FIVE VISUAL TREATS ON THE ROAD THROUGH CHILE
THE SOUTHERN CROSS, VALLE DE ELQUI
The skies above this long arid valley are among the clearest in South America, ideal for spotting kite-shaped “Crux” aka the Southern Cross. One of the largest, Centaurus, is close by and contains Alpha Centauri, the star system closest to the Solar System.
THE BEACH AT ISLA NEGRA,
Pablo Naruda had a beach house just south of Valparaíso. The powerful breakers of the Pacific Ocean crashing onto black rocks were a muse and inspiration for much of his poetry. Like him, seek sanctuary on the shore.
(Guardian Presences). These 30-foot high desert sculptures at a spot called Pampa de Acha on the Panamarican Highway south of Arica were made by Chilean artist Juan Díaz Fleming in 1996. His intention was to pay homage to the indigenous dwellers, but locals say the tall figures have paranormal powers.
LA SEBASTIANA VALPARAÍSO
Naruda’s city home is now a delightful house-museum, full of antique maps, artworks, Asian screens and nostalgic knickknacks. The view over the city is wonderful as is the nearby area, complete with a statue of Neruda in his flat cap.
Osorno is the most photogenic of all Chile’s volcanoes. Rising above the cold waters of Lago Llanquihue, it’s topped by glaciers and deep snow in summer and all white (and skiable) in winter. It hasn’t erupted since 1869; Darwin and FitzRoy saw it “in action” on 19 January 1835 during their Beagle voyage.