The Best Things to See and Do in Chile

Sunset in Chiles Mountains
Sunset in Chile's Mountains | © Max Besser Jirkal / flickr
Mary Katherine Gwynn

Spanning 2,653 miles in length, Chile is incredibly vast and offers experiences as diverse as its landscape. From cities to small towns to complete wilderness – Chile is a dream destination. Here are Culture Trip’s suggestions for the best things to see and do on your next visit to the southern cone.

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Explore Santiago

You’ll likely fly into Chile’s capital, so why not spend some time here. From museums to nightclubs and everything in between: vintage thrift stores, unique neighborhoods, gorgeous parks and gardens and boutique hotels, Santiago has something for everyone.

Check out Valparaiso

Into coastal cities? Then definitely stop by Chile’s Bohemian hub, Valparaiso. Here you’ll find fresh seafood at markets (Caleta Portales and La Mercado Cardonal), colorful street art, unique public transportation and one of Pablo Neruda’s, beloved Chilean poet, houses.

Caleta Portales, Acceso A Caleta Portales, Valparaíso, Región de Valparaíso, Chile, +56 32 262 5814

La Mercado Cardonal, Uruguay 125, Valparaíso, Región de Valparaíso, Chile, + 56 32 221 0066

Visit Chile’s wine country

Did you know Chile is famous for its wine? A trip to Chile’s wine country is a must. Located between Santiago and coastal city Valpariso, 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? Another 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 for winery tours on bike.

Casablanca Valley, Valparaiso, Chile

Colchagua Valley, O’Higgins, Chile

Travel to small towns in the Lakes Region

Looking for farmland, forests, snowcapped volcanoes and clear lakes? Then head south to the Lakes Region. You’ll arrive in Puerto Montt’s airport; just 20 minutes away is Puerto Varas – a popular tourist destination with a view of Volcanoes Osorno and Calbuco. Puerto Varas, Puerto Octay, Frutillar surround Lake Llanquihue, Chile’s second largest lake, can be easily visited by the lakeside route. Other attractions include: ski destination Volcano Osorno, Puyehue National Park and Vicente Perez Rosales national park.

Volcan Osorno, Puerto Varas, X Region, Chile, +56 09 9158 7337

Puyehue National Park, Ruta Internacional 215, Puyehue, Chile, +56 641974572

Vicente Perez Rosales, Puerto Varas, X Región, Chile

Soak up the Atacama Desert’s hot springs


Soak up the Atacama Desert’s hot springs

The world’s driest desert, Atacama Desert, boasts brilliant views of the Andes and stars. While here, head over to San Pedro de Atacama, where you’ll find Puritama Spa and its eight hot springs with therapeutic and healing properties.

Puritama Spa, Ruta 5, Guatin, San Pedro de Atacama, Segunda Región de Antofagasta, Chile

Ski or snowboard in the Andes

Chile offers distinct ski resorts with stories to speak for themselves. From Olympic medals in northern Chile to hot springs in central Chile and volcano descents in Patagonia, the country’s ski resorts will impress. Ski season is mid-June through October, so you’re just in time. Read up, layer up, then get out there – the slopes are calling.

Check out the best resorts here.

Explore Chile’s largest Islands: Easter Island and Chiloé Island

Consider yourself an islander? Then you won’t want to miss Chile’s largest two: Easter Island and Chiloé Island.

Easter Island is isolated, located in Polynesia – central and southern parts of the Pacific Ocean, consisting of thousands of islands – and makes up 163.6 square kilometers (63.1 sq miles). This island is known as Rapu Nui in the islander’s native tongue and offers a sense of mystery. With pink beaches, volcano cones, grasslands and the iconic moai statues, Easter Island is a unique experience, waiting for you.

Chile’s largest island, Chiloe covers 5,704 square miles (9,181 km) and offers an array of sights including wild beaches, thick forests, colorful churches and marine wildlife. From trekking to whale watching and everything in between: horseback riding, kayaking, ferry rides and fun meals, Chiloe will keep the whole family entertained.

Easter Island, Valparaiso Region, Chile

Chiloé Island, X Region, Chile

Take a trip to Torres del Paine in Patagonia

Patagonia’s most popular park, located in the Magallenes Region and Chilean Antartica, Torres del Paine is known its preservation of the wildlife and land in which it inhibits. With glaciers, valleys, crystal lakes and adventure activities, there is so much to take in. One of the most unique experiences to have is staying the night at Eco Camp Patagonia, a sustainable touristic destination. Here you’ll stay in a cozy dome that can sleep couples or families of four, comfortably. Complete with a low-emission wood stove, an open terrace, cultural decorations and a compostable toilet, Eco Camp Patagonia is a stay you can feel good about.

Torres del Paine National Park, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Chile

Eco Camp Patagonia, Puerto Natales, Natales, Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile, +56 2 2923 5950

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