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Things to do in Chile

Things to do in  Chile

Welcome to Chile

In Chile, coastlines stretch along the Pacific Ocean; the rugged terrain of Patagonia seemingly reaches to the end of the earth; and the dry Atacama desert, Andes mountains, and Valdivian forests nestle against one another to create a country where the topography is as varied as the options for exploring. Santiago de Chile, the country's capital, is a melting pot of Latin culture, bohemian neighborhoods, and colonial architecture. Don't miss out on the views from the top of San Cristobal Hill (Cerro San Cristobal); colorful street art and thumping nightlife in trendy Bellavista; or a bike tour of top city sights. UNESCO World Heritage Site Valparaíso—renowned for its hillside funiculars (cable railways) and street art—as well as beachside gem Viña del Mar are just a 1.5-hour drive away, and easily doable on a day trip from Santiago. If you're seeking outdoor adventure, Patagonia's Torres del Paine National Park boasts surreal beauty, bringing together mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers to make it an ideal location for horseback riding or hiking tours. For wine lovers, Chile is the promised land of New World varietals, with regions such as the Maipo Valley, San Antonio Valley, and the Matetic Vineyards best explored on wine-tasting tours. Further north, the otherworldly landscapes of the Atacama Desert—home to Moon Valley, the Atacama Salt Lake, and the Ojos del Salar—are a must-see from San Pedro de Atacama. Meanwhile, far-flung Rapa Nui Easter Island, home to nearly 900 giant head statues, is a modern mystery best explored on a multi-day trip, including round-trip plane rides.

Top 10 attractions in Chile

#1
Fort Bulnes (Fuerte Bulnes)

Fort Bulnes (Fuerte Bulnes)

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Visitors to Fort Bulnes, located atop an unforgiving hillside, will surely take note of the unprecedented lengths colonizers went to in order to stake their claim on such inhospitable land.Ancient shipwrecks that line the coastal route between this popular destination and Punta Arenas serve as a reminder of just how treacherous travel could be. While the fort’s museum, which explores the colonization history in Southern Chile and replicas of a historic church, jail, post office and stables are definitely worth the trip, visitors agree that it’s the epic views from scenic trails and the ancient watchtower that prove to be most memorable.More
#2
Viña del Mar

Viña del Mar

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Nicknamed the Garden City and located just an hour from Santiago, Viña del Mar is a charming seaside town famous for its flowers and its beach. Top attractions include the seafront Wulff Castle, the Flower Clock (Reloj de Flores), and Francisco Fonck Museum, the entrance of which is marked by a stone moai statue from Easter Island.More
#3
La Moneda Palace (Palacio de la Moneda)

La Moneda Palace (Palacio de la Moneda)

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The presidential palace known as La Moneda Palace (Palacio de la Moneda)is one of Santiago’s architectural icons. A giant Chilean flag billows before the white, neoclassical building, which houses movie theaters, art galleries, and an independent bookstore. Look for the statue of former president Salvador Allende at the southeast corner of Plaza de la Constitución.More
#4
Osorno Volcano

Osorno Volcano

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The snow-capped cone of Osorno Volcano is one of Chile’s most recognizable landmarks. Towering over Lake Todos Los Santos and Lake Llanquihue in the Andean mountain range, Osorno is the starting point of Chilean Patagonia and is a magnet for adventurous outdoor enthusiasts who come here to ski, hike, and trek.More
#5
Llanquihue Lake

Llanquihue Lake

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The town of Puerto Varas sits on the banks of Llanquihue Lake in Chile’s magnificent Lakes District. The lake itself, the second-largest lake in the country after General Carrera Lake, sits at the base of the near-perfect conically shaped Osorno Volcano, adding to its already picturesque qualities.The shores of the 336-square-mile (870-square-kilometer) lake share a German heritage, yet each attracts visitors for a different reason. Puerto Varas is the lake’s adventure capital, while Frutillar on the western banks of the lake appeals to Chilean tourists on summer holiday. The charming Bavarian-style town of Puerto Octay offers remote accommodations on the north shores of the lake, and rustic Ensenada on the eastern banks sits at the entrance to Vicente Perez Rosales National Park.More
#6
Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna)

Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna)

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With its parched desert plains and wind-sculpted topography, it’s easy to see how Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna) earned its name. The sharp sandstone peaks, glittering salt deposits, and crater-like depressions make for some dramatic photographs, and watching the sunset over the valley is an unforgettable experience.More
#7
Milodon Cave (Cueva del Milodon)

Milodon Cave (Cueva del Milodon)

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In 1896, German explorer Eberhard Hermann entered a cave and found strange remains inside, the fur and bones of the extinct Mylodon sloth. Named after the giant ground sloth found within, Milodon Cave (Cueva del Milodon) is the largest of several caves within Cueva del Milodon National Monument. But the sloth wasn’t the only inhabitant of the caves. Remains of other extinct species, including a saber-toothed cat and a dwarf horse, as well as evidence of human habitation from as early as 6,000 BC have been found within the caves.As visitors enter the monument, they’re greeted by a full-size replica of the mylodon sloth, standing 13 feet (4 meters) tall. The mylodon was said to resemble a giant bear, though the mammal was in fact a very large herbivore that went extinct over 10,000 years ago. A viewing point atop the cathedral-sized cave affords visitors views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers and the Eberhard fjord.More
#8
San Cristobal Hill (Cerro San Cristobal)

San Cristobal Hill (Cerro San Cristobal)

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The Santiago skyline is dominated by San Cristobal Hill (Cerro San Cristobal), a forested mountain rising 2,821 feet (860 meters) above the city. The site is protected as part of the Santiago Metropolitan Park (Parque Metropolitano), one of the most famous city parks in Chile. Today, the park serves as a scenic escape above the smog that can grip Santiago on winter days, and offers fantastic views across this city of 6.5 million to the Andes Mountains.More
#9
Santa Lucia Hill (Cerro Santa Lucia)

Santa Lucia Hill (Cerro Santa Lucia)

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Threaded with staircases and punctuated by plazas, the 230-foot-high (70-meter-high) Santa Lucía Hill is a landmark of downtown Santiago. Climb the 200+ stairs to the Torre Mirador viewpoint for panoramic views over the city and Andes beyond, catch the ceremonial cannon fire at noon, and people watch in the colorfully tiled Pedro de Valdivia Plaza.More
#10
Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

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The site on which the city was founded back in 1541, Plaza de Armas is both the heart of Santiago de Chile’s historic district and the epicenter of the modern city. The leafy, palm-fringed plaza is surrounded by grand monuments and architectural landmarks, and it’s abuzz with activity at all hours of the day and night.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Santiago

How to Spend 3 Days in Santiago

How to Spend 2 Days in San Pedro de Atacama

How to Spend 2 Days in San Pedro de Atacama

Top Archaeological Sights in San Pedro de Atacama

Top Archaeological Sights in San Pedro de Atacama

Top activities in Chile

Full-Day Tour of Valparaiso Port and Viña del Mar from Santiago

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Full-Day Tour of Valparaiso Port and Viña del Mar from Santiago

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Full Day Penguin King

Full Day Penguin King

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Santiago City + Wine Experience

Santiago City + Wine Experience

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Recent reviews from experiences in Chile

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Great First Tour of Santiago
Carolyn_M, Mar 2020
Private Santiago City Tour including Cerro San Cristobal
Perfect first tour to get a lay of the land and major attractions.
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The Best of Santiago
Cruising, Mar 2020
Private Santiago City Half Day Tour
Isidro had an excellent command of English and was easy to understand.
star-5
Perfect day in Chile
ERIN_P, Feb 2020
Frutillar, Puerto Varas, and Petrohué Waterfalls Excursion from Puerto Montt
Mellow and Bernardo modified the day's events according to our group's wishes so we could spend more time at the waterfalls and in Frutillar.
star-5
Half day tour of Santiago
Penny_B, Jan 2020
Private Santiago City Half Day Tour
He spoke excellent English and told us all about Chile past and present as well as showing us all the sights.
star-5
Loved every minute of this tour
MangiaGuy, Jan 2020
Maipo Valley litle wine bus from Santiago
He was an awesome guide and spoke English very well.
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Tour of Valparaiso & Vina del Mar
Rosemari T, Jan 2020
Full-Day Tour of Valparaiso Port and Viña del Mar from Santiago
Francisca, our guide was fluent in English and gave a very thorough introduction to the history of colorful, and artsy Valparaiso and its adjacent resort town of Vina dl Mar.
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Osorno Volcano and Petrohue Falls
Cathy_B, Jan 2020
Osorno Volcano, Petrohue Falls and Puerto Varas Shore Excursion
The falls and volcano are not to be missed sights in Chile.
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Great tour guide
BISMIT_B, Sep 2019
Portillo Inca Lagoon at The Andes Mountains and San Esteban Vineyard from Santiago
very professional and got to learn a lot about the tour attractions as well as Chile in general from him
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Excellent day in Casablanca!
KrystenJean, Aug 2019
Casablanca Valley Wine Tasting Including 4 Vineyards
I suppose this may be due to visiting the Vineyards in the winter months of Chile.
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Interesting, enjoyable show with delicious dinner
Elena_G, May 2019
Chilean Dinner and Show Experience in Santiago
The only minor pos was the driver and waters didn't speak English and we can't speak Spanish.
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Great History Lesson
Jan_E, Apr 2019
Half Day Guided City Tour in Santiago - Small Groups - Multi Language
We appreciated his English fluency.
star-5
Amazing experience!
Stephanie_A, Mar 2019
Maipo Valley Wine Tour Including 3 Vineyards and Country Town of Isla de Maipo
Our guide Helene spoke fluent English and gave great information about the wineries and Chile overall.
star-5
Excellent Tour
Joseph_C, Oct 2018
Santiago city and Wine Tour in a Small Group
The tour covered all the main attractions of Chile
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Awesome!
Amanda_G, Oct 2018
Day Trip to Cajon Del Maipo from Santiago
We learned so much about Chile - from Santiago to the little towns along the route - and got to see amazing sites we never would have gone to on our own.
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Gorgeous and informative trip!
megv, Mar 2019
Day Trip to Cajon Del Maipo from Santiago
Beautiful scenery and a knowledgeable guide -- this was a great way to see some of Chile's natural beauty and learn about the Maipo region.
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Great tour, excellent guide.
Guide45293986742, Dec 2018
Santiago: Full day tour to Valparaiso and Viña del Mar city
If you only have limited time and want to see the key parts of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar in one day this is the tour for you.
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We saw a lot of Santiago, which was...
Sharon_S, Mar 2018
Private Tour: Santiago City Sightseeing
Our guide's use of English could have been better.
star-4
A fun day out of Santiago and good...
STEPHEN_P, Feb 2018
Full-Day Tour of Valparaiso Port and Viña del Mar from Santiago
A fun day out of Santiago and good to see another area of Chile.
star-5
Our tour guide was Frank. His...
Jan S, Jun 2017
Day Trip to Cajon del Maipo Embalse El Yeso
His English was flawless.
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Prompt pickup from the dock, and to...
Douglas F, Dec 2017
Transfers from Valparaiso or Viña del Mar to Santiago
The driver was courteous, but didn't speak english, which would have been nice, since we could have got some information about Chile on the hour and a half drive.
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