Things to do in Chile
Chile is a huge country and extends across plenty of cultural and geographical areas. The best plan for visiting, if you have a short amount of time, is to pick two areas you'd like to see and enjoy them in-depth. Our guide suggests the best things to do in Chile to help travelers discover authentic, local experiences.
Some of the best things to do in Chile include the great outdoors, no matter the season. In winter, hike through the ice fields and glaciers, go skiing in the Andes or bathe in the hot springs. See the mineral-streaked volcanoes of Parque Nacional Nevado de Tres Cruces and the turquoise waters of Laguna Verde. During warmer months, you can take a Jeep ride in the Atacama Desert, go sea kayaking and whitewater rafting, or even take a hot air balloon and drop in on a winery.
For city life experiences, Santiago’s monuments, museums, and restaurants are worth the trip. Visit Valparaíso with its meandering alleyways decorated by local street artists. The beach resort of Viña del Mar makes a relaxing spot to vacation in Chile. Check out the UFO Route, a mountainous strip within the southern Maule region where more than 100 UFO sightings have been reported since 1993.
Travel across the Magellan Strait to Tierra del Fuego and visit the unique flora and fauna in Easter Island and Isla Robinson Crusoe.
The two-hour tour of the 136-year-old, 345-acre Viña Errázuriz begins among the garden's fountains and fragrant sweet peas, and climbs through the vineyards for an expansive view of the property.
See relics of Chile's maritime heritage: there's a room dedicated to Bernardo O'Higgins, the principal leader in Chile's fight for independence, and founder of the navy; and sections of the Esmeralda, the infamous wooden galleon that stood up to Peru's iron battleships in the War of the Pacific (
Showcasing the work of more than 300 local artists, the Museo de Artes Visuales, or MAVI, serves as a center for Chilean contemporary art.
Vendors hawk remnants of the city's glory days amid the crooning of tango singers every Sunday. Score flea-market finds (rare Condorito comics depicting Chile's beloved flip-flop–wearing condor) and antiques (like a 1918 stand-up Victrola).
In the 1990's, renowned Chilean masters such as Roberto Matta, Nemesio Antunez, and Roser Bru adorned the exteriors of houses with a series of 20 original murals and created the "open sky" museum. From Ascensor Espiritu Santo, veer to the right and follow the art.
The 96-year-old Neoclassical palace houses 2,700 canvases by Chilean and global painters.
Top Tip: Take a road trip from Putre, in the north, to Visviri and back. You’ll traverse the high plains close to the Bolivian border at 12,000 feet. Years as Agent: 16. Specialties: Soft adventure, Chile. Fee: None
Although showing its age, Pablo Neruda's five-story former residence is packed with tourists—and the Nobel Prize–winning poet's eclectic keepsakes (like a stuffed Venezuelan caro caro bird and Coptic tapestry from Ethiopia).