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The most interesting Chile tourist attractions not to miss off your bucketlist

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Has the sheer length of the country left you floundered when it comes to deciding which Chile tourist attractions to go and visit? Got no clue what’s even out there? This bucketlist of the most interesting things to do and see in Chile is here to help.

Chile tourist attractions span almost every climate you can think of, starting with desert up North, a lake district and then ICE. Lots and lots of ice. This makes the list of Chile tourist attractions a very exciting one, and you can experience so many distinctive things to do in a relatively short amount of time.

After this list of the best Chile tourist attractions, don’t miss:

14 Chile tourist attractions for your bucketlist:

1. The Milky Way from the Atacama Desert

How could I not start the list of most interesting Chile tourist attractions with this one? Being so unpopulated, the huge expanses of the Atacama Desert are some of the best spots from which to stargaze into the Milky Way at night. Aside from astronomy, the Atacama Desert is full of other adventures, day or night, too.

The best way to access the area is to stay in San Pedro de Atacama and take a guided tour out a few hours into the desert. There are many ways you can do this, from fat-bike rides to a hiking mountains with a few nights’ camping.

2. The Regional Museum of Atacama at Copiapó

Now, few museums have ever actually left me feeling tearful. This small but mighty museum detailing the collapse of and escape from the famous Copiapó mine in 2010 (you know, the one that was on the news for over 2 months) gives an emotional account of the experiences of those affected in an incredibly personal way.

You’ll also get to see some of the equipment they sent down to rescue the 33 miners who were trapped for 69 days.

3. The beach of Bahia Inglesa

While you’re up in Copiapó, a day trip to Bahia Inglesa is a must. It’s said to be Chile’s most beautiful beach, but there are several other empty beaches up and down the coastline too if this one gets too busy.

Best to hire a car!

chile tourist attractions bahia inglesa copiapo caldera bucketlist

4. Street art in Valparaíso

Famed for its young, vibrant vibes and colourful streets, Valparaíso (Valpo to locals) is a must-see for art & culture-lovers. It’s one of the few Chilean cities with real attitude to it, and the street art depicts tales of old alongside the struggles of now.

You really can’t leave Valparaíso without having taken a street art tour!

5. Valpo’s funículares

Back in the day, Valparaíso was at the forefront of transportational advances, as it installed a number of funículars or street lifts to counter the fact that it’s built into hills steeper than the price of rent in Manhattan. Many of those funículares are still working today, and for just a few coins you can take a ride up and down in them.

The best one in my opinion is Reina Victoria, which will take you up into a walkway with cool bars on one side and views over the hills and coastline of the city on the other.

6. Concón’s sand dunes

One of the more unexpected of Chile tourist attractions in urban areas; the sand dunes at Concón are only a short local bus ride away from Valparaíso, and even shorter from the holiday town of Reñaca. They are totally worth an explore, and a dune-board if you’re feeling particularly courageous.

The sand dunes back right onto cliffs that meet the Atlantic Ocean, with urban development on either side of the coastline, so it’s quite the sight to behold.

chile-tourist-attractions-concon sand dunes

7. The many vineyards outside Santiago

Even if you’re also heading to Argentina as part of your travels, vineyards are still firmly on the list of top Chile tourist attractions. More accurately, a fat glass of wine being lifted to your lips as you sit within the peaceful balconies of a vineyard is firmly on the list of top Chile tourist attractions.

Some of the most popular vineyards are situated just outside of Santiago; you can opt for guided wine tasting days from the city (the bicycle tour is highly recommended!) or hire a car and visit some independently.

8. Santiago views from Cerro San Cristóbal

Like views? Get yourself up to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal for something epic! This colossal hill gives a vantage point for an almost 360 look over the capital. Not only that, there’s a giant Virgin Mary statue up there that protects the city, and a few ice cream shops etc. too.

You can get a taxi or old funícular up to the top, but you can stretch the views out even longer if you’re happy to hike the ~45 minutes up instead.

chile-tourist-attractions-santiago-cerro

9. The stilted houses of the lake district

Here’s where things get quaint. A few hours south of Santiago is Chile’s lake district, where big cities are replaced with small towns and villages. Lots of these are fairly picturesque, and Castro is one of the most famous for its colourful wooden houses hovering on stilts above the lake.

This is one of the Chile tourist attractions that’s totally free to look at and can be seen from several angles around the town.

10. Penguin colonies at Puñihuil

Find me someone who doesn’t enjoy a good penguin or two. Luckily, Chile can offer you significantly more than two penguins, as it’s home to large colonies of them down on some of its lake district islands.

While you’re down in the Castro area enjoying the stilted houses, make time for a day trip on a boat out to Puñihuil to see where the penguins live and learn all about them.

11. Chile’s most photogenic lakeside

A view of Osorno Volcano over Llanquihue Lake from the teeny town of Puerto Varas is like staring out at a giant postcard.

Visiting Puerto Varas can be a super-chill day out, but the area offers plenty of adrenaline-filled excursions like hiking to waterfalls and skiing on the volcano if you’re game for staying longer.

12. The Ring of Fire

This is the name for a ring of active volcanoes situated in Chile’s south. Of these, Volcán Villarrica is one of the favourites to ascend. Guided Villarrica hikes start from the beautifully remote town of Pucón.

13. Marble caves of Lake General Carrera

The Catedral de Marmol is a stunning network of marble caves. You can access these by boat, but taking a kayak tour will get you even closer to the natural beauty.

The colour of the glimmering caves changes by season, so plan ahead the time of year you’d like to explore them in.

14. Insane peaks at Torres del Paine

Hikers, get ready! The Torres del Paine National Park down in Patagonia is one of the most interesting Chile tourist attractions for the mega-adventurous. This icy mountainous region is full of gorgeous hikes, from 1-day excursions into the national park to 6-day explorations of the iconic W Trek. Prepare yourself for some of the most breath-taking trails of your life.

To see the national park without getting your walking boots on, you can take an exciting boat tour from Puerto Natales to see some of the glaciers.


So there’s my list of the most interesting Chile tourist attractions out there! Make sure you update your bucketlist with anything you may have missed; this list crosses a large geographical span so depending on how much time you have to spend in Chile it may be a case of adding these to a future itinerary instead of being able to see the Chile tourist attractions all in one trip. Chile is well worth visiting more than once, though!

Now that you’ve reached the end of this list of the best Chile tourist attractions, don’t miss:

 

chile travel destination guides blog

 

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Last Updated on 30 March 2022 by Cuppa to Copa Travels

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