Chile is located in southern South America, bordering the South Pacific Ocean and a small part of the South Atlantic Ocean. The country has a very thin and vertical shape for a country. This interestingly elongated size of the map makes it the most geographically diverse country. Exploring Chile from fascinating night sky in the Atacama deserts in the north to glacier and adventure in the south, it’s unquestionably one of the most beautiful countries on the planet.
1.San Pedro de Atacama
The Atacama Desert is a plateau in Chile, lies on the Pacific coast, west of the Andes mountains. It is the driest desert in the world. Most of the desert covers the stony terrain, salt lakes, sand, and lava that flows towards the Andes. During the day, temperatures in the desert can reach around 40º C, and in the night these temperatures can fall to 5º C. The night sky is at it’s magnificent due to lack of clouds and almost no light pollution which makes it one of the best places in the world for stargazing.
Valparaíso is the second largest metropolitan city in Chile. It is located in the northwest of Santiago by road and is one of the South Pacific’s major seaports. The eye-catching beauty of its chaotic hills, thoughtful and mesmerizing street art in Latin America, a maze of steep, alleys and stairways piled high with crumbling mansions, the city is a beautiful mess.
One of Chile’s most beloved poet Pablo Neruda said, “Valparaíso, how absurd you are…you haven’t combed your hair, you’ve never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you.”
Whitewater rafting, fishing, mountain biking, trekking, and canyoning. Futaleufú offers a thrilling experience for adventure junkies. This picturesque river is also known as the best spot for whitewater rafting. The name Futaleufú is derived from a Mapudungun word meaning ‘Big River’.
4. Puerto Rio Tranquillo
The incredibly beautiful Marble caves should be on everybody’s bucket list. It is located on a peninsula of solid marble bordering Lake General Carrera, a glacial lake.
A short boat trip from nearby Puerto Tranquilo will take you to and through the cave and its tunnels.The caves are formed as a result of 6,000-plus years of waves washing up against calcium carbonate.
5. Punta Arenas
Explore the country’s rich biodiversity during the shore excursion to the penguin reserves on Marta and Magdalena Islands. Isla Magdalena close to Punta Arenas is known as a Penguin Island. A 30 minutes ferry ride will get you to this wildlife habitat. As you sail through the Magellan Strait, observe the island’s wide variety of seabirds like Skuas, Austral seagulls, and Cormorants, sea lions, sea elephants and Austral dolphins.
6. Puerto Natales
Torres del Paine: Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile’s Patagonia region, is known for its wealth of landscapes, impressive mountain ranges, bright blue icebergs that cleave from glaciers and grasslands which is home for rare wildlife such as llama-like guanacos. It unfolds some of the most famous sites such as the horn-shaped peaks called Cuernos del Paine and 3 granite towers from which the park is named after.
7. Pucon – Villarrica Volcano
Hike up to the top of this volcano for an unforgettable once in a lifetime experience. Villarrica, with its lava composed of Basaltic andesite, is one of the very few active lava lakes within its crater. The overwhelming view of actual lava spitting out of a live volcano is definitely worth the hike.
Santiago is a must-see in South America. Vineyard tours, Pablo Neruda’s houses, street art, winter sports make this vibrant city an unmissable destination of Chilean vacation packages. There’s also Museo Nacional Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) – one of the best places for admiring Chilean and wider South American arts.
If these reasons aren’t enough to put Chile on your travel bucket list, we don’t know what are!