Chile is still a rather conservative Catholic country even if it is liberalising with a woman president, although homosexuality is not a punishable crime there is still a lot of hostility towards the gay lifestyle. On the whole gay life is discreet but in Santiago it is possible to find a gay scene with a handful of venues, especially in Bellavista. Things have changed since Pinochet when gay bars were raided frequently, now Santiago enjoys crowds of 50,000 for its annual gay pride in June. Valparaiso, an historic port, is the home of brightly coloured houses, magnificent sea views and a rather bohemian culture with a diverse gay crowd, often found in the gay club Mascara. Chile’s Lake District is comprised of 12 lakes intertwined with snow-capped mountains, dark-green thriving forests and deep-blue lakes, thermal hot springs and six volcanoes. Torres del Paine National Park provides an excellent hiking experience, while Easter Island decorated with enormous statues offers an idyllic scene. If skiing is your thing, then enjoy the slopes in July and August in the Andes and if you like it colder head to the glacial south of Patagonia, however the Atacama Desert is pretty remote, as you would expect. Chile is an all-year-round destination with a mix of climates and habitats that will keep you in awe.