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Hiring a car in Chile is recommended for exploring this exciting country and will provide you with the ease of access for all the nooks and crannies of this wonderful country. Santiago, the capital, which has over five million inhabitants and is situated in the central valley of the country, is the perfect first stop for exploring further afield. With its bustling economy and vibrant feel – combined with the colonial additions of the remaining Spanish buildings – Santiago has many landmarks to explore. Some highlights include the Palacio de La Moneda and the Bolsa de Comercio.

Further afield from the capital, you’ll find an array of places to explore from the city including craft villages such as Pomaire, which is only eighty miles and easily accessible by car. Because of the strong influences of Indian culture in the country, you’ll find some wonderful products to take home with you from sheep woold and leather to silver and copper. Indeed, you can also find necklaces and rings made from the semi-precious stone lapis lazuli; the only other country in which this is sourced in the world is Afghanistan. Other recommended areas in Santiago itself include the Patio Bellavista, which is home to several modern and ancient local craftworks. Other fantastic cities that will while away your time in Chile include Valparaíso, which is regarded as one of the most atmospheric port cities in Latin America. Much smaller than Santiago, it inspired poets including Pablo Neruda thanks to its winding streets and colourful houses. For nature lovers, Chile also has it all. A must-see is the Lake District, but the spectacular natural highlight of a visit here is the Parque Nacional Lauca. A UNESCO world biosphere reserve, it is home to all kinds of fantastic wild life, including flamingos – a rare opportunity to see them in the wild.

Cities in Chile