Chile is a long, narrow country stretching along South America’s western edge, with more than 6,000km of Pacific Ocean coastline is underrated yet very much worth visiting. Chile has in recent years become an increasingly popular travel destination, particularly among nature lovers and adventure seekers. Santiago, its capital, sits in a valley surrounded by the Andes and Chilean Coast Range mountains. The city’s palm-lined Plaza de Armas contains the neoclassical cathedral and the National History Museum. The massive Parque Metropolitano offers swimming pools, a botanical garden, and a zoo. Chile’s capital has so much to do, from interesting museums and lookout points to trendy neighborhoods and fun activities. An array of stunning sightseeing opportunities, from the tall peaks of the Andes and endless beaches to lush temperate forests, ancient volcanoes, and a dramatic coastline. Then, there are all the things you can do only a short drive from Santiago. Boasting one of the planet’s most diverse landscapes. Chile is also blessed with an abundance of superb national parks and conservation areas, many of them can enjoy popular destinations for those into trekking and hiking, as well as those who enjoy adventurous things to do such as climbing, river rafting, mountain biking, and horseback riding.
Chile is an amazing land and has a lot to explore, so what are you waiting for?
Grab Your Glasses and Start Exploring The Best Places to Visit in Chile:
Torres Del Paine National Park
- Torres del Paine is the bearer of the famous Grey Glacier, the W-Trek, the O-Trek and also one of its most well-known attractions and postcards, the three distinctive granite peaks called Torres del Paine (Paine means “blue” in the native Tehuelche/Aonikenk language).
- Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile’s Patagonia region, is known for its soaring mountains, bright blue icebergs that cleave from glaciers and golden pampas (grasslands) that shelter rare wildlife such as llama-like guanacos. The most notable of its many wonderful features are the three 2,850-meter-tall granite peaks of the Paine Massif, which dominate this already breathtaking scenery.
- Some of its most iconic sites are the 3 granite towers from which the park takes its name and the horn-shaped peaks called Cuernos del Paine. One of Chile’s most important natural areas and an increasingly popular travel destination is the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park.
- The most important region of the park is the Cordillera del Paine, an area that marks the transition from the Patagonia steppe to the subpolar forests of the north.
Things to do Torres del Paine National Park
- Hiking is one of the park’s most celebrated activities, with diverse well-marked trails, many offering overnight retreats with the basics required for higher treks that circle the mountains.
- If you’re planning on anything more than a day’s hiking, professional guides are recommended and, in some spheres, obligatory.
- Location: Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region
- Best Time To Visit: The best time to visit Chilean Patagonia is November to early March (summertime in the southern hemisphere). Although you’ll compete with heavy crowds during this peak season, the weather is ideal for exploring Torres del Paine National Park and Tierra del Fuego.
Valle de la Luna and the Atacama Desert
- Located in the Salt mountain range, to the west of San Pedro and the south of the new highway. The Moon Valley is an interesting area of formation of stone and sand. Declared Sanctuary of Nature it comprises of Los Flamencos National Reserve.
- Located inside the Salto mountain range Located to 13 kilometers to the west of San Pedro de Atacama at the north end of the country, near its border with Bolivia, and can be accessed via well-marked bike trails, tour buses, or self-drive car rentals.
- The valley receives this name due to the great similarity of the place to the mole landscapes. This rugged, inhospitable looking landscape in the heart of the Atacama Desert attracts many visitors for its eerie resemblance to the surface of the moon, an effect caused by the erosion of its sand and stone features by wind and water over countless millennia. There is not to lose the sunset, due to it is unforgettable.
- When the sun sinks, it is painting pie tones the edges of hills and defiles, while the wind blows among the rocks and the sky pass from a pink color to purple and finally black.
Things to do at Valle de la Luna and the Atacama Desert
- The Moon Valley-Despite its remoteness, though, this surprisingly beautiful landscape has sustained life for centuries, both human as well as that of numerous species of flora and fauna.
- Among its most interesting features are its dry lake beds-this is, after all, one of the driest places on the planet-which are dazzlingly white due to deposited salt, and prone to producing fascinating natural saline outcrops.
- Other notable peculiarities of the Atacama Desert are the region’s many grottoes, some containing evidence of pictographs created by early man and where some of the world’s oldest mummies, preserved by the area’s aridity, were found.
- The most famous of these, the Chinchorro cadavers, are now on exhibition at the archaeological museum in San Miguel de Azapa.
- Location: San Pedro de Atacama, Antofagasta Region
- Best Time To Visit: The months from September to November and March to May are considered shoulder season for visiting the Atacama Desert. These seasons are best to take advantage of pleasant temperatures and desert atmosphere. Highlights: Shoulder season is a perfect time to visit the Atacama because of the lower number of tourists.
Easter Island & Rapa Nui National Park
- Rapa Nui National Park is a protected Chilean wildlife area located in Easter Island, which concentrates the legacy of the Rapa Nui culture.
- This culture displayed extraordinary characteristics that are expressed in singular architecture and sculpture within the Polynesian context. Easter Island, the most remote inhabited island on the planet, is 3,700 kilometres from the coast of continental Chile and has an area of 16,628 hectares while the World Heritage property occupies an area of approximately seven thousand hectares, including four nearby islets.
- First visited by Europeans in 1722, the magnificent yet remote Easter Island-so named by a Dutch Explorer who first set eyes on it on Easter Sunday- has been inhabited for thousands of years by Polynesians.
- All told, 887 of these statues, known as Moai-created by the island’s early Rapa Nui population-have been identified, most of them now protected by Rapa Nui National Park (the island itself has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
- Also of interest are the many “hare paenga” ruins near ahu sites consisting of stones that once formed the foundation of boat-shaped houses.
Things To do in Easter Island & Rapa Nui National Park
- Other highlights include the Father Sebastian Englert Anthropological Museum in Hanga Roa, the island’s main community, notable for its exhibits relating to the history of the Polynesian islanders and their traditions.
- Rapa Nu is also where you’ll find one of the country’s best beaches, Anakena, a beautiful yet short stretch of white coral sand that’s the perfect spot for a break from hiking.
- Location: Easter Island, Valparaiso Region
- Best Time To Visit: Winter, however, is similarly mild, with temperatures rarely dipping below the mid-60s. Really, there isn’t a bad time of year to visit Easter Island, though if you want to stay dry, avoid traveling in April, when the island gets most of its rainfall. The driest months are between October and February.
Santiago: Chile’s Cultural Capital And Largest City
- Santiago, also known as Santiago de Chile, was founded by Spanish conqueror Pedro Valdivia on February 12th, 1541.
- Today the capital of Chile is a world-class city with a cosmopolitan culture and modern telecommunications networks; it is the nation’s business, political, cultural, entertainment and educational center.
- Santiago is not only the financial and business capital of Chile, but it also serves as the country’s cultural and entertainment center and is home to endless fun things to do, including visiting its best museums and galleries, along with excellent shopping, dining, and hotel options.
- Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city, sits in a valley surrounded by the snow-capped Andes and the Chilean Coast Range. Plaza de Armas, the grand heart of the city’s old colonial core, is home to 2 neoclassical landmarks: the 1808 Palacio de la Real Audiencia, housing the National History Museum, and the 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral. La Chascona is the home-turned-museum of poet Pablo Neruda.
Things To do Santiago: Chile’s Cultural Capital
- Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda: Founded in 1541 and relatively crowd-free, the city features points of interest, a state-of-the-art cultural center occupying part of the impressive Palacio de la Moneda.
- The Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts: Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes), established in the 1880s with a focus on Chilean artists and boasting a large permanent collection of paintings, sculptures, and photos.
- Museum of Pre-Columbian Art: Other must-sees are the excellent (Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino), featuring collections relating to the country’s native people.
- The Museum of Memory and Human Rights (Museo de la Memoria y Los Derechos Humanos) commemorating those who suffered under the Pinochet regime.
- San Cristóbal Hill: A highlight of any visit to Santiago is taking the aerial tramway for its stunning views over this most hospitable of cities, along with interesting attractions, including an observatory, a 22-meter-tall statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and an amphitheater.
- Santiago Metropolitan Park: Be sure to also spend time enjoying Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, a huge urban green space, with a botanical garden, the Chilean National Zoo, and a funicular railway.
- Best Times to Visit Santiago: The best time to visit Santiago is from late-September to November, or from March to May; these months mark the spring and fall shoulder seasons in Chile.
The Chilean Lake District
- The Chilean Lake District is a zone in Southern Chile defined by its many lakes in the Andean foothills. The term is primarily used in tourism literature and advertising, in Chile Zona Sur is preferred as a geographical concept. S
- tretching for more than 330 kilometers from Temuco to Puerto Montt and resembling the alpine regions of Europe, the Chilean Lake District (Zona Sur) is well worth exploring. Like its alpine cousin, this beautiful region of the Andean foothills boasts rich farmland at the base of its many snowcapped volcanoes, ringed by thick forests and the kind of deep lakes that water sports enthusiasts drool over.
- And the connection to Europe doesn’t end here. After the forced resettlement of the region’s indigenous people, the Mapuche, farmers from Switzerland, Austria, and Germany arrived, bringing with them aspects of their own culture that can still be seen in the architecture of towns like Osorno and Valdivia, as well as in the region’s customs and festivals.
Things to do in The Chilean Lake District
- Cycle around Lago Llanquihue. Cycle a short stretch along the banks of Lago Llanquihue.
- Day hikes in the national parks.
- Climb volcanoes.
- Ski down the volcanoes.
- Trek in Tagua Tagua Park or Tantauco Park.
- Enjoy the Petrohue Waterfalls.
- Immerse Yourself in Mapuche tradition in Temuco.
- Best time to visit Chile – Torres del Paine & The Lake District. This part of Chile experiences all four seasons and is best visited in summer (December through March). Winters can be very wet as well as cold, although you can expect some rain and overcast days in summer too.
- Valparaíso is a port city on Chile’s coast. It’s known for its steep funiculars and colorful, clifftop homes. La Sebastiana, the quirky former residence of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, is now a museum with far-reaching Pacific views.
- During the 19th century, an influx of European immigrants left their mark on the city’s architecture and cultural institutions, many of which congregate around downtown’s Plaza Sotomayor. Chile’s third-largest city, Valparaíso, is nestled between the sea and the coastal mountain range about 112 kilometers northwest of Santiago and makes for an excellent day trip.
- As popular for its many old cobbled streets and unique architecture as it is for its lovely harbor and beaches, the city offers plenty of fun things to do.
Things to do at Valparaíso
- Lord Cochrane’s Museum located in a lovely old colonial home built in 1842 focus on the country’s rich maritime heritage, including (Museo Lord Cochrane).
- Naval and Maritime Museum (Museo Naval Y Maritimo) with its displays dealing with the War of the Pacific of 1879 between Chile and allied Peru and Bolivia, with particular emphasis on the contributions of Chile’s war heroes.
- Ironclad Huáscar located in the Port of Talcahuano, some 600 kilometers south of Santiago. Talcahuano’s beautiful harbor-home to Chile’s navy-is the base for this immaculately restored historic vessel built-in 1865 in Britain and one of the only surviving such battleships of her kind.
- The best time to visit: Chile is the first couple of weeks of November and March. Great weather and a few tourists. January and February are tricky as the whole country goes on holiday. At New Year, Valpo has one of the world’s largest fireworks display, which is truly spectacular.
Lauca National Park
- Located in the far north of Chile, just 140 kilometers east of the city of Arica, Lauca National Park (Parque Nacional Lauca) covers an area of 1,300 square kilometers and consists largely of high plains and mountain ranges, many of the latter comprised of large volcanoes. Lauca National Park is in the Andes mountains in the far north of Chile.
- Its rich diversity on flora and fauna gave it the title of Worldwide Biosphere Reserve. In this park, you can see vicunas, vizcachas, cóndores, and more than a hundred bird species, while you camp on the side of a peaceful lagoon.
- West of the lagoon is the tiny town of Parinacota, with a 17th-century church. Jurasi Hot Springs area in the far west. The park is rich in wildlife including flamingos, rheas, llamas and alpacas
Things to do at Lauca National Park
- The best part for the outdoor enthusiast is hiking around its many pristine mountain lakes, most notably Cotacotani and Chungara, which reflect the scenery around them to stunning effect.
- The park also features several important archaeological sites, as well as evidence of the early European settlers who left their mark in the region’s many fine old colonial churches and buildings.
- It’s also especially popular for bird-watchers and is home to more than 140 species, including Andean geese, crested ducks, Chilean flamingos, and the massive Andean condor. Another beautiful area popular with nature lovers is Conguillío National Park (Parque Nacional Conguillío), also in the Araucanía Region of the Andes.
- Location: Putre, Arica y Parinacota Region.
- Pumalín Park is a 400,000 ha nature reserve in the Palena Province of Chile, created by the United States environmental foundation The Conservation Land Trust, which was endowed and led by the American business magnate Douglas Tompkins. Installed as a nature sanctuary in 2005, Pumalín Park has become one of Chile’s most important and popular conservation areas.
- Covering a vast area of more than 988,000 acres stretching from the Andes to the Pacific, the area boasts some of the country’s most pristine coastline and forests and is notable for being almost entirely untouched by human development.
- The park protects 715,000 acres of flora-rich Valdivian temperate rainforest, home to many endemic species including some of the planet’s last stands of the endangered, enormous, millennia-old Alerce trees.
Things to do at Pumalín Park
- Its extensive network of trails, campgrounds, and visitant facilities, Pumalín Park is a joy to explore, whether for a short nature hike or as part of a longer ecotourism adventure including a stay at cabin-style accommodations commanding one of the world’s most beautiful, unspoiled backdrops.
- Address: Sector Río Amarillo S/N Chaitén, Chaiten, Chaitén, Región de Los Lagos
Los Pingüinos Natural Monument
- Los Pingüinos Natural Monument is located 35 km northeast of Punta Arenas, Chile. Magdalena Island and Marta Island, situated in the middle of the Strait of Magellan, is the main part of this natural monument.
- One of the most popular is Los Pingüinos Natural Monument (Monumento Natural Los Pingüinos), just 35 kilometers northeast of the city of Punta Arenas at the southern tip of the island and incorporating the beautiful Magdalena and Marta Islands.
- The Los pinguinos monument natural was created in 1966 to preserve the site as a breeding area for the penguins, as well as a habitat for other migratory birds.
- The monument also represents the cultural heritage of Chile, as it was inhabited by indigenous groups hundreds of years ago.
Things To do at Los Pingüinos Natural Monument
- The monument is home to one of Chile’s largest penguin colonies, consisting of some 60,000 breeding pairs of Magellanic penguins. Accessible only by guided boat tours, the islands are also home to large colonies of seals and sea lions.
- Another of Chile’s important natural monuments in El Morado, an easy drive from Santiago and site of the San Francisco Glacier and the 4,674-meter-tall Cerro El Morado mountain
- Location: Punta Arenas, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region.
The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works
- Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works are two former saltpeter refineries located in northern Chile. They were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, this fascinating ghost town was once home to a bustling community.
- The Abandoned Humberstone And Santa Laura Saltpeter Works. A struggle between these countries to control the nitrate-rich region eventually led to the War of the Pacific (1879–1883), also known as the Saltpeter War, in which Chile defeated Peru and Bolivia, and gained a significant amount of land from both countries.
- For more than 60 years from about 1880, thousands of Chilean, Bolivian, and Peruvian workers toiled in the Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Salitreras Humberstone y Santa Laura), a hostile environment that included some 200 saltpeter mines.
- In the process, these workers formed a distinct culture and way of life that has been preserved here.
- Location: km 47 A-16, Pozo Almonte, Región de Tarapacá
Chiloé Island & Chiloé National Park
- Chiloé National Park is a national park of Chile, located in the western coast of Chiloé Island, in Los Lagos Region. Situated on Chiloé Island, the country’s second-largest island, Chiloé National Park is well worth adding to your travel itinerary.
- In addition to the vegetation, its main attractions are the Cucao Lake, coastal dunes, and colonies of sea lions. This park is situated in the western region of the Isla Grande de Chiloé, which is an extension of the divided coastal mountain range.
- In places, it looks not unlike the kind of rural topography you’d expect to find in parts of Europe-Germany immediately springs to mind and it’s a delight to explore.
- In addition to the island’s numerous old iconic wooden churches, remnants of the communities established by Jesuit missionaries who settled here in the 1600s, you’ll see plenty of attractive, colorful old homes known as “palafitos” snuggled along the shoreline in places, and raised out of the water on stilts. Many of the island’s old churches, too, are painted brightly and should be visited.
Things to do at Chiloé Island & Chiloé National Park
- Chiloé National Park itself has become frequently popular among tourists in contemporary years.
- A highlight of a visit to this area of outstanding natural beauty is the chance to observe wildlife as diverse as blue whales and dolphins, and the large penguin breeding grounds on the nearby Islotes de Puñihuil Natural Monument. Available adventures include sea kayaking, hiking, and eco-tourism.
- Location: Los Lagos Region
- Best time to visit: The best time to go weather-wise is January-March (these are the warmest months). The coldest months are July-October. The rainiest months are May-August.
Chile is an amazing place to visit it offers you lots of recreations such as hiking in Torres del Paine, Patagonia or exploring Easter Island in the Pacific. You definitely cannot miss trekking in the Atacama Desert. Marvelling at Monkey Puzzle Trees in the Lake District this place never fails to impress you. Do not forget to drink Pisco Sour in Santiago’s Bohemian Neighbourhoods or horseback Riding through the Andes Mountains with so many things to do and amazing places to visit you will not regret a single moment. Before planning your vacation trip it is really important to know about the place you are planning for, this article provides you with all the necessary information to visit this magnificent land. With so many best places to visit Chile is a must-visit for your 2020 trip. Comment below and let us know when are you planning your wondrous trip to Chile?