Chile is a South American country that boasts stunning natural landscapes, a rich cultural heritage, and a fascinating history. It’s regarded as one of the most popular travel destinations in South America in recent years. It is a country of contrasts, from the arid Atacama Desert in the north to the glaciers and fjords of Patagonia in the south. In between, you’ll find lush vineyards, sparkling lakes, towering volcanoes, and charming colonial cities.
Here are some of our top favorite places to visit in Chile.
Santiago, the capital city of Chile, is a vibrant and cosmopolitan metropolis that offers visitors a taste of modern Chilean culture. It is a bustling city with a rich history, world-class museums, and impressive architecture. Some of the must-see attractions in Santiago include the Plaza de Armas, the historic heart of the city; La Moneda Palace, the presidential palace; and the Cerro San Cristobal, a magnificent hill where you’ll experience some amazing views of the city.
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2. Easter Island
Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui, is a small island located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is famous for its mysterious and iconic statues, known as Moai, which were carved by the ancient Rapa Nui people. The island’s unique culture and stunning natural beauty make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history and culture.
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3. Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth and is home to a wealth of natural wonders. From the otherworldly landscapes of the Valle de la Luna to the geysers of El Tatio, the Atacama offers visitors a glimpse into a truly alien world. The night skies in the Atacama are also some of the clearest in the world, making it a popular destination for stargazing.
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Valparaiso is a historic port city located on the coast of Chile. Its colorful buildings, winding streets, and bohemian vibe make it a popular destination for artists and musicians. The city is also home to several important museums and galleries, including the Museo de Bellas Artes and the Museo a Cielo Abierto, an open-air museum featuring murals and street art.
5. Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine National Park is a breathtakingly beautiful park located in the Patagonia region of Chile. It is known for its towering granite peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and glaciers. The park offers visitors a range of activities, including hiking, kayaking, and horseback riding, as well as the opportunity to see some of Chile’s most iconic wildlife, such as guanacos and Andean condors.
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6. Chiloe Island
Chiloe Island is a large island located off the coast of southern Chile. It is known for its unique culture, which is a blend of Spanish and indigenous traditions, as well as its stunning natural beauty. Visitors to Chiloe can explore charming fishing villages, visit historic churches, and sample local cuisine, including the island’s famous curanto, a traditional dish made with seafood and meat cooked in an underground pit.
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7. San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama is actually a tiny town situated in the heart of the Atacama Desert. It is a popular destination for visitors interested in exploring the surrounding natural wonders, such as the Valle de la Luna and the El Tatio geysers. The town itself is also worth exploring, with its adobe buildings, charming streets, and lively market.
8. Wine Country
Visitors to Chile’s wine country can explore the many vineyards and wineries that dot the countryside. Many of these wineries offer tours and tastings, giving visitors a chance to learn about the winemaking process and sample some of the country’s best wines.
The Casablanca Valley, located just north of Santiago, is one of Chile’s most famous wine regions. It is known for producing crisp, refreshing white wines, particularly Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Visitors to the valley can explore its many vineyards and wineries, as well as sample some of the delicious local cuisine.
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The Colchagua Valley, located south of Santiago, is another popular wine region. It is known for its full-bodied red wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere. Visitors to the valley can explore its many vineyards and wineries, as well as visit historic towns such as Santa Cruz, which offers a glimpse into Chile’s colonial past.
Travel Requirements For Traveling to Chile
Before traveling to Chile, there are several things you should know and requirements you need to fulfill to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. Here are some of the most important things to consider:
1. Passport and Visa Requirements
Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to enter Chile. U.S. citizens can enter Chile without a visa for up to 90 days. Your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your departure from Chile.
2. Health Requirements
Chile does not require any specific vaccinations for entry, but it is recommended that travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. If you are traveling from a yellow fever-endemic country, you will need to show proof of yellow fever vaccination. A COVID antibody test can keep you informed about your risk and determine if you have immunity to the virus, but they’re not 100% reliable. Even if your test comes back negative for COVID-19, there remains a potential for exposure to the virus in some way or another.
The official currency of Chile is the Chilean peso (CLP). Credit cards are widely accepted, but it’s a good idea to carry cash for small transactions and to tip service providers.
The official language of Chile is Spanish. Some Chileans speak English, particularly in tourist areas, but it’s a good idea to learn some basic Spanish phrases before your trip.
Chile is generally a safe country to travel to, but as with any destination, it’s important to take precautions to stay safe. Avoid displaying expensive jewelry or electronics in public, and be aware of your surroundings when walking at night.
Chile’s climate varies widely depending on the region you are visiting. In the north, the Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on earth, while in the south, Patagonia is known for its rain and wind. Check the weather for the region you will be visiting and pack accordingly.
Chile has a well-developed transportation system, including buses, taxis, and the metro in Santiago. If you plan to rent a car, be aware that Chileans drive on the right side of the road.
Chile uses 220-volt electricity, and outlets require a type C or L plug. If you are traveling from the U.S. or another country with a different voltage or plug type, you will need an adapter.
In summary, before traveling to Chile, make sure to check the passport and visa requirements, health requirements, exchange rates, language, safety measures, weather conditions, transportation options, and power plug standards. By planning, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to this fascinating country.