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10 Best Places to Visit in Chile

Die 10 besten Sehenswürdigkeiten in Chile - hilft dir bei Deiner Routenplanung!
Die 10 besten Sehenswürdigkeiten in Chile - hilft dir bei Deiner Routenplanung!

Recently I often get asked about the best places to visit in Chile. So I challenged myself and wrote down my personal top 10, including tips for tours and accommodation. (updated: November 2022)

I have been backpacking in Chile 2 times already where I managed to visit 13 of 15 regions. The best time to travel Chile is from October till March – in Patagonia December till beginning of March. If you are planning your trip I highly recommend learning spanish beforehand.

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My personal list of best places to visit in Chile will help you make the most of your time there. Use the following navigation to jump to the things to do in Chile you are most interested in:

 
Best Places to visit in Chile – Quick Navigation


1) San Pedro de Atacama – Atacama Desert

Sunset in the Moon Valley at the Atacama Desert close to San Pedro de Atacama
Sunset in the Moon Valley at the Atacama Desert close to San Pedro de Atacama. This is the northernmost sight of the best places to visit in Chile featured here.
Let's start our trip in the north. The Atacama Desert is the driest desert in the world but has a lot to offer: the moon valley, flamingos at the colorful lagoons, sand boarding at the dunes, volcanos and an amazing view at the night sky.
 
San Pedro de Atacama was my starting point for backpacking the north of chile – checkout all possibilities and things to do in the atacama desert here.
 

Accommodation

In San Pedro the prices for rooms are way above the country's average as it is a tourism hotspot. On the other hand a lot has changed for the better. Many Hotels now have a much better standard and even have breakfast on offer. I've been twice in San Pedro de Atacama and can therefore recommend a wider range of places to stay – depending on your budget:

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay

Hostal Mamatierra
€€9.2great atmosphere, lovely owners, rich breakfast

Hostal Sonchek
€€9.0good location, very clean
La Casa de Jos退€9.2helpful staff, pool, great breakfast
Hotel La Casa de Don Tomás€€€€9.0Awesome breakfast, pool, good restaurant
Hotel Pascual Andino€€€€+9.4modern, luxurios ressort with pool, great breakfast

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2) Valparaiso

Valparaiso as seen from the house of Pablo Neruda
Valparaiso as seen from the house of Pablo Neruda
I loved to wander the streets of this colorful port city which is also part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Believe it or not: I spent a whole week in Valparaiso photographing the fantastic street art and enjoying the views from the many hills :)
 
Use your stay to explore the central hills (Cerro Concepcion, Cerro Alegre) and make use of the funiculars, too. Apart from this the National Maritime Museum is definitely worth a visit!
 

Accommodation

Valparaiso is characterized by its many hills where you can also find most of the accommodation featured here. The Casa Volante has been my base for my time exploring the best places to visit in Chile in this part of the country. With help of my local friends I also managed to put together a list of alternative lodging options:

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay

Casa Volante
8.6great location, good breakfast selection, budget friendly
La Casa Piola9.3lovely atmospehere, rooftop terrace, good value for money
Pontoval B&B€€9.8pool, good breakfast, modern interior
Hotel Winebox€€€9.0unusual accommodation (remodelled shipping containers), great view and good breakfast
Zero Hotel€€€9.2Hotel with lovely garden and terrace, good breakfast

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3) Pucón – Villarrica Volcano

The Villarrica Volcano is the landmark of Pucón and one of the best places to visit in Chile for outdoor lovers
The Villarrica Volcano is the landmark of Pucón and one of the best places to visit in Chile for outdoor lovers!
If you travel further south your next stop should be a city located next to a lake and a volcano: Pucón. After I made my way up to the Villarrica Volcano I was overwhelmed by the view and pretty sure that this spot is one of the best places to visit in Chile for outdoor lovers and adventure seekers!
 
For more information checkout another great guide I put together – Backpacking Chile: Top things to do in Pucon – where you also see more photographs taken there.
 

Accommodation

Pucon offers a wide range of accommodations. I've stayed in the old version of the “Lucky Hostel” and really liked the cozy atmosphere (which is now even better after renovations and change of ownership!). Following are my recommendation for your time in Pucon:

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Chili Kiwi Lakefront Backpackers9.0great value for money, great location at the lake, good atmosphere
Lucky's Hostel€€9.6central location, sympathetic hosts, breakfast included
B&B HMüller€€9.4cozy, helpful staff
Hotel Küyen-Ko€€9.0family run hotel, rustic
Maki Hotel€€€9.2modern boutique hotel, great breakfast

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4) Puerto Varas – Osorno Volcano

The volcano Osorno looks exactly like Mt. Fuji :)
The volcano Osorno looks exactly like Mt. Fuji :)
Ok…now that volcanoes sparked our interest: another cool one can be found close to Puerto Varas and looks pretty much like the little brother of Mt. Fuji. Getting up there is even easier as there is a street which leads almost to the top. The view is different but also impressive.
 
Puerto Varas itself is a small, charming village with German roots which is visible in the architecture as well as in the cakes you can enjoy here.
 

Accommodation:

Puerto Varas offers a lovely selection of cozy places in a great location. I've stayed in a family run B&B und summed up my recommendations in the following list. You can choose between budget friendly hostels, cozy B&Bs and luxurious hotels:

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
MaPatagonia Hostel9.6great location, kitchen well equipped, lovely staff
Casa Apel9.1spacious rooms but cozy and very clean
B&B Puerto Austral€€9.0great location right at the lake, helpful staff, beautiful rooms
Hotel Dein Haus€€€9.0unique panorama, great breakfast
Hotel Cumbres Puerto Varas€€€€9.2exclusive resort in great location, comfortable rooms and rich breakfast

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5) Fjords of Chaiten / Hornopiren

The fjords from Chaiten and Hornopiren National Park
The fjords from Chaiten and Hornopiren National Park
This and the following 3 best places to visit in Chile are for those who are up for real adventures due to the fact that those spots are located in the most remote area of the country – the Carretera Austral. Right at the beginning you have to cross the many Fjords between Puerto Montt and Chaiten with different ferries to make your way down and you will feel like being in Scandinavia.
 
Find more information as well as great imagery of this and the following spots in my related Patagonia Documentary!
 
There is no doubt that the landscape around Chaiten belongs into this list of the best places to visit in Chile!

Accommodation:

Along the Carretera Austral budget friendly, family run B&Bs are the dominant option when it comes to accommodation. This way you are in direct contact with the locals which makes your trip even more special. Here are my tips for your time in Chaiten:

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Tenchita Homestay€€8.8simple private rooms, breakfast included, lovely hosts
Paraiso Patagonico€€8.6great hosts, nice breakfast, very clean
Chucao Bosque y Cabanas€€8.9Chalet's in the forrest in the outskirts of Chaiten, helpful staff
Tranqueras del Monte€€€8.1comfortable accommodation with great breakfast and a lot of space, perfect for families and small groups

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6) Futaleufú

Best Places to visit in Chile - The Futaleufu is one of the most picturesque rivers on our planet!
The Futaleufu is one of the most picturesque rivers on our planet!
Rafting pro's mention this river as one of the world's best spots for white water rafting and this is what you should do there to experience the pure beauty of the Futaleufú river. I went on a multi day rafting adventure with Chris from ExChile, a former US Olympic team kayaker.
 

Accommodation:

To start relaxed into your rafting adventure I have a few options for you:

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Hostería Futaleufu$9.1location, atmosphere
Hostal Las Natalias$$8.8beautiful surrounding, friendly staff
Hotel El Barranco$$$9.3breakfast, upscale hotel with pool

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7) Puerto Rio Tranquilo – Marble Caves

chile marble caves rio tranquillo
The marble caves are not only one of the best places to visit in Chile – they should be on your bucket list for South America!
You have possibly seen those caves on pictures all over the internet in collections like “places to see before you die” or “natural wonders of the world”. The truth is: not many people have seen those caves in person as they are located at the southern part of the Carretera Austral inside the second largest lake of South America.
 
It took me a few days to get there by hitchhiking but it was worth all the efforts. On top of all my last lift owned a tour company and invited me to join 2 of his boat tours – lucky me! :)
 

Accommodation:

As for many villages along the Carretera Austral you can also find a number of B&Bs in Puerto Rio Tranquilo. During the summer months the demand is very high therefore I recommend booking your room way in advance!

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Los alamos$8.2value for money, central location
APART HOME COSTANERA$$8.9hospitality, central location
Apart Hotel y Cabañas Valle Exploradores$$$7.4central location
Chelenko Lodge$$$8.4incredible remote location by the lake

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8) Villa O'Higgins & O'Higgins

The O'Higgins Glacier located at the end of the Carretera Austral is one of the most remote places to visit in Chile!
The last 3 spots are hard to access – this one is the cherry on top! It takes a lot of time to get there and to get out from there which also means that you won't find many people visiting it.
 
I made my way from El Chaltén to Candelario Mansilla and continued to Villa O'Higgins – a great trek itself with beautiful views to the lake!
 

Accommodation:

To explore the best places to visit in Chile located in this area I highly recommend the El Mosco hostel as your base. If you like to have a bit more comfort you should choose the lodge of Rumbo Sur which even has a hot tub.

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
El Mosco Hostel-great atmosphere, best value for money, solid breakfast (private rooms)
Puesto Canogas Hostel€€9.6great breakfast, lovely hosts, good location
Hotel Rumbo Sur€€€€9.1sehr komfortabel, exklusive Lodge mit gutem Frühstück und tollem Service
very comfortable, exclusive lodge with good breakfast and great service

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9) Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine

A sunrise you'll never forget: the “towers” responsible for the name of the national park ‘Torres del Paine'.
This one shouldn't be missed when in South America as the national park Torres del Paine offers so much diversity in a comparably tiny area: glaciers, lagoons, impressive mountain ranges, grasslands and green forests.
 
I spent around one month in the area and put together one of the most detailed trekking guides which helps you to plan your very own adventure!
 

Accommodation:

If you like to stay inside the park you need to have a certain budget. Despite the fact that hotels here are quite pricey they offer a unique experience and some of the world's best panoramas. If you plan on treating yourself to something special you should consider staying in one of the following hotels:

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Ecocamp Patagonia$$$9.1location, glamping at its best
Hotel Lago Grey$$$8.6close to glaciar grey, incredible viewpoints
Hotel Las Torres$$$$7.9tour options, most central location inside the park
Explora Patagonia$$$$$9.8Hands down one of the best and most exclusive places to stay in all of Patagonia!

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10) Punta Arenas – Isla Magdalena

Isla Magdalena, Punta Arenas
Isla Magdalena close to Punta Arenas is often called the “penguin island”
You like penguins? This is a paradise for you! Close to Punta Arenas, the biggest city in the south of Chile you are able to go on an excursion to Isla Magdalena. This island is home to more than 50.000 penguins!
 
I took one of the daily ferries to visit the guys for around 30 minutes. My recommendation is to hop off the ferry and make your way up immediately. Most of the tourists just take pictures right away so you have more penguins around you when you are the first to walk the path ;)
 
After Punta Arenas I recommended to make your way down to Ushuaia and with that start exploring the 10 Best Places to Visit in Argentina!
 

Accommodation:

In Punta Arenas you can find a number of small B&Bs which offer great value for the money you spend. I've visited this town multiple time and can therefore recommend a few places to stay.

 BudgetRatingReasons to stay
Hostal Balmaceda8.0simple but budget-friendly & clean private rooms
Hostal Buenavista Patagonia9.5best value for money in town, nice rooms with good breakfast included
Apart Hotel Endurance€€9.0modern furnished apartments with Kitchenette, breakfast included
Apart Hotel Quillango€€9.1comfortable, spacious apartment in a good location, friendly service, breakfast included
Hotel Ilaia€€€9.2lovely small hotel with cozy atmosphere and great breakfast

Nach Oben

 

11) Guided Tours in Chile

If you like to see as much as possible but your time is limited or if it is your first trip to that part of the world and you feel a bit uncomfortable doing it completely on your own it makes sense to book a multi-day tour. This way you do not only leave the organization of the trip including all accommodation and transport to local experts but you get to learn so much about the country from your guides and you'll travel in a group of like-minded people. A multi-day tour can also be easily combined with an independent trip (e.g. you could start with a tour and afterwards go backpacking in Chile on your own).
 
After working with them in Peru, Cuba, Bhutan, Costa Rica and Tanzania I highly recommend the small group tours offered by G Adventures as their philosophy (working with small local businesses) and focus on sustainable, responsible travel are in line with my personal values. With many years of expertise you can expect well organized, fun trips in small groups:

  • Highlights of Chile & Argentina – diverse 10 day lasting tour to some of the best places to visit in Chile mentioned in this article as well as some of the highlights in Argentina. From Santiago through Valparaiso, Pucon, Bariloche and a Gaucho experience to dancing tango in Buenos Aires. Included in the tour are meals, guides, transportation, hotels and some additional experiences.
  • Explore Chile & Argentina – On this 9 day National Geographic tour you get to see the capital cities of both countries as well as the countryside. The program includes culinary experiences, excursions to lakes, waterfalls, some hiking and a tango course in Buenos Aires. Some Meals, local guides, hotels, domestic flights, minibus, ferry and exclusive NatGeo tours are included.
  • Hike Patagonia in depth – active 14 day tour covering the highlights of Patagonia, including the Torres del Paine W trek, El Chaltén (Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre) and El Calafate (Perito Moreno glacier) including meals, guide, camps & tents, hotels, transport and porters
  • Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego – active 14 day tour covering the highlights of Patagonia, including the Torres del Paine W trek, El Chaltén (Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre), El Calafate (Perito Moreno glacier) and Ushuaia. This also includes meals, guide, camps & tents, hotels, transport and porters.
  • Discover Patagonia (NatGeo Tour) – complete 14 day Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego tour covering all the highlights in the north (Bariloche, Puerto Varas), the south (Torres del Paine – day tour, Calafate, Chalten) and Ushuaia including exclusive National Geographic expeditions and talks.
best places to visit in chile - torres del paine, puerto natales
The legendary towers are responsible for the name of the National Park: Torres del Paine

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12) Video of my experience

I visited all places to visit in Chile mentioned in this guide during my time in South America. As always I also filmed a video about my time:
 

 

Best Places to Visit in Chile: your favorites?

Did I miss any important sight? Tell me your favorite spot in the comments below and feel free to share this article with your friends!

 
Disclaimer: This Chile Guide contains Affiliate Links for services and products I’m using on my travels – therefore I can highly recommend them. By using these links you won’t pay any additional fees! All recommendations, opinions, and ironic remarks are, as always, my own.

This post is also available in: German

5 Comments

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  • I love this! Been reading your Chile Articles, would like to ask which Ferry did you take to go from Puerto Montt tp Natales? Is that ferry the Navimag or something else? Any idea on the cheapest mode of transportation?

  • Hello, did you travel by bus or train or plane?? is it possible!?!
    How long to travel this 10 highlight points?
    Grazie mille

    • Hey – both is possible depending on the time you have. You can find detailed itineraries in my travel guide.

  • Hi! I’m part of planning the Newport Beach Film Festival in Newport Beach, and my group is part of the Chilean spotlight specifically. Can we post your photos on our Instagram, making sure to give you credit?

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