With so many unique and interesting countries to choose from, South America seems to have a bit of everything. Some countries offer up a bit more in terms of adventure than others, while some have some of the most unique natural wonders you could think of. One such country is the coastal country of Chile. With mountains, beaches and some unique, beautiful Incan and Aztec ruins along with curious islands featuring both strange and wonderful things, Chile is one of the best countries to visit to get a real feel for the entire continent.
The capital city of Chile, Santiago is the largest city in Chile set in a valley surrounded by the impressive Andes mountains. With the Pacific coast being only a couple hours from Santiago, this makes the city a great place to start any trip to Chile. The city has sprawling and beautiful examples of architecture that date back to the 19th century with some other forms such as Gothic to be found in its winding streets and back alleys as well, making Santiago a delight to get lost in by foot. You never know just what gems you will come across. The small towns and villages that made up the area of modern day Santiago were at one time part of the Incan Empire until its eventual fall. There are a number of vineyards and wineries around the city, making for a great day out to see how some of the delicious Chilean wine is made.
The strange and mysterious Easter Island lies several hundred miles off the east coast of Chile and is home to a number of giant heads which have piqued mankind’s curiosity for centuries. These large statues known as Moai have stood the test of time over several hundred years after being constructed by the Rapa Nui people. The history of the island is mainly tied up in the history of the Rapa Nui, including the overpopulation and deforestation that occurred on the island, resulting in a large contributing factor for their decline amongst slave trading. The name is derived from the fact that a Dutch exploration vessel discovered the island on Easter Sunday in 1722. Now that the island is opening up as a tourist hot spot, the quality, number and calibre of places to stay has increased. Choose from the numerous hotels, bungalows, cabanas and more alongside dozens of restaurants on the island. There are also two ATM machines, which means you don’t need to take mountains of cash. Taxis are cheap and plentiful.
Formerly a bustling port town this was one of the most important seaports in the entire continent due to its close proximity to the Strait of Magellan. This particular strait allowed ships passing from the Atlantic to make it to the Pacific without having to navigate the often fatal and destructive as well as commonly impassable Drake Passage that separates South America and Antarctica. With the advent of the Panama Canal, however, ships stopped coming to Valparaiso so often and it had a slight decline. Today though, the city is awash with colourful cliff side homes, winding back streets hiding all kinds of local treasures as well as a cable car which helps visitors get stunning views of the bay area and the city below.
There you have three great options for when you visit Chile. With such an unusual and colourful collection of things to see and do it’s easy to see why Chile is one of the most sought after places to head to if you’re looking for something a bit different and unique from the everyday tourist trail. So pack your bags – the islands, beaches and mountains of Chile won’t explore themselves!