Territory

Wonders of Chile

Araucarias and Llaima volcano
Araucarias and Llaima volcano./ Davide Zanchettin, Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

WorldBlue  Highlights

The natural and man-made heritage of Chile is very diverse, also thanks due to extreme length of the country extending from driest deserts in the north to the most southern historical inhabited lands of the world in Patagonia.

Highlights of Chile are:

  • The magnificent scenery of Patagonian Andes and fjords with snow-capped volcanoes, araucaria and alerce stands, thousands of waterfalls and countless beautiful observation spots.
  • The volcanic landscape of Northern and Central Chile with geysers and hot springs.
  • Atacama – the driest desert of the world with the unique landscape of quebradas – deep canyons with oasis that contain unique biological, archaeological and architecture heritage.

Map with the described wonders of Chile

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WorldViolet Top 25 wonders of Chile

Geological wonders

Torres del Paine

Magallanes and Antártica Chilena

Three knife-formed cliffs rising with vertical walls more than 1,000 – 1,400 m high and offering one of the most impressive sights in Patagonian Andes.

Torres del Paine, Chile
El Tatio

Antofagasta

A large geyser field with at least 85 active geysers erupting up to 6 m high. The field is especially impressive in the early morning. At least 100 geysers and 30 perpetual spouters have been active here in historical times.

El Tatio geysers, Chile
Ventisquero Colgante Falls

Aisén

One of the highest waterfalls in Chile and possibly – one of the most beautiful waterfalls worldwide. The water originates from the base of Ventisquero Colgante glacier and falls more than 350 m high with a single plunge. This is a rare sight, as above this giant waterfall is towering a wall of the blue glaciers.

Ventisquero Colgante Falls, Chile
Yungay

Antofagasta

The driest place in the world without any signs of life. Only a few specific microorganisms – extremophiles – are present here. Some areas are rich with nitrates – easily soluble minerals that in other circumstances are consumed by organisms. Here rich nitrate deposits have been formed from atmospheric nitrogen, possibly by lightning.

Landscape near Antofagasta, not too far from Yungay, Chile
Laguna Roja

Arica and Parinacota

Bright red lake fed by hot springs, 40 – 50 °C warm, with travertine formations around the lake. Nearby also yellow and green lakes. Lakes are located at 3,700 m above the sea level.

Marble Caves (Las Cavernas de Marmol)

Aisén

Unique geological formation – peninsula consisting of pure marble in the beautiful Lago General Carrera has been eroded by the lake water, forming caves, mushroom formations and tunnels in the marble.

Marble Caves - Cavernas de Mármol, Chile
Villarrica volcano

Araucanía

Large, 2,860 m tall volcano that has an intermittent lava lake in its 50 m wide craters. Summit of the volcano is permanently covered with snow and glaciers.

Villarica volcano, Chile
Madre de Dios Island

Magallanes and Antártica Chilena

One of the world’s most impressive limestone karst areas. Most active karst processes in the world thanks to a high amount of precipitation as well as wind action. Magnificent, otherworldly landscapes, enormous caves.

Ojos del Salado

Atacama

The highest volcano of the world, 6,891 m tall. It contains also crater lake at 6,390 m height – possibly the highest lake of the world.

Puchuldiza geyser field

Tarapacá

Here in the 1970s – 1980s were observed four – five geysers reaching up to 4 m high. In the 1990s the activity of geysers was damaged by drilling but at least one geyser is active here next to several perpetual spouters.

Monte Fitz Roy (Cerro Chaltén)

Magallanes and Antártica Chilena

One of the most challenging mountains in the world for climbing. The height of granite cliff face is 1,200 m.

Landscape in Patagonia with Monte Fitz Roy, Argentina
Monturaqui Crater

Antofagasta

One of the most impressive impact craters in South America, created by meteorite some 660,000 years ago. 350 – 370 m wide, up to 34 m deep.

Monturaqui Crater, Chile

Biological wonders

Forest on Robinson Crusoe Island

Valparaíso

Temperate forest with a unique level of endemism – out of 211 local plant species 132 are endemic – e.g. met only on this island. The dense forest is formed from trees that are not met anywhere else. Hundreds of endemic species of insects.

Robinson Crusoe Island, San Juan Bautista village in the forefront
Milodon Cave

Magallanes and Antártica Chilena

In this cave were found remnants of the giant ground sloth (Mylodon darwini) and several more extinct South American animals.

Milodon Cave, Chile
Temperate forest of Alexander Selkirk Island

Valparaíso

Beautiful forest with a high number of endemic plants. In total there are 120 endemic plants (one of the highest degrees of endemism in the world), including large trees, tree-ferns, palms. This unique ecosystem provides important knowledge about plant evolution. Especially impressive is the pure stand of the endemic tree-fern Dicksonia externa south from Cerro de los Innocentes.

Archaeological wonders of Chile

Tiliviche geoglyphs

Tarapacá

Group of geoglyphs formed by dark stones. Mainly shown a group llamas, made roughly in 1000 AD.

Inca shrine on Cerro El Plomo

Santiago Metropolitan

Ancient Inca shrines at the height of 5,170 m and 5,400 m – one of the highest archaeological monuments of the world. Here was found a well-preserved mummy of a boy buried here some 500 years ago as well as jewelry and figurines. Sanctuary consists of two parts – one is a round stone platform, another consists of three rectangular stone settings. Boy was sacrificed in a ceremony called "Capacocha".

Gigante de Atacama on Cerro Unita

Tarapacá

This is the largest geoglyph in Chile – 86 m (115 m?) high antropomorphic figure that was made around 1000 – 1400 AD. Cerro Unita contains more geoglyphs.

Gigante de Atacama, Chile
Pukará de Quitor

Antofagasta

Fortified ancient city of pre-Inca and Inca. Contains more than 160 structures built of stones and adobe, enclosed with fortification wall. Built in the 12th century, taken by Spaniards in 1540.

Architecture wonders of Chile

Valparaiso historic centre

Valparaíso

A picturesque, once prosperous port city with countless historical buildings on steep hillsides. In the city still are operating 4 – 10 historical funiculars.

Valparaíso, Las Brujas restaurant at Ascensor Artilleria
La Moneda Palace

Santiago Metropolitan

Palace was built in 1784 – after 1805. This harmonious Classicism building has played a great role in the history of Chile. It has experienced partial destruction in 1973 during the coup d’état and later – construction of underground passages for possible escape of General Augusto Pinochet.

Santa Maria church in Achao

Los Lagos

The oldest of the unique churches of Chiloé, built around 1740. Wooden structure unites local and European art traditions and has been built without a single nail. Ornate Baroque interiors.

Isluga church and village

Tarapacá

Unique Altiplano church located at 3,800 m above the sea level. The church was built in the 17th century in a place that is sacred to Aymara people. It is located in uninhabited village that is used only in a case of religious festivities.

Isluga church, Chile
Malleco Viaduct

Araucanía

Up to 102 m high, 350 m long iron viaduct for railway, built in 1890.

WorldYellow Recommended books

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chile & Easter Island


DK’s insider travel tips and essential local information will help you discover the best of Chile and Easter Island, from festivals and markets to gorgeous beaches and national parks. Experience the Tapati festival, explore the spectacular Parque Nacional Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia, or simply take in the most transparent skies in the southern hemisphere.

Chile – Culture Smart!


Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs, and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships.


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