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The South American countries are alluring, captivating, and exotic and no other example could be as remarkable as Chile. This country boasts of the most diverse landscape on this planet and tourists have been increasingly seeking this place out in the present years. Ancient volcanoes, the tall and rugged peaks of the Andes Mountain range, remarkable beaches, and lush forests are some of the most impressive things that will welcome you to Chile. The coastline at Cape Horn which will be forever etched in your eh.
If you an adventure aficionado Chile is the place for you to be. There are many hiking trails, rock climbing opportunities, and trekking routes traipsing throughout Chile. The country also has a plethora of national parks and conservation zones preserving the intrinsic flora and fauna of the place. To top that, Chile also has quite a rich culture to lose yourself in. if you are looking for a carefully crafted guide through the many places of interest in Chile, all you have to do is read on.
Torres Del Paine National Park
The Torres Del Paine National Park fulfills every sense of the word "spectacular". The national park is Situated in Magallanes y la Antartica, about 100 km to the north of Puerto Natales in the southern part of Patagonia. There are numerous lakes and streams, rivers, lush forests, tall mountains, and glaciers in this place. Cordillera del Paine is one of the most popular regions of this place. It is particularly the transition area where the vegetation changes markedly from Patagonia steppes to a subpolar one. There are three tall granite peaks, the Paine Massif, towering at a height of 2,850 m and adding a breathtaking charm to the entire place.
Since the national park is riddled with mountainous structures and forest vegetation, there are numerous trekking routes throughout the region. You can go on some of these routes all by yourself though taking a guide is recommended. There are certain sections within the national park wherein you have to take a guide with you. The W-Trek is one of the top-rated trekking expeditions in this place. It is a 5-day trek and you will be traveling 71km and covering some of the top points of interest in the entire region.
Valle de la Luna
On the northern fringes of Chile lies the Atacama Desert and the Valle de la Luna, often translated as the Valley of the Moon. You have to travel about 13km towards the west of San Pedro de Atacama, towards the border region with Bolivia. Valle de la Luna is very easily accessible through the road and there are well-established bike trails to reach the place. You could also avail tour buses or rental car services to reach the place.
The place gets its name from the eerie, moon-like terrain that it features. The Valle de la Luna is situated at the heart of the Atacama Desert and has the look of an entirely deserted region with no inhabitants or vegetation. The place has natural features crafted from sand and stone which have been weathered by wind and water for millions of years! Irrespective of the inhospitable look of this place, you will find many human settlements and numerous exotic and unique species of flora and fauna in the region.
The region is highly arid and quite interestingly, one of the most stunning places to look into is the dried lakes. There are salt deposits that often form attractive outcrops. There are also many caverns in the region worth exploring. Pictographs crafted by man thousands of years ago are preserved in the arid desert and offer great insights into how life was at that time. Amidst all the dryness, the Laguna Cejar sinkhole has pristine, turquoise water to take your breath away.
The Easter Island
Easter Island was founded by Dutch explorers in 1722 and was so named since it was first noticed on Easter Sunday. The island is 3,500 km away from mainland Chile and still attracts thousands of tourists every year. Especially because of the iconic Moai stone sculptures. This island is generally inhabited by Polynesians who have been living here for centuries.
The island features a mesmerizing display of Moai sculptures and 887 of these stone miracles have been identified. These sculptures are even protected by the boundaries of the Rupa Nui National Park. The island has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. You can find the most remarkable display of Moai statues at Ahu Tongariki- 15 of these statues have been erected for display on a raised Moai platform, known as "Ahu".
Chile's best beach is also located on this island at Anakena. The coastal strip laden with white sands is surely an unmissable place. You could also immerse yourself in the hare paenga ruins which mainly display the foundations for the boat-shaped houses of the natural and ancient inhabitants. The history of the people inhabiting the island is also well-preserved in the Father Sebastian Englert Anthropological Museum situated in Hanga Rao.
The capital city of Chile, Santiago also happens to be the cultural capital of the country. It is also the top entertainment center and the transportation hub of the country. In fact, if you are planning a trip to Chile, you have to enter the country through Santiago. There are many museums, galleries, excellent shopping options, and dining places in the capital.
The Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts is one of the finest places in Santiago to visit, especially for the art aficionados out there. It was established in the 1880s and has a well-curated collection of artworks such as sculptors, photographs, and paintings, mainly focusing on Chilean artists. The magnificent Palacio de la Moneda and the Centro Cultural Palacio La Moneda within is another culturally significant place to visit in Santiago. The Museum of Pre-Columbian Art features an exquisite collection of artworks crafted by the natives.
One of the most exciting things that you could do in Santiago is to go on an aerial tramway ride up to San Cristóbal Hill. This journey will get you some of the most magnificent and picturesque views of the city. The hilltop has an observatory, an amphitheater, and a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary towering tall at 22 m. the Parque Metropitiano de Santiago is also an attractive feature of Santiago hosting a botanical garden, the Chilean National Zoo, an enormous green space, and so on!
Chilean Lake District
Zona Sur or the Chilean Lake District starts at Temuco and goes all the way to Puerto Montt and covers over 330 km. the region has a sweet resemblance to the European alpine regions and you might come upon many a known sight. The region, like in the Alps, has settlements and farmlands at the foothills and humongous snow-capped volcanoes at the top. The Chilean Lake District abounds in forest and deep lakes that make way for interesting adventure sports activities in the region. All kinds of adventurous activities possible in a mountainous region such as trekking, hiking, white water rafting, volcano climbing, canoeing, and skiing in winters are possible in this region.
Valparaiso is Chile's third-largest city and oh, what a city it is! The city is perched between a rocky mountain range and the coastline opening up to the crystal-clear sea. You would have to travel about 112 km towards the northwest of the capital city if you are planning to visit Valparaiso and it is an excellent place to spend a day. One of the most significant details about the city is its unique and impressive architecture coupled with the cobbled streets of the olden days and the beautiful harbors and beaches.
Chile has a rich maritime history and most of the attractions in Valparaiso deals with that. The Lord Cochranes Museum is built in one of the colonial homes in 1842 and is a stunning museum that displays such history. The Museo Naval Y Maritimo is another terrific museum with a special collection of artifacts that commemorates the war of 1879 fought between Chile and the allied forces of Peru and Bolivia.
Lauca National Park
The Parque Nacional Lauca covers an approximate area of 1,300 km2 and has a rough terrain comprising of volcanic mountain ranges and high plains. You have to travel about 140 km towards the east of Arica to reach the national park. There are many lakes in this region and is a great site for hiking and trekking. The most impressive of the lakes are the Cotacotani and the Chungara where the water is so clear that it brilliantly reflects the surrounding environment.
The Europeans had settled around this region and the marks of their settlements are still very prevalent in the area. Many archeological sites are worth visiting if you are looking to immerse yourself in Chilean history. Another specialty of the Lauca National Park is the diverse species of bords available in this region. It is a haven for bird watchers with as many as 140 species of birds reported from this place. The Andean geese, Chilean flamingos, gigantic Andean condor, and crested ducks are some of the most seen birds in the region.
One of the finest places in Chile to immerse yourself in the ls of nature is the Pumalin National Park. It was established as a sanctuary quite recently in 2005 but happens to be one of the most important conservation sites in Chile. The National Park spans between the Andes Mountain range and the Chilean coastline along the Pacific Ocean covering over 988,000 acres of land which is entirely secluded from the touches of human development. This Park has many attractive features, one of the most striking one being the Alerce which happens to be the oldest species of tree in the world. It is operated and maintained by the Conservation Land Trust based in the US and is very accessible to tourists.
It is a delightful place to explore. Like most of the mountainous regions in Chile, the park features many trails here and there taking you on exciting hiking and camping expeditions. Ecotourism also abounds in the park and you could also go on such an adventure and live in one of those cabin-style cottages overlooking one of the most scenic backdrops of your life.
Los Pinguinos Natural Monument
The natural monuments of Chile are as exquisite as the national parks where nature is preserved and the Monumento Natural Los Pingüinos is one of the finest among them. The monumental is situated about 35 km towards the northeast side of Punta Arenas and the islands of Magdalena and Marta Islands are also integrated into it.
You can derive from the name of the place that it is home to penguins. Reaching this spot can only be done through guided boat trips and you will be welcomed by about 60,000 pairs of penguins in this region. Other notable lifeforms that you might find are sea lions and seals.
El monument Natural Cueva del Milodón or the Mylodon Caves is another natural monument in Peru worth exploring. You have to travel a short distance from Puerto Natales into the heart of the Patagonia area in Chile to reach the amazing series of caves. The caves are set around a humongous rock formation remarked as the Silla del Diablo or the Devil's Chair.
The main one of these caves is the Milodón Cave wherein well-preserved remains of the Mylodon, a reptilian form from the prehistoric era was first discovered in 1895. It is from this discovery that the place gets its name. Other ancient animals as well as the remains of humans have also been excavated from these caves. These caves offer an exciting proposition for exploration through the 200m depth and marked trails that lead you to the top of the caves. You will get to see the amazing Eberhard fjord from the top of the caves. Another fun activity to do in this region is to walk through the heightened platforms at tree height.
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