From the barren and beautiful northern desert, through the thriving central valley and vineyards, to the imposing and magnificent Patagonia, Chile satisfies almost any travel craving. Suitable for travel in all seasons due to the diverse countryside at your fingertips, Chile is not a destination to be overlooked.
In the dunes of the Atacama desert, you can go sandboarding in the day and then take in the stunningly clear night skies in what’s known as the driest place on Earth. Explore the Valley of the Moon, so named because of the unusual rock formations, color, and texture, making you feel out of this world. Whether exploring on horseback or by trekking through the sand, you will see unique sights from salt flats to dry lakes to volcanic relics, as well as having the chance to learn about pre-Columbian culture. To explore the desert you have to fly to Calama and then take a ride to San Pedro de Atacama, the strategic point from which most of the activities in the desert begin.
If you are interested in exploring the main cities, the capital Santiago gives stunning views of the impressive Andes mountain range, and is steeped in interesting political history. With a wealth of free museums you can learn about the famous Pinochet dictatorship and Salvador Allende from recent history, as well as delve into older times and uncover how Santiago itself was founded by Pedro de Valdivia. The nearby nature reserve Cajon del Maipo and pre-cordillera mountain range also afford great trekking and winter sports activities that offer both stunning views and exciting adventure. Check our day trips from Santiago de Chile.
Head down from Santiago to Araucanía and the Lake District of Chile to explore still-active volcanos, relaxing thermal springs, and to learn about the ancient traditions of the indigenous Mapuche people. The island of Chiloé is easily accessed from here, part of an Archipelago with unique architecture, and steeped in mythology and history. You can take part in community tours and stay with indigenous families, learning about traditions, history, and local cuisine. Most of activities in this Region start in Puerto Varas or Puerto Montt.
And of course, don’t miss out on visiting Patagonia, one of Chile’s most well-loved destinations which makes up the southern area of the country. With much of the Andes mountain range in this region, it’s an ideal place for long treks and exploratory hikes in near untouched areas. The stunning scenery to be seen as you head down on the Carretera Austral in itself is worth the journey. Further South, Torres del Paine National Park provides trails such as the ‘W’ hike, so named due to the different mountain peaks you cross, and is an ideal place to get back in touch with nature. Chile is also home to the world’s southernmost city, Puerto Williams. In Patagonia you can explore glaciers, see penguins and whales in the Pacific Ocean, go fly fishing, or simply relax surrounded by beautiful views. Check the most adventurous in Patagonia here.
Finally, if you’re looking to explore even further, then Easter Island should not be missed, with its monumental, impressive ‘Moai’ statues and the beautiful Rapa Nui National Park. The whole island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and its natural beauty is still preserved.
As you can see Chile is a fantastic ecotourism destination.
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