Chile lies in the Southern Hemisphere but its geographical coordinates are similar to those of California, and travelers frequently compare the two locations' excellent surf, beaches, alpine lakes and rolling foothills. Chile's colorful fishing villages, world-class ski resorts and vibrant Mapuche culture make it one of Latin America’s top destinations. Staying at airport hotels while in Chile can reduce the amount of time spent on the road traveling between destinations.
Most travelers enter Chile via the country’s capital of Santiago, a bustling, modern city set against the dramatic backdrop of the snowy Andes mountains. Visitors can sample the region’s wines, tuck into homemade empanadas, salsa dance in a discoteca or spend the afternoon skiing. The Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, six miles outside of Santiago, is the country’s largest airport. The Diego de Almagro Hotel is within a five-minute drive of the airport and offers continental breakfast, Internet, business amenities and soundproof windows. Arranging for airport transfer through the hotel or city cabs is fairly straightforward and reliable.
Puerto Montt in southern Chile is a scenic outpost for travelers wanting to relax near the Pacific Ocean and snowy mountaintops, including nearby Volcano Calbuco. The Holiday Inn Express Puerto Montt hotel, about eight miles from Puerto Montt’s El Tepual airport, is one of the closest in the semi-rural area. Before boarding the plane, purchase gifts for loved ones at the Paseo Costanera Mall in the same building as the hotel, or head to the artisan shops at the Angelmo fish and crafts market. The hotel offers business services, sauna, fitness center and breakfast buffet. Guests can purchase an inexpensive hotel shuttle transfer to the airport.
Chile’s northern desert is a surreal expanse of dry, pocked terrain that’s been compared to the surface of the moon. Chile considers Antofagasta, anchored between the desert and Pacific Ocean, to be the mining capital of South America. Guests can visit colonial churches, see flamingos resting in the desert lagoons, or ride mountain bike or horses on the region’s sandy dunes. Visitors will find the Panamericana Hotels Antofagasta, 16 miles north of the Cerro Moreno Airport, to be relatively close for the sparsely populated region. Amenities include wireless Internet, souvenir store and ocean-view balconies. Guests can rent cars or arrange for airport transportation through local vendors.
Coastal Concepcion serves as a convenient gateway to the region’s numerous harbors and fishing villages. Colorful farmers markets, artisan fairs, stone-tiled plazas and outdoor cafes keep the city’s narrow streets brimming with energy, but watch out for petty street theft. The elegant Aurelio Apart Hotel is near the Carriel Sur International Airport, offering Internet, breakfast and suites with fully equipped kitchens.
- andes mountain image by Robert Ulph from Fotolia.com