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It’s clear that diving in Chile is a breathtaking adventure in some of the most remote, wild and world-class marine environments. This country is a must for adventure-seekers.

Diving in Chile

Quick facts

Through the lens of your dive mask, Chile looks like an epic diving destination. With almost 4300 kilometres/2670 miles north to south, it has an awful lot of coastline. So it's no wonder Chile boasts a hugely diverse range of dive sites - from Punta Arenas to Valparaiso. The Humboldt current runs the length of the central and northern coast, and it’s laden with nutrients that support a massive amount of biodiversity. To the south, the frigid waters around Punta Arenas are home to pods of dolphins and whales in a maze of fjords and islands. Easter Island is a territory of the country as well, and a quick flight from Santiago allows divers to experience some of the clearest waters in the world, truly a glimpse back in time.  This remote Pacific island is the epitome of a ‘deep blue’ feeling with perfect visibility, sheer drop-offs and no other divers in a radius of over 2000 miles. Robinson Crusoe Island also offers Humboldt Current diving in a remote location. This, the sprawling, rugged landscapes and the bustling cities, makes scuba diving in Chile a must for any adventure-seeker.

Recommended training

The ocean around Chile can present conditions from flat calm and crystal clear to windy and treacherous with strong currents. So training in drift and dry suit diving is very useful if planning trips to more remote regions of this wild country.

When to go

The weather in Chile is very different depending on your destination, so checking local sites is a must. The north remains fairly warm all year with low of 15°C/59°F and a high of 24°C/75°F. Santiago lies right in the middle of the country and remains around 22°C/71°F almost all year. In the south near Punta Arenas, temperatures drop to 10°C/50°F and get up to about 14°C/57°F in the summer. Furthermore, the visibility around Chile can change drastically with weather, sea currents and is largely based on your location. This said, Chile boasts some of the clearest waters in the world with visibility sometimes exceeding 70 metres/210 feet. Finally, Northern Chile tends to have warmer waters ranging from 16-20°C/60-68°F, and way down south, water can be much colder, averaging around 12-13°C/53-55°F. Although it is an overgeneralization, you’ll usually find the warmest waters in Chile from September until February, but seas are calmer from March to August.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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* Easter Island – Also known as Rapa Nui, this magical ancient island lies almost 4000 kilometres/2500 miles off the shore of Chile. It also hosts some spectacular evidence of ancient civilizations above and below the water alongside beautiful sea life and underwater landscapes. More than 100 species of tropical fish inhabit the waters around the island and, due to its mid-ocean location, the area’s visibility is some of the best in the world (sometimes exceeding 70 metres/210 feet). Accessed by air from Santiago, this island should be on every diver’s bucket list. Don’t miss sites such as The Trail of the Maoi, a submerged Easter Island head (aka Maoi) and Mana Vai, a dive through rock tunnels lined with coral walls and frequented by green turtles and thousands of tropical fish. * The Cauldron of Death – Not for the faint of heart (and demanding advanced dive training) this site is one of magnificent beauty and has adrenaline-fueled entry. Lying deep in the waters just north of Antofagasta, strong surge sweeps the mouth of the cauldron, guarding the spectacular wall dive beyond. For those with the knowledge and skills to meet the challenge, drop-offs and caverns filled with beautiful sponges, corals and starfish await on the other side. * Juan Fernandez Archipelago - Offshore near Santiago, the Juan Fernandez Archipelago hosts a plethora of world class dive sites with stunning visibility and warmer waters to enjoy. This archipelago houses the famous Robinson Crusoe Island, offering the chance to see a piece of history while diving with moray and cod fish. * Valparaiso – The largest sea port in Chile and located close to the capital of Santiago, this area is used frequently by dive shops in the city and can be a great introduction to diving in Chile. Waters around this part of the country are filled with soft corals, massive sea sponges, and many multicolored starfish. Add two great easy access wreck dives, El Falucho and the Caupolican, and Valparaiso becomes a must if traveling to Chile to dive for your first time. * Punta Arenas – Located way down in Southern Chile, Punta Arenas seems to be almost at the end of the world. Due to its location and the proximity of melting glaciers, the water temperatures can be frigid and demand a dry suit to thoroughly enjoy. The tradeoff is crystal clear water and a chance to dive among large sea lion colonies and beautiful gorgonians and nudibranchs. This part of Chile has also seen its fair share of naval exploration and in turn is home to many wrecks waiting to be explored.

What to see

With a wide variety of habitats for all kinds of marine flora and fauna, the aquatic life around Chile varies greatly. Some of these environments host seals, sea lions and whales in the cold southern seas. There are also hundreds of tropical fish species in the warmer, subtropical regions of northern Chile and many more creatures such as moray eels, green sea turtles and pampanito around Easter Island and the Juan Fernandez Archipelago.

Calendar

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Country

Located in the southwest corner of South America, Chile is the “tallest” country in the world. It’s almost 4300 kilometres/2670 miles north to south and averages only 175 kilometres/105 miles wide. With over 4,000 km of coast on the South Pacific Ocean, Chile also has a claim to a portion of Antarctica. As well as the mainland coast, Chile also includes dive sites at the Pacific islands of Robinson Crusoe island and Easter Island.

Other attractions

The capital of Santiago is a diverse city with lots of attractions to explore and nightlife to enjoy. Torres del Paine National Park contains huge granite peaks and glaciers, while the San Pedro de Atacama desert is one of the driest places on earth and a true wonder to behold. Easter Island offers a great look into the past with the historical presence of the Easter Island heads, a.k.a. Moai.

Getting there

Santiago International Airport (SCL) is the largest airport hub in Chile, and it welcomes dozens of international and domestic flights daily. You can also catch flights from Santiago to Mataveri International on Easter Island (IPC), Aerodromo Viña del Mar near Valparaiso (VAP) and many other locations along the Chilean coast.
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