Life on-the-edge

The top three high-octane adventures in Chile

From clambering up active volcanoes to sandboarding in the world’s driest desert, adventurists will find plenty to keep them out on the edge in this Andean nation. 

Friday, August 03, 2012 Category: Tourism - Sport
From Patagonia to the Atacama Desert, adventure awaits in Chile. Photo: ddmalan / Flickr From Patagonia to the Atacama Desert, adventure awaits in Chile. Photo: ddmalan / Flickr

Attention all adventurists looking for the next thrill: look no further than Chile.


Playing host to the world’s driest desert, a large swathe of the globe’s longest continental mountain range, the Andes, as well as the pristine wilderness of Patagonia, Chile is a veritable jungle gym for the those who like to live life on-the-edge.


So here at ThisisChile, we’ve come up with a top three list to get you started on your thrill seeking adventures.


Sandboarding in Chile’s Death Valley


Unbeknownst to many, Chile has its own version of Death Valley: Valle de la Muerte. . . and the dunes of this valley make up one of the coolest boarding areas in the world.


But the real catch is that, you won’t be making fresh tracks in the snow, you’ll be making them in the hot sand of the Atacama Desert, with the conical volcanoes of the northern Andes as your backdrop.


Located just outside the town of San Pedro de Atacama, thrill seekers can easily access these dunes awaiting their speedy descent.  


Trek the “W” in Torres del Paine, Patagonia


At the other extreme – and almost literally at the end of the world – lie the towering spires of Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia.  The 5-day “W” trek weaves in and out of what was once an underground magma chamber, now a fossilized testament to the majestic force of wind and ice.


And though the hike can only be described as tough. . . would you expect anything less from one of the world’s most remote places? Highlights include hanging glaciers, granite spires, luminous lakes and unbelievable views.


A trek to the top of world’s tallest volcano


For those seeking out a really high-Andean adventure, how about checking-off the world’s tallest volcano from your bucket list?


A hike up Nevado Ojos del Salado - which reaches over 22,614 feet (6,893 m) and straddles the Chile/Argentina border - also yields access to a crater lake, thought to be the highest lake in the world.


Hiking can get you almost to the top, though be prepared for a bit of rock scrambling near the end. While not a technically challenging climb, watch out for the very high altitude and be sure to give yourself plenty of time to adjust.


Oh, and just one more thing. . . evidence leads scientists and researchers to believe the last eruption of the volcano was in 1993, so it could still be active!

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