Chile. You know, that long skinny country at the bottom of South America? You may not realize it, but that sliver of coastline is full of spectacular landscapes and exciting adventures. Think dazzling blue seas, sprawling cities, rolling deserts, towering mountains, and so much more. Maybe you’re planning a trip way down south, or perhaps Chile is just now catching your eye. Either way, it’s time to get Chile on your radar and experience its awe-inspiring wonders. To give you just a taste of what the country has to offer, here is a list of the Top 5 Destinations in Chile:
When flying in to Chile, you most likely will be landing in Santiago. Why not make the best of this stop and explore the city? Santiago is one of South America’s largest metropolis making it full of fun things to do. Be sure to check out San Cristóbol Hill for amazing views of the city, the Central Market for the freshest seafood around, and the Costanera Center – South America’s tallest building.
If nature is more your thing, hop on a bus and head just outside the city to Cajón del Maipo. Here you’ll find tons of trekking opportunities, horseback riding, and whitewater rafting. Just be sure to book your excursion before leaving the city.
- Easter Island
Although Easter Island is not a part of mainland Chile, it is still a destination not to be missed. I mean, who wouldn’t want to visit the most secluded island in the world, full of fascinating history, legends, and beautiful beaches? Still not convinced? Well, Easter Island boasts some of the best scuba diving in the world, delicious cuisine, and of course, the famous Moai statues (pictured above).
Visiting Easter Island is sure to be a unique cultural experience as well. The Rapa Nui, the island’s native population, practice Polynesian traditions – a distinct contrast to mainland Chile’s customs. While on Easter Island you’ll be able to delve into the Rapa Nui past, visiting ancient archaeological sites and exploring active volcanoes.
If you’re not sure what to do once you get to Chile, check out this excellent selection of activities taking place all over Chile over here.
- San Pedro de Atacama
Perhaps one of Chile’s most exotic locations, the Atacama Desert is the driest place on Earth and features otherworldly landscapes you’ve got to see to believe. While in town, you’ll be able to take day trips to all of its most picturesque locations. You can watch sky high geysers shoot off into the air as the sun rises, observe sparkling lakes dotted with hundreds of pink flamingos, float in some of the world’s saltiest waters, and marvel at moon-like views. For adrenaline junkies, be sure to hit up the dunes for some great sandboarding!
Keep in mind that San Pedro de Atacama is located at 2,400 meters above sea-level, and many of its attractions climb even higher. Give yourself a day or two to acclimate to the altitude (as well as the harsh desert conditions) before embarking on any intense excursions. Trust me, altitude sickness in the desert is not fun.
Next up we have what is probably the least-known destination on the list for those who have never been to Chile – Valparaíso, a breathtaking seaside town located on the hillside. It’s characteristic colorful houses, winding graffiti-filled streets, and never ending staircases are just a few of the things that make Valparaíso so special. Only a short drive from Santiago, Valparaíso is the perfect place to take a day trip or spend a relaxing weekend getting lost in its labyrinth-like streets.
While in town, you’ve got to take time for a boat ride at the port, which will give you unparalleled panoramas of the vibrant city (a photographer’s dream), visit one of famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda’s three former homes, and stop in at the Mercado for unbeatable seafood.
- Chilean Patagonia
Finally, we have Chile’s most famous destination. Patagonia. Technically split between Chile and Argentina, Chilean Patagonia is a must-see for all visitors. Depending on your trekking experience and adventurousness, Patagonia has something for everyone. You can book intensive multi day guided treks, day trips, or cruises.
If you’re feeling at a bit of a loss as to where to book a tour or activity, what to do and see, or are just overwhelmed by all the different possibilities spread across hundreds of tour operators, a great resource is TheBesty app. While visiting these top 5 destinations in Chile, and many others all over Latin America, you’ll be able to book tours and activities directly through the app, discover fun things to do, and even find the lowest prices on hotel bookings.