Hike across some of the world’s most stunning landscapes, explore the history and culture of indigenous people, sample traditional cuisine, and try world-famous wine. Chile is one of the most beautiful and fascinating places you can visit. Your eyes and your mind will widen as you explore all that this amazing country has to offer.
1. The Way of the Missions
This route in Northern Chile will take you on a road trip like no other. Meander your way through valleys and along mountain paths as you explore a series of small villages bursting with culture and history. This trip offers you the opportunity to visit over 30 restored colonial churches. Take the time to sample local foods such as goat’s cheese, chuño potatoes, and oregano. If you really want to delve into the indigenous Chinchorro culture, hire a local guide who will teach you all about the history and traditions of the area. Start your trip in the port city of Arcia, ‘the city that never rains’. From here you can explore local beaches and the national park.
2. Elqui Valley
One of the things Chile is most famous for is its wines. Here in the Elqui Valley, they produce both Syrah and Carmenere wines. If you want to step out of your comfort zone and sample the local culture, then instead of wine opt for a pisco sour, a unique Chilean beverage locally produced at any number of small-scale distilleries.
This is also the birthplace of Nobel Prize-winning poet, Gabriela Mistral, so visit the museum celebrating his life and works.
However, the valley is most famous for its stargazing and numerous UFO sightings. The area has been classed as the first international dark skies sanctuary. There are many observatories in the valley from which you can observe the wonders of the night sky. One of the best reasons to visit is to witness a total solar eclipse. Total eclipses occur once every year or two, but partial eclipses happen five or six times per year. The moon takes about two hours to pass in front of the sun, with the total eclipse lasting a little over two minutes.
Just two hours journey from the capital, Santiago, this city is the third largest metropolitan area in Chile. It has been dubbed a ‘mini San Francisco’ and is one of the best places to sample contemporary Chilean culture. Famous for its street art scene, stroll along the city’s streets and look in awe at the magnificent murals covering buildings and also entire streets. Even without street art, this city is an explosion of color and full of character. Climb the hilly streets and enjoy the multi-colored houses lining the roads.
Valparaíso is the perfect location for coffee lovers and foodies as its many restaurants and coffee shops not only offer great food and drink but also stunning views looking out to sea. The city’s Historic Quarter is home to 19th-century architecture, grand buildings, and spectacular church spires.