Chile narrowly stretches along the southern half of the west coast of South America. With over 5.000 km of coast on the South Pacific Ocean, Chile also has a claim to a portion of Antarctica. Check out the geography.
The diving industry is still in its infancy but is slowly growing. The water temperatures can be very cold so the best diving extends from La Serena to Arica where the seas are warmer.
Robinson Crusoe Island: The sailor Alexander Selkirk was marooned on this island in 1705 for four years and four months, eventually inspiring Daniel Defoe to write the novel 'Robinson Crusoe'. Being far away from continental Chile, the sea is not cold, as it is not affected by the Humboldt ocean current.
Easter Island: one of the most isolated islands on Earth. Early settlers called the island "Te Pito O Te Henua" (Navel of The World). It lies far off the coast of Chile in the Pacific Ocean, roughly halfway to Tahiti and is most famous for its giant stone statues, built centuries ago. Easter Island is the epitomy of a ‘deep blue’-feeling … perfect visibility, sheer drop-offs and no other divers in a radius of over 2000 miles. Its subtropical water temperatures average 70°F, with the warmest waters (72°F) from September into February. Air temperatures range from highs of 68°F in summer months to 79°F in winter. Conditions make for easy diving in the winter, but rough waters can limit choices of dive sites in summer.
The best places to scuba dive in Chile are:
- the Tacas
- Spray Tips
- Los Molles
- Easter Island
- San Fernandez Island
North Coast Warm water around 16 ° C, water transparent, excellent visibility, (<25m) Abundance of flora and fauna:
- Santa Maria Island
- Mid north coast
Relatively cold water (about 13°C) Clear water, good visibility between (15m and 25m). Abundance of flora and fauna such as dolphins and whales, especially in Punta Choros:
- English Bay
- Punta Choros
- Los Molles
- The Tacas
- Central Coast
Cold water, (about 12°C). Water opaque, poor visibility, (>3m):
- Los Molles
- South Coast
Cold water, (about 12°C) Water opaque, poor visibility (>3m):
- Pichilemu Llico Punta Duao South Coast
Very cold water, (about 12°C) Water opaque, poor visibility, (>3m). Little variety of flora and fauna:
- Bahia Mansa
- Bahia Maullin
- Robinson Crusoe Island
Warm water, about 20 ° C in summer Crystalline waters, visibility (between 15m and 20m). Beautiful sites:
- Bahia Pangal
- Caleta San Juan Bautista
- Easter Island
Warm water, (about 22°C) Crystal clear water with visibility exceeding 25m. Great variety of fish and underwater flora and corals:
- Caleta Hanga Roa
[Source: Dive Chile]
- Easter Island is a 5 hour flight from Santiago.
- Summer (Dec-Mar) sees most dive centres open 7 days a week, though May/June is a good autumn season.
- If you're visiting Chile and planning to dive, its adviseable to get in touch (by telephone) with a dive centre first. Be prepared though . . . their English can be poor.
- Water temperatures are low so a good wetsuit or drysuit is recommended.
- The Llaima Volcano, in southern Chile, erupted on 2 January 2008. Visitors to the area are advised to be alert to press, TV and radio announcements and follow any guidance given by the local authorities.
- Dengue Fever is endemic to Latin America and can occur throughout the year. In 2007 there was a marked increase in the number of reported cases of Dengue Fever across the region. To minimise exposure to mosquito bites and avoid being bitten you are advised to use mosquito repellent regularly and cover up with suitable clothing. In Chile the only area reported to be currently affected is Easter Island. No fatalities have been reported. [Source: www.fco.gov.uk] Check to up-to-date advice before travelling.
|Climate:||Temperate; desert in north, mediterranean in central region, cool and damp in south|
|Natural hazards:||Severe earthquakes, active volanoes, tsanamis|
|Diving season:||Year round|
|Water temperature:||21C/79F (Jan-March)|
|Air temperature:||Varied - click to see details|