The slender strip of land of Chile offers an impressive array of beautiful scenery and dramatic natural features. This South American country is where nature runs free, and soaring peaks meet rushing rivers. The mountainside urban city is diverse with strong-spirited people, scrumptious cuisine, and rich culture.
Chile also offers a healthy dose of adventure for intrepid travellers. The unique geographical dimension of Chile is rich in fjords, canals, grazing lands, forests, lakes, inlets, and islands. The landmarks attract thousands of tourists.
If you’re thinking about visiting Chile anytime soon, here are Chile landmarks that must be on your to-go list.
1. Easter Island
In the southeastern Pacific Ocean, at the southeasternmost part of Oceana’s Polynesian Triangle is a Chilean island known for the gigantic human-like statues called Moai. The island keeps 887 towering Moai, the largest of which is about 11 meters tall and weighs about 82 tons.
Behind the stunning massive statues, however, is the island’s dark past. The indigenous people got so obsessed with constructing much enormous and more impressive Moai that the island’s natural resources plummeted. This obsession caused Chile’s population to fall from 15,000 in 1622 to just around 2,000 a century later.
The bountiful Easter island offers stunning beaches, trails for hiking, and a breathtaking view of the picturesque coast.
2. Hand of the Desert
In the middle of the Atacama Desert in Chile is the world-famous and startling hand statue called the Hand of the Desert.
The gigantic hand that seems like reaching the heavens is 36 feet high. It is as if a giant was buried in moon dust. The lone sculpture was built by Mario Irarrazabal in the early 80s.
The desert is 3,600 feet above sea level and is an alien landscape. The lifeless desert boasts smooth and white sand dunes contrasting the bright blue sky and cotton-like clouds. The sun-kissed moonscape is great for panoramic shots. You can experience the solitude by traversing the Panamerican Highway that cuts through the heart of the sun-bleached desert.
3. El Tatio
In northern Chile in the Andes Mountains sits the geyser field of El Tatio. This stunning natural gem sits 4,320 meters above sea level. The name El Tatio means “oven,” and it’s just appropriate because it is the third-largest geyser field in the world and the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. Crazy, right?
Get up before dawn to witness the beguiling sunrise as fumaroles (smoke from the geysers) create white steam columns. In the morning, you will also see local endemic wildlife and birds leaving their hiding spots to look for breakfast.
Around El Tatio are hot springs where you can spend the rest of your day to relax your muscles and re-energise your body.
4. Laguna San Rafael
Hear the massive azure glaciers moan, creak, and crack in Laguna San Rafael. Get up close to the gigantic ice structure by gliding over the blue glacier meltwaters of the lagoon. You can access the monstrous park by rubber raft. However, access is only available by cruise ship or a 48-mile dirt road.
The spectacular park was established in 1959. The national park was known as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1979.
Did you know? Laguna San Rafael park is roughly six times larger than the state of Rhode Island.
5. Osorno Volcano
The Osorno Volcano in Chile is quite another spectacular landmark that you should not miss. The volcano stands tall and proud being 9,000 feet tall. But don’t let this stunning snow-capped peak fool you — it is an active volcano up to this date. There were 11 documented eruptions between 1575 and 1869. You can see the scars this volcano has caused in the nearby Llanquihue and Todos los Santos Lakes.
What makes Osorno Volcano very popular is its unique geographic location standing amidst two silk-like lakes.
6. Churches of Chiloe
The remote archipelago of Chiloe is yet another must-visit tourist spot. There you will experience a fusion of cultures. The island is dressed in green prairie having a look similar to that in Ireland. The cold crisp water, thin breezes, rolling hills, and towering volcanoes are what makes Chiloe a truly beautiful place.
But what tourists really go for in Chiloe is the island’s treasure — its churches. The Spaniards brought Christianity to the island and locals embraced the culture by building unique churches made from local timber to survive the harsh climate.
7. Torres del Paine
Get mesmerized with the three granite spires of the Torres del Paine that are looming nearly 7000 feet above sea level. The breathtaking view will rejuvenate even the most tired.
Thousands of tourists from all around the globe make their way to this popular Chile national park to feast their eyes to the picturesque view, experience gliding through the roaring rivers, and take a challenging hike through the snowfields and glimmering blue glacier.
8. Chiza Geoglyphs
Chiza Geoglyphs is one of the top destinations in Chile. Geoglyphs have cultural significance, although their creators remain unclear. The geoglyphs you will see in Chiza are figures of humans, birds, and animals. And because they’re on the hillside, you can see them from the ground level.
This impressive geoglyph in Chile lure thousands of vacationers, and since it hasn’t failed to stun the viewers.
9. Ruins of Tulor
Tulor is another tantalizing Chile landmark located in the Norte Grande natural region of the Antofagasta Region in Chile, which is near San Pedro de Atacama.
What makes this place a true gem is the remnants of the unique village made of round adobe huts. They are said to have been built around 380 BC, which means they’ve withstood for thousand of years.
10. Isla Magdalena
You’ve never really been to Chile if you don’t visit Isla Magdalena.
Isla Magdalena is the home of more than 120,000 penguins during December, January, and February. These are the only months that the island is accessible as well. You can hop on to the island by taking a boat ride that takes about a couple of hours. There you will be able to hike the trails along with colonies of friendly penguins.
Travellers visit Isla Magdalena not only because it is a spectacular Chile landmark but also because the experience is close to that of visiting Antarctica. Oh, we almost forgot to tell you, penguin colonies are usually dirty and pungent, but the experience is surreal.