9 Spectacular Places to Cycle in Chile
Cycling Torres Del Paine | © Vera & Jean-Christophe/Flickr
Interested in exploring Chile by bike? From rugged mountain trails in the Andes to leisurely vineyard tours complete with a glass of chardonnay, Chile boasts many biking routes in diverse climates. Check out our guide to find the best places for a cycling excursion in this stunning South American country.
Atacama, the Earth’s driest desert, comprises volcanoes, salt lakes, lagoons, hot springs, rock formation and sand dunes. With clear skies and enormous open spaces, Atacama is a great place to star-gaze and take in the fresh air. Altiplano, or ‘high plain’, sits high in the northeast of the Andes Mountains, within the Atacama desert. Altiplano touches the Chilean, Argentine, Bolivian and Peruvian borders. It boasts volcanoes and Lake Titicaca, at an impressive 38,000 metres (12,4672 feet) above sea level.
Lauca National Park offers sights of various volcanoes (Parinacota, Pomerape and Acotando), rivers (Lauca and Lluta) and animals (alpacas, guanacos, pumas, condors and more). At between 3,200 and 6,300 metres (10,498 and 20,669 feet) above sea level, the park is made up of Altiplano with the foothills in the Atacama desert. This is a great place for mountain biking and wildlife watching.
Pan De Azúcar National Park
Another national park, Pan De Azúcar is the place to go for seaside views. The park also offers you the opportunity to see a multitude of cacti. From coastal routes to gorgeous valleys, Pan de Azúcar is a great destination for a mountain biking adventure.
Chile is famous for its wine, and vineyard tours by bicycle are becoming increasingly popular. With view of the Andes and the Pacific Ocean nearby, a slow tour through these popular valleys will be both refreshing, and good exercise.
Located between Santiago and the coastal city of Valparaiso, Casablanca Valley is the fastest-growing wine destination. With cooler temperatures and a Mediterranean climate, this is a perfect place for biking through fertile vineyards. And, what better way to end the day than with a view and glass of Chile’s finest?
A popular tourist destination, Colchagua Valley is full of rolling hills and hundreds of vineyards. With good climate and vines to match, this is a great place to take a winery tour.
Laguna de Laja National Park
Located in the Biobio providence in the district on Antuco, Laguna de Laja National Park encompasses the Laja Lagoon, Laja River and Antuco volcano. With natural beauty at every turn, this park is a great place to hit the trails.
Located in the Araucania Province, northeast of Temuco, Conguillío National Park contains Volcano Llaima, forests and lakes and lagoons formed by volcanoes. This park offers great opportunities for exploring by bike.
Located in the Andes mountain range, in the lakes region, Puyehue National Park contains temperate forests and volcanoes, and shares a border with Chile’s oldest park, Vicente Pérez Rosales – another good destination for biking. With greenery at every turn, this park is a rejuvenating place to ride.
The most popular route in Chile, Carretera Austral spans more than 1,000 kilometres (621 miles). The rugged terrain makes for some difficult riding, so this isn’t the best route for beginners. The best time for this wild ride is summer, from December to May.
Torres Del Paine National Park
Perhaps Patagonia’s most well-known park, Torres del Paine, located in the Magallanes Region, offers incredible views and a wildness that is unique to Patagonia. With diverse animal and plant species, snowcapped mountains, rivers and waterfalls, glaciers and lakes, Torres Del Paine is a cycler’s dream destination.
Torres Del Paine National Park, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Chile
Check out these companies for guided tours: