Chile Tourism has experienced a real growth in the past decades, receiving close to three million tourists a year. Its beautiful landscapes, its people and its wines attract tourists from all over the world.
The Andes as seen from Santiago the Capital of Chile
Chile is a narrow country
Chile, a long and narrow country is located on the southwestern corner of South America bordering Argentina on the east and Bolivia and Peru on the northeast and north.
The main entrance to Chile is by air through the Benitez International Airport in Santiago, the Capital of Chile; via its main port of Valparaiso in the Pacific Ocean and also via the Andes Mountains separating Chile from Argentina.
Chile is a country of contrasts from the Atacama Desert showing landscapes similar to those seen on Mars expeditions to the Glacier Fjords of the Chilean Patagonia.
The wine lands of the central region are impressive and so are the Archipelago of Juan Fernandez and Easter Island on the South Pacific. Chile, being long and narrow, is divided into regions from north to south.
Atacama Desert on the north of Chile
Norte Grande – Large North
This is where the Atacama Desert is located and makes a large portion of this region. Thousands of archaeological findings attest to the presence of ancient cultures in the area. The protected National Reserve of Pampa del Tamarugal and the Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum in San Miguel de Azapa are the places where most of these findings are kept and preserved.
The area of Norte Grande is a land of many natural types of scenery including volcanoes, geysers, lakes and salt flats. A popular destination here is the Valley of the Moon resembling the landscape of the moon, and another one El Tatio Geysers.
Is a beautiful coastal city with amazing beaches and the starting point for travelers heading east to Putre for enjoying the majestic Puna landscape of Lauca National Park.
This is the largest city in Norte Grande. La Portada, a stunning natural arch, is located a short drive from Antofagasta. Pan de Azúcar National Park where sea and desert meet.
Bahia Inglesa is one of the Best Beaches in Chile
Norte Chico – Small North
This area of the Andes Mountains is home to many volcanoes some of the highest in the world. In this area you may visit Nevado Tres Cruces national Park, Laguna Verde and Ojos del Salado.
In Norte Chico you will find some of the Best Chile Beaches and coastal resorts including La Serena and Bahia Inglesa. Also located in the region is the Elqui Valley with amazing green floor contrasting with barren dry slopes of the surrounding mountains.
Aerial view of Metropolitan Santiago de Chile at night
Zona Central – Central Zone
This is the region where Santiago the Capital of Chile is located and also the perfect area for wine tourism. Needless to say that Chile is famous for its wine. I remember we bought a bottle of Cousinho Macul wine and kept it for years until a big family celebration. Santiago has many attractions like:
Cerro San Cristóbal
This is a hill in central-northern Santiago, Chile. It rises 880 m. The peak is the second highest point in the city, after Cerro Renca.
Was one of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s three houses. Located in the capital, Santiago, in the Barrio Bellavista neighborhood on the slopes of San Cristóbal Hill.
Plaza de Armas is the heart of Santiago de Chile
Plaza de Armas
This is the heart and soul of Santiago de Chile.
Surrounding the square are some historical buildings, including the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago, Central Post Office Building, and Palacio de la Real Audiencia de Santiago
The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
It is an art museum dedicated to the study and display of pre-Columbian artworks and artifacts from Central and South America.
Palacio de la Moneda residence of the President of Chile
Around Santiago there are many attractions and the oldest vineyards in the country. There are many wine tours that include such places as the Valley of Casablanca and the Valley of Colchagua.
This region is also famous for its ski resorts a meeting place during the summer of the northern hemisphere and cold winters here. Some of the ski resorts are Portillo, Valle Nevado and Termas de Chillán.
Viña del Mar famous for its music festivals
Viña del Mar Chile, near Valparaiso, famous for its yearly music festival, attracts a large number of foreign tourists, mainly from Argentina.
Valparaiso is the main port of Chile on the Pacific Ocean. The city is built in the form of an amphitheater and its historic downtown has been designed as a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
Pichilemu is reputed to have the best beaches for Surfing in Chile. Other tourist sites include Sewell, Radal Siete Tazas National Reserve, and Laguna del Laja National Park.
Lake District on the South of Chile
Zona Sur – Southern Region
This is home of the Lake District of Chile, one of the most beautiful places on Earth. The contrast of the lakes with the snowcapped volcanoes is awe inspiring. People come here once and come back several times because of the extreme beauty of the place. Lovely towns adorn the area like Pucon, Villarica, Frutillar and Puerto Varas. The city of Puerto Montt Chile is the center of the district with an important airport.
Volcano and Lake Villarrica in Pucón in the Araucanía Region is the heartland of the Mapuche people. This area exhibits an incipient development of Indigenous tourism. Conguillío National Park is perhaps where the Araucaria forests are at their most beautiful.
There are a few National Parks in the South Region, among them Puyehue National Park and the oldest National Park in Chile, Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park.
Valdivia, also located in this region is one of Chile’s most beautiful cities, mainly for its lush vegetation. The volcanoes of Osorno and Villarrica and the granite domes of Cochamo valley are some more attractions in this region.
Chiloé is a picturesque town in the South of Chile
Zona Austral – Austral Zone
This region is ideal for those interested in Ecotourism and Adventure. It features small islands and islets, fjords and channels, large glaciers and unspoiled pristine rainforests. You may see rivers flowing down with force from the Andes, being the Futaleufu River the most important of them. This is the placed for kayaking, cycling, hiking and fly-fishing.
Chiloé is characterized by having a rolling green countryside but is better known for its peculiar wooden architecture and for its culture, which is full of myths and traditions. Also, is remarkable its temperate rain forests.
Torre del Paine National Park in the Austral Zone of
Torres del Paine National Park is the main attraction in Zona Austral and one of the most beautiful national parks in the world. The sprawling glaciers of the Cordillera Darwin, which is contained within Alberto de Agostini National Park, are reachable only by boat. Other typical destinations are Puerto Williams and Cape Horn.
Caleta Tortel in Laguna San Rafael National Park is the only park where visitors can contemplate at the same time the huge glaciers of Patagonia and the rich diversity of plants of the Valdivian Ecoregion.
The renowned Moais on Easter Island
Isolated Isla de Pascua in the South Pacific belongs to Chile. It was discovered on Easter Sunday of 1722 and named Easter Island. The mysterious statues of Easter Island Moai are monolithic human figures carved from rock on this Polynesian island.
Juan Fernandez Archipelago is also well known for its jungles and endemic flora. They are also known for being inhabited by Alexander Selkirk, the man who inspired the Robinson Crusoe novel.
Flag of Chile
It is a red, white and blue banner with a white star. The blue square in the canton region of the flag represents the sky, the white stripe represents the snow of the Andes mountains, and the red symbolizes the blood that was spilled fighting for freedom.
images credits for chile tourism
Santiago andes by individuo
Atacama by luca galuzzi
tatio by rene bongard
arica by eurimaco
Antofagasta by diego delso
Santiago by Cristian Quesada valdes
san cristobal by xmario castillox
armas by delso
vina by g kuppers
lakes region n/a
chiloe by kevin gabbart
paine by solange munoz
moai by aurbina
All courtesy of Wikimedia commons