Places to visit in Chile

With one of the most diverse landscapes on the planet, Chile has become an increasingly popular tourist destination in recent years, especially among nature lovers and adventure seekers. Here in this long and narrow nation on the west coast of South America, travelers will find a variety of impressive travel opportunities, from the high peaks of the Andes and endless beaches to lush temperate forests, ancient volcanoes and a spectacular coastline such as that. found at Cape Horn.

Chile also has magnificent national parks and conservation areas, which are ideal destinations for those who love hiking and trekking, as well as those who enjoy adventurous activities such as climbing, rafting, biking. mountain and horseback riding. .

To make sure you see the best points of interest in this incredible South American country, be sure to read our list of the best things to do in Chile.

Torres del Paine National Park

In this moment, Torres del Paine National park is an extremely popular destination. Located more than 62 miles north of the city of Puerto Natales in southern Patagonia, this area of incredible beauty encompasses mountains, glaciers and countless lakes and rivers.

The most important region of the park is the Cordillera del Paine, an area that marks the transition from the Patagonian steppe to the northern subpolar forests. Perhaps most notable of its many wonderful features are the 9,350 feet-high granite peaks of the Macizo Paine, which dominate this already impressive landscape.

Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the park, with numerous well-marked trails, many of which offer overnight shelters with the basics needed for longer walks around the mountains. If you are planning more than just a day of hiking, professional guides are recommended and in some areas are a must.

One of the best guided treks of the park is the five-day W Trek, one of the best treks in Patagonia. This 45-mile route includes some of Patagonia's main landmarks, including the massive Gray Glacier and the Paine Grande Mountains.

Adventure Trips

The Atacama Desert and the Moon Valley

Some notable features of the Atacama Desert are the numerous caverns in the region, some with evidence of pictographs created by primitive man and where some of the oldest mummies in the world were found, preserved by the aridity of the area. The most famous of them, the Chinchorro mummies, are now exhibited in the archaeological museum of San Miguel de Azapa.

Also of interest is the Laguna Cejar sinkhole, famous for its turquoise waters.

The Valley of the Moon is located 8 miles west of San Pedro de Atacama in the extreme north of the country, near the border with Bolivia.

This rugged and inhospitable landscape in the heart of the Atacama Desert draws many visitors for its uncanny 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. Yet despite its remoteness, this strikingly beautiful landscape has sustained life for centuries, both human and numerous species of flora and fauna.

Among its most interesting features are the dry lake beds which are dazzling white from deposited salt and prone to producing fascinating natural saline outcrops.

Easter Island and Rapa Nui National Park

Despite being more than 2,174 miles from mainland Chile, this fascinating island with its remarkable stone sculptures remains the most recognizable attraction in the country.

Over 880 of these statues have been identified, known as Moai, created by the island's first Rapa Nui population, most of them now protected by the National Park National Park. The Island was declared an Unesco World Heritage Site.

In Rapa Nui there are the country’s best beaches including Anakena, a beautiful yet short stretch of white coral sand that's the perfect spot for a break from hiking.

Santiago: Chile's Cultural Capital

Santiago is not only the financial and business capital of Chile, it also serves as the country's cultural and entertainment center and is home to endless fun things to do, including its museums and art galleries, along with excellent shopping and dining.

Centrally located and the country's main transportation hub, Santiago is where most visitors begin their Chilean travels before heading to the Andes or other areas of outstanding natural beauty, such as Easter Island. The smartest travelers, though, will make time in their Chile travel itinerary to get to know Santiago.

Chilean Lake district

Stretching over 330 kilometers from Temuco to Puerto Montt, Chile's Lake District is worth exploring. This beautiful region of the Andean foothills boasts rich farmland at the base of its many snow-capped volcanoes, surrounded by thick forests and pristine lakes.

For adventure lovers, a typical Chilean Lake District itinerary includes endless possibilities for hiking and biking, fishing along with other fun activities like climbing a volcano; whitewater rafting; kayaking, canoeing; horse trips; and, if you visit during winter, skiing. Road trips to the region are also very popular and spectacular.


Chile's third largest city, Valparaíso, sits between the sea and the coastal mountain range. It is a perfect city to visit from Santiago de Chile since they are 1 hour-drive away from each other. Valparaiso is popular due to its cobble stone streets, colorful houses, colonial architecture, its harbor and beaches.

Lauca National Park

Located in the extreme 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 made of of high plains and mountain ranges with an important presence of volcanoes.

Highlights include hikes around its many unspoiled mountain lakes, such as Cotacotani and Chungara, which reflect the surrounding landscape to stunning effect.

The park also features several important archaeological sites, as well as evidence of early European settlers who left their mark on the many old colonial buildings and churches in the region.

This national park is a dream destination for people who enjoy bird watching.

Pumalín Park

Pumalín Park has become one of the most important and popular conservation areas in Chile. Covering a vast area of more than 988,000 acres stretching from the Andes to the Pacific, the area boasts some of the most pristine coastlines and forests in the country and stands out for being almost entirely untouched by human development.

In addition to protecting the area's rich flora and fauna, including the Larch, the world's oldest tree species, the park, owned and operated by the US-based Conservation Land Trust, is easily accessible to visitors and offers one of the best experiences in the nature of the country.

Thanks to its extensive network of trails, campgrounds, and visitor facilities, Pumalín Park is a pleasure to explore, whether for a short nature hike or as part of a longer ecotourism adventure that includes a stay in cabin-style accommodations.

Los Pingüinos Natural Monument

As its name suggests, the monument is home to one of the largest penguin colonies in Chile, consisting of some 60,000 breeding pairs of Magellanic penguins. Accessible only by guided boat tours, the islands of Marta and Magdalena are also home to large colonies of seals and sea lions. Another of Chile's important natural monuments is El Morado, an easy drive from Santiago and the site of the San Francisco Glacier and the 4,674-meter-high Cerro El Morado mountain.

The Humberstone and Santa Laura nitrate works

Situated near the northern port city of Iquique in the remote Pampa desert and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005, this fascinating ghost town was once home to a bustling community.

For more than 60 years beginning in 1880, thousands of Chilean, Bolivian, and Peruvian workers worked in the Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeters (Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeters), 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.

Although abandoned since 1960, the site offers a fascinating glimpse into the harsh conditions these "pampinos" face, with many of the site's largest structures still standing and ready to be explored. Professional guides are recommended given the remoteness of the area and the severe climate.

Chiloé Island and Chiloé National Park

Located on the island of Chiloé, the second largest island in the country, the Chiloé National Park is worth adding to your travel itinerary. While not as rugged as most of the country's most impressive landscapes, the island of Chiloé is quite unique. Chiloé National Park itself has become increasingly popular with tourists in recent years. The highlight of a visit to this area of exceptional natural beauty is the opportunity to observe wildlife as diverse as blue whales and dolphins (tourist excursions are available), and the large penguin farms at the nearby Islotes de Puñihuil Natural Monument. Available adventures include sea kayaking, hiking, and ecotourism.

Valle Nevado

Once a well-kept secret, the fact that Chile is home to some of the best skiing in the world is now common knowledge among skiers. By far the most popular ski area in South America, the tourist region of Valle Nevado (Valle Nevado) in the foothills of El Plomo de los Andes is well served by public transportation from the country's capital, Santiago, located just 46 kilometers west of the slopes. .

With mostly clear skies and heavy snow thanks to its high elevation (it's 3,000 meters above sea level and you can ski 112 days a year), the resort has 37 trails and 11 lifts, and is so popular with families as well as experienced skiers and snowboarders.

In addition to its three hotels, a variety of rental chalets and condos are available, suitable for short and long stays, and the resort also has eight restaurants. There is a snow school on-site, along with a ski shop and a tour company offering heli-skiing adventures. Other notable Chilean ski resorts close to Santiago include La Parva and El Colorado.

Mylodon Cave Natural Monument

As popular with tourists as with nature lovers, the Cueva del Milodon Natural Monument (Cueva del Milodon Natural Monument) is located in the heart of Chile's Patagonia area, a short distance from Puerto Natales.

The highlights of this fascinating natural wonder, part of the popular End of the World Scenic Walk, include a series of easily accessible caves located around a formidable rock formation known as the Silla del Diablo (Devil's Chair).

The main cave, known as the Cave of the Milodon, was where, in 1895, the well-preserved remains of a prehistoric Mylodon were discovered (a tall statue of this extinct creature marks the site where the discovery was made), along with the remains of other ancient animals and even human bones.

This impressive cave is about 200 meters deep and is fun to explore. If you have time, take the signposted path that leads to the top of the cave, where you will enjoy spectacular views of the nearby Eberhard Fjord.

Other fun things to do include exploring the park's many other hiking trails, which include a series of raised tree-lined sections that are fun to hike.

Cochamó Valley

Known as the "Yosemite of Chile", Chile's beautiful Cochamó Valley region is a delightful area to explore. Located in the Los Lagos de los Andes region and named after the Cochamó River, is a region that, like Yosemite, has become extremely popular with hikers and climbers, the latter drawn here by the opportunity to tackle its many 1,000-meter granite walls.

Hikers, meanwhile, can choose from a variety of trails of varying degrees of difficulty, most of which lead directly to popular tourist spots, including the beautiful waterfalls that dot the region.

Besides the varied flora and fauna here, people are also drawn to great fly fishing.

Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park

Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park sits in the heart of Chile's Lake District. Easily accessible from the city of Puerto Montt, the great tourist attraction here is the spectacular Saltos del Petrohué (Petrohué Falls).

Here, the fast-flowing Petrohué River plummets down a volcanic rock slide into Todos los Santos Lake, an especially impressive sight during the rainy season. After descending the falls and rapids, the water is deposited into the crystal clear lake, a popular spot for fishing and bird watching.

The area is also known for its diverse wildlife, including deer and cougars, as well as its hot springs. Add to this picture-perfect location a backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes, and you've got the perfect selfie spot for that memory of your Chile vacation.

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