No other country on earth combines as many different climate zones as Chile, which has beaches, mountains, deserts and forests. The country offers a heady cocktail of contrasting natural landscapes, from shimmering blue glaciers and the driest non-polar desert to snowcapped volcanoes.
Valle de la Luna
This Martian scene is found in the driest non-polar desert in the world: the Atacama Desert. The cute village of San Pedro de Atacama has a quaint feel about it, with all the buildings made of adobe and only one storey high. Take a trip out to the Valle de la Luna and watch the incredible sunset, taking in the hues of red and orange.
Torres del Paine
This famous national park boasts plenty of hikes that offer some of the world’s most magnificent views. With turquoise glacial lakes, rugged scenery and towering peaks, it really is something you have to see with your own eyes.
This tropical beach is located in the north of the country, in the middle of the driest desert in the world. Bahia Inglesa is a cove of heavenly white sand and turquoise waters. Enjoy this magical part of the coast by relaxing on the gently lapping ocean, while pondering the strangeness of its location.
Geysers El Tatio
Among the Andes mountain range lies the geyser field of El Tatio, at 4,320 metres (14,173 feet) above sea level, near to San Pedro de Atacama and the border with Bolivia. With 80 active geysers, it’s the largest geyser field in the southern hemisphere and the third-largest in the world.
The Marble Cathedral
Set on the enchanting Lake General Carrera, the Marble Cathedral is a truly awe-inspiring sight. Formed over 6,000 years, this network of caves sparkles with blue hues thanks to the reflection of the glacial meltwater below. The cathedral is viewed by floating through the hallowed marble on a tiny boat: an unmissable experience.
Queulat Hanging Glacier
Walk through the bushy evergreen forests, snowcapped mountains and icy glaciers of Aysén’s Queulat National Park. The largest glacier is the hanging glacier, which hangs 1,889 metres (6,198 feet) high. The surroundings here really are blissful, and there are a number of very pleasant hikes that you can take.
This beautiful landscape really is spectacular, and the red rocks against the turquoise water makes for a fascinating contrast. The red rocks get their colour from the iron oxide they contain. This is one of Chile’s many wonders that are found near San Pedro de Atacama.
Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park
A trip to Chile’s oldest national park promises a true sensory feast with a range of natural wonders. You will hear the sounds of the Petrohue Rapids gushing down a volcanic rock canyon, while seeing luminous lava flowing into rivers. The park’s star attraction is the Osorno volcano, but don’t miss the Tronador and Cayutue valleys or the Los Santos Lake.
On the Grey Lake and part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field is this monstrous and jagged glacier. Despite being called Glacier Grey, it is in fact rather blue in colour. You can take a boat trip to get up close and see it in all its beauty.
Located 37 kilometres (23 miles) from the charming lakeside town of Pucon is Los Pozones, ‘the pools’, a set of seven natural hot springs. The temperature of these beautiful springs varies and they offer the perfect relaxation after a hard day’s trekking in the surrounding hills. Clear days offer spectacular views of the smoking Villarrica volcano, while nightfall is perfect for stargazing.
Tierra del Fuego
Stretching along the border of the country, Tierra del Fuego is a true adventurer’s playground. From jagged mountains, alpine lakes and glaciers to sub-Antarctic tundra, this park has it all. Its highest peak is Monte Vinciguerra, standing at 1,450 metres (4,750 feet). Make sure to give yourself enough time to explore all of its spectacular offerings.