10 incredible things to do when you travel to Chile Uncover South America

Chile | Blog 10 incredible things to do when you travel to Chile

November 20, 2021

Don't be fooled by the way Chile looks on your map. You'd be tempted to think there isn't much to do there due to it being one of the narrowest countries in the world. But it's actually quite the opposite!
It's home to the breathtaking and wild Patagonia, the fascinating driest place on earth, Atacama Desert, but also some of the best wineries in the world and plenty of gorgeous beaches. Chile offers incredible sceneries for a trip full of unforgettable adventures. 

Whether you want to observe some incredible wildlife, hike in the most stunning natural parks, relax in splendid hot springs, taste delicious food, or engage in extreme activities, Chile is undoubtedly the place for you! 

This compilation of experiences is sure to make your holidays to Chile memorable! 

1-  Whale watching in Chiloe Island 

Located only half an hour ferry ride from Puerto Montt, Chiloe Island is a land full of incredible handicrafts, legends, and traditions. It's also one of the best places in the world for whale watching. During the Austral summer, from December to March / April, Blue Whales and Humpback Whales migrate and swim very close to the shore. If you're lucky, you might even spot them doing their famous breaching jump!

The best spots to watch these incredible creatures are from Chiloe National Park and Tantauco Park, where you can see them from the large cliffs. If you feel adventurous and want to live a once in a lifetime experience, you can even do a kayak expedition for an exceptional encounter. 

2- Uncover Los Flamencos National reserve

Flamingos are so iconic in the Atacama Desert that they even have their own nature reserve. Located in the commune of San Pedro de Atacama, Los Flamencos National reserve is divided into seven distinct areas, and each of them offers incredible sights. Between salt flats, volcanic rocks, colourful lagoons, and snowcapped mountains, make sure you pack your camera for some stunning shots.

While you're there, explore the Moon Valley and its out of this world landscape, take a dip in a natural pool of saltwater in Cejar Lagoon and marvel at pink flamingos in Chaxa lagoons

3- Explore Humberstone, a Chilean ghost town 

During your trip to the Atacama Desert, don't miss the chance to visit Humberstone, an abandoned mining ghost town. It's hard to believe it, but in the 1870s, Humberstone was one of the largest saltpetre extractors in the region. After being utterly deserted in 1970, the town was declared a national monument and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It now functions as an open-air museum where you can step back in time and explore the well-preserved schools, houses, mines and church. 

Walking the street of Humberstone make you feel like you're in the middle of an apocalyptic movie.

4- Spot stunning Street art in Valparaiso 

In addition to being the main port of Chile, Valparaiso is one of the most colourful cities in the world. Famous for its association with the poet Pablo Neruda, the bohemian and grungy town is a wonderful playground for street artists who come from all around the world to leave their mark on the walls. Every artwork tells its own story and is used as a form of expression both socially and politically. 

You can find street art on each corner of the city, but if you don't have a lot of time to explore, we recommend you head to Cerro Conception, Cerro Bellavista or Cerro Alegre for some of the most gorgeous fresco. Prepare your best walking shoes and get ready for a little bit of cardio as Valparaiso is built on many hills. Finally a workout with a one of a kind reward!

5- Visit boutique wineries in the Maipo Valley  

Chile has been producing wine since the 16th century, but it became famous and started the production of fine wine towards the 20th century when many French families moved there and exported with them their knowledge. Chile is today the 5th largest exporter of wine in the world. 

Despite holding the title of the country with the largest average winery size in the world, Chile is also an incredible place to discover small scale producers and boutique wineries. During your visit to Santiago, head off to the Maipo Valley to taste some of the most prestigious Chilean wine and meet local producers who will share with you their passion and expertise. 

6- Take a dip in Termas Geométricas

After days of trekking, climbing, or kayaking, it's time to unwind and rest your body and mind in a magical natural hot spring. Nestled in the middle of the lush Villarrica National Park, Termas Geometricas feels like a secret garden with its Asian inspired red planks winding through the trees and the steam rising from the thermal springs. 

Follow the path, and you will find 20 pools fed by a natural hot spring that vary from warm to very hot. If you need to cool down, there is also a freezing cold basin that comes directly from the waterfall. Geometric Hot Springs are open all year round, making it the perfect activity for a chilly and rainy day in Pucon.

7- Get your dose of adrenaline in Cajon del Maipo 

Just a couple of hours southeast of Santiago, you can find one of the most beautiful gorges in Chile: The Maipo Canyon. Featuring the gorgeous Andean rocky walls, some serious rushing streams and narrow valleys, Cajon del Maipo is an ideal destination for those who want to practice adventure sports.

If you don't mind getting soaked, rafting is the most popular watersport available there, thanks to the Maipo river that creates perfect conditions for white water rafting. You can also go zip lining across the valley, hike to the El Morado Hanging Glacier or try mountain biking through the Andes. Whatever the experience you choose, you will be rewarded with incredible sceneries!

8- Go stargazing in the Elqui Valley 

Thanks to its 320 days of sunshine per year and its high chances of clear sky at night, the Elqui Valley is one of the best places in the world for Stargazing. Astronomers even use the valley as a base for their research, and some of the world's most powerful telescopes are available to the public. In addition, some observatories offer tours and will give you a crash course in astronomy before showing you distant galaxies and planets. 

If you decide to take a trip to the Elqui Valley, make sure to check the lunar calendar in advance to avoid any disappointment. The four days before the full moon, the moonlight is very bright and will significantly diminish viewing of the night sky. 

9- Meet indigenous people in the Araucanía Region

As a traveller, you know that each corner of the world has its own group of indigenous communities who carry on their ancestors' legacy and traditions. In Chile, nine indigenous groups make up for 10% of the population, and the Mapuche are the largest ones comprising about 84 per cent of the total indigenous population. 

In Arauco, the northernmost region of Chile, you can spend some time with the Mapuche communities, share their day to day lives and even stay in their own homes named "rucas". It's an incredible opportunity for you to connect deeper with Chile, learn about the Mapuche's history, their culture, some ancestral technics and much more. 

10- Explore Torres del Paine national park 

Your tour of Chile wouldn't be complete without a visit to the famous Torres Del Paine National Park. The first thing that comes to your mind when you think about it might be the three famous towers of granite that dominate the landscape, but it's not the only wonder you will see there. You will walk some of the most spectacular routes on the planet and witness torrential rivers, ice blue lagoons, hanging glaciers and lush grasslands. It's also a magical place to spot guanacos, foxes and if you're lucky, you might even see some pumas.

You've got different options to visit Torres Del Paine national parks, and whether you want to spend 1, 5 or 10 days hiking there, it will undoubtedly be the adventure of a lifetime!


We hope that this list helped you get an idea of all the incredible experiences you can live in Chile! If any of these places have caught your attention, please get in touch with us as we would be happy to include them in any of our tours.




Uncover South America Team


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