Things to do in Chile
Chile has an abundance of incredibly diverse landscapes leaving visitors a wide range of things to do. Walk the Mars-like landscape of the Atacama Desert, sunbathe on Chiloe Island, journey across the Lake District, sip Chilean wine in the countryside, tour the capital Santiago or embark on a hiking trip of Patagonia. Your travel interests can be easily accommodated. Keep reading below for our favorite things to do in Chile!
Best Things to Do in Chile:
1. Hike Chile’s Diverse Landscapes
Stretching 6500 km, Chile’s unique geography provides landscapes that are out of this world. From the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert, to the crystal clear lakes of the Chilean Lake District to the towering mountains in Torres del Paine, there is natural beauty found all around Chile. The country’s varying landscapes are popular amongst trekkers. The trails are well maintained and a large variety of mountain resorts and unique nature lodges are conveniently located at major destinations.
2. Wine Taste in Chile’s Countryside
As the ninth-largest wine cultivator in the world, sampling some of Chile’s most tantalizing wines is a must. Thanks to the country’s isolation between the Andes mountain range and the Pacific Ocean, Chile has some of the finest soil in the world for wine cultivation, free of common bacteria found elsewhere in the world. Chilean wines are some of the purest and most highly sought after in the world. Be sure to stop through some of the country’s most popular wine regions, like Casablanca, Elqui Valley, and Maipo province for stunning landscapes and, of course, wine.
3. Explore Santiago, the Country’s Capital City
The capital city of Chile, Santiago, is another popular highlight. Chile’s steady economy and stable government have transformed the city into a modern metropolis, with nearly seven million inhabitants. Enjoy the high rises of the financial district, Los Condes, including South America’s tallest building, the Costanera Center. Or explore the country’s intriguing history in Plaza de Armas. With a rising “foodie” scene, Santiago is popular with tourists for its abundance of quality bars and restaurants, featuring cuisine from all around the world.
4. Embark on an Exploration Cruise through Chilean Patagonia
On the southernmost tip of South America and shared by Argentina and Chile is Patagonia. Dotted with beautiful volcanoes, mountain peaks, fjords and glaciers, a cruise through the channels and inlets of Chilean Patagonia should be on every traveler’s itinerary. Enjoy the impressive natural landmarks up close and uninterrupted with these excellent cruises.
5. Visit The Museum of Memory and Human Rights
Chile’s rise to an important economic nation in the world was not a peaceful journey and remains controversial to Chilean citizens. For nearly 20 years, Chileans underwent a brutal dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet, in which thousands of individuals went missing or were murdered. Today these people and the brutalities of the dictatorship are impactfully represented at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. Learn about these important events in history, from the days leading up to the dictatorship to its celebrated end. As you walk through Santiago thereafter, your entire perspective on the city and country will change as you visit important sites from the dictatorship, like La Moneda and the National Stadium.
6. Enjoy Sea Breezes Off the Coast
With over 6500 km of coastline in Chile, an escape to the dramatic sea is an easy and fantastic trip. From important port cities like Valparaiso to quaint, unique towns like Chiloe, a trip along the coast is a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Spend your days visiting significant sites like the grand old estates of Pablo Neruda or the Lighthouse of La Serena, with its gorgeous beach walk.
Things to See in Chile
There’s no shortage of things to see in Chile. In every region, there is something either new or old that will captivate its guests. Whether natural landscapes, modern street art, historic buildings, and structures, or ancient statues interest you, Chile has it all.
1. The Historic Plaza de Armas
Escape the modern marvels of Santiago’s financial district and stroll through the cobbled stone streets of Plaza de Armas. The original city center was built by Spanish colonists when they founded Santiago in 1604. Today the dramatic and ornate Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral stands tall over the square. Catch up on your history by visiting the many museums that surround the area, like the Museo Historico Nacional and the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art.
2. Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia is a must-see and a must-do on any tour of Chile. No hiker can pass up the trails and scenic views and mountain peaks that Torres del Paine hosts and offers. See the forested valleys, the beautiful blue lakes, native wildlife, and the massive glaciers that encompass this national park.
3. The Colorful Street Murals of Valparaiso
The once essential port city of Valparaiso serves today as an epicenter for art, particularly street art. Artists from all over Chile flock to the hills of Valparaiso to leave their mark on old building facades. Beautifully made murals depict nature scenes, political events, and important historical moments, particularly those associated with the dictatorship under Augusto Pinochet.
4. See the Moai statues at Easter Island
For centuries, Easter Island’s exotic Moai heads were of a mysterious origin, sparking up numerous conspiracy theories. Today, archaeologists explain the legendary Moai statues as a form of celebratory art for the local Rapa Nui people. Created as far back as 1100 A.D., these massive heads are a testament to the skilled labor of the ancient Rapa Nui’s. Some statues stand as tall as 33 feet, with large, full torsos having been buried beneath the surface over time.
5. The Marble Caves
The Marble Caves are a natural phenomenon that continues to exponentially grow in popularity. Hidden underneath a peninsula in Chilean Patagonia, the Marble Caves naturally ooze a variety of shades of blue including turquoise, aqua, sapphire, and seafoam green. Boat tours of this stunning cave will be unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
Festivals & Events
- Wine Grape Harvesting (between Feb & May)
- Tapati in Easter Island
- Andean Carnival in Arica
- Winter Festival of Punta Arenas
Food & Drink in Chile
Chile has some excellent food and drink. One of the highlights of Chilean food is its seafood. With an extensive coastline, Chilean cuisine incorporates/includes plenty of fresh salmon, shellfish, oysters, scallops, and more. Another staple is the empanada which you can find at restaurants and street markets around the country. Of course to enhance or complement any meal, add a glass of Chilean wine. Choose from bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, or the Sauvignon Blanc.
Is Chile Safe?
Chile’s stable government and economy have made it a very safe place to visit. Besides petty crime like pickpocketing (in large cities), Chile is perfectly explorable by tourists. Though, we do recommend that all travelers use the same precautions as you would in any other foreign city or country.
Best Time to Visit Chile
The best time to visit Chile is from December to February which is Chile’s summer season. However, our experts believe the best time to visit Chile is in the shoulder seasons, from October – November, and March – April, as the temperatures are mild and the tourist attractions have fewer crowds.
What is Chile Famous for?
Chile is famous for its diverse landscapes, exquisite wine and beer, the mysterious Easter Island, vibrant street art, and so much more. People from around the world come to Chile to see the mountains of Torres del Paine, to sample the famous Carmenere wine, to visit the famous Moai statues, and take photos of the colorful murals in Valparaiso. Chile is known for having something for everyone.
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