Guanaco in Torres del Paine

Best Places To Visit in Chile |The Top 10 Bucket List

Date
Jan, 28, 2019
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(Last Updated On: March 8, 2020)

Chile is a country of extremes. From the driest desert in the world in the north to windswept wilderness and glaciers in the south. It’s one of the most diverse countries I have ever visited and if we’re talking about nature and the outdoors Chile has it all. In this bucket list guide, you’ll find the best places to visit in Chile, which, in my opinion, are unmissable in this stunning country.

It’s definitely not the cheapest country and you will need a bit more cash to see it all. Prices compare to that of some places in Europe but that doesn’t mean you should disregard it. If you love landscapes, the outdoors and adventure Chile won’t disappoint.  You’ll probably need about a month to really get the most out of your experience here.

One quick note; I have ordered these best places to visit in Chile geographically from North to South, so number 1 is the furthest North, not the best place. It really is impossible to rank these destinations as they are so diverse. They are all winners in their own way.

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#1 SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA

San Pedro is a small town in the Atacama desert, the driest desert in the world. While San Pedro makes a great base for your time in the desert the lure to this region lies outside the town itself. Valle de la Luna and Valle de la Muerte are two extraordinary, otherworldly valleys that look like you’ve literally just landed on Mars. Piedras Rojas is an amazing area of red stones surrounded by salt-water lagoons and clay coloured volcanoes. Make sure not to miss the Tatio Geysers- a mountain valley full of cauldrons of rising steam.

  #2 BAHIA INGLESA

This little bay lies North-west of the city of Copaipo and it probably the best place to visit in Chile in terms of beaches. This small village has a great, chilled out vibe but the main draw here is the beach. With white sands and crystal clear, turquoise waters this beach is one of the most beautiful in Chile. Don’t let the warm colours fool you though, the water is still frigid just like everywhere else in Chile. This bay is the ideal place to grab some ice-cream and chill on the beach. 

#3 VALLE DEL ELQUI

Valle del Elqui is an exquisitely irrigated green valley surrounded by dry, shrub mountains. Its the birthplace of Chilean Pisco and wine. Take in the stunning mountain views, travel from village to village soaking up the atmosphere and take a tour of the Pisco distilleries. Valle del Elqui is also home to a number of observatories this being one of the best places in the world to observe the night sky. If you love star gazing then don’t miss out! 

#4 VALPARAÍSO

The celebration of everything bohemian. Valparaiso is the ultimate mix of bustling, hillside port town, local history and boho vibes. It’s the home of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and it’s one of the graffiti capitals of South America. Stroll through the streets, admire the street art and the gorgeous views, ride the ancient funicular elevators and enjoy a Chilean empanada. 

#5 CAJON DEL MAIPO

One of the best places to visit so close to the capital? Yup, Cajon del Maipo is only one hour away from Santiago and it provides a great escape from the city. It’s main town, San Jose del Maipo is a great base from which to explore the area. The life and soul of this area comes from the Maipo river on which you can go rafting, kayaking and bungee-jumping. Head to Embalse El Yeso, for spectacular snow-capped mountain views around a deep blue reservoir and El Morado National Monument for a beautiful and challenging trek up to the San Francisco Glacier. 

In Santiago for 36 hrs or more? Check out all the things to do here.

#6 PUCON

If you love the outdoors, adventure and gastronomy Pucon is the place for you. This adventure capital of Chile is full of surprises at every turn. During the day you can explore the national parks and the Araucaria forests ( a Chilean native tree) or even climb up or trek around Volcan Villarica. Around Pucón, there is also a plethora of hot springs to choose from to relax your tired leg muscles. Pucón also boasts some wonderful gastronomic delights based around the Mapuche and German roots of the area. Don’t forget to try to the delicious German deserts

#7 CHILOÉ

Chiloe is Chile’s largest island and one of the best places to visit in Chile, without a doubt. It marks the end of the Pan-American highway. It’s a melting- pot of local culture- the people of this island do almost everything differently than their mainland counterparts. Enjoy Chiloe’s spectacular folklore, food customs, colourful houses on stilts, spectacular churches, national parks and more. A must-try is curanto, meat, seafood, potatoes and vegetables cooked in a metre and a half deep hole in the ground. 

#8 MARBLE CAVES

The Cuevas de Mármol are solid marble caves in the Patagonian Andes, right on the remote General Carrera Lake. The caves are a result of 6,000 years of erosion, water smashing against the calcium carbonate of the cave walls. Between September and February the ice melt from surrounding glaciers turns the water a gorgeous turquoise colour, rather than that of an intense deep blue at other times of the year. Kayaking through these caves is an absolute must. Boat trips and tours can be arranged from Chile Chico. 

#9 TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK

The Torres del Paine is the postcard image of Chile. Located right in the south of Patagonia near the town of Puerto Natales this park is probably one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. Trekking is the name of the game here with two of the most popular treks being the “O” and the “W”, named after the shape of the route taken through the park. You trek past ancient glaciers, jagged peaks, freezing glacial lakes and wild-swept scrublands. Be sure to keep an eye out for vicuña, a local llama-type animal and the infamous puma. 

#10 TIERRA DEL FUEGO

The land of wind and fire is just that. This is one of the wildest places in the world and its beauty is unrivalled. I’d recommend visiting both the Chilean side and the Argentinian side as they are completely different. The Chilean side is quiet and remote while the Argentinian side and Ushuaia boast a great dining scene and more buzz. Take a boat ride across the Beagle Channel to Isla Navarino and trek to the Dientes de Navarino, a very unique rock formation that really do look like teeth. I would also recommend exploring Porvenir and Tierra del Fuego National Park for grey seascapes and wind-torn forests. 

What are the best places to visit in Chile for you? I’d be happy to answer all your comments and questions about Chile. Leave them below.


Related posts you might like:

The Best Day Tours from Santiago, Chile

What to Do in Santiago Chile in 36 hours

The Ultimate Self-Drive Itinerary for the Atacama Desert

Top Vineyards in the Casablanca Valley, Chile

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