Chile has lingered on your wish list for much too long. The long, narrow country is home to empty beaches, vast glaciers, windswept islands, exciting restaurants, small wineries, and penguins. Lots and lots of penguins. Here are 10 must-see spots on your next trip to South America.
Aconcagua Valley: Find a Mediterranean climate, long and hot growing seasons, cool coastal breezes, dramatic scenery, small vineyards, and tasty vino north of Santiago.
Chiloé Island: Explore a large island, wood-shingled churches, stilted houses, relaxing hotels, and gorgeous scenery in the Chiloé Archipelago.
Los Pingüinos Natural Monument: Discover a popular day trip, a ferry ride through the Strait of Magellan, gray-and-white Commerson’s dolphins, a natural monument, and the country’s largest penguin colony off the coast of Punta Arenas.
Pingüino de Humboldt National Reserve: See more penguins, aquatic birds, and sea lions off the coast of Punta de Choros.
Puerto Williams: Take in the view of the Strait of Magellan, the islands that make up Tierra del Fuego, and vast glaciers on the southernmost tip of South America.
Rancagua: Head to where the paved road ends, four-wheel-drive vehicles are needed to climb the snow-covered dirt road, Los Cipreses river flows down from the Andes, glaciers fill deep basins, and skiers are in awe of virgin snow southeast of Santiago.
San Juan Bautista: Fly out to jagged peaks, narrow valleys, steep cliffs, windswept beaches, colonies of fur seals and penguins, sunken ships, and spiny lobsters on a remote island in the South Pacific Ocean.
Santiago: Stay in the capital for colonial architecture, politically inspired art, great shopping, an exciting jazz scene, and one of the best restaurants in the world.
Torres del Paine National Park: Spend time in one of the country’s largest national parks, the mountains, the lakes, the glaciers, and a unique camp after a scenic drive from Punta Arenas.
Zapallar: Enjoy the beginning of spring, chilly mornings that warm up quickly, blooming wildflowers, and the French Riviera of the South American country in the center of Chile.