The official name of Chile is the Republic of Chile. It is a beautiful South American country. This gorgeous country occupies a long and narrow strip of land between the Andes and the Pacific. Chile is nicknamed as the longest country in the world for it is never more than 180 km (112 miles) wide. On the other hand, its coastline extends over 4,300 km (2,672 miles). It is a great heaven for tourists.
Because apart from various things to do in Chile; it also borders Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Drake Passage. But you don’t have to leave the country, because there are numerous places to visit in Chile and all of them are fabulous.
Best Places to Visit in Chile:
Among the top tourist attractions in Chile are the driest desert in the world, magnificent scenery of glaciers and fjords, and the scores of volcanoes along the Pacific “ring of fire”. Here is a list provided for your comfort in Chile travel.
10. Cerro San Cristobal
One of the best places to visit in Chile is the Cerro San Cristóbal. It is a hill located in northern Santiago, Chile. This hill is considered one of the top tourist attractions in Chile. And let me tell you, it is not just writing in a paper. This big hill in the middle of the city features one of the most incredible Santiago panoramas available.
On a clear day, you can even observe the Andes. Of course, the hill offers a huge opportunity for the photographers to take marvelous photos all around. You can reach the hill of Cerro San Cristobal by foot, by car via the road or by riding the funicular. Take the funicular. It is a historic monument and it offers wonderful views.
On the summit, you will find the 22-meter tall statue of the blessed Virgin Merry. The statue is lit up at night by lights placed on its sides, allowing it to be viewed from all over Santiago both day and night. There is also an amphitheater and a chapel. The amphitheater is used for holding masses or other religious ceremonies. And the chapel is used for praying.
There are two municipal pools named Tupahue and Antilen. At the foothills of Cerro San Cristóbal are the Chilean National Zoo and a Japanese-style garden. The hill also houses the largest public park in Santiago: the Santiago Metropolitan Park. The park serves as a scenic escape above the smog that can choke Santiago on winter days. It is a great picnic spot.
This is the best places to visit in Chile where you can relax and simply watch the world go by. There are also facilities for the hungry and thirsty travelers. There is a traditional Chilean summer-time non-alcoholic drink named Mote con huesillo. It is made from wheat and peaches and served ice cold. I urge you to try it.
9. Los Pinguinos Natural Monument
One of the best things about Chile travel is you get to go surrounded by cute and fearless penguins. Oh yes, Chile tourism offers you this magnificent feat. If you don’t believe me then go visit the Los Pingüinos Natural Monument. It is the largest penguin colonies in southern Chile. More than 120,000 Magellanic penguins live in the Los Pingüinos Natural Monument.
It is located on the Magdalena Island. The island itself is very small, just one square kilometer and currently uninhabited by humans. There is a gorgeous red lighthouse on the island. The Magdalena Island is like heaven to both the bird lovers and the nature lovers.
Los Pingüinos Natural Monument is one of the best places to visit in Chile. It will feel like you are in a National Geographic documentary. There are also seagulls and cormorants here. The island is accessible by boat. The birds migrate back here and find their mate in September or October each year. The Penguins returned to the sea by the end of March. So, from September to March is the best time to visit one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chile.
8. Chiloe Churches
If you are looking for things to do in Chile, go on a tour of the Chiloe archipelago. The archipelago of Chiloé is composed of 30 islands, well known for a number of unique churches that boast a scrupulous architectural style called Chilota. This unique style was reflected in more than a hundred wooden churches in these islands that were created in the seventeenth century. But the churches fell into disrepair. There are now two dozen restored sites available to tour that serve as a gorgeous representation of this unique mestizo style combination. 16 of these churches are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Apart from the churches, each island of the Chiloe archipelago offers visitors views of rolling hills and villages filled with brightly colored wooden houses. Isla Grande de Chiloé is the first island to come into view as you cross the Chacao Channel by ferry. Chiloé Island is the largest island in Chile. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Chile, especially among Chileans who come to understand the island character, the rural landscape, the seafood, and the UNESCO churches.
Chiloe is famous for myths and legends with roots in its native population but with some European influence. There are a lot of myths and legends in their culture and the best way to discover their culture is to attend local celebrations and listen to traditional myths and legends.
Even though the traditions of Chiloé are fascinating, but the natural beauty is hard to miss. The sea and forest converge in a wild and solitary landscape on Isla Grande de Chiloé. There is a national park located in the western part of the island and Tantauco Park to the south. Chilote foxes, hundreds of bird species and humpback whales can be observed on the way to Patagonia. There is also an impressive network of hiking trails in Tantauco Park that slither through larch, cypress and myrtle trees. Truly, the Chiloe archipelago is one of the best places to visit in Chile.
Valparaíso is one of the top tourist attractions in Chile. Valparaiso is the second biggest city in Chile and the Capital of the Region. This historic city is located on the Pacific coast of the central region of Chile, only about 120km (72 miles) northwest of Santiago. It is the main working port of Chile. In the 19th century, Valparaiso played an important role as a major stopover for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by crossing the Straits of Magellan. Among the places to visit in Chile, Valparaiso is the most dynamic. Valparaíso is syncopated, dilapidated, colorful and poetic. Write down the name of this wonderful mess on your list of things to do in Chile.
Pablo Neruda, who drew much encouragement from this assiduous port town, said it best:
‘Valparaíso, how absurd you are…you haven’t combed your hair, you’ve never had time to get dressed and life has always surprised you.’
But Pablo Neruda was not the only one. Poets, painters and would-be philosophers have long been drawn to Chile’s most unusual city.
Valparaíso is known for its brightly colored houses, bohemian culture, and beautiful seaside views. The city is built upon dozens of steep hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean. As one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chile, Valparaíso features a labyrinth of streets and cobblestone alleyways, which is embodying a rich architectural and cultural legacy. If you ever visit Chile, you must visit Valparaíso including all the other places to visit in Chile.
You will find many funiculars, known as ‘ascensores’ throughout Valparaíso. Muelle Prat (Prat Wharf) can be found at the foot of the Plaza Sotomayor, which is the only wharf where the public can closely watch the loading and unloading of the ships from a safe distance. You will find a typical handicrafts market at this wharf and boat trips around the harbor can also be taken from here. You can pay a visit to the Iglesia La Matriz del Salvador church.
It’s possible to visit one of Pablo Neruda’s three houses in Valparaíso. His other two houses are in Santiago and Isla Negra on the coast. This one in the Valparaíso is known as La Sebastiana. The house is perched high up on a hill with fabulous views of Valparaiso and its bay.
6. San Rafael Glacier
There is a wide range of places to visit in Chile. Chile tourism offers you many spectacular landscapes. One of the most fascinating things to do in Chile is a boat ride to the San Rafael glacier. The amazing glacier is located within the Laguna San Rafael National Park. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Chile. The San Rafael Glacier is one of the major outlet glaciers of the Northern Patagonian Ice Field in southern Chile. It is a giant glacier that calves into the Laguna San Rafael. You can reach the glacier only by boat or plane.
The journey by boat is a spectacle in itself. Sailing around icebergs akin to icy phantoms, you approach the giant San Rafael glacier at the far end of the lagoon. The glacier is over 4km wide and this giant rears out of the water to a height of 70m. You can observe the glacier from a boat at a safe distance. However, what you can see from the boat is in fact just the tip of the glacier’s “tongue”, which extends some 15km from its source. It really is a dizzying sight. The glacier is retreating fast and by the year 2030, it will be gone.
But it is leaving behind another beauty named San Rafael Lagoon. This lagoon is part of the Laguna San Rafael National Park, which is named after the lagoon. The national park includes the Northern Patagonian Ice Field. It is a fjord, which is more than 16 km (10 mi) long and is one of the tourist attractions in Chile.
Of course, visitors to the national park to see the glacier. People assume that the lagoon itself will be a quiet and desolate place. But it is not. You can hear the thunder of breaking the ice that makes the water turbulent. But the trip itself is pretty exciting. If you are lucky you can see a dolphin swimming by, playing in the lagoon water. And the natural scenery is awesome.
The snow-capped Patagonian Mountains in the distance, jungle-like forests along the shores, amazing air, astonishing icebergs, and wild dolphins really made it an amazing trip to the San Rafael Glacier. So be sure to keep the glacier in your list of places to visit in Chile.
5. Valle de la Luna
You will never get tired of things to do in Chile. Chile tourism does not only offer you a cold iceberg or glacier or a journey by boat. But it also offers deserts. Valle de la Luna which translates as the “Valley of the Moon” is one of the entertaining places to visit in Chile. The valley is located in the Atacama Desert. It is one of the most visited places in San Pedro. It is an interesting area with stones and sand formation. Millennia’s of floods and winds have given it a spectacular series of color and texture. The large sand dunes and stone formations mimic the surface of the moon, giving the region its name.
The Moon Valley has dry lakes. The salt composition of these wraps with a beautiful white cloak; escarpments of all green, blue, red, yellow colors surprising with the most diverse and surprising forms and which the sun makes vary its tones in thousand different forms during the day, especially in the twilight hours that reaches its best beauty. The valley presents an inexpressible feature, plenary of majesty and calm, uncaring beautiful and daunting in full moonlight.
The diverse saline outcrops of the valley are alike true sculptures. Also, there are a great variety of caverns. From atop a giant sand dune, you can drink in spectacular views as the sun slips below the horizon and a beautiful transformation occurs. It is an unforgettable experience. Every year hundreds of tourists visit the Moon Valley as it is one of the most popular places to visit in Chile.
4. Torres Del Paine
Looking for places to visit in Chile then visit the Torres Del Paine. It is a national park that encompasses mountains, lakes, glaciers, and rivers in Southern Chilean Patagonia. Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most spectacular national parks in the country. With one of the most impressive sights in the Southern Hemisphere and home to some of the most classic trekking routes of the world, Torres Del Paine is one of the top favorite places to visit in Chile.
The park is a world biosphere reserve. It features a huge variety of plant and animal species. Along with that the incredibly beautiful setting of the park has made it an almost unequaled destination for hikers and backpackers, ecology-lovers and adventure sportsmen alike and which makes it one of the best places to visit in Chile.
Most people visit the park for its one greatest hit, the spectacular granite peaks shaped by the forces of glacial ice, three Towers of Paine. But they soon find out that there are other amazing things that demand their attention. And they are glad to give it. The azure lakes, roaring rivers you will cross on rickety bridges, trails that meander through emerald forests and one big vibrant glacier. On a clear day, panoramas are everywhere. Snow-capped mountain peaks, glaciers, and mirrored lakes cascading rivers and waterfalls: in all respects, Torres del Paine national park deserves its reputation as one of the most exciting places to visit in Chile.
Pucón is one of the fantastic places to visit in Chile. Located in the Southern Lake district in Chile, Pucon is a small touristy town. A beautiful town nestled beside Lake Villarrica and is dominated by the smoking Villarrica Volcano constantly looming on the not-so-far horizon makes it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chile.
Pucón is firmly placed on the global map as a Mecca for adventure sports. Its exceptional settings have sealed its fate as a world-class destination for adrenaline junkies. It was a summer playground for the rich once. But now tourists from all over the world trickle in the city all year round. It is practically overrun during the summer. But winter does not see any fewer tourists either. While its fame can be off-putting for some, Pucón boasts the best small-town tourism infrastructure south of Costa Rica.
What makes Pucón one of the best places to visit in Chile is that it is used as a base for all the excursions that are nearby. There are multitudes of options here. You can go volcano climbing, relaxing in thermal pools or just hang out on the black sand beach beside the lake. You can even have an adventure in the form of white water rafting as well as fly-fishing in the nearby Trancura River.
Pucón is like a much smaller version of Queenstown in New Zealand except for the bungy jumping. Pucón offers a variety of sports and recreational activities including water skiing, white water rafting and kayaking, snow skiing, natural hot springs, horseback riding and climbing the Villarrica volcano. Pucon is still a bit pricey but it still is one of the most enthralling places to visit in Chile.
2. Lauca National Park
Tours in Chile then make a trip to the Lauca National Park. It is one of the most amazing places to visit in Chile. Located in the far north of Chile, in the Andean range, the Lauca National Park is one of the top tourist attractions in Chile. It’s not just the exaggerated altitude (between 3000m and 6300m above sea level) that leaves visitors to this national park breathless but the breathtaking scenery of the park. Among the places to visit in Chile, Lauca National Park is simply overwhelming.
Lauca is home to some incredible altiplano scenery, sparkling lakes, snow-sprinkled volcanoes, and isolated hot springs. A huge variety of wildlife and pretty highland villages are also sheltered here. The star attractions of the park are the nimble-footed vicuña and the rabbitlike viscacha. You may be lucky enough to see other South American camelids and a variety of bird species. Including the occasional condor and fast-footed rhea, there are more than 150 species of bird in the park.
The most spectacular feature in Lauca is the beautiful Lago Chungará. It is one of the highest lakes in the world. The abundant bird life makes the lake even more attractive. The impossibly perfect cone of Volcán Parinacota looms over this beautiful lake. It is a dormant volcano with a twin brother named Volcán Pomerape, just across the border with Bolivia. These pristine white-capped volcanoes are a part of the landscape making the Lauca one of the great places to visit in Chile.
1. Easter Island
Easter Island is one of the most mysterious places to visit in Chile. It is the most isolated inhabited islands on Earth. Easter Island is a Chilean island located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. The island is officially a territory of Chile. It lies 3,700 km (2,300 miles) off the west coast of Chile roughly halfway to Tahiti. It is also one of the most mystifying places on Earth. The island possesses a history that remains as unclear as it is evocative. The island is famous for its 887 enigmatic giant monumental stone statues called Moai.
These special statues are created by the early Rapanui people centuries ago. Rapa Nui’s mysterious moai statues stand in silence but speak volumes about the achievements of their creators. There has been much speculation about the exact purpose of the statues, the role they played in the ancient civilization of Easter Island and the way they may have been constructed and transported. But this enigma makes it one of the best places to visit in Chile.
Easter Island’s tiny land area (only 117 sq. km.) and remarkable isolation make its discovery and settlement an event that seems as unlikely as it was mysterious. It seems that the Polynesian have been the original settlers. The Dutch were the first Europeans to stumble upon the tiny island. There are many more mysteries surrounding the Easter Island.
Not surprisingly, the well-publicized moai have overshadowed the island’s other tourist attractions. But Easter Island is much more than an open-air museum. The moai is not the only reason for the island to become one of the best places to travel in Chile. Easter Island also offers some great diving and surfing as well as two volcanic craters and several sandy beaches. There is no better way to absorb the savage beauty of the island than on foot or on horseback. But if you simply want to relax and soak the nature into your body and soul, then just relax on a couple of superb expanses of white sand beckon.
Even though world-famous Easter Island is one of the top places to visit in Chile and visitors are on the increase, everything still remains small and personable.