As the longest country in the world, Chile encompasses a variety of geographical and cultural varieties within its own national borders. To the north, it has the most arid desert in the world. To the South, the country is largely made up on archipelagos, mountain caps, and glacier chains. Its lush green landscapes contrasted with the Andean backdrops create a picture-worthy experience for even the most experienced world travelers.
If you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors, or experience Chilean culture in its metropolitan centers, check out the following places on your next trip.
Northern Chile has a dry, arid landscape hospitable only because of it’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean. It is abundant in natural resources, and home to the majority of the country’s mining industry. Some cities to visit here are Antofagasta, Arica, and Iquique. Antofagasta and Iquique are especially large, seeing recent immigration booms with people from neighboring cities and countries. Temperatures here are mild, ranging between 70-75 degrees for the better part of the year.
The region is also home to an array of archaeological sites and ruins of the precolonial Aymara and Inca peoples. If you’re looking to explore salt flats, and other amazing landscapes, look east of these cities and see sights like El Tatio Geysers, Valle de La Luna, and San Pedro de Atacama. The Atacama Desert has especially optimal conditions for star-gazing as well, such as high altitude, no light pollution, and zero clouds.
Chile’s Central region is the heart of the country. It is where the majority of the country’s commercial, financial, civic, and cultural centers are located. The central region also contains the majority of the country’s major cities and populations. La Serena is a beautiful coastal town North of Santiago with lush green landscapes and a wonderful collection of world renowned wineries.
Santiago of course is the heart and soul of Chilean society. The city has an awesome cosmopolitan vibe, making it one of South America’s most dynamic and first-world cities. Sight-see in the city to enjoy it’s magnificent collection of neo classical spanish architecture, alongside the city’s various music halls, theatres, art galleries, and museums. A few kilometers east of Santiago is the nation’s most popular ski resort Valle Nevado, housing tourists from all over the world.
If you’re looking for a place with a more old-world ambiance, check out seaport Valparaiso – a UNESCO World heritage site – and its array of picturesque and ornate houses sprinkled throughout the city’s hills and valleys are absolutely stunning. Right next to Valparaiso is one of the continent’s most famous beach cities, the fabulous Viña del Mar.
South – Patagonia
Towards the Southern Patagonian region of Chile, you begin to reach the country’s various national parks, and smaller picturesque cities. Remnants of European influence are rich in architecture and culture throughout cities like Osorno, Valdivia and Puerto Montt. Since they are located in the nation’s Lakes Region, the area’s quaint architecture, coupled with the geographical blue lakes and towering mountain ranges is ideal for any postcard picture.
Of course, because of the region’s wide open natural landscapes, the area is perfect for outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, and kayaking. Definitely make a trek through the Torres del Paine National Park, where the mountain range’s three granite peaks tower above the park’s various lakes, rivers, and plains. Heading further down south towards the region’s glaciers and island archipelagos is Penguin Island, a natural breeding and birthing habitat for Penguins. Finally, visit Punta Arenas and Tierra del Fuego, the continent’s southernmost populated locations.
When in South America, definitely make a trip down to Chile for an authentically enriching South American experience. I guarantee you’ll love it! If you liked this post and would like to read more on travel, read on for more. If you’re interested in reading about other topics like law and finance, check out my Twitter @ for more. Thanks for reading !