Top 7 must-go destinations in Chile
Boasting one of the planet's most diverse landscapes, Chile has in recent years become an increasingly popular travel destination, particularly among nature lovers and adventure seekers. Here in this long, narrow nation on the west coast of South America, travelers will find an array of stunning sightseeing opportunities, from the tall peaks of the Andes and endless beaches to lush temperate forests, ancient volcanoes, and a dramatic coastline such as that found at Cape Horn.
To ensure you see the best points of interest in this amazing South American country, KnowInsider recommends you the list of the top things to do on Chile.
This beautiful beach and casino town offers a vibrant boardwalk and gorgeous 19th century Georgian architecture like the Aztoreca Palace. Iquique is the Monte Carlo of Chile, and has much to offer for anyone who loves free-spirited fun. During the day, guests here can participate in world-famous surfing waves, paraglide or sand-board on the golden coast. A stroll down the wooden sidewalks of the historic mining town, or the cobbled Baquedano street, gives a look into an older economic boom time. Finally, the spectacular nightlife offers glitzy gambling, excellent cuisine, and shopping in the duty-free district.
6. Chilean Fjords
The southern coast of Chile presents a large number of fjords and channels that provide the only access to this part of Patagonia. Sailing through this region can be an unforgettable experience. Most of the trips start from Puerto Montt and travel towards Carretera Austral, Laguna San Rafael and Puerto Natales. The journey takes visitors through days of uninhabited fjords, close encounter with glaciers and views of orange sunsets over the Pacific. To the south, the channels become narrower. Along the way, travelers might spot whales, many birds and sea lions.
A Bohemian haven on the coast, Valparaíso consists of colorful houses, never-ending graffiti, and philosopher-artists on its 42 hills tumbling towards the Pacific Ocean. Walk up and down its streets on a group or self-guided tour to see graffiti on the sides of buildings and sprawled across stairs. Eat fresh fish and seafood at Caleta Portales, the main fish market, or Caleta el Membrillo, a fishing cove. See the bay from an elevator on railroad tracks (funicular), and wander through Pablo Neruda’s house, La Sebastiana, for a glimpse of the poet’s life and eclectic decorating style. To really get a sense of what makes this city so special though, chat with locals. The friendliness, inclusiveness, and open-mindedness of its residents is a driving force behind Valpo’s free spirit reputation.
Pucón is a small touristy town in the middle of the southern Lake District. The unrivaled location by a beautiful lake and imposing volcano makes it one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chile. Pucón offers a variety of sports and recreational activities including water skiing, snow skiing, white water rafting and kayaking, horseback riding, natural hot springs and climbing the Villarrica volcano.
3. San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama is a small tourist town situated in the middle of the Atacama Desert. It’s a popular destination and for good reason. The landscape here is unworldly and includes everything from desert and volcanoes to lagoons and salt flats.
Given its location, it’s one of the best places in the world to stargaze. All you have to do is step outside and look up, but if you want to learn more then take a stargazing tour to discover the different constellations, planets and galaxies you might see. If you can, time your visit with the new moon and you will be rewarded with unparalleled views of the milky way.
2. Torres del Paine
The “towers of blue” national park constitutes a glaciated region on the Southern tip of Chile. Three large pillars in the park give it its name, and it is also home to a number of “horns”, or other mountains, and glaciated lakes. Exploration through this park can be done via mini van tours, multi-day treks, or catamaran trips. There are a few services who will also offer horseback tours to some of the sites. Much of the park is foot-only, and there are a number of excellent guide companies who can help carry gear and cook meals on five to seven day treks.
1. Rapa Nui National Park
Located on the most remote island in the world, Easter Island, Rapa Nui National Park contains nearly 900 moai statues. The main draw of the park is walking or driving around it to see these statues, famous for their disproportionately large heads and mysterious history. Watch the sun rise over Ahu Tongariki, a ceremonial platform with a line of 15 well-restored moai, and see the birdman petroglyphs at Papa Vaka.
After hiking, relax on the white sands of Anakena Beach. To learn more of the history of the island, consider booking a tour with a local guide. Legally, all guides must be Rapanui, meaning you’ll have the bonus of being able to hear the history of the island from a native’s perspective. Tickets to the park are 54,000 pesos ($80) and can be purchased at the airport.
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