Chile, which stretches 2,670 miles north-south but only 217 miles east-west, crams startling diversity into its long, narrow borders. In a single day, one can watch Andean Condors soar over the paramo in the high Andes and by nightfall dip your toes in the Pacific while tipping a glass of Carménére. One can explore both geysers and sand dunes in Atacama, the world's driest desert, or trek through the tundra and sub-Antarctic rainforest of Tierra del Fuego. Chile boasts spectacular Andean scenery, including the highest active volcano in the world at an imposing 22,573 feet, friendly people, and brilliant infrastructure, which combine to make it one of the most pleasant South American countries to visit.
473 bird species can be found in Chile and on its outlying islands, including nine endemics such as Chilean Tinamou, Chilean Mockingbird, Slender-billed Parakeet, Moustached Turca, Chilean Seaside Cincloides, and Ducky and White-throated Tapaculos. Chile is also home to the endangered Humboldt and Magellanic Penguins, which can be spotted in the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve and other areas. Don't miss a visit to Easter Island, the grand island of Chiloe Archipelago for UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and the Isla Robinson Crusoe, home of the Juan Fernandez Firecrown, a critically endangered hummingbird. Crusoe is said to have a richer endemic ecology than the Galapagos in terms of flora and birds. Birding in Chile is not about quantity and mega-long birdlists like the other countries on the continent, but the quality of the birds and the people will more than compensate. Contributor: Chris Lotz/Birding Ecotours
The best time to visit is during the austral spring in November.