Chile is a long, narrow country known for its pristine landscapes.
Tucked between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, this South American country has the world’s driest desert in the north, the massive glaciers of Patagonia in the south, the gurgling geysers of El Tatio, the turquoise waters in the Lake District – and that’s just for starters.
Here, take a tour of 15 of the country’s most beautiful sites.
Torres del Paine National Park
With its granite pillars, azure lakes, and steppes spotted with grazing guanacos, Torres del Paine is one of the most impressive sites in the entire Southern Hemisphere.
Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
Located about 2,300 miles off the coast of Chile, isolated Easter Island (a Chilean territory) is a mystical land of volcanoes, crater lakes, white sand beaches, and 900 logic-defying statues called moai.
Cavernas de Mármol, Lake Carrera
These solid marble caves border General Carrera Lake, a remote glacial lake on the Chile-Argentina border. The swirling blues and greens of the walls are a reflection of the lake’s saturated waters.
This region in northern Chile has distilleries and rolling vineyards that produce some of the country’s most famous wine and pisco, a yellow-hued brandy. It’s also the world’s first Dark Sky Sanctuary (designated by the International Dark-Sky Association, or IDA), meaning it’s officially one of the best places in the world for stargazing.
Laguna Verde, Atacama Region
This emerald lake offers some of the country’s most striking scenery, surrounded by ochre prairie land and Ojos del Salado, the highest active volcano in the world.
Lauca National Park
Covering 303,342 acres in the Andes, this biosphere reserve is home to alpacas, pumas, flamingos, and foxes. You can also find Chungará Lake here, one of the highest (and most striking) lakes in the world.
South America’s fifth-largest island is home to waterfront houses on stilts, wild national parks, dense forests, and iconic wooden churches, 16 of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Chile’s second-oldest city (after Santiago) is known for its colonial architecture and golden shoreline, making it a popular beach destination for holiday-goers in January and February.
Torres Del Paine’s towering Grey Glacier stretches nearly 12 miles, including towering blue walls, ice caves, and its own little island (it’s that big). It’s situated by the equally beautiful, iceberg-filled Grey Lake.
Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon)
This appropriately named section of San Pedro de Atacama truly resembles another planet, with sweeping dunes and craggy rock formations. Make sure to stay for the jewel-toned sunsets.
Los Pingüinos Natural Monument, Magdalena Island
Established in 1966, this site is home to an estimated 60,000 families of Magellanic penguins and is considered one of the world’s best places to view the flightless bird. Get panoramic views of Magdalena Island from the pretty red lighthouse nearby.
Conguillío National Park
This park was created in 1950 to protect nearly 150,000 acres of volcanoes, thousand-year-old araucaria trees, and alpine lakes.
Laja Falls consist of four horseshoe-shaped cascades in south-central Chile’s Laja River. The Niagara-esque falls flow down into a deep rocky canyon, which provides the perfect backdrop for the raging waters.
Chilean Lake District
This region in southern Chile is a near-perfect tourist spot, with hotels and restaurants scattered amongst the pristine lakes, snow-capped volcanoes, and forested national parks.
El Tatio, San Pedro de Atacama
This geyser field is best enjoyed around 6 a.m., when the sun is rising and the fumaroles create their most amazing white columns of steam.