With an unusually long and narrow shape, Chile is home to one of the most diverse landscapes ranging from a rich decoration of mountains and plains, jungle, glaciers and the world’s driest desert and much more. The South American country is home to cold-weather creatures like penguins because of its location near Antarctica. Chile’s location plays an important part in its varied weather. Chile is also home to many historical sites because of its rich history and it is also known for its wine valleys. If you want to visit this fascinating country, here are the 10 Must-Visit Places In Chile.
1. Easter Island & Rapa Nui National Park:
Also known as Rapa Nui, Easter Island is one of the most isolated inhabited places in the world. The picturesque place is known for lush, rolling greenery, volcanoes, beaches, and the stone Moai statues. Rano Raraku and Ahu Tongariki have some of the best Moai statues. There are around 900 monumental statues on the island.
The Rapa Nui National Park is located on Easter Island. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and apart from the statues and other natural gems, it offers hiking, trekking and other activities. Rano Kau, Orongo, Anakena beach, Rano Raraku and Ahu Tongariki are some of its major attractions.
2. Atacama Desert – San Pedro de Atacama – Los Flamencos National Reserve:
Known for being one of the driest places in the world, the Atacama Desert is a must-visit in Chile. It is known for being the only true desert to receive less precipitation than the polar deserts. The dramatic landscape of the Atacama desert is especially popular among stargazers. During early-mid spring in years when rainfall is unusually high, you can witness the phenomenon called Desert bloom (Desierto Florido).
The town San Pedro de Atacama located in the Andes mountains consists of desert, salt flats, volcanoes, geysers and hot springs. The Los Flamencos National Reserve is located near the town and is home to the famous Valle de la Luna and Valle de la Muerte. The El Tatio Geysers and the Lagunas Miscanti & Miniques are a must-visit here.
3. Santiago & Valparaíso:
Two of the most exciting cities to visit in Chile are Santiago & Valparaíso. Chile’s capital, Santiago is also the largest city in the country. Santiago is ringed by the snow-capped Andes and the Chilean Coast Range. To experience the authentic Chilean culture, Santiago is a must-visit. The city is known for its museums such as the National History Museum, landmarks including the Metropolitan Cathedral and La Chascona, former home of poet Pablo Neruda. Its Plaza de Armas is a must-visit along with exploring its neighbourhood.
Located on Chile’s coast, Valparaíso is a port city known for colourful, clifftop homes. Visiting La Sebastiana and exploring Plaza Sotomayor is a must here. Other places you must-visit are the Human Rights Museum, Villarrica, Sky Costanera, Santa Lucía Hill & San Cristóbal Hill.
4. Torres del Paine & Puerto Natales:
Located in Chile’s Patagonia region, Torres del Paine is one of the most breathtaking places in Chile. Famous for its soaring mountains, bright blue icebergs, golden pampas, monstrous glaciers, tranquil lakes, and iconic rock formations, the park is a UNESCO biosphere reserve. Trekking, hiking, camping and sightseeing are the most popular activities here. The park is also home to rare wildlife such as llama-like guanacos and iconic natural structures such as the 3 granite towers and Cuernos del Paine.
The city of Puerto Natales is known for being the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. The beautiful port city is home to the Municipal Historical Museum and the and historic vast Mylodon Cave. One can also access the Patagonian fjords from Puerto Natales.
5. Chilean Fjords ( Fjords and channels of Chile):
You can find a large number of fjords and fjord-like channels on the southern coast of Chile. Channels from Cape Horn to Reloncaví Estuary provide access to ports like Punta Arenas, Puerto Chacabuco and Puerto Natales. You can access Patagonia from here. The journey will take you through places like Carretera Austral, Laguna San Rafael and uninhabited fjords, glaciers and views of the Pacific and you might even spot whales, many birds and sea lions. It is one of the most magical experiences to have in Chile.
6. Puerto Río Tranquilo – Marble Caves – Marble Chapel:
Bordering Lake General Carrera, the village Puerto Río Tranquilo is a great place to explore on your way to the Marble Caves and the Marble Chapel of Chile. Mostly, people visit the village from December to February and in winter months it might entirely close down. You can rent kayaks to get to the caves from the village. The Marble Caves were formed by 6,000-plus years of waves washing up against calcium carbonate. The smooth, swirling blues of the cavern walls are a result of the reflection of the lake’s azure water which changes in intensity and hue, depending on water levels and time of year. The stunning marble chapels and caves are a must-visit in Chile.
7. Chilean Lake District:
Known for its many lakes in the Andean foothills, the Chilean Lake District is one of the top attractions in the country. It is home to lush volcanic valleys, dense forests, crystal-clear lakes, and snow-capped volcanoes. The Los Alerces National Park in the region is known as Chile’s Yosemite and a must-visit.
8. Tierra del Fuego:
Shared by Chile and Argentina, Tierra del Fuego in South America’s southernmost tip. The region is known for its exciting landscape of snowy mountains, glaciers, tundra and trees sculpted by the winds. Isla Grande is its main island. The province, Tierra del Fuego includes the Chilean part of the main island of Tierra del Fuego.
9. Chiloé Island- Chiloe Churches – Chiloé National Park:
Exploring the Chiloé Archipelago is a must-do in the country. The Chiloé Island also known as Greater Island of Chiloé is the main island in the archipelago. The Churches of Chiloé is considered a unique architectural phenomenon in the Americas. The extensive amount of wood shingles used in the making of these churches differ them from the classical Spanish colonial architecture. These churches are considered as one of the most prominent styles of Chilota architecture. Also located on Chiloé Island is the Chiloé National Park. Dominated by the Valdivian rain forest, the park is home to Lakes, coastal dunes, and colonies of sea lions. Its beaches, hiking trails and forests make it a popular destination among tourists.
10. Lauca National Park:
Chile is home to many protected areas including 41 national parks and the Lauca National Park is one of them. Located in the Andes mountains, the national park is known for its snow-capped volcanoes, lakes and wetlands, the town of Parinacota, hot springs and wildlife. The vast Chungará Lake and the wetlands of the Cotacotani Lagoon are particularly popular in the park along with the volcanoes Pomerape, Acotando and Parinacota. You can spot flamingos, guanacos, vicuñas, pumas, rheas, llamas and alpacas in the park. Lava rivers, exotic flora and fauna, slopes, lagoons make this a must-visit in Chile.