama and guanaco both have an outer layer of coarser hair and an inner layer of softer hair. The alpaca and vicuna have no outer layer. The softness of guanaco fleece is between that...
For travelers with less time to devote to wine tasting during their travel to Chile, we offer four multi-day tour extensions, ranging from two to three days. On these short trips, visitors not only tour wineries and vineyards but also enjoy gourmet meals there and spend the night. The two-day Colchagua Valley tour visits the largest of Chile’s wine regions, an area known for its reds–Cabernet Sauvignon,...
The shortest of these Chile wine tours, the two-hour Santiago Wine Shop Tour takes place in one of Santiago’s largest wine shops, staffed by experts. Guests sample wines paired with cheeses, offering an efficient way to get an overview of Chilean wineries, varietals and vintages for those whose Chile tours don’t allow time to visit the wine country. Our six-hour Santiago Culinary Tour visits various...
Cabernet Sauvignon has been grown in Chile since the 1800s, on vines originally imported from France. More Cabernet is grown in Chile than any other variety, totaling some 100,000 acres. Cabernet ripens later than other red varietals and is most at home in the Aconcagua, Maipo, Cachapoal and Colchagua, the areas with the longest growing season. Though far less is planted, Merlot has centuries-old traditions in Chile...
Sauvignon Blanc prefers the same cooler growing conditions conducive to the Pinot Noir. Of the 30,000 acres planted in Chile, most is grown in the Central Valley. The best Sauvignon Blancs come from Casablanca Valley though it also grows well in the Aconcagua sub-region as well as in the western, cooler areas of San Antonio and as far north as the Limari sub-region. A popular stop during Chile tours, the Casablanca...
It is France rather than Spain that Chile has to thank for the start of its quality wine traditions. With the surge of European immigrants, especially the French, and their vines imported from the motherland, the growing of wine grapes as an industry emerged in the New World. In the three centuries that followed, the countryside in the vicinity of the capital became dotted with elaborate estates belonging to wealthy...
The Wines of the Coquimbo RegionSome 1,250 acres in the Elqui Valley are planted in wine grapes, at elevations that range from sea level to 6,500 feet. About sixty percent are premium red varietals, mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, and small amounts of Merlot, Carmenere and Syrah. About ten percent are Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. The sub-region is best known for the high quality Syrah it produces. For visitors...
Vinos de Chile, the country’s premium wine industry trade organization was established in 2007. It took a pro-active role in developing a national sustainability code that would be fair and economically viable. The results of the organization’s work may be seen when purchasing wine at home or during your Chile tours, a seal on certain bottles that reads “Accredited Sustainable-Wine of Chile,...
Starting in the north, visitors on Chile tours travel to the Damas Islands Marine Reserve and the Chanaral Island Marine Reserve primarily to see the Humboldt penguins, though migrating baleens, including humpbacks, blues and fins, also pass through these protected waters. West of the Chile Patagonia city of Puerto Montt, in the Chiloe Archipelago, a population of blue whales was recently discovered, inhabiting the...
The Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus) can live in extreme temperatures that dip as low as -20 degrees F and as high as 86 degrees F. The species is found in high elevations of the Andes in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and northern Chile. The body of the Andean flamingo is a very light pink, appearing almost white. Its hindquarters and bill are black and its legs, yellow. If you get close enough, during your...
Many people prepare for their travel to Chile by reading guidebooks or the nation’s literature. For those who prefer to learn about the country before the start of their Chile tours by watching films, here are some suggestions. Though Chilean filmmaker, Patricio Guzman, is best known for his political films, he has made other documentaries that may interest those planning to travel to Chile. His 1999 film, La...
The Chilean flamingo is the largest of Chile’s three species of flamingos, just slightly bigger than the Andean flamingo, reaching an adult weight of about seven pounds and a height of less than five feet. Its body is pink with shading transitioning to a darker pink on the hindquarters. Its gray legs have pink at what we wrongly believe to be the knee joint which is actually the ankle. The bill is black as are...
The toppling of the Salvador Allende government in 1973 and the twenty-year dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet that followed in Chile sent many of the country’s artists, including its filmmakers, into exile. The turmoil of the country’s politics and daily life during this period eventually spawned many films by those who sought to ensure that no one would forget their September 11, the date of the coup....
Why would anyone head north to the desert during their travel to Chile instead of going south to go hiking in Patagonia? Flamingos would be one good reason. Of the world’s six species of flamingos, three prefer the stark conditions found in Chile’s Atacama Desert: the James, the Andean and the Chilean. It is perhaps one of the oddest traits of Chile’s flamingos that as wading birds, dependent on...
Entering the Museo Neruda of Isla Negra, one of three homes the famed Chilean poet designed as a retreat, one follows not only his travels but the sources of his inspiration. The house’s proximity to the sea and the nautical theme of many of its contents give visitors on Chile tours the feeling that they are indeed on a boat or at least an island, not just the village of Isla Negra. Visitors pass through a...
Fortunate indeed are travelers who see a colony of flamingos take flight during their travel to Chile. They will most likely to have this opportunity if their Chile tours take them to San Pedro de Atacama, on the eastern side of the desert where a large reserve protects them in their habitat of saline lakes and marshes. Visitors who travel to the Atacama during their Chile tours may encounter one of three species,...
In so vacant a landscape as the Atacama, visitors on Chile tours to this desert will be surprised to learn that the region has a tumultuous history dating back thousands of years. As a species, humans have been making their imprint on the Atacama Desert since ancient times. Visitors may view pre-Columbian rock drawings if they travel to the Atacama during their Chile tours, some dating back over 2,000 years.  ...
Pablo Neruda lived in a world of his own making. Nowhere is this more evident than in his nautical-themed home at Isla Negra, where he described himself as the captain and his guests as crew. When he had to don a tuxedo to accept the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971, he remarked that the garb reminded him of the get-ups he and his friends would wear during costume parties at Isla Negra. All that was missing was...
Of the three flamingo species that inhabit northern Chile, the James’s flamingo (Phoenicoparrus jamesi) is the smallest, weighing just four and a half pounds and standing three feet at adulthood. Also called the Puna flamingo, it is a relative of the Andean flamingo but lives in a more limited range. The bird is light pink with vivid red streaks on its neck and back. In some positions, the bird’s black...
Of the three museums honoring Chilean Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda, La Sebastiana is the least visited and the most unusual. Named after the carpenter who built it, La Sebastiana sits atop one of the hills of the seacoast resort city of Valparaiso. It is one of several museums that travelers may visit in this port city, seventy-five miles northwest of Santiago during their Chile tours. The house is located in...
  La Chascona was the third house that Chilean poet Pablo Neruda added to his real estate collection and is today a museum for visitors during their travel to Chile. The house is located at the base of Cerro San Cristobal in the Bellavista neighborhood of Santiago, an arty district, filled with hip galleries, artisan markets and sidewalk cafes. It is also near the city’s National Zoo where Neruda and his...
When tragedy strikes a nation, it ultimately shapes its literary landscape for some period of time. Anyone who chooses to bring along the works of contemporary Chilean writers on their Chile tours will undoubtedly encounter stories of exile. One’s travel to Chile will be enriched by reading such tales. Coincidentally falling on the eleventh day of September, the overthrow of the democratically-elected Salvador...
Named for the three species of flamingos the area protects, the National Flamingo Reserve consists of seven sectors. All are located in the vicinity of the oasis village of San Pedro de Atacama, a popular destination for people whose travel to Chile takes them to the eastern side of this desert. Each of the sectors contains salt flats, one of the world’s most unusual wildlife habitats. Protecting portions of...
  “Anyone who hasn’t been in the Chilean forest doesn’t know this planet. I have come out of that landscape, that mud, that silence, to roam, to go singing through the world.” So Chilean Nobel prize-winning poet, Pablo Neruda begins his memoirs. As a youth, his environment provided him a place to invent a paradise while surrounded by harsh conditions of poverty. Later in life, he grew...
Pablo Neruda loved many times in his life, emotions and experiences he poured into his poetry. Early on, after some years of learning about love, but mostly lust, he met Laura who married his friend while Neruda was serving as a diplomat in the Far East. Then there was Albertina who married another of Neruda’s friends and with whom Neruda unsuccessfully attempted to rekindle a relationship as his first...
 Poet Pablo Neruda immersed himself in Chilean politics, fighting for the causes of the poor and the disenfranchised. It was role he did not escape in death. Falling almost immediately on the heels of a military coup by General Augusto Pinochet that toppled the recently elected government of Salvador Allende, Neruda’s death was presumed to have been “precipitated” by the event, though Neruda...
Travelers who decide to learn about the country’s modern history before the start of their Chile tours will encounter Pablo Neruda and his poetry. Neruda knew poverty from an early age, born into a Chilean economy in ruins and a rigid caste system that allowed no upward mobility. Raised in the La Araucania region of southern Chile surrounded by disenfranchised indigenous peoples, the seeds for Neruda’s...
It goes without saying that a great way to get acquainted with a destination is through the country’s literature. Those who are planning to travel to Chile will have plenty of options. Fans of modern literature probably know the works of Isabel Allende, a prolific novelist and cousin of the late Chilean president, Salvador Allende. Born in 1942, Allende has written several best-selling semi-autobiographical...
As a child, Chile’s Nobel Prize-winning poet, Gabriela Mistral, knew poverty first hand. Before turning to poetry, she made her mark in education and throughout her career as journalist and diplomat, championed the universal right to a better life through equality in education. The welfare of children was a lifelong cause. Her appeals on behalf of poor children before the United Nations were instrumental in...
Three of the homes where the beloved poet, Pablo Neruda, lived and worked are popular stops on the itineraries of many Chile tours. To fully appreciate these quirky museums during one’s travel to Chile, it is necessary to understand Neruda’s love life, his politics and his spending proclivities. He loved women. He loved nature. He loved objects. These houses, Isla Negra, La Chascona and La Sebastiana,...
Yes, you can read wildlife guides about the wildlife species you may encounter during your Chile tours. But what better way to learn about animals, especially birds, and the soul of a country at the same time than in the poetry of Chile’s beloved Pablo Neruda? He was a man who knew his birds, a life-long fascination. Like all birders, he studied them and collected books about them. He could identify every...