The Best Natural Wonders in Chile
Chile stretches over half of South America from dry deserts to immense glacial fields. The astounding topographic diversity is one of the main attractions for travelers. Check out the best nature the country has to offer at the following sites:
1) Atacama Desert’s sand dunes: Home to one of the most jaw dropping landscapes in the world, the Atacama Desert is never short of surprises. Climb the highest dune in the Moon Valley at dusk to see the sunset lighting the lunar-like landscape with an explosion of color. Despite being one of the driest deserts in the world, Atacama is teeming with wildlife, like the bright pink flamingoes that wade through the salt flats. There is also rock strata filled with radiant desert colors that make for an astonishing natural beauty. All of this magnificence and more is easily accessible from the charming oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama.
2) Tierra del Fuego’s enormous glaciers: Located at the end of the world, this stunning region shared by Argentina and Chile has drawn explorers for years. The triangular archipelago means “land of fire” and provides a plethora of natural beauty. Surrounded by the South Atlantic and the Strait of Magellan, the glaciers, forests, mountains, waterways, and coast make this region a must-see.
3) Torres del Paine’s 6000 ft. tall granite walls: Snuggled between the Magellenic subpolar forests and the Patagonian Steepes, the Torres del Paine National Park is a one of the most dramatic landscapes on the planet. The World Biosphere Reserve is filled with countless hiking trails, dazzling lakes, and jagged peaks of monolithic proportions.
4) Punta de Arenas’ penguins: The departure point for Tierra del Fuego, has a few attractions of its own including the nearby penguin colonies. The town is practically located in Antarctica, and has the relaxed feel of a southern Chilean town. Located on the islands off the coast of Punta de Arenas are large colonies of penguins that will capture your attention as the groom, fight, play, and waddle around.
5) Pucon’s monstrous Volcan Villarica: The 2847m high cone is a basaltic volcano that has a violent history including at least four fatal eruptions. Villarica continues to spew lava, ash, and smoke on a daily basis yet locals go about their day below the towering peak. Explore the peak from Pucon, a small town nuzzled between a dazzling blue lake and the colossal volcano.
6) Chiloe’s beautiful bays: This group of islands stands apart from the rest of Chile. The largest of the islands, Isla Grande de Chiloe, is lush with agricultural fields and dense forests. Admire the picturesque bay from one of the palafitos, a house mounted on stilts along the water’s edge.