Chile’s shape is unique in that it’s a long, thin stretch of land that covers very different climates – from those of the Andes Mountains to those of the palm-lined beaches along the coast. Thanks to this country’s distinctive location, there is a lot to see and do in the South American paradise. Of all the travel and experience options, here are 10 that you absolutely cannot miss when traveling abroad to Chile.
- Marble Caves of Chile Chico
These marble caves off the coast of Chile are only accessible by boat, but you can take a ferry from Chile Chico to and through the marble cave and its tunnels. The caves are based on a lake and were formed by over 6,000 years of waves washing up against calcium carbonate, which made the cavern walls smooth, blue, and picturesque.
- “El Gigante” and the Stone Moai of Easter Island
Easter Island is a remote volcanic island in Polynesia. It’s a Chilean territory and should be part of your Chilean adventure abroad. It’s famous for its nearly 900 statues, called moai, created by the Polynesians during the 13th to 16th centuries. The moai are carved figures with oversized heads, and the largest of these is called “El Gigante.” Although there are no longer many mysteries surrounding the statues of Easter Island, they are still a sight to behold.
While you’re on Easter Island, you’ll find that the ruins of the “Birdman” cult are scattered about. Orongo is the site of the Birdman competition, in which sponsors would choose their champions to scale mountains, swim in shark-infested waters, and bring back the eggs laid by a rare bird. You can find historic stone dwellings in the side of the cliff overlooking the site of this competition at Orongo.
- Termas Geometricas
The Termas Geometricas is a hot spring spa in Chile. It is a Japanese-inspired maze of red planks that wind through a Chilean forest. The walkways are suspended over a stream and are painted bright red to stick out among the greens of the forest. There are 17 total pools at the spa, and each of them are fed directly from a hot spring. You can travel the paths here and take a dip!
- Hand of the Desert
The Atacama Desert stretches for hundreds of miles on both sides of the Pan-American Highway. About 75 km southeast of the town of Antofagasta, in the middle of the desert, you can see a large hand protruding from the sand. This is called Mano de Desierto, and it is the work of Chilean sculptor Mario Irarrazabal. It’s 11 meters tall, and you can’t miss it if you’re out there.
- Punta Pite
This 27-acre stretch of land hugs the Chilean coastline. It’s a system of pathways that were designed to surrender to the geography around it. The pathways widen and narrow along the rocks of the cliff in which they’re located. They were built between 2004 and 2006 and were cut and carved into the mountainside. The pathways link developed vistas, perfect for viewing Chile’s stunning geography.
- Elevators of Valparaiso
Valparaiso is a port city in Chile that was built on dozens of steep hillsides. The town layout had to be improvised, considering the geography of the area, which earned the town the nickname, “The Jewel of the Pacific.” The city has a system of old elevators that ferry people up and down the hills. The elevators look like small box cars on metal cable tracks. The first one was built in 1911, and the elevators continued to be built to connect different neighborhoods within the city. There are 15 elevators currently still running that you can visit today.
- Caves of the Villarrica Volcano
The Villarrica Volcano is Chile’s most active volcano, and it’s been said to have erupted first in 1558 – and 65 times since then. Most of the more recent eruptions have been very small and safe, with the volcano spouting just enough smoke to make it striking to observe. It’s a snow-covered peak, but what really captures the attention of travelers is its cave system. You can travel hundreds of meters into the side of the volcano to see the hardened remains of what was once an active lava flow.
- Atacama Giant
Visit the Chilean hillside of Cerro Unitas to see the Atacama Giant, a massive geoglyph believed to calculate the movement of the moon. It was treated as a deity, and was likely created sometime between 1000 and 1400 A.D. Around it are about 5,000 smaller images of other designs, which were all placed there by a successive series of indigenous people, including the Inca.
- World’s Largest Swimming Pool
Finally, make sure to stop and visit the world’s largest swimming pool, located between the San Alfonso del Mar Resort and the sea. It converts the ocean water to a private lake for swimming!
Chile is growing as an expat destination, but whether you’re looking to relocate, invest, or simply to escape to paradise for a short while, you’ll find that there’s plenty there to see and do – no matter who you are.
Image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/moai-easter-island-rapa-nui-1857652/