Chile is one of South America’s most diverse countries, with a range of terrain, climate, and activities to explore. From the Atacama desert to the glaciers of Torres del Paine National Park and the mighty Andes, it offers something for everyone.
For adventurers, Chile’s Patagonia is an absolute must-visit destination. From witnessing the granite pillars of Torres del Paine to hiking in the subpolar forests to exploring azure lakes that reflect emerald-green glaciers, this is the place to go.
Located within an hour's drive of both the Pacific Ocean and the majestic Andes mountains, Santiago is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city brimming with history. Chile's largest city is a must-visit for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in the culture of this South American country.
There are plenty of things to do in Santiago, from exploring the city's historic sites to shopping at the hottest fashion and retail spots. A day trip out of the city is also a must, whether you're into hiking, mountain biking, or horseback riding.
While you're in the area, be sure to visit the Museum of Memory and Human Rights to learn about the Military Coup of 1973 and the human rights violations that occurred under Pinochet. This is an interesting, eye-opening experience that can help you better understand the history of Chile and its current political climate.
2. San Pedro de Atacama
Located in the Atacama Desert, San Pedro de Atacama is a picturesque oasis set on an arid high plateau. Home to an otherworldly landscape incorporating desert, salt flats, volcanoes, geysers and hot springs, this town is one of the top attractions in Chile.
As well as being an incredible natural wonder, this is also a popular destination for travelers who want to take part in activities. For instance, if you’re looking to go stargazing then there are several observatories in the area where you can check out the stars from above.
You can stay in one of the many hotels in San Pedro de Atacama or rent a vacation home to explore the area. It’s worth booking your accommodation in advance especially during high season (November to March), as it can get quite busy.
3. Valle de la Luna
The Valle de la Luna is a must-see attraction in the Atacama Desert. Its moonlike landscape of dunes, rugged mountains, and unique rock formations is an otherworldly experience.
Located in the Los Flamencos National Reserve, this valley is a must-visit for those looking to explore the natural beauty of Chile. It’s a popular tourist attraction with day tours departing from San Pedro de Atacama and it’s definitely worth the trip.
The area is a natural geological marvel that has been declared a sanctuary of nature by the government in 1982. The sculpted landscape is the result of wind erosion that has formed an incredible range of colors in this mountainous depression that surrounds Sierra Orbate at 2550 meters above sea level.
4. Puerto Montt
Puerto Montt is an active port town with a salmon farming industry and a variety of gastronomic options. It’s also a gateway to the Chiloe Archipelago and is home to the popular Sevel Lake District.
In the center of the city, you’ll find the 1856 Cathedral overlooking the Plaza de Armas square. Nearby, Casa del Arte Diego Rivera displays works by local and national artists.
This historic port city is located on Reloncavi Hill, where it is nestled between Llanquihue Lake and the channel that separates it from the island of Chiloe in Chile’s inland Sea of Chiloe. It’s also a hub for cruise ships sailing around the southern cone of South America and ferries to southern destinations.
In the city, you can enjoy a glass of Pisco sour or fine Chilean wine, or go hiking in a nature reserve. It’s one of the most scenic places in southern Chile with views of Osorno volcano.
5. Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most famous national parks in the world, renowned for its magnificent landscapes and awe-inspiring wildlife. Here, you'll find four distinct ecological zones - Andean desert, Magellanic subpolar forest, Pre-Andean shrubland and Patagonian steppe.
The park is also home to a huge range of birds, including condors and flamingoes. You can also spot guanacos and the endangered Huemul deer.
The best way to experience the beauty of Torres del Paine is to take a hike in the park. For a complete adventure, book a tour that includes a guide and accommodation. These are often more expensive than doing it independently, but they ensure that you can really soak up all the majesty of the park!