standard Chile // From the Andes to the Ocean

Just by looking at the map, Chile has lured me. From east to west, it averages less only 180km and north to south, it stretches more than 4000km from the tropics to almost the Polar circle! And at almost anywhere in the country, you can drive from the world second highest mountain, the Andes to earth’s biggest ocean, the Pacific in one day!

And when I finally get here, it certainly does not disappoint.

Santiago & the wine region

The capital Santiago has a vibrant, modern vibe, as well as its own Latin American identity. Situated at the foot of the Andes Mountains and right in the center of the country, Santiago is home to grand hotels, world class shopping, the biggest markets, and a broad collection of fine restaurants. It has been taking top spot in the rankings of quality of life in the region. According to the Financial Times, Santiago is the city of the future in Latin America, and the New York Times has highlighted it as one of the must-see for travelers from around the world.

And what’s a tourist city without shopping! During the past five years Santiago has delivered to be a rival to Miami for a place among the best destinations for shopping. 6 blocks of streets of Alonso de Cordova and Nueva Costanera in a formerly residential area has been transformed, into a route of luxury shopping filled overrun with stores of brands such as Vuitton, Armani, Gucci … For local creative items, Piso Diseño in Parque Arauco is an area devoted to the home and decoration, where elegance and innovation are permanent trends.

Just at the outskirt of Santiago, you have the beautiful Chilean winery region. Along with Australia, New Zealand, US, Argentina and South Africa, Chile is without doubt one of the top countries for New World Wine. And like, most Latin countries, Chilean is relaxed about almost anything in life except when it comes to their wine!

There are several excellent wineries within Santiago proper including the most accessible Vina Santa Carolina and the biggest Villa Concha y Toro. And for those with a bit more time Bodega Miquel Torres is one of the countries’ most well-known.

With the complexity of Chile’s abrupt topography, rising from sea to snow-capped, the variety of wines is considerable. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most popular red produced under French tutelage while whites, mainly Chardonnay and Riesling are increasing.

Patagonia

A region covering Argentina and Chile, Patagonia has some of the most spectacular & beautiful geography on earth. This is where the Andes is at its most stunning described in the same breath as Rockies or Himalayas. Besides, there is endless expanse of Pampas (grassland) where the local Gaucho (cowboy) gallop; the dramatic Chilean fjords which puts NZ & Norwegian ones to shame, some of world’s biggest glaciers plunging and calving into crystal blue lakes; and the southern tip of continent and the world’s southernmost point outside Antarctic!

One of the most popular resorts in the Chile Patagonia is Puerto Varas. Nestled in the Chilean Lake District, this lovely town is set beside emerald blue lake, surrounded by lush green forested hills and towering snow-capped volcanoes. It is the gateway to numerous hikes in the surrounding national parks as well as a place to soak in the beautiful environment in its own right.

While the Chilean Lake district may be pretty and charming, my personal favourite is much further south almost at the tip of the continent – Torres Del Paine National Park. This is Patagonia with all its rugged beauty at its best – a landscape found nowhere else. Spectacular granite pillars which soar almost vertically for more than 2,000m above the Patagonia Steppe. Besides, it is filled with shimmering turquoise lakes, roaring creeks and rivers, cascading waterfalls, sprawling glaciers, dense forests and abundant wildlife. It is a paradise for hikers or any nature lovers.

It is easy to enjoy Torres Del Paine. Several luxury boutique lodges are situated right in the midst of the pristine beauty of the parks. Not only are you in nature best, you are also treated to gourmet cuisine & fine wine, luxury accommodation and pampering personal services.

One such hotel is Singular. Situated just at the gate of the park in the town Puerto Natales, this luxury 5-star hotel maintains its original historical charm. Apart from Torres Del Paine at its doorstep, it is also a convenient launching point for taking a cruise to appreciate the dramatic Fjords or catch a short propeller flights to Tierra Del Fuego to have a close encounter with the King Penguin.

Chilean Fjords, Beagle Channel & the world’s southernmost city

The best way to enjoy the most stunning fjords in the world is perhaps on board ths cruise Australis. A 3 or 4 nights cruise takes you between Puerto Natales which is at the gateway of Torres Del Paine and Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world. En route, past stunning glaciers plunging into the sea and penguin colonies in isolated bays; sail through Straits of Magellan and Beagle Channel; and round Cape of Good Hope!

Ushuaia, in Argentina is not only world’s southernmost city, its setting is beautiful and unique, sandwiched between the beagle channel and the southern end of the snow-capped Andes. You really feel like you are at the end of the world!

Atacama Desert

In Northern Chile, it’s another unworldly landscape not found anywhere else on earth – the Atacama Desert. It is situated high on the Andean Plateau with altitude between 2,000 to 4,500m. This desert is not your vision of endless folds of sand dunes but geographical kaleidoscope of deeply incise canyon, colourfully hued rocky mountains, geothermal areas of geysers and hot pools as well as settlements of Indian whose lifestyle has remained unchanged for decades.

Again, it is amazing that one can enjoy this amazing wild area in luxury & style – Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa. It is totally enveloped by natural surroundings with design influenced by local village architecture that blend seamlessly into its environment.

Chang Theng Hwee is the Managing Director of Country Holidays Travel and an expert on family travel. He and his wife have been taking their three children (now aged 10, 12 and 15 years) on travel adventures since they were 5 years old. To find out more about what destinations are ideal for families, visit www.countryholidays.com.cn

智利
– 左边安第斯山脉雪山 右边太平洋

只是地图上的一瞥,我的心已被智利深深吸引。从东到西,平均宽度不足180公里,而从南至北,却绵延了4000多公里,其修长的身姿一直从热带伸展到了几乎是南极圈的范围。不管你置身这个国度的什么地方,从世界第二高山脉安第斯山脉驱车到地球上最大的海洋太平洋,也不过是一天之内就能完成的梦想!

当我抵达那儿的时候,果然一切不负所望。

圣地亚哥&葡萄酒产区

首都圣地亚哥笼罩在充满生气的现代氛围里,却不失它原有的拉丁美洲特性。在这里,安第斯山脚下和智利的正中心,豪华酒店、世界级购物中心、顶级市场和琳琅满目的高级餐饮,正在上演着一场极尽奢华的城市童话,使得圣地亚哥一直居于这个地区品质生活的榜首。无怪乎《金融时报》说圣地亚哥是拉丁美洲的未来之城,《纽约时报》也把它列为全球旅行必游项目之一。

无购物,不旅游!过去五年圣地亚哥一直位列全球旅游购物最佳目的地名单,并且匹敌迈阿密(Miami)。阿隆索德科尔多瓦(Alonso de Cordova)和努埃瓦科斯塔内拉(Nueva Costanera)的六个街区,曾经是一个住宅区,现在已被改建成一个豪华购物网络,其间充斥着威登(Vuitton)、阿玛尼(Armani)、古琦(Gucci)等著名品牌。如果你对当地的新奇玩意感兴趣,帕克阿劳科(Parque Arauco)的皮索迪塞诺(Piso Diseño)是一个专注于家居和装饰品的地区,典雅和创新是他们不变的追求。

在圣地亚哥郊区,就是漂亮的智利酒庄的领地。正如澳大利亚、新西兰、美国、阿根廷和南非,智利毫无疑问是新世界葡萄酒中的佼佼者。和拉丁美洲多数其它国家一样,智利人对生活中的什么事情都漫不经心,但是一提到葡萄酒,就态度大变了。

在圣地亚哥有一些顶级的酒庄,包括最方便的圣卡罗酒庄(Vina Santa Carolina)和最大的干露酒庄(Villa Concha y Toro)。如果你有足够的时间,也不妨造访一下桃乐丝酒庄(Bodega Miquel Torres),它是该国最著名的酒庄之一。

从海洋到雪山,智利陡峭多变的地形造成了各种葡萄酒之间极大的差异性。在法国技术监督下生产的赤霞珠(Cabernet Sauvignon)是最受欢迎的红葡萄酒;主要的白葡萄酒品种霞多丽(Chardonnay)和雷司令(Riesling)的人气指数也在不断上升。

巴塔哥尼亚高原

阿根廷(Argentina)和智利(Chile)同在巴塔哥尼亚地区内,在这里可以看到很多地球上最为美丽壮观的地形。安第斯山脉最为惊艳的一段就在这里,堪与落基山脉(Rockies)和喜马拉雅山脉(Himalayas)相提并论。当然,这里还有无边无际的大草原供当地加乌乔(Gaucho)牛仔尽情驰骋;摄人心魄的智利海湾,不时有世界上最大的冰川崩裂玉殒入湛蓝的湖水中,令新西兰或挪威的海湾都相形见绌;更别说这片大陆的最南端以及除南极洲之外世界的最南端了。

瓦拉斯港(Puerto Varas)是智利巴塔哥尼亚高原最受欢迎的度假胜地之一。这个迷人的小镇怡然坐落于智利湖区(Chilean Lake District),与翠绿的湖水相伴。四周或是森林覆盖的小山,苍翠繁茂;或是积雪覆顶的火山,高高耸立。从这里出发,有无数条徒步路线通往附近各种各样的国家公园。而小镇本身漂亮喜人的周遭足以使你沉浸其间,乐而忘返。

智利湖区或许已经足够美丽和令人陶醉,但我的最爱还在更南端——几乎位于大陆最南端上的百内国家公园(Torres Del Paine National Park)。巴塔哥尼亚高原崎岖的美景在这里达到了极致,举世无双。巴塔哥尼亚大草原上高于2000米的花岗岩石柱直插云霄,蔚为壮观。随处可见波光粼粼的蓝绿色湖面,咆哮奔流的溪水和河流,层叠欢泻的瀑布,恣意伸展的冰川,茂密的大森林,以及数量和种类繁多的野生动植物。无论对于一个背包客,还是一个大自然的热爱者来说,这里都是天堂。

在公园原始纯朴的美景中间,散落着数家奢华精品酒店,让你在最大限度地亲近大自然的同时,享受到美食、美酒、豪华住所和私人服务的奢宠。于是,想要不喜欢托雷斯•德•佩恩(Torres Del Paine)就成了一件十分困难的事。

辛格勒(Singular)正是这样的一家酒店。这家五星级豪华酒店恰好位于纳塔莱斯镇的公园门口,至今仍保有它原有的历史韵味。因其地处托雷斯•德•佩恩的门阶地段,十分方便出行。你可以巡游风景如画、摄人心魄的海湾,或者干脆搭乘短程螺旋桨飞机前往火地岛(Tierra Del Fuego)与帝企鹅们来个近距离接触。

智利海湾、比格尔海峡和世界最南端的城市

想要好好欣赏这世界上最动人心魄的海湾,恐怕没有比乘坐南极光号游轮(Australis)更好的方式了。在这3、4晚的巡游中,你将从托雷斯•德•佩恩的门户纳塔莱斯港来到世界最南端的城市乌斯怀亚(Ushuaia),沿途遭遇跃入海中的绝美冰川和那些与世隔绝的港湾中的企鹅聚居地,轻越麦哲伦海峡(Straits of Magellan)和比格尔海峡(Beagle Channel),绕行好望角(Cape of Good Hope)!

阿根廷的乌斯怀亚不仅是世界最南端的城市,地处比格尔海峡和积雪覆顶的安第斯山脉南端之间,它的环境也十分优美独特。在这里,你真的会觉得自己置身世界尽头!

阿塔卡马沙漠

在智利北部,有另一处举世无双的风景——宛若人间仙境的阿塔卡马沙漠(Atacama Desert)。它高高位于安第斯高原之上,海拔在2000米至4500米之间。在这个沙漠里你看不到想象中的绵延不尽的沙丘,展现在眼前的是一个地理学的万花筒,万丈峡谷、五颜六色的石山、遍地间歇泉和热水塘的地热区,还有印第安人的聚居地——他们保持着自己的生活方式,数十年如一日。

同样,能够尽享这非凡的野外环境而又不失奢华和格调,将是无与伦比的美事。阿尔托阿塔卡马沙漠温泉酒店(Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa)完全在大自然的包围之中,当地村庄的建筑风格对酒店设计的影响使之与周围环境完美融合,天衣无缝。

Chang Theng Hwee是村旅行社的总经理和家庭旅行的专家。他和他妻子在他们孩子5岁的时候带着三个孩子(现年10岁、12岁和15岁)出去旅游冒险。更多关于家庭旅行理想目的地信息,请登录www.countryholidays.com.cn。

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