Unique Tour Excursions in Chile
Posted on 12/14/2017
There’s a reason why Chile continues to rake in honors from around the world as a top destination: Its diverse landscape and stunning scenery can’t help but attract visitors. Travelers have an abundance of opportunities when they visit.
While the South American country is well known for its wine valleys, sophisticated capital city and the wilds of Patagonia, Chile offers a unique subset of lesser known, unique excursions that visitors can undertake when they travel to the country:
Atacama Salt Flats
The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on earth, but it is also home to a surprising amount of wildlife.
Travelers visiting the northern part of the country should consider an excursion to the area’s wondrous Salt Flats, taking a day trip from San Pedro de Atacama.
The Atacama Salt Flats are a main attraction in the Atacama Desert and home to flocks of bright pink flamingos. Two massive saltwater lagoons also form a brilliant mirage on the floor of the desert, tempting travelers with clear blue waters too salty to quench anyone’s thirst.
Visitors can spend a day at the region’s 13,000-foot elevation, enjoying a picnic next to the lagoons, snapping photos of flamingos or visiting the local village of Toconao to see its bell tower and shop its handicraft market.
Magellan Penguins on Magdalena Island
Penguins are unique to the Southern Hemisphere and, if you find yourself as far south as Punta Arenas, it would be a shame not to stop and see these playful creatures in their natural habitat.
The protected nature reserve on Magdalena Island is easily reachable by boat from the port. Here, visitors will find the largest colony of Magellan penguins in Chile crowding the island’s shores. The nature reserve, known as Los Pinguinos Natural Monument, has been a breeding ground for the penguins since 1982 and is home to around 60,000 pairs.
Visitors can walk around and explore the island, interact with friendly penguins (the island’s only inhabitants), and trek to the lighthouse.
Cajon del Maipo
If you are staying in Santiago, it’s hard to miss the majesty of the Andes towering above the city, beckoning to intrepid wanderers.
Once visitors have discovered Chile’s sophisticated capital, they should think about venturing out for a day, paying a visit to the country’s regal peaks.
A day trip to Cajon del Maipo provides an ideal glimpse into the culture and beauty of this mountainous region. Travelers can marvel over the area’s waterfalls, glaciers, river gorges and more, enjoying a picnic lunch and sipping local wines all while returning to the comforts of city life in time for dinner.
It’s one of the most remote places on the planet and likely one of the last places people can visit to truly disconnect. For those who want to get a glimpse of Chile’s Polynesian side, a journey to Easter Island is a must.
Of all the excursions, this is a long one, but a worthy extension to an overall Chile itinerary.
Easter Island is about a five-hour flight from the mainland of Chile and offers a very different and unique perspective to the country. The island’s main attraction is the moai heads that dot the landscape. Their existence remains one of the world’s great unsolved mysteries.
For visitors, Easter Island also provides stellar trekking with long hikes that circumnavigate the island’s rugged terrain. There are additional opportunities for horseback riding, snorkeling and, more than anything, relaxing in a serene island paradise.
PHOTO: Take a day trip to Salar de Atacama when visiting Chile. (photo via Flickr/Nicolas de Camaret)