From Santiago’s rich cultural scenes and Valparaíso’s fascinating art to overwhelming wilderness in Patagonia and imposing natural monuments like Los Pingüinos Natural Monument, the number and variety of things to do in Chile are good reasons to add this beautiful country to your travel agenda.
Whether you choose to explore the Chilean beauties by yourself, or you are interested in joining some of the many available tours in Chile, there is something for everyone. Check out these top 14 things to do in Chile, and choose what is best suited for you.
- Best time to visit: Spring (October to November) brings mild temperatures, and the flora and fauna comes alive. Summer (December to February) is the high season with great temperature and lots of tourists. Fall (March to May) is still a good time to visit, with slightly cooler temperature and less tourists around.
Shared with Argentina, Patagonia is one of the most amazing regions in both countries. You can search for Patagonia tours that take care of the entire itinerary or just embark on the adventure with a group of friends. Either way, make sure you plan your trip for the peak summer months. The best time to visit Patagonia is October to November. The most popular attraction in this region is the Torres del Paine National Park. If time allows, you should deifinitely consider a Torres del Paine trek and there are three routes to choose from! Aside from this you should also explore its southern, mysterious provinces of Magallanes, Última Esperanza and Tierra del Fuego.
- Insider’s tip: Visit Torres del Paine National Park in the Indian summer (April). The trails are less crowded, the scenery is awesome and it is easier to observe wildlife and do bird watching. – by Christian Moser from Moser Active
Here are some amazing Torres del Paine trek tours that might peak your interest:
6 days W trek tour in Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine Full Circuit 9 days
- Best time to visit: November to March is the only time with boat tours available to Isla Magdalena.
A visit to the Los Pingüinos Natural Monument in Chile is an experience unlike anything. This is the largest penguin colony in southern Chile, and it is located on the small Magdalena Island.Though some people would love to adventure into searching for penguins by themselves, the island is accessible only by guided boat tours. The best time to visit Magdalena Island is from November until March, when the birds migrate back here and find their mate.
- Insider’s tip: The boat ride from the dock to the island is pretty much uneventful, but if you are lucky you might sight some dolphins and even whales in the waters.
Read our guide to Isla de Magdalena to know more about visiting the destination.
- Best time to visit: Spring (March to May) brings great weather, ideal for visiting the city and its coastal towns.
Valparaíso is one of the street art capitals of South America so, whether you are an art enthusiast, or just interested in the Chilean cultural background, visiting Valparaíso should be on your list of things to do in Chile. You can visit this charming port town all year round. Start a journey from Santiago to Valparaiso and have an enhanced street art experience, or join one of the available tours!
- Insider’s tip: When you are worn out exploring the many thousand street art in Valparaiso, take an icecream break at Emporio La Rosa. They claim to be one of the 25 best icecream shops in the world. Find out if it is true.
Here is full day Valparaiso tour that starts and ends in Santiago.
This spectacular canyon, on the western edge of the Andes, around two hours southeast of Santiago is a trekker’s paradise, offering amazing mountain scenery, and stunning landscapes. Many locals come here for a weekend escape, and it’s easy to see why. Amongst its natural beauty you will also find the marks of man at the reservoir of Embalse del Yeso, 2,500 meters above sea level. An incredible feat of engineering, which supplies water to Santiago and is surrounded by stunning mountain scenery, it is a popular tourist attraction. There are many activities available in the region, from trekking, horse riding, skiing, and even wine tasting, and its close proximity to Santiago makes visiting the canyon easy if you have your own transport. You will also find plenty of tours to Cajon del Maipo from Santiago if you do not wish to navigate the place on your own.
After a hard day of activities relax in one of the many hot springs, the three main ones are at Banos Morales, Banos Colina and Termas El Plomo. The fully-staffed sights are a great destination to unwind!
- Insider’s tip: Leave Santiago early, best by 8:00. Any time later and you will come across a lot of traffic. Drive a SUV or similar vehicle. The last 22 km is mountain road that is sinuous, gravelled and narrow. You will have to be a confident, experienced driver to tackle this stretch. If possible, avoid weekends in order to avoid local crowds. – Emanuel Villablanca from Stamp’s Tour
Here is a perfect Cajon del Maipo day tour for you, in case you don’t want to go through all of our tours online.
- Best time to visit: All year around, depending on which wine region you’d like to visit.
Chile is famous for its wine. The hearts of wine lovers from all over the world have been conquered with delicacies like Malbec or Carménère. If you are a wine aficionado, you should visit some of the local wineries in the valley, where you can enjoy a tour and an unforgettable wine tasting. If that doesn’t quench your thirst, give a five wine regions in Chile a try!
- Insider’s tip: One of the best ways to explore a wine valley is to take a day tour that includes 2 wineries with lunch. Our favourite option around Santiago is the Casablanca valley. Visit the biodynamic vineyard of Emiliana Organic Vineyards where you can hug the alpacas and have a food and wine pairing lunch at Bodegas RE. – by Suzanne l’Ami from Chile Off Track
- Best time to visit: Spring (October to November). Winter will havejust ended, leaving the glaciers in great conditions.
When in Chile, especially in Patagonia, one cannot leave without visiting one or all of its jaw-dropping glaciers. The glaciers are amongst the most impressive natural phenomenon in Chile, and each year thousands flock to view them and take part in the carefully organised tourist trade which seeks to safeguard the rapidly disappearing ice coverage. There are many impressive glaciers possible to visit. The Grey Glacier, in the southern Patagonia ice field, measures over 270 square km, and at 6 km wide and over 30 m in height it is an impressive sight. Further north, you’ll find the San Rafael Glacier, the closest tidewater glacier to the equator, covering an area of some 760 square km. Sadly, due to human environmental activity, the glaciers continue to shrink each year, yet they remain an impressive site, the last remnants of the ice age amongst us.
- Insider’s tip: There is a new excursion available that visits a place called Canal de las montañas or ‘Mountain channel’. The place is amazing, wild and visited by very few every year. In this excursion the visitors navigate through a fjord with 7 glaciers going down the mountains on either sides. – Francisco from Onteaiken Patagonia
The Classic Patagonia trek allows you to see and explore many Patagonian glaciers and the rest of the area.