Chile is mostly warm especially around New Year. And it has deserts, rainforest, glaciers and volcanic mountains on a long strip of land that includes several beautiful islands. Officially, the Republic of Chile, is a South American country that is between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chile has over 3000 miles of coastline. And the people are crazy of soccer.
Santiago, the capital city, is where plazas, parks, and fountains share space with street performers, urban photographers, and historical buildings. It has an ultramodern metro system which juggles people around briskly. It is this mix of old and new, glass towers, haute cuisine and streetside sopaipillas (fried dough) that makes Santiago what it is today.
So here we go with some of the must-see of Chile, surely within your lifetime if not very soon.
1. Easter Island
Easter Island is famous for its 887 extant monumental statues, called moai, created by the early Rapa Nui people. It was a quarry for about 500 years until the early eighteenth century, and supplied the stone from which about 95% of the island’s known monolithic sculptures (moai) were carved. Rano Raraku is a visual record of moai design vocabulary and technological innovation, where 397 moai remain. Don’t forget to meet the natives and enjoy their culture.
2. Centro Gabriela Mistral
It is striking cultural and performing arts center, named for Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, the first Latin American woman to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. You will find large exhibition spaces, rotating art exhibits, the iconic architecture (looks like a giant rusty cheese grater from the street), the little plazas, murals, cafes and more.
3. Atacama Desert
With its extreme terrain and arid environment, Atacama is one of the driest places on the planet and probably the oldest, means there is little in the way of human development, making it the perfect spot for travelers who are keen calm their senses. The Valley of the Moon (used often for filming mars landscape), 15km west of San Pedro, is the place to be. The sunset view of the Andes and the salt-flats are also amazing.
4. Los Pinguinos
Los Pingüinos Natural Monument, located on the small Magdalena Island, is home to more than 120,000 Magellanic penguins. In September/October each year, the birds migrate back here and find their mate.
Located on the Pacific coast of the central region of Chile, Valparaíso is known for its brightly colored houses, bohemian culture and beautiful seaside views. Built upon dozens of steep hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Valparaíso boasts a labyrinth of streets and cobblestone alleyways, embodying a rich architectural and cultural legacy.
6. San Rafael Glacier
The San Rafael Glacier is a giant glacier accessible only by boat or plane. The journey by boat is a spectacle in itself, passing through the narrow channels of the isolated Aisén region. What you can see from the boat is in fact just the end of the glacier’s, which extends some 15km (9 miles) from its source.
7. Torres Del Paine National Park
This stunning area encompasses mountains, glaciers, and countless lakes and rivers. The most notable of its many wonderful features are the three 2,850-meter-tall granite peaks of the Paine Massif, which dominate this already breathtaking scenery. Hiking is one of the park’s most popular activities, with numerous well-marked trails, many offering overnight shelters.
The Chilean currency is a lot cheaper than most currencies. One USD will fetch you 671 Pesos. The cost of living, even in Santiago is less than a thousand USD per month so it is a pretty budget friendly destination. Also, seafood on the coast is quite delicious and not to be missed. Finally, Chile is known for its wine. It’s a great area to go wine tasting, and there are wonderful vineyards in many parts of the country.