From Atacama, the driest desert on the planet, to the howling winds of icy Antarctica, Chile's fastinating landscapes extend right along the Pacific Ocean for a distance of over 4,000km. Follow the famous Carretera Austral, an extension of the legendary Pan-American Highway, as you explore this country which holds the record for the greatest difference in altitude with two mountain ranges, one which runs along the coast and the other, the Andes, forming the border with Argentina. In Norte Chico, you'll marvel at beaches, salt deserts and oases, while in southern Chile, the active volcanoes, lakes and fast-running rivers will take your breath away. Further south, fall under the spell of the indented fjords and mist-covered archipelagos of Patagonia. At this point, it's not a road but a ferry which takes you to the majestic glaciers of the Torres del Paine and then on to the wild open spaces of Tierra del Fuego.Throughout your journey, you'll learn all about the heritage left by the Incas and the Europeans which is evident in the painted churches of Chiloé, in the museums of Santiago, the country's attractive capital, and along the steep narrow streets of picturesque Valparaíso. Finally, take time to sample the country's wine, the reputation of which is now firmly established across the globe.
As emblematic as its painted houses, Valparaiso’s funicular elevators attest to the city’s golden age. As transportation to the heights, they offer a magnificent view of the port and its bay. But apart from the four ascensores that now cater to the tourist trade, the other elevators may well be left to ruin due to technical and financial problems.
Valparaiso port, in the centre of Chile, has been for the last twenty years or so, a centre of graffiti, the origins of which date back to street art traditions which began in the 1960s during the political unrest under Allende.