While some of Chile’s attractions can be easily accessed in main cities on foot, visitors will need to take a plane to some of the more remote locations such as the mysterious stone figures on Easter Island. The vast Atacama Desert offers many things to see including geysers, alien rock landscapes, bird colonies, and ancient manmade geoglyphs.
Rapa Nui National Park/ Easter Island
Rapa Nui National Park on the Chilean territory of Easter Island is one of the nation’s top tourist attractions. The UNESCO World Heritage site is known for its large carved stone Moai figures created between the 10th and 16th centuries by the Polynesian inhabitants. Easter Island can be reached by air from Santiago, Chile or Lima, Peru.
Address: Rapa Nui National Park, Easter Island
Website: http://www.conaf.cl/parques/ficha-parquenacionalrapa_nui-60.html (Spanish)
The Atacama Desert covers 40,600 square miles from the Pacific coast to the Andes Mountains, straddling Peru’s southern border. The three main protected areas are Pan de Azúcar National Park – where the desert meets the sea and Humboldt Penguins breed in Isla Pan de Azúcar, La Chimba National Reserve — established to preserve unique plants, birds, reptiles, and rodents and, Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve - with ancient Pintatos Geoglyphs which are large scale depictions of people, animals, and abstract figures outlined across the ground.
Address: Atacama Desert, Chile
San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama’s adobe village is located on an oasis in the Atacama Desert. Visitors come to see the alien landscapes of Moon valley and Death Valley, the El Tatio volcanic geyser field, thermal pools and the abandoned 19th century saltpeter works at Humberstone and Santa Laura ghost towns. Apart from sightseeing and photography, sand boarding, stargazing, horse riding and cycling are also popular activities here.
Address: San Pedro de Atacama, El Loa Province, Chile
Cerro San Cristobal
Cerro San Cristobal, in the north of Santiago is a hill where the largest public park, Parque Metropolitano is located. Visitors can access the peak by cable car, funicular railway or hike on foot to admire the views. There is a 72 foot tall statue of the Virgin Mary, church and amphitheatre at the top, along with two swimming pools, a zoo, Japanese garden, and botanical gardens in other areas. Opening hours are 10:00-9:00 Tuesday to Sunday in summer and closing at 6:00 p.m. in winter.
Address: Pío Nono 450 Barrio Bellavista, Santiago
Torres Del Paine National Park
Located in the extreme south of Chilean Patagonia, Torres del Paine is a national park with lakes, glaciers, mountains, and the famous three granite peaked Towers of Paine, which can be reached in a day. Keener hikers can take on the five-day W trail or the Circuit, a 10 day adventure. Visitors can also try climbing, mountaineering, sailing, kayaking, and fly fishing. The best time to visit is from October to April when the weather is more clement. The park can be accessed from Puero Natales.
Address: Torres del Paine National Park, XII Region, Chile
Huerquehue National Park
Located near Pucon 70 miles north of Puerto Natales, the lovely Huerquehue National Park spans nearly 31,000 acres of alpine lakes, rivers, waterfalls, araucaria forests (monkey puzzle trees), and the Grey Glacier. There are many hiking trails with the five-and-a-half mile Los Lagos being one of the favorites. January to March is the best time to visit when there’s an information station open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Address: Huerquehue National Park, Pucon, Chile
La Sebastiana museum was once home to the Nobel Prize winning writer, diplomat and politician, Pablo Neruda. The four-story building features a pink bar and round post modern fireplace offering great views of the city and harbor. The eclectic collection housed here offers insight into the artist’s life and tastes and includes items such as ship’s figureheads, 1950’s furniture and artworks by famous friends. The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday throughout the year with varying hours depending on the season, but always from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Address: Ferrari 692, Cerro Bellavitsa, Valparaiso
Valparaiso Historic Quarter
The coastal Old Town of Valparaiso port is a UNESCO World Heritage site noted for its beautiful Spanish colonial buildings, narrow cobblestone streets and colorful buildings nestling on the sea slopes. The charming neighborhood of Cerro Concepcion boasts the oldest of the city’s elevators, used to traverse the steep hillside.
Address: Valparaiso, Valparaiso Province, Chile
Chiloe Island is the largest of Chiloe Archipelago and home to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed 18th and 19th century Jesuit churches. These unique buildings were constructed by Spanish missionaries with only native timber and other local materials using techniques from the traditional Mestizo. Hundreds of churches are set amongst the rainforest and rolling green countryside, which represent a blend of the Spanish and Chilean indigenous cultures.
Address: Municipalities of Castro, Chonchi, Dalcahue, Puqueldón, Quemchi, and Quinchao, Chiloé Province, X Region de los Lagos, Chile
The Museum of Archaeology and History Francisco Fonck, founded in 1937 is a varied and complete museum that shows objects of the native villages from Chile. Emphasizing his great cultures collection such as Rapanui, atacameños, Diaguitas, and Mapuches in addition of a wide collection of Peruvian pre-Columbian jars. In the area of natural sciences there is a complete sample of arthropods and animals from different areas of the country.
Address: 4 norte #786 corner 1 oriente, Viña del mar, V Region, Chile