Boasting one of the planet’s most diverse landscapes, Chile offers a wealth of attractions. This land of extremes has a wide range of offerings, from the world’s driest desert, spectacular scenery of glaciers, fjords and volcanoes to forests and beaches.
If you're looking for adventure, explore the nitrate towns of Humberstone and Santa Laura, near the northern port city of Iquique in the remote Pampa Desert. Until 1909, the mining of South American saltpetre (sodium nitrate, also known as white gold) was a profitable business. These fascinating ghost towns were once home to a bustling community. The two former saltpetre works were abandoned in 1960 after the rapid decline. In 2005, after becoming ghost towns, they were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, open to tourism.
Photo credit: Przemyslaw Skibinski
Where to stay:
In Santiago you can consider staying at 4* Hotel Fundador with excellent reviews. Located in the financial heart of the city, this 4-star hotel is close to everything. Its design was recently created by famed national architect. This property offers a cable TV and free Wi-Fi. Guests enjoy a restaurant, a gym, a sauna unit and a heated swimming pool. Accommodation at Hotel Fundador is equipped with a minibar and a safety deposit box. 24-hour room service is provided. Hotel Fundador is located just 1 block from Universidad de Chile subway station, enabling easy access downtown.
In Valparaiso we recommend you to book 4* Diego De Almagro Valparaiso. This top rated 4-star hotel boasts an outdoor swimming pool and a restaurant. The air-conditioned rooms at the Diego de Almagro all feature a private bathroom equipped with a hairdryer. All contain a safe box, minibar as well as a flat-screen TV. Some rooms offer ocean views. The hotel’s restaurant serves a range of international and local meals. Guests can enjoy a drink at the hotel’s bar or relax in the lobby. Free Wi-Fi internet access is available throughout the hotel. The helpful staff can point out the most interesting spots of the historical colonial city centre, which was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2003.
What to do:
Horse riding across Patagonia can be a great way to see glaciers, waterfalls, mountains, rivers, and an abundance of flora and fauna. Hiking is also one of the park’s most popular activities, with numerous well-marked trails, many offering overnight shelters (refugios) with the basics needed for longer treks that circle the mountains.
Explore the Cuevas de Mármol – stunning caves carved into marble in the Patagonian Andes. Located on a peninsula of solid marble bordering Lake General Carrera, the caves are accessible only by boat. There are ferries from Chile Chico that will take you to and through the tunnels.
Travel to Los Pinguinos Natural Monument, situated in the middle of the Strait of Magellan, 35 km (22 mi) northeast of Punta Arenas, to see the largest penguin colonies of south Chile. Magdalena Island and the Marta Island is the main part of this natural monument.
In Laguna Cejar you can experience the very relaxing, levitating effect of the salt-rich water, which makes you float easily.
Valle Nevado offers excellent skiing conditions, great vistas and modern facilities. People come from all around the world to hit the slopes in this area. Portillo is also one of the best places in the country to enjoy winter sports. There is a large ski lodge, many amenities, and numerous slopes and runs to choose from.
Chile has many beaches for surfing, especially in the northern region. Except for the winter months (July and August) surfing is possible all year. Pichilemu, Ritoque, Arica and Totoralillo are the top spots for surfing 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.
Check out the unique system of urban elevators in Valparaiso, also known for its brightly coloured houses. About 15 of them are still working today. Funicular ride is the best way to go up the steep hills. In this port city you can also swim in the world’s largest swimming pool.
The virtuous lands of Chile are perfect for enotourism. Get to know local viniculture exploring the vineyards in Colchagua Valley and tasting the Chilean wines.
Villarrica National Park is perfect for hiking. It offers diverse fauna and flora, and three different volcanoes in the Andes. Here you can explore the only caves in an active volcano, visitable on Earth.
Explore Cajón del Maipo, a canyon located in the Andes Mountains, only 25km southeast of Santiago. It’s a perfect place to camp, hike, climb, cycle, raft and ski. Explore beautiful beaches, hot springs and indigenous villages.
If you’re looking for breathtaking landscapes, head to Lake Todos los Santos, located in southern Chile. It’s surrounded by steep snow-capped mountains: the Osorno volcano in the west, the Puntiagudo to the north, and the Tronador to the east.
Visit Easter Island to admire its large head statues, called Moai, and exquisite scenery.
North of Santiago, you’ll find Punta Pite, a fantastical group of cliffside stairways, bridges, and winding pathways carved out of stone. During a coastal hike you can explore the oceanside trail along the water and across a restored creek. The staircases carved into the stone cliffs will lead you through narrow passageways that open up into vistas.
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