Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Chile

Central & South America

By Erica Silverstein

Chile, a long, narrow country stretching along South America’s western edge, is known for its stunning natural beauty and diverse landscapes. From the arid deserts of the Atacama to the glaciers of Patagonia, Chile offers a wide range of attractions for travelers to explore.

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Chile is Torres del Paine National Park. Located in the southern part of the country, this park is famous for its towering granite peaks, pristine lakes, and abundant wildlife. Hiking and trekking enthusiasts from around the world come here to experience the breathtaking beauty of the park’s landscapes.

If you’re interested in history and culture, a visit to the capital city of Santiago is a must. Santiago is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city that offers a blend of traditional and modern attractions. The historic downtown area is home to colonial buildings, museums, and art galleries, while the upscale neighborhoods feature trendy restaurants, shops, and nightlife options.

No trip to Chile would be complete without a visit to the mystical Easter Island, known for its iconic stone statues called Moai. These impressive statues, some of which weigh up to 75 tons, were carved by the indigenous people of the island centuries ago. Exploring the remote and isolated landscape of Easter Island is a unique experience that offers insight into the island’s rich cultural heritage.

Other top-rated tourist attractions in Chile include the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth; the picturesque Lake District with its stunning volcanoes and pristine lakes; the beautiful coastal city of Valparaiso, known for its colorful houses and bohemian atmosphere; and the charming town of Puerto Varas, located on the shores of Lake Llanquihue.

With its diverse landscapes, rich history, and unique cultural heritage, Chile is a destination that has something to offer every traveler. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a cultural immersion, Chile’s top-rated tourist attractions are sure to leave you amazed and wanting to return for more.

Atacama Desert

The Atacama Desert is one of the most unique and breathtaking landscapes in the world. Located in northern Chile, it is the driest non-polar desert on the planet and stretches over 1,000 kilometers in length.

This barren landscape is characterized by its vast salt flats, geysers, and towering sand dunes. The clear skies and lack of light pollution make it one of the best places in the world for stargazing.

Visitors to the Atacama Desert can explore the otherworldly Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), where the sand and rock formations resemble the surface of the moon. They can also visit the Tatio Geysers, where powerful geothermal vents create spectacular steam eruptions.

Another highlight of the Atacama Desert is the Salar de Atacama, the largest salt flat in Chile. This vast expanse of white salt crystals and lagoons is home to various species of flamingos, making it a birdwatcher’s paradise.

For adventure enthusiasts, the Atacama Desert offers a variety of activities, including sandboarding down the dunes, hiking through canyons and gorges, and exploring the unique ecosystem of the Los Flamencos National Reserve.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a nature lover, or an astronomy aficionado, a visit to the Atacama Desert is an unforgettable experience that will leave you in awe of its beauty and natural wonders.

Easter Island

Easter Island is a remote island located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean. Known for its iconic giant stone statues called Moai, the island attracts tourists from around the world. The Moai are believed to have been created by the Rapa Nui people between the 13th and 16th centuries. These incredible statues, with their imposing size and mysterious expressions, are a testament to the island’s rich cultural heritage.

Aside from the Moai, Easter Island offers a variety of other attractions for visitors to explore. The island has beautiful beaches where you can relax and soak up the sun. You can also visit the volcanic craters that dot the island’s landscape, such as Rano Kau and Rano Raraku. These craters offer stunning views of the island and give a glimpse into its geological history.

To learn more about the island’s history and culture, you can visit the Rapa Nui National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Here, you can see ancient petroglyphs and other archaeological sites that provide insights into the island’s past. The park also offers scenic hiking trails that take you through the island’s unique flora and fauna.

For those interested in traditional Polynesian culture, Easter Island also hosts various cultural events throughout the year. These events feature traditional dances, music, and crafts, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the vibrant local culture.

Easter Island is truly a destination like no other. Its remote location, rich history, and unique cultural heritage make it a must-visit spot for anyone seeking adventure and discovery.

Torres del Paine National Park

The Torres del Paine National Park is one of the most stunning and popular attractions in Chile. Located in the Southern Patagonia region, the park is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse landscapes.

Visitors to Torres del Paine National Park can marvel at the imposing granite towers that give the park its name. These towering peaks, known as the Torres del Paine, are a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of Chilean Patagonia.

The park is also home to stunning glaciers, pristine lakes, and vast expanses of grasslands and forests. Hiking is the main activity in the park, with numerous trails ranging from moderate to challenging. The most famous trek is the W Circuit, which takes visitors through some of the park’s most iconic landmarks.

Wildlife enthusiasts will also be delighted by the park’s abundant fauna. The park is home to a variety of animals, including guanacos, Andean deer, foxes, and even the elusive puma. Birdwatchers can spot a variety of bird species, including condors, eagles, and flamingos.

For those seeking adventure, there are plenty of opportunities for rock climbing, horseback riding, and kayaking. The park’s unpredictable weather adds an element of excitement and challenge to any outdoor activity.

As the popularity of Torres del Paine National Park has grown, so has the infrastructure to accommodate visitors. There are a variety of accommodation options within the park, ranging from basic campsites to luxury lodges. Visitors can also find restaurants, souvenir shops, and information centers to enhance their experience.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an outdoor enthusiast, or simply seeking tranquility amidst stunning landscapes, Torres del Paine National Park is a must-visit destination in Chile.


Located on the Pacific coast, Valparaíso is a colorful and vibrant city known for its steep hills, historic funiculars, and bohemian atmosphere. The city’s unique architecture, street art, and stunning views make it a popular tourist destination in Chile.

Valparaíso is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to its well-preserved historic center. The city is dotted with charming old buildings, colorful houses, and picturesque alleyways. Visitors can explore the narrow streets and discover hidden gems, such as local cafes, art galleries, and boutique shops.

The city is also famous for its street art scene, and it’s not uncommon to see vibrant murals and graffiti adorning the walls and facades of buildings. Valparaíso has become a haven for artists and writers, who find inspiration in its bohemian atmosphere and creative energy.

One of the best ways to experience Valparaíso is by riding the funiculars, which are a unique form of transport in the city. These historic cable cars traverse the steep hills and offer panoramic views of the city and the ocean. Cerro Concepción and Cerro Alegre are two of the most popular hills to visit, as they are home to colorful houses, trendy restaurants, and stunning lookout points.

In addition to its cultural and artistic attractions, Valparaíso also offers beautiful beaches and outdoor activities. Playa Acapulco and Playa Las Torpederas are two of the most popular beaches, where visitors can relax, swim, and enjoy the sun.

Whether you’re a lover of art and culture, history, or simply want to soak in the lively atmosphere, Valparaíso is a must-visit destination in Chile.


Santiago, the capital and largest city of Chile, is a vibrant metropolis nestled in the central valley of the country. With its stunning backdrop of the snow-capped Andes Mountains, Santiago offers a unique blend of historical charm and modern sophistication.

Visitors to Santiago can explore the city’s rich history by visiting its many historic and cultural landmarks. One such landmark is the Plaza de Armas, the main square of Santiago, which is surrounded by significant buildings such as the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Central Post Office. The square also hosts various cultural events and is a popular meeting place for both locals and tourists.

For those interested in art and culture, the Museum of Fine Arts is a must-visit. With its extensive collection of both Chilean and international artwork, the museum provides a fascinating insight into the country’s artistic heritage. Another notable cultural attraction is the Chilean National Museum of History, which showcases the historical evolution of Chile through its exhibits and displays.

In addition to its cultural offerings, Santiago is also known for its culinary scene. Visitors can indulge in traditional Chilean cuisine, which includes delicious dishes such as empanadas and pastel de choclo. The city is also home to a thriving wine industry, and wine enthusiasts can explore the nearby Maipo Valley, which is renowned for producing some of Chile’s finest wines.

For those seeking outdoor activities, Santiago has much to offer. The city is surrounded by picturesque mountains and parks, providing ample opportunities for hiking, skiing, and other outdoor adventures. Cerro San Cristobal, a hill located within the city, offers panoramic views of Santiago and is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.

With its fascinating history, diverse cultural attractions, and stunning natural beauty, Santiago is a city that truly has something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in exploring its rich history, indulging in its culinary delights, or embarking on outdoor adventures, Santiago is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Chiloé Island

Chiloé Island, located off the coast of southern Chile, is a captivating destination known for its unique culture and breathtaking natural scenery. The island is famous for its distinctive wooden churches, charming fishing villages, and lush temperate rainforest.

One of the highlights of Chiloé Island is its UNESCO World Heritage Site churches. These churches were built by the Jesuits in the 17th and 18th centuries and are considered masterpieces of wooden architecture. The churches, with their colorful facades and intricate carvings, are a testament to the island’s rich history and blend of indigenous and European influences.

In addition to its churches, Chiloé Island is also renowned for its traditional palafitos, houses on stilts built along the water’s edge. Walking along the waterfront, visitors can admire these charming buildings with their vibrant colors and unique architecture. These palafitos are a symbol of the island’s fishing heritage and offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

For nature enthusiasts, Chiloé Island offers a wealth of outdoor activities. The island is home to several national parks and nature reserves, such as Chiloé National Park and Tantauco Park, where visitors can explore the diverse ecosystems, including dense forests, pristine lakes, and rugged coastlines. Hiking, birdwatching, and kayaking are popular activities for those seeking to immerse themselves in the island’s natural beauty.

Chiloé Island also boasts a rich culinary tradition, with a focus on seafood and traditional dishes. Visitors can savor delicious seafood stews, fresh oysters, and the island’s famous potato-based dishes, such as milcao and chapalele. A visit to Chiloé Island is not complete without indulging in the local gastronomy and experiencing the unique flavors of the region.

With its fascinating history, stunning architecture, and breathtaking landscapes, Chiloé Island is a must-visit destination for those seeking a truly unique and immersive travel experience in Chile.


Pucon is a charming town located on the shores of Lake Villarrica, in the Araucania Region of Chile. Known for its stunning natural beauty, Pucon is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventure seekers.

One of the main attractions in Pucon is the Villarrica Volcano, a snow-capped stratovolcano that offers a thrilling climbing experience. Adventurous visitors can hike up to the summit and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

The nearby Huerquehue National Park is another must-visit attraction in Pucon. This beautiful park is home to numerous hiking trails that lead to pristine lakes, ancient forests, and stunning waterfalls. The park also offers camping and picnic areas, making it a perfect spot for a day trip or overnight stay.

For those seeking relaxation, the Termas Geometricas hot springs are a must-visit. Nestled in the middle of a lush forest, these hot springs offer a tranquil and rejuvenating experience. Visitors can soak in the warm waters while surrounded by the beauty of nature.

In addition to its natural attractions, Pucon also offers a variety of outdoor activities, such as kayaking, white-water rafting, and horseback riding. The town itself is charming, with a picturesque main square, quaint shops, and delicious local cuisine.

Whether you’re seeking adventure or relaxation, Pucon has something for everyone. Its stunning natural beauty and range of activities make it a must-visit destination in Chile.

San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama is a small town located in the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert. With its unique landscapes and stunning natural beauty, it has become a popular tourist destination in Chile.

One of the main attractions in San Pedro de Atacama is the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon). This otherworldly landscape resembles the surface of the moon and is a popular spot for watching the sunset. Visitors can explore the unique rock formations, sand dunes, and salt flats that make up this otherworldly landscape.

The El Tatio Geysers are another must-visit attraction in San Pedro de Atacama. Located at an altitude of over 4,000 meters, this geothermal field is one of the largest and highest in the world. Visitors can witness the impressive sight of hot steam shooting up from the ground and explore the network of geothermal pools.

For those interested in archaeology and history, the archaeological site of Pukará de Quitor is a fascinating place to visit. This pre-Columbian fortress dates back to the 12th century and offers stunning views of the surrounding desert. Visitors can explore the ruins and learn about the indigenous peoples who once inhabited the area.

In addition to its natural and archaeological attractions, San Pedro de Atacama is also known for its stargazing opportunities. The town’s remote location and clear skies make it an ideal place for observing the stars. There are several observatories and tour operators that offer guided stargazing tours, allowing visitors to marvel at the wonders of the universe.

Overall, San Pedro de Atacama is a unique and captivating destination in Chile. Its breathtaking landscapes, rich history, and stargazing opportunities make it a must-visit for any traveler exploring this beautiful country.

Magdalena Island

Located in the Strait of Magellan, Magdalena Island is a small island in southern Chile known for its vibrant wildlife. Home to over 120,000 Magellanic penguins, it is a popular destination for wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers.

The island is only accessible by boat and is best visited between October and March, during the breeding season of the penguins. Visitors can take guided tours to explore the island and observe the penguins in their natural habitat.

With its rugged landscapes and scenic beauty, Magdalena Island offers a unique opportunity to witness the penguins up-close as they waddle around and dive into the sea. Walking along the designated paths, visitors can also catch a glimpse of other bird species, such as cormorants and seagulls.

In addition to the penguins, Magdalena Island is also home to a lighthouse that dates back to 1902. Visitors can climb to the top of the lighthouse for panoramic views of the surrounding ocean and nearby islands.

Due to its status as a protected area, strict regulations are in place to ensure the preservation of the island’s ecosystem. Visitors are advised to adhere to guidelines and regulations set by the park authorities to minimize the disturbance to the wildlife.

Location Strait of Magellan, southern Chile
Main Attraction Magellanic penguins
Best Time to Visit October to March

La Serena

La Serena is a charming coastal city located in the Coquimbo Region of Chile. It is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture, and historical architecture. Here are some of the top attractions in La Serena:

  • Plaza de Armas: This central square is the heart of the city and is surrounded by the iconic La Serena Cathedral, City Hall, and many other historic buildings.

  • La Recova Market: This traditional market is a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture. It offers a wide variety of handicrafts, souvenirs, and local food.

  • Japanese Garden: A tranquil oasis in the heart of the city, the Japanese Garden features beautiful traditional Japanese elements such as a koi pond, bridges, and pagodas.

  • El Faro Monumental: This iconic lighthouse is located on Avenida del Mar and offers panoramic views of the city and coastline. It’s especially stunning at sunset.

  • Archaeological Museum: For history enthusiasts, the Archaeological Museum showcases the rich cultural heritage of the region, including artifacts from pre-Columbian civilizations.

La Serena is also a great starting point for exploring the Elqui Valley, famous for its clear skies and observatories. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply relaxing on the beach, La Serena has something to offer for every traveler.


What are the top tourist attractions in Chile?

Chile has many top-rated tourist attractions. Some of the most popular ones include Torres del Paine National Park, Easter Island, Valparaíso, Atacama Desert, and the Lake District.

What makes Torres del Paine National Park so special?

Torres del Paine National Park is known for its breathtaking landscapes, including beautiful mountains, glaciers, lakes, and forests. It also offers a variety of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and wildlife watching.

Why is Easter Island a must-visit destination?

Easter Island is famous for its giant stone statues called moai. These statues, created by the native Rapa Nui people, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and attract visitors from all over the world. The island also has stunning beaches and fascinating archaeological sites.

What can tourists do in the Atacama Desert?

The Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth, offers unique and diverse experiences for tourists. Visitors can explore the otherworldly landscapes, go stargazing, visit geysers, relax in hot springs, and even go sandboarding on the vast sand dunes.


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Erica Silverstein

Erica, a seasoned travel writer with 20+ years of experience, started her career as a Let's Go guidebook editor in college. As the head of Cruise Critic's features team for a decade, she gained extensive knowledge. Her adventurous nature has taken her to Edinburgh, Australia, the Serengeti, and on luxury cruises in Europe and the Caribbean. During her journeys, she enjoys savoring local chocolates and conquering various summits.

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