Chile has a wealth of beautiful landscapes beyond the iconic regions of Patagonia and Atacama. Here are some of them.
Chile is wedged between the Pacific Ocean and the rugged Andes, the world's longest mountain range. This land of incredible and unusual contrasts is also home to numerous beaches, fjords, deep sea channels, glaciers and icebergs; and the Atacama Desert, a virtually rainless plateau made up of salt basins and lava flows.
Here we offer you some of the most memorable landscapes of Chile that you probably haven´t heard of:
Chiloé: Isla Grande de Chiloé is the continent's fifth-largest island and is home to a fiercely independent, seafaring people. Bright green forests populate the entire western side of the island, a close-knit penguin colony makes its home on the north. Marine fauna includes blue whales, dolphins, sea lions and sea otters.
When you are there, explore its colorful wooden churches, 16 of which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
Try the traditional curanto, a dish of mixed seafood and other typical ingredients cooked over hot stones in the ground, and discover the hundreds of colorful potato varieties for which Chiloé is famous.
Conguillío national park: Conguillío national park is one of the last places on earth that looks as it did when dinosaurs roamed the planet. Among the attractions in the park are the Llaima volcano, Sierra Nevada and wild landscapes characterized by islands of vegetation completely surrounded by vast areas of lava flows.
In order to cross the Conguillío National Park, it is necessary to have enough time since there is too much to know, learn and cross. Nevertheless, if time is a scarce resource, there are others activities that will comply with your necessities. The Conguillío National Park has an affluent network of footpaths and signalized ways in order to make the most beautiful and interesting places easier and safer to meet.
Finally, activities include trekking, horseback ridings, bicycle ridings, high mountain tours, ski, sport fishing, picnic, swimming, flora and fauna contemplation and photography.
Lago Budi: It is a saltwater lagoon formed after the devastating Valdivia earthquake and tsunami of 1960 (the most powerful tremor ever recorded). Its shores are populated by Chile’s largest surviving indigenous group, the Mapuche, and several families have recently transformed this serene spot into a unique “ethno-tourism” destination where visitors can sleep in traditional ruka homes, work hand-in-hand with local craftspeople and eat hearty Mapuche foods such as milcao (grated potato patties) and harina tostada (toasted wheat flour).
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine: Declared a biosphere reserve by UNESCO in 1978, the park is internationally recognized as one of the most beautiful, unique and uncontaminated places on the planet. It is a place of lakes, rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, forests and incredible wildlife, all of which make it an exciting destination for wildlife observers and adventure sportsmen alike.
It has a huge variety of plant and animal species which, with its incredibly beautiful setting has made it an almost unequalled destination for hikers and backpackers, ecology-lovers and adventure sportsmen alike. Snow-capped mountain peaks, cascading rivers and waterfalls, glaciers and mirrored lakes have given this park its reputation.
The Elqui Valley: The heart of Chilean pisco production, the Elqui Valley is carpeted with a broad cover of striated green. Famous for its futuristic observatories, seekers of cosmic energies, frequent UFO sightings, poet Gabriela Mistral and quaint villages, this is a truly enchanting and enchanted area, and one of the must-visit places in Chile.
When you are there, visit Puclaro Dam, located at 432 meters above sea level. It is an 83 meters high and 595 meters long wall, designed to hold 200 million cubic meters of water. It is the ideal place for windsurfing and there are various viewpoints to appreciate nature.
Finally, a place to pull over is the small town of Monte Grande, where national monuments like Casa Escuela and Gabriela Mistral's tomb stand out. A magnificent sculpture is near the square and it highlights the presence of the poet in the region.
The Zen art gallery, the church dating from 1879, the Tourist Center of Craftsmen of Cochiguaz and the natural perfume factory are worth a visit.