Breathtaking views are in no short supply in Chile. From the icy glacial plains of Patagonia, to desolate deserts that offer crystal clear views of the stars above, this is a nation full of mystical landscapes waiting to be explored! When you land in Santiago, the pulsing city life may convince you Chile is only one thing, and while the capital is a perfect hub for exciting new opportunities, there is so much more beyond this urban backdrop while you explore our recommended otherworldly luxury destinations in Chile.
For travelers who feel most alive when in nature, Chile has some of the most incredible destinations to offer. Not only will you be presented with stunning views and unbelievable sights, but also an experience with the precious cultural life that blossoms throughout these regions. Out of all the amazing regions to explore, these are Kuoda’s top four Chilean destinations to visit for awe-striking views that feel otherworldly!
1. Uncover the Secrets of Easter Island Up Close And Personal
Among the most popular destinations in Chile is actually a small island off the coast called Rapa Nui, also known as Easter Island. Alluring mysteries of this secluded community have called travelers here for many years. Isolated in the South Pacific, Rapa Nui is home to a small indigenous population who are believed to have traveled from French Polonesia and settled here in A.D. 300. Over the centuries, they developed rich traditions, including the construction of the moai statues that earned a legacy of intrigue in the world beyond.
Now, visitors can explore Easter Island themselves and demystify the rich culture built by the island’s indigenous community. An immersive walk through history will not only provide you useful insights about the moai and the crafters who erected these statues, but the island itself offers a beautiful backdrop for the experience. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a visit to Rapa Nui is now one of the most sought after experiences in Chile.
After an enriching history lesson during the day, travel back to the luxurious Explora Lodge which you can choose to stay at for an upscale island environment. Built to connect guests with nature, the Explora hotel is a modern oasis on this isolated territory. If you want to relax somewhere peaceful after a day of intense hiking through the volcanic mountains and hollow craters of Easter Island, this lodge offers the perfect accommodations for you. A luxury vacation in Chile doesn’t just include spa treatments or fine dining. Embrace your inner sense of adventure while enjoying private tours of Rapa Nui for the best of both worlds!
2. Discover Chile’s Best Kept Secret: Chiloé Island
Some of the best places to explore are ones you’ve never even heard of! Chiloé Island is a charming archipelago with exquisite gastronomy, beautiful architecture, and a magical history of witches and wizards throughout the island. While one part of this island was influenced by the more modern Jesuit Christian settlers, the other has been shaped by indigenous mythology and traditions that give Chiloé an inimitable atmosphere. Visiting the official UNESCO World Heritage Churches here will give travelers a look at the overlapping histories between these two opposing religious practices. Sixteen individual churches make up this heritage site. Each shows how the Spanish design merged with indigenous building methods and traditions to create the world’s oldest wooden constructions which still stand tall today!
In the capital city of Castro, travelers will experience the picturesque town first hand in this living coastal town postcard. Bustling with local life, the brightly colored rainbow houses dotted along the coastline are only one reason to stop by and say hello to the locals. Travelers can explore the Plaza de Armas, shop at community owned and operated businesses, and indulge with the unbelievably delicious cuisine.
And when you’re ready to jump into the unknown adventures of Chiloé, find your way across the island to Chiloé National Park, where ocean views and abundant wildlife are waiting. Plenty of hiking trails and trekking opportunities are offered to guests, leading to some of the most underrated views in all of Chile! The natural world gets even more exciting, if you choose to visit the western coast. Flocks of Humboldt and Magellanic penguins waddle their way across the beaches in the Isolates de Puñihui. As far as we know, this is the only known shared breeding site for these species, making this a truly unique experience you will not find elsewhere.
3. Trek Through Torres del Paine for A Luxury Patagonia Vacation
Excluding Patagonia as one of the top destinations in Chile is simply not optional. Cinematic scenery surrounds you and brings every single sense to life as you soak up the eighth wonder of the world! Torres del Paine National Park is home to some of the most sought after destinations within Patagonia, drawing thousands of travelers here annually for challenging adventures and relaxed, luxury vacations.
If you are drawn to Torres del Paine for the impressive trekking experiences, there are two infamous trails to keep in mind. First is the “W Trail,” which features the most recognizable bucket list destinations throughout the trek. The big three points of interest give this trail its name, made up of the Ascencio Valley, the Francés Valley, and the Grey Glacier Valley. Push yourself on this excursion, which lasts about 4-7 days, and enjoy the impossibly stunning landscapes in person!
For the traveler who seeks a more demanding trek that requires bravery and stamina, the “O Trail” awaits you. Circle through Patagonia and allow your eyes to feast on unobstructed natural beauty, from turquoise lakes to dominating glaciers and the diverse wildlife friends you’ll make on the way! This long-distance trek runs about 120 kilometers (74 miles), taking hikers on a circular journey through Torres del Paine.
Guests can find luxury accommodations throughout the park, so if a multi-day excursion in the wilderness is not for you, do not worry! Explora Lodge has a location in the heart of Torres del Paine, built right into the environment so you feel at one with nature from the comfort of your resort. Relax in the spa or take a walk on the wild side with a horseback excursion, with specially trained horses to help guide you through Patagonia comfortably. Whether you’re focused on living off the land, or want a vacation that combines luxury with Chile’s exciting outdoor landscapes, Patagonia has plenty of options for enjoying the natural world in style!
4. Desert of Atacama
From the charming regional capital of San Pedro, to the sandy dunes as far as the eye can see, and even mirage-like oases that provide respite from the heat, Chile’s Atacama desert is known as the oldest desert on Earth, experiencing the semiarid condition for over 150 million years. To the east, the Andes Mountain Range blocks rainfall, while in the west the upwelling of cold water in the Pacific encourages conditions which prevent the formation of clouds and rain. Thus, the Atacama desert evolved its own acrid ecosystem of dry, sandy expanses with unusual geological formations and the impressive lifeforms that persist regardless of the weather.
Take a step into ancient Chilean times when you visit San Pedro de Atacama, the beautiful desert paradise. Slow down, take a breath of fresh air, and unwind with the local community. Here, you can feel the sun warm your skin in a tranquil environment, abundant in beautiful art, delicious food, and impressive natural wonders.
While you roam the desert, do not miss out on seeing the El Tatio Geysers, a high altitude field hissing with steam and spouting out water from deep within the Earth! The best views happen in the earling morning, when crisp sunlight and fresh air provide a crystal clear view of the white steam erupting from the ground. As life springs into action around you, look for the Andean foxes and flamingos who begin their day with a hunt for breakfast throughout the field! Getting up early for the show is well worth it when you stay through the afternoon, when you can throw on a swimsuit and lounge in the volcanic hot springs atop the Andes!
Explore an especially surprising oasis in the middle of the desert, the Atacama Salt Flats – home to Andean birds including beautiful flocks of flamingos! Despite this region seeing an average of 2 millimeters of rainfall every year, life has a way of persevering, and the Salt Flats is a prime example of that. The lagoons of the salt flats provide sweet relief for the local wildlife. Underneath piles of gray salt is a surprisingly large salt lake, with one of the largest lithium reserves in the world. Every nook and corner of the Salt Flats feels like another world, that is until the animals come to greet you, reminding you that even on Earth such amazing sites are possible.
If truly otherworldly sites, ones beyond our own planet and even our solar system, are what call to you, then the Moon Valley and Mars Valley are worth visiting while in Atacama. As one can gather from the names, these valleys have some unique geography that resemble sites man has only discovered beyond Earth. Moon Valley is a true lunar landscape, composed of unique rock formations and sand dunes that make a beautiful, yet inhospitable destination to explore. Mars Valley, also known as Chile’s Death Valley, is home to a colorful mountain range that evokes images of our sandy red neighbor in the sky. Both valleys have become popular travel sites during the day, but transform into the most romantic stargazing backdrops in the evening.
If enduring a bit of heat and embracing the unique climate of the Chilean desert is exciting to you, then Atacama will provide a marvelous luxury vacation with endless opportunities for sightseeing, wildlife observation, and getting in touch with the local culture.
Across the entire nation of Chile, travelers will feel transported in every new city they visit. Not just a few miles, but what feels like entire worlds apart! The biodiversity and geographic variety makes this a true paradise to explore, as no two destinations will ever feel quite the same. These four destinations make for a luxury vacation to Chile that captures all the one-of-a-kind experiences there is to offer. Travelers who want to soak up all that this South American paradise has to offer will find a truly marvelous community of people here, and witness Earth’s raw, incomprehensible beauty in all its various forms!