Chile: Mecca for passionate adventurers and true nature explorers. It is incredibly difficult to describe the charm of this South American country in a few lines, as Chile has so much to offer! Dry desserts, amazing vineyards, snow-capped mountains and state of art cities are just some of the sceneries you will find here. Are you planning a trip to Chile? We’ve got you covered! Continue reading to discover the must-know things and some special tips for your dream trip.
1. Best destinations to visit in Chile
These are some of the must-visit destinations you shouldn’t miss when planning your trip to Chile:
San Pedro de Atacama
Located in the heart of the driest desert in the world, this northern village is the starting point to explore the majestic natural wonders this destination offers. Adventure yourself in the desert visiting the Moon and the Death Valley. These icons of the desert are large valleys with enormous dunes and hills of salt, rock and sand that will make you feel as if you were standing on Mars!
Another must-do of the destination is visiting el Tatio. This stunning place is the world’s third-largest geyser field, and home to 80 active geysers located at an altitude of 4320m. Tatio Geysers reach their peak of activity between 5:30 am and 7:30 am when water columns can reach up to 10 meters!
As if all these were not enough, we are still missing the best part: Due to extremely dry conditions, high altitude, more than 300 cloudless nights a year, this is one of the best spots in the world to stargaze. In fact, some of the most advanced observatories in the world are located here! Take a stargazing tour to discover all the best-kept secrets of the stars and spot the sky as you never did before.
Santiago de Chile & Valparaíso
Visit the central region of the country to get stunned by modern cities, enjoy typical gastronomy and taste great wines. Santiago is a big cosmopolitan city full of attractions and things to do. If you like modern architecture, go to the zone called “Sanhattan”, where you will find amazing skyscrapers and trendy malls to go shopping. You may also visit the historical center to see the Plaza de Armas, museums, cultural centers and other government buildings.
Explore the surroundings of Chile’s Capital City to discover some of the best vineyards and wineries of South America. If you are a wine lover, you may take the “Wine Route ” in Colchagua Valley, you will be in paradise for sure! Don’t miss out on trying “Carmenere” the famous wine variety of Chile.}
Just 100 km away from Santiago, and on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, you will find Valparaíso. This vivid city, also known as the “Jewel of the Pacific” is famous for its gastronomy, its architecture and its cultural life. Explore the hills to discover colorful buildings that are declared UNESCO World Heritage and feast yourself at some of the most important restaurants in the country. Don’t miss on trying seafood!
Lake District: Chiloé, Puerto Varas & Frutillar
Immerse yourself into the majestic landscapes of the Lake District. Pristine rivers, lagoons and lakes surrounded by green mountains and small villages that seem to be taken from a fairy tale. Navigate to get to Chiloé, a Patagonian island in the Pacific Ocean. Explore the island to get the most out of the local culture, taste some local dishes such as “Curanto al Hoyo” and get stunned by its untamed nature. You may also visit Puerto Varas & Frutillar, two German-influenced villages that will be your starting point to visit some great attractions such as Saltos del Petrohue
Torres del Paine
Adventures await at the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park! Located in the heart of Patagonia, this destination will take your breath away with its outstanding landscapes and if you are a hiking lover this place will also steal your heart! If you are looking for extreme adventure, Torres del Paine offers two trekking circuits to explore the park: The W trek (4 days) and the O trek (7 days). In case you are not an experienced trekker, don’t worry! This destination offers trails of a wide variety of lengths and difficulties.
2. How to get there
If you are visiting Chile from North America or Europe, you can purchase a flight to Chile. Many airlines fly to this country, such as American Airlines, Aerolíneas Argentinas, Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, Avianca, LATAM, Aeromexico, Copa Airlines, United Airlines, KLM, Iberia, British Airways, GOL, JetSmart, Sky. Depending on which city you are departing from, your flight may last between 8 to 15-hours long.
To travel from destination to destination, the best option is domestic flights, as Chile has a large territory, being in fact, the longest country in the world.
3. How to pack
Depending on the destination you are heading to, your luggage must include:
In case you are visiting the Atacama Desert, bear in mind that this destination has a wide temperature range so it is important to pack from summer to winter clothes.
It is recommended to bring good sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses with UV filter and to always have a bottle of water to stay hydrated.
The Capital City and the Pacific coast are also known for their great temperature range, nights are always cold and on the day the temperature goes up. It is highly recommended to pack comfortable outdoor shoes to explore the hills that surround the main destinations of this region.
To explore this paradise for hikers and trekkers, it is advisable to pack warm clothing:
The key is to dress “like an onion” or “in layers” because the weather is constantly changing. A waterproof jacket might be a good option as this region is rainy. It is really important to bring trekking shoes or boots but don’t buy new ones! Old ones are always better as you are used to them. Also, if you are planning to go hiking, you may want to pack: Hiking poles, a rucksack, a first aid kit and a refillable bottle.
4. Best time to visit Chile
Chile is waiting for you all year round! But depending on the destination you are planning on visiting in your trip to Chile, we recommend:
This region of the country can be visited almost all year round as it is always warm and dry. If you prefer to avoid low temperatures at night you might want to visit this destination from September to May. Best months for stargazing? From December to February.
You can visit Santiago de Chile at any time of the year. The rainy season is from April to September nevertheless, no big storms are seen in this region.
Patagonia season starts in September and ends up in early April when the temperatures reach 20°C and the rain decreases. In winter, many parts of the Torres del Paine National Park are closed to visitors due to the snow and bad weather.
5. Must-try food
No trip is completed without tasting local food! These are the Chilean dishes and drinks you shouldn’t miss:
- Seafood: centolla (spider crab), conger, “Machas”, clams and sea urchins are some of the seafood you need to try in your visit to Chile.
- Completo: This is a Chilean variation of the hot-dog Chilean filled with several delicious toppings such as smashed avocado, chopped tomatoes, onion, ketchup and mustard. Yummy!
- Pisco: this alcoholic drink made by distilling fermented grape juice is typical in Chile and Peru. It can be combined with soda (piscola) or with lemon, sugar and egg white (pisco sour)
- Wines: Chile is well known for being a great wine capital. Some of the recognized varieties of wine you must try are Carmenere, Merlot and Chardonnay.
- Chorrillana & Pichanga: these two dishes are often seen in social gatherings as they are ideal to share with friends paired with a beer. Chorrillana is a dish of French fries loaded with beef, sweet onions, and fried eggs and Pichanga consists of a mixture of pickled food, pieces of ham and cheese, olives, sausage pieces, chunks of meat, avocado and French fries.
6. Bonus track tips
Here are some extra tips that might be useful when planning your trip to Chile
- It is not necessary to speak Spanish if you are visiting the destinations mentioned above. Most tourism workers and young people speak English.
- It might not be necessary to get a Visa to visit Chile for a period of up to 90 days. Nevertheless, you can learn more about this here.
- If you are planning on using public transport in Santiago, you will need to get a BIP card and charge it.
- In case you are planning to rent a car to explore off-the-beaten-track destinations, bear in mind that distances are frequently long and gas stations are not everywhere.
- Regarding vegetarian food, there are plenty of restaurants that offer veggie and vegan options, even more in the main cities.
- Chile is open for international travelers! Check out all you need to know to enter the country here.
Ready to start planning your trip to Chile? Check out our selection of Chile Tours .