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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
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
#2
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
#3
Ahu Tongariki

Ahu Tongariki

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With 15 gigantic stone-carved moai lined up on a 200-foot-long platform and a remote location framed by the looming Rano Raraku volcano and the crashing ocean, Ahu Tongariki is nothing short of spectacular. For many visitors, this is the star attraction of Easter Island, and looking up at the towering figures, the largest of which stands 14 meters tall, it’s hard not to be in awe of the Rapa Nui people, who achieved the seemingly impossible feat of carving and moving the 30-ton stone boulders to their waterfront perch.Ahu Tongariki is the largest ceremonial site ever made on the island, featuring the largest number of moai ever erected on a single site, and each statue is unique, with only one featuring the iconic red-rock “pukao,” or ceremonial headdress. Even more astounding, considering the size and weight of the statues, is that the site was almost completely destroyed by a tsunami in 1960, with the rocks flung more than 90 meters inland. The ahu has since been painstakingly restored, a project that took Chilean archaeologists Claudio Cristino and Patricia Vargas five years and was finally completed in 1995.More
#4
Punta Arenas Municipal Cemetery

Punta Arenas Municipal Cemetery

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Opened in 1894, the Punta Arenas Municipal Cemetery is known as the final resting place for some of the area’s most famous historical figures. Relevant families—like the Menendez-Behetys—even have their own chapels here. The massive iron gate stationed at the cemetery’s main entrance was donated by Sara Braun, a wealthy businesswoman, back in 1919, and local legend says it has remained closed and locked since the day it was completed at Sara’s request. While the grounds were originally reserved for bodies of British colonialists, it also includes those of famous German, French, Norwegian and Chilean residents as well.Punta Arenas Municipal Cemetery covers about 10 acres (four hectares) of city land, making it one of the most expansive burial grounds in the region. Visits are often included in city tours, and the cemetery’s main office has an incredible electronic database where travelers can search for individuals by name to find the location of specific plots.More
#5
Anakena Beach

Anakena Beach

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With its stretch of white sand fringed with Tahitian coconut palms, a backdrop of grassy hills and ocean waters that rarely dip below 64 degrees F (18 degrees C) even in the winter months, few places come as close to paradise as Anakena Beach. One of only three beaches on Easter Island, Anakena also plays an important part in the history of the island. It was here that King Ariki Hotu Matu’a first landed on Easter Island and later, the beach became a spiritual center for the Miru tribe–the remnants of which can be seen in the seven beautifully restored moai of Ahu Nau Nau and the single moai of Ahu Ature Huki that overlook the beach.Aside from its striking setting and dramatically situated moai, the main draw to Anakena Beach is, of course, the ocean and the warm, clear waters make the ideal spot for swimming, surfing and snorkeling.More
#6
Nao Victoria Museum (Museo Nao Victoria)

Nao Victoria Museum (Museo Nao Victoria)

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Visitors to the Nao Victoria Museum can travel back in time and experience the real-life thrill of a 16th-century sailing experience. Opened in 2011, this destination is celebrated by locals for promoting national identity and preserving much of what makes this area so unique. Visitors can wander through four real-life replicas of famous ships: the Nao Victoria, James Caird, HMS Beagle and Schooner Ancud—boats that played an important role in the discovery of Magallanes. Guides are included in the cost of admission, which makes for rich storytelling while travelers explore the ships.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
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
#9
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
#10
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

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Santiago

How to Spend 3 Days in Santiago

Recent reviews from experiences in Chile

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Great First Tour of Santiago
Carolyn, 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.
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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.
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Half day tour of Santiago
gandpbyrne, 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
4ccbaur, Jan 2020
Osorno Volcano, Petrohue Falls and Puerto Varas Shore Excursion
The falls and volcano are not to be missed sights in Chile.
star-5
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
350elenag, 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
Jantana1, Apr 2019
Half Day Guided City Tour in Santiago - Small Groups - Multi Language
We appreciated his English fluency.
star-5
Amazing experience!
sbash_426, 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
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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Excellent Tour
JOSEPH C, Oct 2018
Santiago city and Wine Tour in a Small Group
The tour covered all the main attractions of Chile
star-5
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.
star-5
Awesome!
Tour20636813022, 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.
star-4
We saw a lot of Santiago, which was...
Susan M K, Mar 2018
Private Tour: Santiago City Sightseeing
Our guide's use of English could have been better.
star-4
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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We loved this day trip! Chris, our...
Jasmine N, May 2017
Full-Day Tour of Valparaiso Port and Viña del Mar from Santiago
Chris, our guide, was very knowledgeable about Chile and took us to so many places in Valparaiso murals, lookout points and hidden gems that we wouldn't have been able to see or find on our own.
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Our tour guide Frank was great...
Andrea F, Dec 2017
Day Trip to Cajon del Maipo Embalse El Yeso
English was his first language so that helped us out a lot :) He is very knowledgeable about all things Chile.

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