Inside these natural contours, Chile’s poles vie for attention. In southern Patagonia, at the fringes of South America, an organic spectrum of color claims the earth — olive, brown, gray — cut by glaciers of electric blue and dark granite horns that shoot vertically from the ground into the sky. Northward, to the harsh and arid Atacama Desert, parts of which are so dry they’ve never recorded rainfall, orange dust becomes the common denominator, and salt flakes charged with lithium cast brilliant pastels upon mountains millions of years old. On the off year it does rain, thousands of acres are suddenly swallowed up by purple and pink flowers.
Chile’s people, too, tend to oscillate between extremes. A young chef making cheese out of carrots. New World winemakers tapping energy from the soil. A historian brewing Old World beer. And a subculture of artists coating derelict cities in paint, trying to return their beauty. Their belief in Chile makes them one; their differences make them interesting.
For travelers, it’s these kinds of contrasts that convert places into destinations, and destinations into stories. So we packed our bags and flew south. Way south. To the edge of the world, where the mountains meet the sea. These are the tales from Tierra Pacifica. – Jack Seemer