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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. Explore Torres del Paine in 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.

Here are some amazing Torres del Paine trek tours that might peak your interest:

6 days W trek tour in Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine Full Circuit 9 days

3. 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.

2. 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.

 Here is a food tour that happens in Santiago, that should fit the bill of any foodie!

4. Witness the magnificent Patagonia Glaciers

Ice-hiking on Glacier Grey in Patagonia
Hikers on an ice-hike trip of Glacier Grey

When in Chile, especially in Patagonia, one cannot leave without visiting one or all of its jaw-dropping glaciers. The glaciers are amongst the most impressive natural phenomenon in Chile, and each year thousands flock to view them and take part in the carefully organised tourist trade which seeks to safeguard the rapidly disappearing ice coverage. There are many impressive glaciers possible to visit. The Grey Glacier, in the southern Patagonia ice field, measures over 270 square km, and at 6 km wide and over 30 m in height it is an impressive sight. Further north, you’ll find the San Rafael Glacier, the closest tidewater glacier to the equator, covering an area of some 760 square km. Sadly, due to human environmental activity, the glaciers continue to shrink each year, yet they remain an impressive site, the last remnants of the ice age amongst us.

The Classic Patagonia trek allows you to see and explore many Patagonian glaciers and the rest of the area.

5. Take a Trip to Cajon del Maipo

Cajon del Maipo's biggest attraction is the Embalse el Yeso Reservoir
Embalse el Yeso in Cajon del Maipo against the Andes mountains

This spectacular canyon, on the western edge of the Andes, around two hours southeast of Santiago is a trekker’s paradise, offering amazing mountain scenery, and stunning landscapes. Many locals come here for a weekend escape, and it’s easy to see why. Amongst its natural beauty you will also find the marks of man at the reservoir of Embalse del Yeso, 2,500 meters above sea level. An incredible feat of engineering, which supplies water to Santiago and is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, it is a popular tourist attraction. There are many activities available in the region, from trekking, horse riding, skiing, and even wine tasting, and its close proximity to Santiago makes visiting the canyon easy if you have your own transport. You will also find plenty of tours to Cajon del Maipo from Santiago if you do not wish to navigate the place on your own.

After a hard day of activities relax in one of the many hot springs, the three main ones are at Banos Morales, Banos Colina and Termas El Plomo. The fully-staffed sights are a great destination to unwind!

Here is a perfect Cajon del Maipo day tour for you, in case you don't want to go through all of our tours online. 

6. 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

7. 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.

8. 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!

Here is a fulfilling 4 day Easter Island tour, that 

9. 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.

Here is a Atacama Adventure - Nature Tour that should make for a wholesome trip to the desert.

10. 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. 

Check out Neruda's Route tour that will take you to a journey in Isla Negra and Pomaire, including a visit to Neruda's house.

11. 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

Here is a ski tour that takes you down 7 volcanoes!

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

12. Get Closer to the Fascinating Street Art in Valparaíso

One can travel either from a bus or a car from Santiago to Valparaiso
Valaparaiso is also famous as the home of the Noble Laureate Pablo Neruda

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!

Here is full day Valparaiso tour that starts and ends in Santiago.

13. 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.

14. 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.

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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