Getting your spouse the best anniversary gift ever is hard – and it doesn’t get any easier. For the first three or four years, coming up with something new and exciting for your anniversary is fine. Buy them a beautiful anniversary gift, make them breakfast in bed, go and see a film together. Easy. But what happens when you’ve spent 10 or even 20 years together? At this point you might start running out of ideas.
Instead of racking your brains and losing sleep over what you’re going to do, why not plan the trip of a lifetime for you and your loved one? It could be the perfect present for someone who loves to travel. It might require a bit of saving up, but it will pay dividends when you’re creating even more happy memories together.
Chile is exactly the right mixture of beauty, adventure and romance to constitute the best anniversary gift destination ever. Not sold yet? Let me tell you exactly what makes Chile so great.
The Snow-Capped Peaks of Patagonia
The number one thing to do in Chile is visit Patagonia. Located in the South of the country, Patagonia is at the very end of the world – and feels that way. Far from modern civilization, travelers can spend their days hiking through the rugged wilderness and camping under the stars. It really doesn’t get more romantic than that.
If you’re planning on visiting Patagonia then there are a few things to bear in mind. Firstly the weather can be extreme and very changeable so pack for rain, snow, wind and sun. Secondly, it is pretty pricey so make sure you factor that into your budget. Thirdly, summer is the best time to go (December – February) as the weather will be at its mildest and more trekking routes will be accessible.
Street Art and Boutiques in Valparaiso
A million miles (figuratively speaking) away from the peaks of Patagonia is Valparaiso. This coastal city is the definition of cool and is well worth visiting for a few days. Wandering through the quirky areas of Cerro Concepción and Cerro Alegre gives you the chance to admire some phenomenal street art and to check out the cute cafés and boutiques that line the streets.
In the main area of the city are beautiful plazas, delicious street food vendors and markets that sell all kinds of exciting knick-knacks. It really is impossible to get bored here. In the evenings, there is nothing better than heading out to the bars for some pisco or a bottle of fine Chilean wine.
Sand Dunes in Concon
About an hour away from Valparaiso is Concon. While the town itself isn’t much to write home about, it does have some staggeringly big sand dunes to admire. If you’re of an active disposition, it is easy to spend a day climbing up their sandy slopes before sliding down on a rented sand board.
Hiking up Chile’s Biggest Volcanoes and Mountains
This certainly won’t be the best anniversary gift for everyone but if you’re the kind of couple that lives for thrills then it might just be. Chile is home to some of the most incredible volcanoes and mountains on earth, including Mount Fitz Roy, Villarrica Volcano and the Ohos de Salado Volcano.
Some of Chile’s volcanoes and mountains are notorious difficult climbs with only one person reaching the summit of Mount Fitz Roy each year. But, there are also plenty of peaks that can be reached without too much effort. Alternatively, there is an array of day hikes and multi-day treks that go around or only partially up the mountains, which are better for beginners.
Chorillana and Other Gastronomic Delights
Chilean cuisine hasn’t quite got the reputation that is wine does but that doesn’t mean it’s not great. While it lacks the delicacy that, say, French cuisine has, it more than makes up for it with deliciousness. Indeed, one of Chile’s most famous dishes is Chorillana – a monstrous dish made up of chips, slow-cooked meat and caramelized onions, topped with fried eggs. Head to J Cruz in Valparaiso for Chorillana at its best.
Other popular dishes in Chile include asado (grilled meat), pastel de choclo (corn cake) and cazuela (a soup made from broth, meat and veggies). It might not be gourmet but Chilean food tastes great and it will fill you up for hours.
Chile’s Numerous National Parks
Sometimes the best anniversary gift is something as simple as a walk through the park. Chile has all kinds of exciting national parks – each with its own unique features. The Chilean government is even planning to build a route that will go through 17 of the country’s national parks and will be known as the Route of Parks.
The more well-known parks include Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego, both of which are found in Patagonia. However, parks like Radal Siete Tazas are just as beautiful and have far fewer tourists to contend with.
Quirky Beach Towns in Chile
If you’ve ever seen Chile on a map then you will know that it has a lot of coastline. Thankfully, the Chileans have capitalized on this and have developed a number of amazing little beach towns for travelers to visit.
Viña del Mar is one of the best examples of this. The beaches here are sublime, especially in summer, but they never get too crowded. It is very easy to spend a day here eating ice cream, playing beach volleyball and listening to the sound of the waves. You can even take a dip in the ocean if you need to cool down but be warned – the water is very cold!