Chile is an incredible country, stuffed full of experience all the way down its considerable length.
While there’s plenty to do in the capital of Santiago, if you’re looking for the best things to do in Chile it’s definitely worth venturing further afield.
1. Star-gaze in the Atacama Desert.
With one of the clearest night skies in the world, the Atacama desert is home to some of the world’s biggest telescopes. And a fun astronomy tour guided by a passionate Frenchman.
Though we were there several years ago, we still remember this as one of our favourite travel experiences — the stars were incredible, the commentary was interesting and insightful, and the post-tour hot chocolate was delicious.
2. Stand on the line of Capricorn near Antofogasta.
There isn’t much to do in the mining town of Antofogasta, but if you decide to break your journey up here, make sure you snap a photo of yourself on the line of Capricorn.
3. Explore the street art in Valparaiso.
Valparaiso (or Valpo if you prefer) is a gorgeous port city that’s within easy reach of Santiago. It’s well worth a day trip, or spend more time there if your schedule will allow!
The city sprawls up the hills alongside the sea, and there’s lots of street art hidden in its narrow streets. A good place to start is in El Museo a Cielo Abierto — The Open Skies Gallery.
4. Relax by the lake in Pucon or Puerto Varas
The central Lake District of Chile is a lovely place to relax, but with great offroad biking, climbing and watersports options on hand. Make sure to have “un helado al lado del lago” (an ice-cream by the lake) while you’re there!
5. Cruise to Chiloe and enjoy the shingles.
The scenic island of Chiloe is worth a stop, with natural parkland available for hiking, and the rich, unique architectural history to enjoy.
6. Surf along the coast
It seems every country on the coast claims to have the best surfing in South America. The only way to find out is to start exploring.
7. Go beer tasting in Valdivia.
Valdivia is home to a family of sea lions basking for food in the river, but also Chile’s premier craft brewery: Kunstmann. Follow a tasting platter with a few pints of your favourite drop.
8. Tour the Museum of Pre-Colombian Art in Santiago.
In our opinion, this is one of the best-curated museums of pre-Colombian art and artefacts in South America. Make time to visit and discover cultures past and present through their artefacts.
9. Drink terremotos, rather than get caught in one
No-one wants to get caught in a large earthquake (like we did), but the bars of Santiago will pour you one: cheap wine, spirits and pineapple ice-cream … Who would have thought? A terremoto is surprisingly drinkable.
10. Hike the “W” or more in Patagonia.
Chile’s hiking circuit is well established and, although pricey compared with the rest of the country, worth every cent and every blister.
Whatever you decide to do in Chile, you’re sure to have a great time. Buen viaje!