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Things to Do in Chile

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From Santiago's rich cultural scenes and Valparaíso's fascinating art to overwhelming wilderness in Patagonia and imposing natural monuments like Los Pingüinos Natural Monument, the number and variety of things to do in Chile are good reasons to add this beautiful country to your travel agenda.

Whether you choose to explore the Chilean beauties by yourself, or you are interested in joining some of the many available tours in Chile, there is something for everyone. Check out these top 14 things to do in Chile, and choose what is best suited for you. 

1. Visit Santiago: Chilean Culture and Entertainment

Visiting Chile’s cultural and entertainment centre can give you insights on the entire country. The best museums and galleries, culinary hot spots, as well as the most incredible events and celebrations are hosted by the charming city; there are so many things to do in Santiago. The best time to visit the city is from March to May and from late September to November.

If you want a complete experience of the city, book a tour with a local guide, who will effortlessly and efficiently lead you through the most beautiful streets of Santiago.

2. Explore Patagonia

Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia, Chile
Torres del Paine National Park, a stunning glimpse into the incredible biodiversity of southern Patagonia

Shared with Argentina, Patagonia is one of the most amazing regions in both countries. You can search for Patagonia tours that take care of the entire itinerary or just embark on the adventure with a group of friends. Either way, make sure you plan your trip for the peak summer months. The best time to visit Patagonia is October to February. The most popular attraction in this region is the Torres del Paine National Park. If time allows, you should deifinitely consider a Torres del Paine trek and there are three routes to choose from! Aside from this you should also explore its southern, mysterious provinces of Magallanes, Última Esperanza and Tierra del Fuego.

3. Visit Isla Magdalena and Play with the Penguins

Island Magdalena in Chile
A visit to the Los Pingüinos Natural Monument in Chile is an experience unlike anything

A visit to the Los Pingüinos Natural Monument in Chile is an experience unlike anything. This is the largest penguin colony in southern Chile, and it is located on the small Magdalena Island.Though some people would love to adventure into searching for penguins by themselves, the island is accessible only by guided boat tours. The best time to visit Magdalena Island is from November until March, when the birds migrate back here and find their mate.

Read our guide to Isla de Magdalena to know more about visiting the destination.

4. Spend a Day on the Slopes: Skiing in Chile

While Chile is widely popular for summer vacations, there are also plenty of things to do in Chile in winter. If you love winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding, you want to travel to Chile during ski season. Between mid-June to mid-October, skiing in Chile is a fantastic outdoor activitiy. There are many ski resorts in the country offering visitors great conditions in order to have a fantastic ski holiday, of which Portillo and Valle Nevado are the most popular. And if you want to try something more extreme, try skiing down the Osorno Volcano

Skiing is one of the best things to do in Chile
Chile is a lesser known gem in the world of skiing with great ski resorts

5. Climb an Active Volcano in Chile's Lake District

Villarrica Volcano in Pucon
Climbing the Villarrica volcano is a feat

If you are an outdoorsy person, then Lake District of Chile should definitely be one of your preferred destinations when visiting the country. Not only does it offer you the chance to wander around and admire incredible natural beauty, and enjoy activities like fly-fishing, kayaking, hiking, and cycling but you can also climb one of Chile’s most active volcanoes, the Villarrica Volcano. The best time to engage in this adventure is from May to November and January to February.

Find out some more conquerable Chilean volcanoes in our Ten Volcanoes to Climb in Chile. And if climbing them doesn't interest you, why not visit Chile's Lake District and gaze at the many snowy volcanoes amongst other things to do in the lake region.

6. Eat Like a Hungry Local

Pastel de choclo
Pastel de choclo, a Chilean dish based on sweetcorn or choclo

Known for its simplicity and freshness, the Chilean cuisine will conquer the heart of every foodie that sets foot on its charming land. You can book one of the available Chile food tours, or you can start your own culinary adventure by tasting one of the most popular Chilean dishes, Pastel de Choclo, which is something like a Shepherd’s Pie with meat, vegetables and a cornmeal topping. Either way, Chile promises its visitors an unforgettable culinary experience.

7. Get Closer to the Fascinating Street Art in Valparaíso

Valparaíso is one of the street art capitals of South America so, whether you are an art enthusiast, or just interested in the Chilean cultural background, visiting Valparaíso should be on your list of things to do in Chile. You can visit this charming port town all year round. Start a journey from Santiago to Valparaiso and have an enhanced street art experience, or join one of the available tours!

8. Indulge in Water Activities in La Serena

As mentioned earlier, when you travel to Chile you have got to enjoy a diversity of things to do. If you want to indulge in water activities La Serena is the perfect place for you. A large number of beaches give you the chance to spend time swimming, surfing or windsurfing. The best period to visit this area is during summer. However, the beaches near La Serena can get really crowded, so if you want a bit of peace, check out Playa Tongoy and Playa Totoralillo.

Surfing is one of the top 12 things to do in Chile
Enjoy swimming, surfing or windsurfing in the beaches near La Serena

 There are many excellent beaches to visit in Chile if you love the sun, the sand, and the sea.

9. Pamper Yourself in the World's Biggest Natural Jacuzzis

Located in the south of the Villarrica volcano, 15km north of Coñaripe, the Japanese-inspired hot springs known as Termas Geometricas, are definitely some of the top things to do in Chile. A total of seventeen thermal pools can be accessed by walking through wooden bridges while admiring the fascinating surroundings. For most people, it takes one look at the picturesque images of the pools, created by the steam coming from the water and the fern-covered the walls, to head down to this location.

10. Enjoy a Wine Tasting Session

Chile is famous for its wine. The hearts of wine lovers from all over the world have been conquered with delicacies like Malbec or Carménère. If you are a wine aficionado, you should visit some of the local wineries in the valley, where you can enjoy a tour and an unforgettable wine tasting. If that doesn’t quench your thirst, give a five wine regions in Chile a try!

Wine tasting is one of the best things to do in Santiago Chile
Wine tasting tours are a great way to know the rich food and wine culture of Chile

11. Get Closer to Chilean History: Visit Pablo Neruda’s Houses

The famous poet and senator of the Chilean Communist Party, Pablo Neruda is one of the most important and beloved figures in South America. When you travel to Chile, visiting his houses is a must if you want to get in touch with the history and culture of the country. So, pack your bags and travel from Santiago to Valparaiso, and then to Isla Negra to see the famous Neruda’s houses. 

12. Celebrate Fiesta Patria in Santiago

Chile’s National Independence Day, known colloquially as El Dieciocho is celebrated on the 18th of September, all over the country. However, the best place to experience this fiesta is definitely, Santiago. With delicious food, tasty drinks and a great atmosphere, celebrating the Independence Day together with the Chileans will be an unforgettable episode!

13. Unravel the Mysteries of Easter Island

Easter Island in Chile is a must visit
The giant statue heads called Moai makes Easter Island in Chile a major tourist attraction

While getting to Easter Island has its fair share of challenges, the fascinating land still manages to attract thousands of tourists in Chile every year. Discover the giant head statues called moai, that have shrouded this island in mystery since forever; spend your time in its pristine beaches, enjoy the distinct culture, there are so many reasons to visit Easter Island. Regardless of how long you decide to spend in the island, you are destined for a memorable stay while on a tour to Easter Island!

14. Stargazing in Atacama Desert

Star trails can be seen clearly in Atacama desert
Atacama desert provides some of the best spots in the world for stargazing

Atacama Desert in Northern Chile is a place of many natural phenomenon, featuring moon-like terrain, salt lakes, hot springs, multi-colored rock formations, and snow-peaked mountains. But one of the most sought after attractions in Atacama Desert is undoubtedly the star studded night sky. The high altitude of Atacama Desert coupled with little to no pollution, and almost zero clouds, prepares for a night sky with the most majestic astronomical sightings! Book a tour to Atacama now.

As you can see, the various things to do in Chile can satisfy all kinds of travelers. Whether you are looking for cultural activities or culinary experiences, the country has it all. Adventure activities in Chile is another big attraction, thus ensuring that a visit to the country is an amalgam of different unforgettable experiences.

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