Things to do in Chile

Things to do in  Chile

Welcome to Chile

In Chile, coastlines stretch along the Pacific Ocean; the rugged terrain of Patagonia seemingly reaches to the end of the earth; and the dry Atacama desert, Andes mountains, and Valdivian forests nestle against one another to create a country where the topography is as varied as the options for exploring. Santiago de Chile, the country's capital, is a melting pot of Latin culture, bohemian neighborhoods, and colonial architecture. Don't miss out on the views from the top of San Cristobal Hill (Cerro San Cristobal); colorful street art and thumping nightlife in trendy Bellavista; or a bike tour of top city sights. UNESCO World Heritage Site Valparaíso—renowned for its hillside funiculars (cable railways) and street art—as well as beachside gem Viña del Mar are just a 1.5-hour drive away, and easily doable on a day trip from Santiago. If you're seeking outdoor adventure, Patagonia's Torres del Paine National Park boasts surreal beauty, bringing together mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers to make it an ideal location for horseback riding or hiking tours. For wine lovers, Chile is the promised land of New World varietals, with regions such as the Maipo Valley, San Antonio Valley, and the Matetic Vineyards best explored on wine-tasting tours. Further north, the otherworldly landscapes of the Atacama Desert—home to Moon Valley, the Atacama Salt Lake, and the Ojos del Salar—are a must-see from San Pedro de Atacama. Meanwhile, far-flung Rapa Nui Easter Island, home to nearly 900 giant head statues, is a modern mystery best explored on a multi-day trip, including round-trip plane rides.

Top 15 attractions in Chile

Tierra del Fuego National Park

When travelers make their way to the far southern reaches of Argentina, chances are they’re heading into Tierra del Fuego National Park. The country’s only coastal national park protects the Andean-Patagonian forest, a land of peat bogs, beech forests, glistening lakes, remote beaches, and snow-capped peaks ideal for outdoor adventures.More

Perito Moreno Glacier

The beauty of Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia has earned it the nickname of the "Eighth Wonder of the World” in Argentina. It’s the planet's third-largest reserve of fresh water and one of the continent's last advancing glaciers, slowly making its way in crackling celestial blue from the granite spires of the Chilean Torres del Paine into Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park (Parque Nacional Los Glaciares).More

Fort Bulnes (Fuerte Bulnes)

Reigning supreme over the Magellan Strait, Fort Bulnes (Fuerte Bulnes has been reconstructed to look exactly as it did when it was first built in the 19th century. As well as offering panoramic vistas of Punta Arenas from its watchtower, the fortress encompasses a museum that explores the colonial history of southern Chile.More

Viña del Mar

Nicknamed the Garden City and located just an hour from Santiago, Viña del Mar is a charming seaside town famous for its flowers and its beach. Top attractions include the seafront Wulff Castle, the Flower Clock (Reloj de Flores), and Francisco Fonck Museum, the entrance of which is marked by a stone moai statue from Easter Island.More

Milodon Cave (Cueva del Milodon)

Milodon Cave (Cueva del Milodón is a Chilean Natural Monument and site of paleontological interest. It was here that, in 1896, German explorer Eberhard Hermann found the fur and bones of a Mylodon, an extinct huge ground sloth. With a small museum and displays, the site pays homage to its former inhabitant.More

Punta Arenas Municipal Cemetery

Inaugurated in 1894, the Punta Arenas Cemetery (Cementerio Municipal Sara Braun) is the final resting place for some of the area’s most famous historical figures. Notable families, including the Menendez-Behetys, even have their own chapels. A visit to the beautiful cypress tree-lined cemetery provides a peek into the lives of those who shaped much of Punta Arenas’ fascinating history.More

Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna)

With its parched desert plains and wind-sculpted topography, it’s easy to see how Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) earned its name. The sharp sandstone peaks, glittering salt deposits, and crater-like depressions make for some dramatic photographs, and watching the sunset over the valley is an unforgettable experience.More

Nao Victoria Museum (Museo Nao Victoria)

The Nao Victoria Museum in Punta Arenas invites visitors to explore replicas of world-famous ships, including Magellan’s Nao Victoria, Shackleton’s James Caird lifeboat, and the HMS Beagle, which a young Darwin called home for five years. Replicas of antique weapons, sailing instruments, and important documents are also displayed.More

Llanquihue Lake

The second-largest lake in Chile, Llanquihue sits at the base of the near-perfect conically shaped Osorno Volcano, creating a defining image of the country’s Lake District. This is the starting point of Chilean Patagonia and—with its beautiful scenery and bounty of activities on offer—a magnet for outdoor enthusiasts.More

El Tatio Geysers

Plumes of steam from more than 60 geysers and hundreds of fumaroles erupt several feet into the air at the geyser field of El Tatio, high in the Andes in northern Chile. El Tatio isn’t the largest geyser field in the world, but with a backdrop of snowcapped mountains, it’s perhaps the most picturesque.More

Osorno Volcano

The snow-capped cone of Osorno Volcano is one of Chile’s most recognizable landmarks. Towering over Lake Todos Los Santos and Lake Llanquihue in the Andean mountain range, Osorno is the starting point of Chilean Patagonia and is a magnet for adventurous outdoor enthusiasts who come here to ski, hike, and trek.More

Ahu Tongariki

With 15 gigantic stone-carved moai lined up on a 200-foot-long platform and a remote location framed by the looming Rano Raraku volcano and the crashing ocean, Ahu Tongariki is nothing short of spectacular. For many visitors, this is the star attraction of Easter Island, and looking up at the towering figures, the largest of which stands 14 meters tall, it’s hard not to be in awe of the Rapa Nui people, who achieved the seemingly impossible feat of carving and moving the 30-ton stone boulders to their waterfront perch.Ahu Tongariki is the largest ceremonial site ever made on the island, featuring the largest number of moai ever erected on a single site, and each statue is unique, with only one featuring the iconic red-rock “pukao,” or ceremonial headdress. Even more astounding, considering the size and weight of the statues, is that the site was almost completely destroyed by a tsunami in 1960, with the rocks flung more than 90 meters inland. The ahu has since been painstakingly restored, a project that took Chilean archaeologists Claudio Cristino and Patricia Vargas five years and was finally completed in 1995.More

Concha y Toro Winery

Open since 1883 and ranking among South America’s largest wine producers, Concha y Toro Winery is one of Chile’s most famous winemakers. The winery has vineyards all over the country and produces a huge variety of wines, including the world-renowned Don Melchor cabernet sauvignon. Its Pirque winery is a favorite Maipo Valley destination for oenophiles.More

Valparaíso Historic Quarter

Hailed as the San Francisco of South America, Valparaíso’s Historic Quarter is a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its beautiful buildings, street art, and steep hills. Visit to admire the historic architecture and take a vintage funicular up the summits of the cerros, where you’ll find trendy cafes and bars.More

Plaza de Armas

The site on which the city was founded back in 1541, Plaza de Armas is both the heart of Santiago de Chile’s historic district and the epicenter of the modern city. The leafy, palm-fringed plaza is surrounded by grand monuments and architectural landmarks, and it’s abuzz with activity at all hours of the day and night.More

Top activities in Chile

Full Day Torres del Paine

Full Day Torres del Paine

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All about Chile


People Also Ask

What is Chile known for?

Chile is known for its astonishing diversity of landscapes: glaciers and snow-capped mountains in the subantarctic south, the world’s driest desert in the north, and fertile valleys and gorgeous beaches in between. It’s also known for its wines, particularly its cabernet sauvignon and carmenère.

What is the #1 tourist attraction in Chile?

Torres del Paine National Park, in the Patagonia region, is the most popular tourist attraction in Chile. It boasts glittering glaciers, towering peaks, forested valleys, and crystal-clear lakes. Any outdoor lover will want to spend a few days hiking there.

What are some activities people do in Chile?

Outdoor recreation—including hiking, mountain climbing, horseback riding, and kayaking—is huge in Chile. Other popular activities include wine tasting at Chile’s many excellent vineyards, stargazing in the Atacama Desert, and soaking up culture in Santiago and Valparaíso.

What is the prettiest place in Chile?

Chile has an abundance of pretty places thanks to its diverse landscapes. Travelers especially love the pristine lakes and charming, Alpine-like villages of the Lake District; the dramatic mountains and glaciers of Torres del Paine; the Atacama Desert’s otherworldly landscapes, such as the Valley of the Moon; and the rolling vineyards of the Elqui Valley.

How many days is enough for Chile?

Ideally, you would spend two weeks exploring Chile from top to bottom, but ten days is enough to experience Santiago, the central coast (including Valparaíso), and perhaps the Lake District. You’ll also have time to head south and spend a couple of days trekking around Torres del Paine or north to the Atacama Desert.

Is Chile safe for tourists?

Yes, but use caution. Falling victim to pickpocketing or bag snatching is a fairly common tourist experience in Chile. Muggings and more violent robberies are also an issue. Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye on your belongings, especially in Valparaíso and Santiago, and try to avoid walking alone in cities at night.

Frequently Asked Questions