If you were to ask the many travellers leaving Heathrow Airport, or any airport, where they were headed, few would answer, ‘Chile’. But, the Chilean mining accident which saw 33 miners trapped underground for 69 days probably gained more positive media exposure for this small and largely overlooked South American country than its tourism industry could possibly generate. For some of the estimated 1 billion viewers around the world who watched enthralled as the men were all brought to the surface alive, it was the first real glimpse of the indomitable spirit that makes Chile the gem that it is.

It is not just the ribbon-like shape of this country that is extraordinary:  It is as though this was Mother Nature’s final decorating stop and she decided to use all of her surplus supplies. The Chilean climate ranges from extremely dry in the North, to Mediterranean in the centre and frozen in the South. This alone promises the tourist something for everyone and Chile delivers just that. It is a veritable treasure trove for both the adventure seeker and those simply wanting to soak up some sun and enjoy the Pacific Ocean at its bluest and best. If you enjoy the ‘bright city lights’ kind of excitement, then Viňa del Mar will have more than enough to keep you happy. Being Chile’s primary seaside resort, it boasts top class hotels, casinos and clubs, both social and sporting. Chile’s biodiversity will make the exploration of these waters a unique and exhilarating experience for any diver. The capital city, Santiago, boasts several new, luxury hotels and many international restaurants with entertaining floor shows and enthusiastic dance bands. But, if you have come to Chile simply to marvel at the magnificence that nature can produce, then it will exceed all expectations.

Chilean Patagonia can only be described as breath-taking. It is almost other-worldly in its remoteness, with huge glaciers, waterfalls, fjords and lakes that are icy blue in colour which is broken only by brilliant white icebergs. Torres del Paine National Park is home to an abundance of wildlife among which is the giant condor. Well-developed hiking trails and trekking huts make this a haven for trekkers from all over the world who want to enjoy nature at her unspoilt and magnificent best. Coastal wildlife is not to be outdone and thrills visitors with colonies of sea lions, penguins and sea elephants. Chile’s offerings are too numerous to list and any tourist who visits the country with specific plans for their holiday will almost certainly end up enjoying far more than they knew existed. It is a country of great spirit and expectation and a willingness to share this with the world.