Whether you’re a nature lover or history buff, there’s a place in Chile waiting for you to explore! In this blog post, we’ll take a look at 10 of the best places to visit in Chile and help you find your perfect vacation spot.
10 Experiences & Best Places to Visit in Chile
When you think of Chile, what comes to mind? The rugged Andes mountains, the cosmopolitan city of Santiago, the pristine beaches of Patagonia? Chile is one of South America’s most diverse countries, with something for everyone.
If you love seeing wildlife like pumas (local mountain lions), rheas, guanacos (much like a llama, they are camelids native to South America) or penguins, Patagonia needs to be on your list! You might also see Patagonia hare or mara, armadillos, or foxes.
I love seeing penguins in the wild (like on the Jackass Penguins beach in South Africa). In Patagonia, there are several places to see penguins. The most popular one, as it is the easiest to find, is the Magellanic Penguin. These are pretty common and can be seen in many locations throughout South America, including Ushuaïa, Puerto Madryn and Chiloe Island.
Plus, eversince seeing a Moai statue in Washington DC, Easter Island has climbed up my travel Bucket List.
Cities to visit in Chile
Santiago is the capital and largest city of Chile. It is located in a valley surrounded by magnificent snowcapped Andes Mountains.
The city’s colonial heart is the Plaza de Armas. The Royal Court Palace, which houses the National History Museum, and the Metropolitan Cathedral, erected in the 18th century, are two magnificent buildings.
Each neighborhood has its own distinct flavor. Santiago is a very cosmopolitan city with history, cultural activities, exquisite dining, and spectacular natural beauty to enjoy.
Valparaiso is one of Chile’s most distinctive cities. The city has a bohemian feel about it, with 42 hills you can climb to enjoy the view and the many bright homes. Several funiculars transport you up and down various hills for the opportunity to appreciate both the scenery and all of Valparaiso.
You’ll fall in love with this charming city, as you wander through the cobblestone alleyways that connect all of the hills. Enjoy the many cafes and bars, places to eat, and spots to enjoy the bay in the moonlight.
This city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and while there’s still plenty of renovation work taking place, it already has tons of color and charm to it.
Torres del Paine National Park
The magnificent granite pillars of Torres del Pain, or ‘Tower of Pain’, are a must-see. They tower more than 2000 meters above the Patagonian steppe and are perhaps the most spectacular national park in all of South America.
It is a popular tourist spot and you can see why. The pathways that lead you through lush forests, rickety bridges spanning rushing rivers, and an enormous and bright blue glacier will amaze everyone.
The reserve has been a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for almost four decades and is home to everything from ground birds such as the rhea to big cats like the puma. Some are easier to spot than others!
San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama is a tiny Chilean town located in the country’s northern region, which is surrounded by the world’s driest desert. The town itself is a picturesque one with many adobe buildings and tree filled streets.
Salt flats, geysers, hot springs, and salt flats flourish in this Andean region. The area’s mineral wealth is acknowledged for the good vibes that it receives from tourists.
Patagonia is a vast region that extends from Argentina to Chile, covering 402,000 square miles. Patagonia essentially comprises the entire southern tip of South America, naturally split by the Andes, South America’s mountainous backbone. The Chilean population is virtually sparse in this isolated and just 10% of it belongs to the country.
The Chilean Patagonia region, which comprises three provinces — Aysén, Magallanes, and Chilean Antarctica, as well as Los Lagos and Palena — is popular with tourists for its energetic outdoor activities and seasonal animal sightings.
Fjords of Chaiten / Hornopiren
For those who are interested in genuine adventures, the Chaiten and Hornopiren National Park fjords are some of the finest locations to see in Chile because they are located at the country’s most remote location – Carretera Austral.
Several ferries link the fjords together and make for an exciting journey. You may feel as though you’re in Scandinavia from the start because you’ll have to travel across numerous Fjords between Puerto Montt and Chaiten.
Valle de la Luna
Valle de la Luna is a vast valley that has been carved by wind and water with stunning sand and stone formations. Some of them, such as Tres Marias, have curious shapes that appear to be artificial.
Valle de la Luna is a valley with a unique color palette and terrain, making it feel like walking on the moon while traveling there. The ideal moment to go is late in the day when climbing a sand dune, you may witness an incredible sunset from a viewpoint.
The island of Rapa Nui, which is located 3200 kilometers off the coast of Chile in the middle of the Pacific, is named after a Spanish navigator who claimed it in 1770. Easter Island is the world’s most remote and yet still inhabited island, having been discovered by the Dutch in 1722.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is best known for its giant Moai statues that all seem to show the same figure, although no one is sure who this is.
To reach the island, you must fly there, and there are a variety of guided excursions that are well worth the money to discover the secrets of the island – or at least try!
Penguins in Punta Arenas – Isla Magdalena & Porvenir City
Isla Magdalena close to Punta Arenas is often known as ‘Penguin Island’ and is the best place to visit if you love to see these big ground birds.
Isla Magdalena is a little island off the coast of Chile with more than 50,000 Magellanic penguins, and you may go on an excursion to it from Punta Arenas, which is the country’s largest city in the south.
If you REALLY LOVE penguins you can arrange for a custom tour to look for the King Penguins. The second and the lesser-known in South America is the King Penguin. It is the second-largest penguin after the Emperor and is usually found on very remote islands.
On a special day trip to Tierra del Fuego, you can meet the King Penguin, in its natural habitat at the Penguin King Park. The ferry ride lasts 2 hours to the Island of Tierra del Fuego, from where you will have to travel another 120 km south of Porvenir city. You are sured to be wowed by the immensity of the Patagonian Pampas. You will sail through the mythical Strait of Magellan to get there!
The Wine Valleys
There are no shortages of vineyards in Chile, nor valleys where world-class wine is produced. In actuality, the countryside surrounding Santiago is covered with budding vines, which are used to make some of the world’s greatest wines.
Try local Carménère, Syrah, and Pinot Noir while enjoying some delicious Chilean cuisine prepared with local meats to get the best of the wine valleys. Or simply enjoy seeing how the wine is made and the location that the grapes are grown in to better understand your favorite bottle.
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