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What to Do in Chile

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The question is not whether to visit Chile, but where to start? Cosmopolitan Santiago? Parque Torres del Paine in Patagonia? Colorful Valparaiso or Easter Island and its Moai? Or maybe winetasting in the central valley? You’d better start packing.
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Andrés Bello 2425, Providencia, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Give your senses a jolt at Sky Costanera Observatory, on the 61st and 62nd floors of the Costanera Center. A 50-second elevator ride takes you almost 1,000 feet into the sky for a thrilling 360-degree view of the city, population five million,...
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Vicuña Mackenna 37, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
The permanent collection of this museum dedicated to the Chilean artist Violeta Parra includes her arpilleras, hand-embroidered tableaux exhibited at the Louvre in the 1960s—the first time a Latin American artist had a solo show there. The...
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Apoquindo 9085, Las Condes, Región Metropolitana, Chile
During an especially difficult time in the eighties, the Dominican priests at the church next door to this park allowed unemployed artisans to set up their workshops here in order to create and sell their products. Today, the Centro Artesanal...
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Italia, Providencia, Región Metropolitana, Chile
The so-called Barrio Italia is a funky, up-and-coming Santiago neighborhood where you can easily while away an entire day exploring its shops, cafés, and artists’ ateliers. The community website suggests several walking routes by theme (design and...
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Diagonal Las Torres 2000, Peñalolén, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Light—and the way it enters one’s heart—inspired the design of the recently built Bahá'í House of Worship. The temple, looking vaguely like a flower about to unfold, sits in Peñalolén, a Santiago neighborhood in the Andean foothills, and is...
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José Arrieta 8401, Penalolen, Peñalolén, Región Metropolitana, Chile
The Villa Grimaldi Memorial and Park for Peace occupies the site of a former interrogation and extermination center operated under Chile’s 1970s and ’80s-era military dictatorship. A wall lists the names of the prisoners who died here, and there’s...
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Pío Nono 73, Providencia, Región Metropolitana, Chile
At Patio Bellavista, a complex of more than 90 shops, restaurants, and bars occupying an entire city block in a bohemian Santiago neighborhood, you can always count on action. The infectious buzz and upbeat feel are enhanced by a multilevel design...
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Junín 1760, C1113 CABA, Argentina
La Recoleta Cemetery is one of the most visited cemeteries in Latin America, mainly because Evita Peron is buried there, among other notable figures. The cemetery is built around a convent and a church, Our Lady of Pilar (Iglesia de Nuestra...
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San Pablo, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
If you’re aiming to see what last night’s catch looked like before it became your supper, head to Santiago’s Mercado Central, where every edible sea creature is up for sale. As boisterous as a stock market, the seafood exchange...
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Av. Grecia 2001, Ñuñoa, Región Metropolitana, Chile
The “beautiful game” is dear to most Chileans’ hearts—you’ll even hear stories of families who could not afford a real ball and so fashioned one from layers of old pantyhose. Regardless of where the ball comes from,...
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Pdte Balmaceda, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Unlike in many other major South American cities, there is little old architecture left in Santiago. This is partially a result of Chile’s fierce seismic episodes—the strongest earthquake in recorded history struck Valdivia in 1960—but at the same...
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Av Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins 227, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
There is always something interesting going on at GAM, as the Gabriela Mistral Center is affectionately known. Theater, dance, and music performances, as well as seminars and art exhibitions, crowd the marquee at this busy arts venue. GAM’s...
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Pío Nono 450, P 2, Recoleta, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
As New Yorkers have Central Park, Santiagueños have what everyone calls the Cerro San Cristóbal, an expansive green space in the center of the city to get away from it all. Drive, bike, jog, or hike to the top of the park’s...
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Isla Negra, El Quisco, Valparaiso Region, Chile
Nobel poet laureate Pablo Neruda did most of his writing at his oceanside house in Isla Negra. Almost every corner of the home still bears some intriguing Neruda souvenir, be it his blue-glass collection displayed in a window, his maritime...
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Alcalde Francisco Domínguez 2240, Santiago, La Reina, Región Metropolitana, Chile
The Danish motorcyclist who runs this operation learned his chops on a round-the-world journey, so he knows just what you’ll need and provides tools, 24-hour support, and advice, whether you’re setting off on a three-day trip to the Elqui Valley...
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Cau Cau, Puchuncavi, Puchuncaví, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
What was supposed to be the first drawbridge in South America ended up as a monument to inefficiency and made laughingstocks of those involved when, just before construction finished, it was discovered that one of the bridge’s two spans had been...
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Hijuelas Nº 2 Ex Fundo - Sta Rosa, Casablanca, Región de Valparaíso, Chile
Casas del Bosque is an award-winning boutique winery just outside Casablanca where, besides tasting the vintages, you can also learn how to prune grapevines or even the basics of wine-making in one-day workshops. You can also tour the estate on...
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Machalí, O'Higgins Region, Chile
Keep your eyes peeled and you’ll spot free-born condors as well as birds bred in captivity then released in the park. There is abundant nature here: Chilean oaks, soapbarks, and frangel trees stand tall and beautiful above a forest floor tangled...
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Panguipulli, Los Ríos Region, Chile
If sitting in bubbling hot water on a winter night, surrounded by nature and with no disturbance save the sound of the wind in the trees, is your idea of paradise, the Pucón area has enough hot springs to keep your toes permanently wrinkled. The...
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Yes, it is worth traversing the great distance required to see the Moai sculptures on Easter Island. You may have seen them in hundreds of photos, but going nose-to-nose with their beauty and immensity makes for an unforgettable thrill. The...
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Valparaíso, Valparaiso Region, Chile
Valparaíso is to Chile what San Francisco is to the United States: a unique and charming port soaked with atmosphere, unlike anywhere else in the country. Its painted, corrugated-tin houses cling to the sides of the city’s 24 hills....
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Santiago, Santiago Metropolitan Region, Chile
Chile’s national folk dance is a stylized depiction of the mating ritual between a rooster and a hen. Sounds silly? When danced with gusto—the man jangling his spurs loudly, circling his partner like a proud rooster strutting his stuff, and the...
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Machalí, O'Higgins Region, Chile
Sewell, a ghost town at 7,000 feet above sea level in the Andean foothills, was founded in 1903 as a copper mining town. One of its unique features is a lack of streets: Because of the slant on which Sewell was erected, inhabitants used stairs to...
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Atacama Desert, Antofagasta, Antofagasta Region, Chile
The Atacama is the driest desert in the world, and so still that the silence can be deafening. A series of natural wonders here includes geysers, glaciers, and valleys that resemble the surface of the moon. But perhaps the most jaw-dropping...
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Concón, Valparaiso Region, Chile
On the central coast north of Valparaíso, the beach resort town of Concón is popular with Chileans for its boardwalk, great restaurants, and, most of all, the 52 protected acres of monumental sand dunes that cascade down from high bluffs all the...
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Santa Cruz, O'Higgins Region, Chile
When Jancis Robinson, author of The Oxford Companion to Wine, visited Chile at the beginning of the millennium, she observed that what Chilean winemakers do best is cabernet sauvignon, adding that “interesting things were also being done with...
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Chile
This rocky setting, which offers natural protection against predators, is the only place in the world where Humboldt and Magellanic penguins are known to nest together. The Humboldts are midsize birds that grow to a maximum two feet tall; the...
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Putre, Región de Arica y Parinacota, Chile
Covering more than 345,000 acres and home to volcanoes that soar to almost 20,000 feet above sea level, Lauca National Park has everything nature lovers dream of finding in the Andes. The park is part of the Biosphere Reserve Global Network, and...
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Long before the Spanish came to Chile, the Mapuche, or “People of the Earth,” lived here. Forced off their lands in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many died resisting domination. Even today, the Mapuche nation continues to...
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Coquimbo Region, Chile
The famed German naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt was the first to document the ocean current that explains why the adorable, nattily plumed penguins favor this part of the Chilean and Peruvian coasts—the water brings oodles of...
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Bahía Inglesa, Caldera, Región de Atacama, Chile
Although Chile’s central coastline boasts a string of attractive beaches along with towns filled with visitors seeking relief from the heat, the truth is the water is freezing cold year-round due to the Humboldt Current that brings Antarctic water...
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Elqui, Antofagasta, Región de Antofagasta, Chile
Believed to emit a special energy, the Elqui Valley has attracted numerous spiritual communities, yoga and meditation centers, alternative therapy groups, and, naturally, UFO believers to the area. Its namesake river is ice-cold, fed by snowmelt...
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Carhuello km 7, Pucón, Región de la Araucanía, Chile
Antilco, a horseback-riding center, leads treks with a maximum eight riders at a time over the Andes and all the way into Argentina. Participants cross the mountain range astride sure-footed criollo horses in the company of guides, setting out...
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The Andes are home to numerous active and extinct volcanoes. As recently as 2008, the entire town of Chaitén had to be evacuated when its namesake volcano erupted, piling thick ash over thousands of square miles; half the city’s 7,000 inhabitants...
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Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Chile
You can’t describe Chile’s Patagonia without superlatives. The region’s breathtaking peaks, glaciers, lakes, and skies serve as a reminder why we need to care for the planet. Torres del Paine National Park is for true adventurers not only because...
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Valparaíso, Valparaiso Region, Chile
This valley, originally inhabited by the Aconcagua people before the Incas moved in, is the source of many of Chile’s marvelous wines. Today what you’ll notice is mostly the heritage of the next conquering horde, the Spaniards, who introduced the...
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Prof. Zañartu 951, Recoleta, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Chilean presidents, writers, artists, and legends are buried in this extensive cemetery crisscrossed by tree-lined avenues. Its different sections, which reflect divisions among Chilean society itself, hold everything from a potter’s field...