It is easy to find incredible places to visit in Chile because the country offers great geographic diversity
Chile is one of the most amazing countries in the world. Although small and narrow, its territory is quite long. Which means there is a lot to see there. In the south, Patagonia. In the north, the Atacama Desert. And along its length we find beaches, ski resorts, volcanoes, geysers and many incredible cities that are very different from the capital, Santiago.
Finding excellent places to visit in Chile is a relatively easy task. What is hard is choosing where to go among so many options. So let us help you decide by presenting nine cities and regions of this wonderful Andean country.
Atacama Desert & Places to Visit in Chile
Unreal! This is the best adjective to define the Atacama Desert, located in the northern region of Chile. It is the highest and most arid desert in the world. And it is packed with attractions. There are volcanoes in the background wherever we go, and a different landscape to gaze at in every local town we pass.
Among the must-see tours in Atacama we can mention:
Valle de la Luna
The park is about 2,600m high and 7% relative humidity. It was declared a nature sanctuary in 1982, carved by strange geological formations. A mixture of rocks and lots of sand shaped beautiful dunes and its landscape can change at any moment.
Geysers del Tatio
This field is of volcanic origin and is considered the third largest in the world at 4,300m of altitude. Geysers are at their peak at dawn, when boiling waters of about 85 degrees shock against negative temperatures, forming a cloud of smoke across the field. Other than this, there is a strong boiling that gushes water through the air.
The lagoons Miscanti and Miñique are known as Lagunas Altiplanicas. They are about 4,200m high in the middle of the Andes and surrounded by volcanoes with their same names. Blue water lagoons, volcanoes with snowy peaks and the staple blue sky of the Atacama create a painting-worthy scenery. On top of that, we can still find many wild animals, such as the vicuña.
The Atacama sky is considered one of the best on the planet to observe at night. There are more than 300 nights a year of clear sky at an altitude of 2,400m. You can see several stars and constellations, clusters of galaxies, planets, nebulae, satellites and other celestial curiosities with your own eyes.
The charming Pucón is located in southern Chile and is considered by many to be the best city to visit in the country. Pucón is famous for adventure sports and ecotourism. And for the traditional and active volcano Villarica. In winter, you can ski on the slope of the snow-covered volcano. But in summer, you can climb the Villarica and getting as close as possible to the summit is without a doubt the visitors most wanted tour.
Another traditional walk is the view of the Geometric Spa, 80km away from the city. Because of the volcanoes in the area, you can find parks with thermal waters throughout the region, with temperatures ranging between 32 and 45 degrees.
Without a doubt, Puerto Varas is one of the most sensational places to see in Chile. The city is located in the region of Los Lagos, in the south of the country. Puerto Varas is known for its low temperatures, with averages between 7° C in the winter to 14° C in the summer.
Among the most searched for tours there is Lake Llanquihue, the third largest natural lake in South America, and the view from above shows the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. Founded by Germans, its constructions follow the standards of that european country, making the architecture of Puerto Varas another great attraction.
Easter Island is considered one of the most mysterious places on the planet. Located in the Pacific Ocean, 3,700 km away from the west coast of Chile and 3,780 km from Santiago, the place has a small population of about 4,000 inhabitants. Easter is a volcanic island shaped like a triangle and it is the most isolated piece of land in the world, on the edge of Eastern Polynesia.
Other than its volcanoes and blue sea, the place also draws attention to the existence of the famous moais. The moais are carved statues of volcanic stone that are up to 10 meters high and weigh up to 80 tons. They were built around 1500 AD to 1200 AD. No one knows for sure how these statues were made, but the tradition says that the moais used to walk around the island.
Cajón del Maipo and Embalse el Yeso
Not so famous among the tourists yet, but simply one of the most beautiful places to visit in Chile, Cajón del Maipo is a canyon in the middle of the Andes. Throughout Cajón we find breathtaking landscapes, extremely narrow roads surrounded by cliffs and many options for adventurous sports such as trekking, rafting, kayaking, mountain biking and other outdoor activities.
Inside the Cajón is hidden a rare beauty called Embalse el Plaster. The Embalse is a dam with turquoise water at 2,500m of altitude, surrounded by the snowy mountain. When the Embalse ends, an immense desert begins, where Chileans ride motorbikes. You can find landscapes similar to the Atacama Desert.
There are groups taking this tour that leave Santiago, since the spot is located near the Chilean capital. These tours usually go on for almost 3,000m up the Andes, where we find very high mountains close to the Argentinian border.
Chilean ski stations
The ski stations could not be left out of the places to visit in Chile. After all, the most searched locations are near Santiago.
The most visited of them is Valle Nevado, which has become beloved by Brazilians for some years now. The place is only 46 km away from the capital. With 3,000 m of altitude at the base of the station, and 5,430 m at the highest peak, Valle Nevado is known for having excellent snow. The place also has a resort for those who wish to stay in the largest snow sports center in South America.
A little lower, at 2,340 m od altitude and 36 km away from Santiago, is Farellones. It is a village that has a park with the same name and, during the winter, it becomes Santiago’s favorite ski center. The place is cheaper than Valle Nevado and allows amateurs to enjoy snow sports more peacefully. It is also a beautiful place to photograph.
El Colorado and La Parva are the other two ski resorts in the area near Farellones. El Colorado is suitable for anyone who has already practiced snow sports. Meanwhile, La Parva is a very expensive village connected to the tracks of Valle Nevado.
150 km from Santiago, on the way to Mendoza, Argentina, is Portillo. The spot has hosted a skiing world championship and usually receives tourists who have more time to travel through Chile and wish to follow the route to the Argentine capital of wine.
The Chilean capital has become a very sought after South American destination in recent years, taking Buenos Aires, Argentina, a little off the spotlight. With the affordable air tickets and the unmistakable beauty of the Andes Mountains that embraces the whole city, Santiago has much to offer when it comes to tourists.
Its center is surrounded by historic buildings, including the Palacio de la Moneda, the headquarters of local government. All over the city, numerous museums and parks make Santiago the perfect place for those who are thirsty for culture and enjoy romantic walks. It is common to see the imposing mountain range everywhere you go. And for those who want to see it from above, the Cerros Santa Lucía and San Cristóbal are obligatory places to do so.
The Bellavista and Providencia neighborhoods set the tone for Santiago’s nightlife. The rich chilean gastronomy and restaurants are spread along the neighborhood of Italia. In fact, Providencia is great for tours and its high point is the Costanera Center, the largest building of Latin America, towering 300m high over the city. Inside, we find Costanera Mall, the largest shopping mall in South America. Over at its top, the Sky Costanera, the largest Latin American lookout post.
Arica is famous for being the first or the last city of Chile, a few steps from Peru, in the north of the country. It has a desert climate and the Pacific Ocean there has warmer waters, unlike the central zone, where the cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar offer colder waters. It hardly ever rains in Arica, which favours sports such as hiking, trekking, mountain biking, paragliding, recreational diving, surfing and windsurfing.
The biggest tourist attractions are its casinos and more than 20 km of beaches. Walking around the place, you can visit its historical buildings, like the Cathedral of San Marcos. Other than the former Government Palace, you can visit the old train station that links Arica to La Paz in Bolivia, which is also used as a museum. The Morro de Arica, which offers a panoramic view of the whole city, is its postcard.
Torres del Paine
In the extreme south of Chile, on an untouched spot of the planet, the Torres Del Paine park brings together the most stunning scenarios of Patagonia.
The destination is sought by tourists with adventurous profiles and ecotourism sympathizers, since it is perfect for trekking, climbing, kayaking, hiking, animal watching and visiting the glaciers. Considered a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO since 1978, the park has an area of approximately 227,000 acres. Its main attraction is the Paine Range.What about you? Do you know any other amazing places to know in Chile? Enjoy and share your experiences with us about this wonderful South American country.