According to Contours Travel, more and more Australians are extending their stay in Chile to further explore the country's diverse offerings.
Managing Director of Contours Travel, Ted Dziadkiewicz, says with Santiago as a popular gateway to South America for travellers flying in from Australia, the interest in exploring the city and beyond the city borders is growing.
"Among our clients, Brazil and Peru are still the two most popular destinations in South America, but over the last few years, it's evident that interest in exploring Chile is on a steady rise, not just as an extended stop-over, but also as an end destination," says Ted.
"While hot spots like the Atacama desert, Patagonia and the Lake District remain popular places to visit due to their extraordinary landscapes and experiences, lesser known places including Pucon, Chiloe and Easter Island are increasingly being included in many of our tours and individual tailor-made itineraries," he says. "These places are still very much untouched and authentic with rich histories, well preserved cultures and thriving communities unaffected by western or modern influences; and they very much appeal to many of our discerned travellers who enjoy scraping beneath what's trendy.
Ted adds that as appreciators of good food and wine, many Australian foodies who visit Chile also try to join in the Vendimia wine festival between February and April, where specialty local dishes and some of the country's best wines can be enjoyed.
Even though Chile is great to visit all year round, Ted advises travellers that the best time to visit the south or the Patagonian region is between November and March when the weather is conducive to all of the outdoor activities on offer.
While Contours Travel's portfolio of Chilean tours is growing, the most popular tours include their packages to Santiago and wine valleys, Atacama and the lakes crossing. These tours give travellers an insightful look into some of the country's diverse landscapes and best assets, especially the Andes - from the driest desert up north to Glaciers and fjords down south.
Last year, Chile welcomed 46,010 Australians (up >2% from 2013, which recorded 44,943 visitors).
For more information on tours and itineraries for Chile, visit www.contourstravel.com.au.