The incredible vistas… of Chile
Ribbon-like Chile extends from the glaciers and granite peaks of Patagonia’s wilderness in the south, to the stark Atacama desert in the north. Scattered in between are world-class wineries, soaring volcanoes, glittering lakes and twisting fjords. 3,686 kilometres west of the mainland is Easter Island home to the mysterious Moai statues.
Chile's capital city, Santiago, is set against the spectacular backdrop of the Andes. On a clear day, the best views of the city can be seen from the top of the Santa Lucia and San Cristobal hills. Alternatively, Sky Costanera is an observatory in the Costanera Centre - the tallest building in Latin America - that is 300 metres high and offers 360-degree panoramic views.
The bohemian coastal city of Valparaiso is an open-air art gallery with incredible murals. Take one of the city’s funiculars up the steep hills to take in the view of the port, the Pacific and the colourful houses below. Built in the 19th and 20th centuries, the funiculars are listed as national monuments.
Vineyards of Casablanca
Located between Santiago and Valparaiso are numerous vineyards in the Casablanca Valley. Thanks to the cool climate, world-class Sauvignons, Merlots and Chardonnays are produced here. Walk through the vines and learn about the process of the region’s finest grapes.
The Atacama Desert
San Pedro de Atacama is a small village of adobe houses in the driest non-polar desert in the world. From here you can do a number of day trips to otherworldly locations:
Valle de la Luna, also known as the Valley of the Moon, is aptly named after its lunar-like rock and sand landscapes. The formations have been carved over the years by water and wind. The distinctive hills impart a surreal feeling, especially as you watch the sunset over the valley from above.
Salar de Atacama is the largest salt flat in Chile and the third largest in the world. At 2,300 metres above sea level, it is surrounded by mountains and volcanoes – the Licancabur stratovolcano in particular. The salinity of the lake attracts a number of pink Andean flamingoes.
Piedras Rojas translates to red rocks and offers a stunning contrast of the rusty red against the light turquoise waters. The rock’s colour comes from the iron oxide they contain and they are surrounded by mountains.
Easter Island, also known as Rapa Nui or Isla de Pascua, is famous for its mysterious Moai statues. The remote island is a Unesco world heritage site in the middle of the South Pacific with 887 giant stone statues that date back to the 13th to 16th centuries.
The German-influenced town of Puerto Varas in Chile’s Lake District overlooks Llanquihue Lake and the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. The city is an starting point for walkers and adventurists that like to be outdoors.
General Carerra Lake is the biggest lake in Chile and is shared with Argentina. Take a boat trip to the marble cathedral and kayak in between the crevices. Formed over 6,000 years, the caves have swirling markings, enhanced by the reflection of the glacial meltwater.
Grey Glacier is in the west of Torres del Paine National Park. Grey Glacier, which is surprisingly a dazzling shade of electric blue, is over 30 metres high and is 6 kilometres wide. You can take a boat trip up to the glacier to see it from below. The trip includes a pisco sour with a slab of ice from the glacier!
Pehoé lake is a beautifully turquoise lake in the centre of the Torres del Paine National Park. It has a dramatic backdrop of Cordillera Paine, best viewed on a boat trip across the lake. You can also walk around the lake in search of wild guanaco, waterfalls and learning about the local flora.
Las Torres are the most iconic sight in the Torres del Paine National Park. The three granite fingers are part of the Cordillera Paine. The tallest is the south tower at around 2,500m. The Las Torres trek takes approximately eight hours round trip and on a clear day offers an incredibly rewarding view.
Read more about Chile here.
Cox & Kings arranges escorted group tours and tailor-made private travel throughout Chile. To visit many of the stunning sights described in this article, options include our Splendours of Chile or A Taste of South America group tours. Find out more about all our holidays to Chile here. Alternatively, please speak to one of our South America experts, or complete our tailor-made request form and one of our experts will get back to you to help you plan an itinerary.
Explore the interactive map of Chile below to discover where these stunning landscapes are: