Squeezed between the Andes and the Pacific, Chile is sometimes called the longest country in the world. It is never more than 180 km (112 miles) wide, but its coastline extends over 4,300 km (2,672 miles). Among the top tourist attractions in Chile are the world’s driest desert, spectacular scenery of glaciers and fjords, and the many volcanoes along the Pacific “ring of fire”.
10 Cerro San Cristóbal
Cerro San Cristóbal is a hill in northern Santiago with a beautiful view over the city and, on a clear day, the Andes. At the peak, there is a church and a 22 meter (72 feet) statue of the Virgin Mary. The summit can be reached by cable car or a long hike. Cerro San Cristóbal houses the Parque Metropolitano, Santiago’s largest public park. In the park there is also a botanical garden, zoo and two swimming pools.
9 Los Pingüinos Natural Monument
The largest penguin colonies in southern Chile, Los Pingüinos Natural Monument is home to more than 120,000 Magellanic penguins. Located on the small Magdalena Island, just one square kilometer and topped by a pretty red lighthouse, it lies 35km (22 miles) northeast of Punta Arenas. In September or October each year, the birds migrate back here and find their mate. By the end of March the penguins have returned to sea again.
8 Chiloé Island
Chiloé Island is the largest island of the Chiloé Archipelago in the Los Lagos Region and the second-largest island in South America after Tierra del Fuego. In part because of its physical isolation from the rest of Chile, Chiloé has a very special architecture and local culture. The Spanish who arrived in the 16th century, and Jesuit missionaries who followed, constructed hundreds of unique wooden churches in an attempt to bring Christianity to the archipelago. The result was a mixing of Catholicism and indigenous Chilean beliefs.
Located on the Pacific coast of the central region of Chile, Valparaíso is known for its brightly colored houses, bohemian culture and beautiful seaside views. Built upon dozens of steep hillsides overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Valparaíso boasts a labyrinth of streets and cobblestone alleyways, embodying a rich architectural and cultural legacy.
6 San Rafael Glacier
Located within the Laguna San Rafael National Park, the San Rafael Glacier is a giant glacier that calves into the Laguna San Rafael. The glacier is accessible only by boat or plane. The journey by boat is a spectacle in itself, passing through the narrow channels of the isolated Aisén region. What you can see from the boat is in fact just the end of the glacier’s, which extends some 15km (9 miles) from its source.