As the Andes rise in the east, the Pacific strikes in the west, the Patagonian fjords at the bottom and the great desert in the north, Chile is the kind of playground of various nature that adventure lovers dream of. Still, this small South American country boasts of vibrant cities, rugged islands, and rolling vines filled with world-class wine wines. Below, we look at 10 places you wouldn\’t want to miss.
San Pedro de Atacama
A great place to reach the Atacama desert
When the green oasis of San Pedro emerges from the barren landscape of the Atacama Desert, at first, it almost resembles a mute. There, as you begin to roam the narrow streets of this small adobe town, you realize that those hot, dirty trees hide the kind of relaxing city travelers dream of, cooking as much jetter as they do for baggage riders. Just across San Pedro are valleys such as the moon, snowcapped volcanoes, rising sand dunes, ancient rock art, smoky hot springs, and flamingo lakes. You can stay here for a week and never run out of jobs. Those who love the high notes cannot miss the world\’s highest geysers (El Tatio) and the world\’s largest astronomical center (ALMA).
Rapa Nui (Easter Island)
A great place to learn about Polynesian culture
This small volcanic eruption in the middle of the great Pacific is world famous for its 887 monolithic monuments (known as moai) guarding its white coast. The mystery of how the ancient people of Rapa Nui managed to build and move such huge structures attracted tourists for decades. However, the island is more than just an open archeological site. You can spend an evening listening to Polynesian music at a local dance show, diving under palm trees at Anakena Beach and eating tuna ceviche at restaurants in Hanga Roa – all aligned with the sunset of tangerine over the Pacific.
Great place to go to a party
The free capital of Chile is a cultural powerhouse with a historic center full of world-class museums, beautiful theaters and palm-fringed plazas. Key tourist destinations include Barrio Yungay (street art), Barrio Italia (shopping), Lastarria (traveling), Providencia (accommodation) and Vitacura (restaurant). Come on in the evening, places like Bellavista and Barrio Brasil are exploding as the Chilean band until sunrise in clubs exploding everything from the Latin trap to K-pop, EDM and Reggaeton.
Santiago laid a good foundation as there is much to be done within the city limits. You can paddle the white waters of Cajón del Maipo, run the Cabernet in the Maipo Valley or snowboard on some of the largest (and most popular!) Ski resorts in the Southern Hemisphere.
The best place to climb and ski
This forest village in the Lake District of Chile is one of the most attractive attractions in South America. You can tie crampons and climb to the top of an active volcano or belt in the boots and slide down with it. You can walk among the ancient araucaria trees high up in the Andes Mountains or bathe in the hot spring of a cool rain forest. You can walk by a kayak in an emerald lake to a remote room or a white water raft to an art gallery. It is located in the spiritual center of Mapuche, and it is a fine place to learn about the culture of a large indigenous group of Chile.
The best place to see grain and street art
This port west of Santiago has a way of capturing the hearts of travelers (and boosting its travel plans). Perhaps it is the sweeping views you find in hotels and hostels that cling to the city\’s 42 hills? Perhaps it is the narrow streets of UNESCO listed buildings, covered with isolated street art? Or could it be a 100-year-old funeral, transporting guests up into the clouds? Whatever the reason, Valparaíso has an incredible charm that can be surprisingly addictive.
Great place to escape from everything
Are you rich in time and patience? The remote region of Aysén offers a form of untouched plains and cities with clocks that disappear elsewhere in the world. There is only one real road here, Carretera Austral, and most of it remains unpaved, especially where you walk south. At the points, there is no road at all and you have to drive in a motorboat. That is the commercial activity of visiting Patagonia, which is less visible, but has many rewards: great mountains, deep rivers, lush tropical rain forests and glistening glaciers.
The best place for wine
No wine region in Chile can compete with the astronomical (and tourist infrastructure) of the Colchagua Valley. Located in the heart of the small town of Santa Cruz, about three hours south of Santiago, it has many high-quality resorts, fine restaurants and, also, vineyards – all of which are a treat for foreign wine lovers. Wineries themselves are real works of art ranging from large colonial valleys to glass-lined glass-lined rooms. Red wines such as Carmenere and Cabernet Sauvignon are bright in Colchagua, although many places serve white people in their vineyards along the Pacific Coast.
The best place for fairy tales and stories
Have you ever heard of potatoes? Yes you have. Yes, the common spud actually traces its origins to the archipelago off the northern coast of Patagonia. Cooked trips based on the island\’s indigenous potatoes thrive on the island\’s capital, Castro, which is also known for its colorful homes (called palafitos). But potatoes are another reason to visit. You can also walk along coastal roads to distant beaches, search for churches listed in Unesco or enter the island\’s unique history of ghost ships and jungle gnomes.
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine
The best hiking trail
Search the Internet for pictures of Patagonia and half of them will come from this one park in the south of Chile, its granite speakers that will represent the entire region. Most visit on foot during a five-day W Trek trip or sleep in one of the most luxurious lodges, which offers daily guided tours. With huge glaciers, blue lakes and high concentration of puma anywhere in the world, you can spend days here and never run out of places to explore.
Best star and pisco location
This fertile valley on the southern border of the Atacama Desert is home to the Chilean pisco industry, with twenty distilleries where you can learn about the iconic national symbol (as well as throwing back a few sours). There are also art galleries and boutique workshops where you can place picnics filled with sunscreen along the Elqui River. Come in the evening, this sanctuary of the whole universe has one clear sky on earth. Several hotels offer glass roofs and telescopes so you can explore the night sky just as some of the world\’s top astronomers do with millions of Valley viewers.