Sightseeing in Chile. Description, photos, interesting facts.

Sightseeing in Chile. Description, photos, interesting facts.

Chile is a champion state. Because of the peculiarities of the landscape, nature here often goes to extremes. It is the longest country (stretches from north to south for 4,600 kilometers),

with the driest desert in the world (the Atacama Desert has had no rainfall for centuries),

the world’s highest lake (the reservoir in Ojos del Salado is 6,390 meters above sea level). There are a lot of “most-true” places and sights, and an ordinary vacation will not be enough to see them all. We have chosen the most interesting:

Photo: Hand of the Desert

1. The hand of the desert

In Chile’s Atacama Desert, 75 km south of the town of Antofagasta, is a monument, which the lonely traveler least expects to meet there. A monument to the despair and loneliness of man in the sands, the Hand of the Desert, was erected here in 1992 by sculptor Mario Irarrazabal. If you bury the concrete giant in the sand, this is the gesture he makes to say goodbye to the world. Going to see the sculpture (tourist groups are brought here from Antofagasta),

Do not forget that in the desert for a few tens of kilometers around there are no McDonald’s or toilets. The hand of the desert is the only thing that reminds of the presence of man here.

Photo: Torres del Paine National Park

2. Torres del Paine National Park.

If the Hebrew god had to land Eden a second time, he would choose Torres del Paine. In 1978, a UNESCO commission recognized the Chilean national park as a biosphere reserve. It seems to be a collection of the most beautiful pieces of nature from all over the world: mountains and forests, glaciers and fjords, springs and lakes. There are several multi-day hiking trails in the park – Torres del Paine is Chile’s most visited tourist destination.

Photo: The world's largest swimming pool

3. The largest swimming pool in the world

Imagine a soccer field filled with water. Multiply by ten. You get the world’s largest outdoor swimming pool. San Alfonso del Mar is located 100 kilometers west of the Chilean capital Santiago. One kilometer in length, 77 thousand square meters of area – in a pool of this size can not only swim, but also sail. Which the Chileans do: in San Alfonso del Mar, anyone can rent a catamaran or yacht and sail on the smooth, like a mirror, the water. Despite the fact that the water for the pool is taken from the Pacific Ocean, it is not salty and is so transparent that the bottom is visible at any point.

Photo: Marble Caves

4. Marble Caves

Not far from the village of Chile Chico, 1,500 kilometers from the Chilean capital, is the best place in Chile (and maybe in the world) for kayaking – the Marble Caves or Marble Cathedral on Lake Carrera. In fact, the walls of the caves, which form a winding labyrinth in the rocks of the peninsula, are not marble, but consist almost entirely of limestone. However, the glare of water on the blue vaults creates the full impression that you are floating inside a fabulous marble palace. The caves can be reached by boat, but deep into the labyrinth can only be reached by small boat or kayak.

Photo: Easter Island

5. Easter Island

Welcome to the middle of nowhere: Easter Island is the most remote inhabited island from civilization. From the coast of Chile to the island is more than three and a half thousand kilometers. Nature has deprived the island of a variety of plants and animals. It is home to a couple dozen species of seabirds and little plants, except weeds and mulberries. However, travelers do not come here for the beauty, but for the mystery.

Easter Island is known primarily for its stone statues – Moai. Ten- and fifteen-meter statues in the form of human heads turned with the backs of their heads to the sea, and the nose into the depths of the island. Judging by the ruins of the ancient quarries, the statues were made of pressed volcanic ash in the center of the island. Scientists still don’t know how they were brought to the coast (some of the statues weigh over 200 tons).

Photo: Humberstone Ghost Town

6. The ghost town of Humberstone.

In northern Chile, in the middle of the desert, fifty kilometers from the nearest settlement (the town of Iquique) is the abandoned town of Haberstone. The town was founded in the late 19th century, when a saltpeter deposit was found here. First a mining village, then a town with a theater, church and railway station – Humberstone quickly grew. And just as quickly emptied out when the saltpetre life dried up. Deprived of their livelihood, people gradually left the town, leaving behind their homes with their accumulated possessions. Even today, you can go into any abandoned house and rummage through the old chests in the hope of finding some valuable souvenir.

Photo: Andean Christ

7. Andean Christ.

One of the rare examples where religion unites. The Andean Christ, a monument that was erected 100 years ago on the Bermejo Pass in the Andes, ended the war between Chile and Argentina. In the early twentieth century, the two neighboring countries argued over the status of their border territories. The dispute could have ended in war, but ministers of the church intervened. A local bishop suggested that a monument be erected on the border as a symbol of friendship and reconciliation. Several thousand Chileans and Argentines gathered for the opening ceremony of the monument. The military of the two countries also arrived to fire a ceremonial salute. Thus Chile and Argentina concluded a peace agreement.

Photo: Penguin Colony on Magdalena Island

8. The penguin colony on the island of Magdalena

This is probably the only place on Earth where anyone can see so many penguins in one place at one time. Magdalena Island is located in the Strait of Magellan, near Punta Arenas. Every year in late October, nearly 50,000 pairs of penguins make their way here to breed. By February, the island is covered with a solid layer of penguins, like black snow. The penguins go about their business and are not at all afraid of the tourists who have come here to see them. You can get to the island as part of a tourist group on the ferry (2 hours one way).

Photo: Valley of the Moon (Valle de la Luna)

9. Valley of the Moon (Valle de la Luna)

If you drive 30 kilometers away from the town of San Pedro toward the center of Atacama, the driest desert in the world, you can walk through the Moon Valley. Moon Valley is the name given to the bizarre landscapes of this part of the desert for their resemblance to the lunar surface. Water and winds have been grinding the rocks and sand for thousands of years, and the white color of the salt lakes gives the valley even more resemblance to the cosmic landscape.

26 Best Sights in Chile

The Republic of Chile, which occupies a long narrow strip of land between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, cherishes castles left over from the Spanish colonial period and ancient indigenous statues. This country invites you to relax on its magnificent beaches, ski down snow-capped mountains, and then explore the mysterious statues of Easter Island and Tierra del Fuego.

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Who Should Go to Chile and Why?

The country’s archaeological monuments attract visitors from all over the world. It has preserved pre-colonial buildings that tell about the greatness of the ancient peoples, ancient cities and cultural sites left by the Spanish conquistadors who conquered this land in the 16th century.

People who love beautiful natural landscapes come to Chile. In the north of the country, you can see a large desert, in the center – the clearest lakes and picturesque islands, in the west and south – mountains and valleys covered with forests.

In Viña del Mar and Pichilema, surfers gather. Extremes come to fly paragliders – in Iquique, Antofagasta and Lebu there are paragliding centers, where it is easy to buy equipment and hire an instructor. In the south and center, popular ski resorts await guests. And in the Andes are the major ski bases of Valle Nevado and El Colorado.

In Chile you can ride modern attractions, visit water parks, local museums and excursions. Excellent ecology, beautiful nature, sea water enhances the health of adults and children, and give a lot of good impressions.

Be sure to go to the local markets, open from early morning until late at night. You can easily buy authentic Indian souvenirs there: wooden boxes, silver jewelry, and woolen items made of llama or alpaca.

Historical and Architectural Sights

Plaza de Armas

ploshad plasa

Santiago’s main square is called Plaza de Armas. It is the center of the capital, where significant monuments are concentrated. In the middle is a sculpture of Pedro de Valdivia, the founder of the city. The Spanish conqueror proudly sits on a horse.

Next to it is a statue of Chile’s first cardinal, José María Caro. Along the perimeter of the square are the Cathedral, the Governor’s House, the Royal Audience Building and the seat of government.

La Moneda

la moneda

On the Plaza de Armas there is a magnificent architectural monument – the La Moneda Palace. The structure was built in the style of classicism at the end of the 18th century. The building was intended for the mint, but soon began to be used as a government residence.

In 2003, the palace was opened to the public. By signing up for a guided tour, you can see the interior of La Moneda and learn a lot of interesting things. From the south side of the building you can see the Citizens’ Square, which has fountains and a monument to Arturo Alessandri.

Palazzo Vergara

dvorez vergara

At the beginning of the last century, a palace in the Venetian Gothic style was built in Viña del Mar. Now the huge house belongs to the municipality. On the first floor there is a museum of fine arts. Seminars and exhibitions are held on the second floor. The palace is surrounded by an extensive park and there are sculptures of Chilean artists near the gate.

Alhambra Palace

dvores algamra

Built in Santiago, the Alhambra Palace is a replica of an ancient Spanish castle and a striking representative of Moorish architecture. The owner donated the building to the Société des Beaux-Arts, and now there are classes for teaching painting. Visitors to the palace can see paintings by famous artists, colorful tiles, lace arabesques and lines from the Koran carved on the walls.

Church of San Pedro de Atacama

cerkov san pedro

In the town of San Pedro de Atacama there is a beautiful church. The white structure of stone and limestone was built at the beginning of the XVIII century on the site of a small chapel, which was mentioned a little earlier, in the XVI century. Inside you can see the Baroque altar, columns and vaulted arches. Next to the church rises a stone bell tower.

Church of St. Francis

cerkov franciska

One of the central attractions of the city of La Serena is the Church of St. Francis, built in the 16th century. The church has been rebuilt several times. The last reconstruction took place after the earthquake in 1975. The church is a national monument and is open to the faithful. In the sacristy there is a museum of religious art.

St. Mark’s Cathedral

sobor st marka

In the 17th century, St. Mark’s Cathedral was built in Arica. The building was destroyed by earthquakes several times and rebuilt again. The church is made in Gothic style, its white walls are decorated with brown ornaments, lancet windows and arches. The high tower of the cathedral gives it grandeur and beauty.

The Andean Christ.

andski isus

Early last century, on the border with Argentina, the Chileans erected a monument to Jesus Christ 13 meters high. The sculpture is located on a white pedestal, in the hands of Christ is holding a large cross. The statue is not only a work of art or a religious landmark, but also a symbol of friendship between peoples.

Museums of Chile

Pre-Columbian Art Museum

musei dokolumbovskogo iskustva

The museum in Santiago was created to study and preserve the culture of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. Its collection contains numerous artifacts belonging to the Incas, Aztecs, and Mayans.

Tourists can see:

  • bas-reliefs from Easter Island;
  • statues of ancient gods;
  • copper figures and masks;
  • gold jewelry;
  • fabrics that are about 3,000 years old.

The museum has about 3,000 exhibits reflecting the history of pre-Columbian South America.

National Museum of History

naz musei

The Palacio de la Real in Santiago houses the Historical Museum. It houses sculptures, collections of decorative and folk art, paintings, engravings and frescoes.

Very popular are the collection of ancient weapons, rare coins and Spanish furniture of XVI century. The museum is replenished with exhibits from private collections and donations of different people.

Mummy Museum

musei mumii

Chinchorro people who lived in Chile before Christ, learned how to make mummies 2,000 years before the Egyptians. On the outskirts of Arica, in the small town of San Miguel de Asapa, is the famous mummy museum. It preserves 300 unique exhibits found in the desert 100 years ago.

Scientists believe that the mummies were preserved because of the hot, dry climate.

Mirador Interactive Museum

interraktivni musei mirador

The Mirador Museum in Santiago is open for families. It has a collection of interactive exhibits that can be touched, taken apart and put back together. Children can view exhibitions on space, physics, and chemistry, conduct their own science experiments, and learn a lot about the world around them.

Humberstone

hamberstoun

In the north of the country stands an abandoned town turned into an open-air museum. At the beginning of the century, a saltpetre mine operated here and workers settled around it. When the saltpetre mining stopped, the town was deserted.

To attract visitors, the authorities declared the area a national landmark. Tourists come here to see the abandoned temple, theater, walk through the quiet streets and take original photos of the dead city.

Islands and archipelagos

Island of Chiloé

ostrov chiloe

Among the sea bays in the south of Chile is the island of Chiloé. It is 190 km long and 60 km wide. The territory is covered with coniferous forests. On the island built two small towns, where it is easy to rent a hotel room, try the national cuisine and relax.

Tourists come to Chiloé to see ancient wooden churches, sunbathe on clean beaches, swim or go sailing.

Easter Island

o pashi

The local name of the island is Rapanui. It is located in the Pacific Ocean, 3,500 kilometers from the mainland. Every day this place is visited by people who want to touch the mysteries of history. Here you can see the moai – stone sculptures of height from 3 to 20 meters, arranged throughout the territory.

Scientists believe that the statues were made in the XIII-XIV centuries by local residents. There are quarries on the island where moai were made, ceremonial sites of round stones, and the volcanoes Rano-Raraku and Puna-Pau.

Land of Fire

ognene semlia

Magellan discovered the Tierra del Fuego archipelago in the 16th century. While vacationing in Chile, be sure to go there to admire the beauty of the wildlife. The season begins in late fall and ends in March.

Travel agencies offer hiking, biking tours, trips to the islands by jeep, canoeing. As part of a group, you can visit Cape Horn and see the lighthouse, which is known as the “Lighthouse at the End of the World.”

The administrative center of Chilean Tierra del Fuego is Porvenir. There are colonies of Magellanic and king penguins living in the vicinity of the village.

Robinson Crusoe Island

o kolumba

The island, part of the Juan Fernandez archipelago, is famous throughout the world. Here more than 4 years lived alone a sailor after a shipwreck. It is about him in the novel “Robinson Crusoe” by D. Defoe.

Today, the island is visited by many tourists to do scuba diving, see the remains of a German ship sunk in the bay during World War I, and imagine themselves a real Robinson.

Natural attractions

Atacama

atakama

The huge desert in northern Chile is notable for the fact that it has almost no rainfall, so the area is considered one of the driest on earth. Small oases of cacti, acacias, and mesquite trees can be found throughout the area.

The rest of the desert is almost lifeless. To see it, it is better to sign up for a tour. It is dangerous to travel on your own, as it is easy to get lost among the sands.

Maipo Volcano

vulcano maipo

Active volcano is located 100 km from the capital. It has a conical symmetric shape and is located in a picturesque area near the Diamond Crater, which really resembles a precious stone. Nearby is the Laguna del Diamante Lake, formed after lava blocked the exit from the crater.

Torres del Paine

toros del paino

There is a national reserve in southern Chile in Patagonia. A large part of it is occupied by the mountain range of Paine. Within the park are lakes, fjords, and glaciers. The flora is represented by tundra, beech forests and cypress groves, with many flowers growing on the mountain slopes.

Torres del Paine is visited by 2 million people each year to hike the trail. There are mountain shelters for overnight stays and meals in the park.

La Portada

la portado

A natural monument located on the coast near the town of Antofagasta. The natural andesite arch is 43 meters high and 70 meters long and was formed by marine erosion. Scientists believe that the monument appeared several million years ago. Sitting near the arch, it is convenient to watch seals, dolphins and birds.

Los Flamencos Reserve

sapovednik ford flamenkos

In the north of Chile there is another national nature reserve. Its area is divided into 7 sectors at different altitudes above sea level. Each sector has a special topography, climate, and its own flora and fauna.

Tourists come here to admire the lakes Minikes, Miskanti, look at the Valley of the Moon, to conquer the mountain peaks. Fans of historical sights explore the village of Tulor, which is more than 3,000 years old.

Lauca National Park.

naz park laukas

On the border with Bolivia is a huge national park Lauca. The area of the reserve is about 1400 km². Its features include volcanoes, rivers, lakes and caves with thermal springs. A popular attraction is Lake Chungara, formed in an extinct volcano crater.

In the park you can see flamingos, Andean condor, alpaca, llama. Archaeologists regularly make interesting findings on the territory of the reserve: traces of pre-Columbian settlements, ancient towers and temples.

Entertainment

Paranal Observatory.

paranalnai abservatoria

An astronomical observatory has been built in the Atacama Desert on Mount Cerro Paranal. Optical telescopes are installed there to observe the stars. Tourists visiting the complex can study celestial objects, listen to fascinating stories about space and take beautiful photographs.

RC Selva Viva

rz viva

The Selva Viva entertainment center in Santiago is suitable for holidays with children. The large park recreates a real tropical jungle. During the tour you can see exotic flowers, palm trees, watch birds, snakes and insects, pet lizards and turtles. Animals here are not afraid of humans and are eager to interact with children.

Chilean Zoo

zoo

Santiago has built the largest zoo in Chile. There are many rare animals and birds gathered here. During a visit, children will see white tigers, elephants, parrots, ostriches, and penguins. Birds and animals live in vast aviaries. The ungulates graze in open pens. The zoo has recreation areas, attractions and a cafe.

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