The Top 6 Places to Visit in Chile

I first traveled to Chile to explore the history behind Jose de San Martin, the Argentine General who liberated South America from Spanish Rule in the early 1800’s. My journey took me from Santiago to the Andes Mountains on the border of Argentina. On this trip, I fell in love with Chile and have been fortunate to have made many returns to this beautiful country. Chile’s incredibly diverse landscape and rich history invites opportunities for legendary adventures.

From the Andean Plateau in the north, to the glacial magnificence of the mountains in Patagonia, here are my Top 6 Places to Visit in Chile:

  1. Patagonia
  2. Valparaiso
  3. The Atacama Desert
  4. Santiago
  5. Easter Island
  6. Southern Chile

Top 6 Places to Visit in Chile

1. Patagonia

Patagonia is one of the most sought after adventure destinations on the planet and is known for its absurdly beautiful landscape. The mountains in Patagonia are some of the most impressive in the world. Patagonia offers a homogenous blend of lakes, lagoons, forests, steppes, fjords, and glaciers. A world apart, Patagonia remains exotic and seemingly untouched, as spectacular wildlife, such as condors, red foxes, and pumas, inhabit this pristine environment. While exploring the unspoiled terrain, experience the gaucho lifestyle and visit the pioneer towns dotted throughout the region. As you continue to take in the surrounding beauty of the mountains, a trip to Patagonia is not complete without a stop at Torres del Paine National Park. For trekkers and hikers alike, this once-in-a-lifetime adventure will carry you deep into the wilderness to experience waterfalls, mountains, glaciers, and stunning views in the Southern Ice Fields. Long days spent walking in the national park will surely be worth it. If you have the time check out the W Circuit, which is one of the most popular treks in the world. If you dare to push further south on the continent, navigating the sea fjord and crossing the Straits of Magellan will amaze even the most seasoned adventurer.

torres-del-paine

2. Valparaiso

Valparaiso, located on the coast in central Chile, is the next destination on our list and a special destination, in my opinion. Known as “The Jewel of the Pacific,” Valparaiso is a hilly port city. An ecclectic stop for travelers, the city is in the middle of an interesting transformation. Once a powerful seaport, Valparaiso has become an architechtural marvel due to its colorful buildings, varing styles, and maze-like layout upon the surrouding hills. While here, I recommend riding the funiculars and sampling the local cuisine, before heading to beautiful beaches nearby, such as Viña del Mar or Reñaca.

Given the central location of Santiago and Valparaiso to both the coast and the mountains, many adventurous activities exist just outside the city walls. On the coast, numerous water activities are available such as scuba diving and kayaking. In the Andes Mountains, I’d recommend a visit to some of the best ski resorts South America has to offer. Portillo Ski Resort is a popular spot for visitors to Chile. For a more relaxed excursion, check out of the vineyards of the Casablanca Valley for world-class Chilean wine!

valparaiso

 

3. The Atacama Desert

Located west of the Andes in northern Chile lies the Atacama Desert. One of the most extraordinary places on the planet, this vast desert is home to a marvelously unique landscape teeming with life. The Atacama Desert is known for being the driest desert in the world and provides an incredible, Martian-like backdrop for adventurers traveling throughout the area. While hiking through the dry Atacama desert climate, the landscape’s diverse beauty, from salt flats and lagoons to geysers and volcanoes, will leave you in awe. No trip to the Atacama desert is complete without a visit to San Pedro de Atacama. This Chilean town is situated at an elevation of roughly 8,000 ft and exhibits the everlasting traditions of Andean culture. After dark, I highly recommend a visit to one of northern Chile’s famed observatories to witness millions of stars illuminate the sky. For those in search of nature’s beauty, a trip to the Atacama Desert is a must!

atacama

4. Santiago

Santiago is one of my favorite cities in the world. In the heart of central Chile, this metropolitan capital, fuses historical colonialism with the liveliness of a modern city. I have had the good fortune of visiting Santiago many times over the years. As a lover of history and adventure, the city has everything I could ask for. Colonized in the mid-1500s by Spanish conquistadors, the city shows its age through various architectural styles. As you would expect from a strongly cultured metropolis, Santiago has an outstanding array of restaurants and excellent nightlife. With many parks, museums, and sporting and cultural activities, Santiago will keep you busy. Located just a quick trip from the towering Andes Mountains which rise over the city and the Pacific Ocean, Santiago is perfect for every adventurer.

santiago

5. Easter Island

Located in the Polynesian Islands in the Pacific, the famed and mystical Easter Island holds a special interest for all adventurers. This remote island, known as Rapa Nui by the indigenous people, is home to beautiful natural scenery and a fascinatingly-deep, cultural history. Take in the mysterious aura as you hike through national parks fixating on the unmistakable stone statues that have given this island prominence. Known as maoi, these statues are a must-see and an excellent introduction to the culture of Rapa Nui. As you immerse yourself into the cultural identity of the island through dances, shows, and food, explore the island’s vast network of caves, volcanoes, pink sand beaches, and grasslands. A visit Easter Island is a must for any adventurers who dreams of uncovering the secrets behind the world’s most mysterious destinations!

 

easter-island

 

6. Southern Chile

As we work our way down this list, we have effectively moved down the slender coast of Chile. Unsurprisingly, the breathtaking array of Chile’s natural beauty continues in its southern region. One of my most beloved locations, this geographic locale boasts enormous volcanoes and gorgeous lakes and rivers. This region’s astonishing landscapes is home to the Mapuche culture. An integral part of the region, the Mapuche offer a unique culture with outstanding food, that is not to be missed. In my opinion, southern Chile is an exceptional place for the adventurous soul. While here, you’ll have the opportunity to ski some of the best mountains in the world, fish in the pristine rivers and lakes, relax in the natural spas, or hike the rugged terrain in the nature reserves. For more adventurous activities, visit the city Pucón and try your hand at whitewater rafting, or canyoning, a favorite among visitors.

alerce-andino-national-park

We hope you enjoyed our blog on the Top 6 Places to Visit in Chile. The next time you are planning an adventure, consider Chile, it is one of the best destinations in the world for lovers of history and adventure.

We look forward to seeing you on the trail.

Jeff & The Explorer’s Passage Team

P.S. If you have ever been to Chile and have some favorite sites we would love to hear about them just shoot us an email at info@explorerspassage.com or if you would like to explore one of the destinations above CONTACT US to learn more!