Chile

The beautiful and diverse landscape of Chile in photos

September 15th, 2016, Posted by travelwith2ofus


We have written about Ecuador and Argentina and now we feature Chile. Like both, Chile is also a nature lovers paradise. Its breathtaking snow capped mountains, beautiful lakes and beaches as well as it seaside sculptures are guaranteed to pique the interest of visitors to this South American country.

There is a multitude of activities, excitement and endless interesting locations including Grey Glacier, Easter Island, Torres Del Paine, The Towers and Pehoe Lake. The colorful cities of Valparaíso, its capital Santiago and other cities like La Serena, PuertoVaras, Arica, Iquique, Viña del Mar, Concepción, Puerto Natales and Temuco will also be of interest to travelers.

Santiago

This is the capital city of Chile. Being the capital of the nation, the city forms the epicenter of Chile's political, cultural and commercial activities. You will find many of the country's multinationals here. Aspects of neoclassical architecture, such as winding streets, neo-gothic art and deco art define the nation's largest city. Popularly known as the City of the Island Hills, it is home to about 6.2 million people – as at 2015. The head of the city is known as the Intendant. However, several entities bear the name Santiago. They include the Commune of Santiago which refers to central Santiago, and Santiago Province, which is headed by a governor.

Downtown Santiago, the capital of Chile.
Santiago, Chile.


Valparaiso

One of the most colorful places in Chile, Valparaiso, "The Jewel of the Pacific," as it is popularly known, is one of the flourishing municipalities in the country. With a population of 285,000 people, it occupies an area of 402 square kilometers. It has a low elevation of a paltry 10 meters above sea level. It is located approximately 112 kilometers to the northwest of Santiago and is also one of Chile's most important seaports. Municipal Museum of Fine Arts, Concepcion Hill, Sotomayor Square and Bellavista Hill can be found in Valparaiso.

Colorful buildings of Valparaiso.
Valparaiso, Chile

La Serena and Coquimbo

Coquimbo is one of the 15 first order administrative units in Chile and La Serena is its headquarters. Four hundred kilometers north of Santiago will bring you Coquimbo which lies at the same level as the sea. It has a total area of 41,000 square kilometers with a population of 688,000 people.

Gigantic architectural structures define this region. Such structures include the Cruz del Tercer Millenio and El Faro, a tower in La Serena city. This is also a great place to check out some of the Chiliean vineyards (BTW: Important wine regions in Chile include Cachapoal, Rapel, Maipo, Colchagua, Elqui, Choapa, Itata and Aconcagua valleys).

In Coquimbo you should check out La Herradura beach and if you love nightlife the English District is a good place to hang out. La Pampilla is a good place to learn or watch cueca, cumbia and salsa dancing.

Check out the beaches in La Serena as well as the Plaza de Armas de La Serena, Faro Monumental lighthouse and the Observatorio Turístico Collowara if you want to do a little bit of stargazing.

Coquimbo and La Serena.
Coquimbo and La Serena, Chile


Cerro Santa Lucia

Located at the heart of Santiago, Chile, Cerro Santa Lucia is bordered by Santa Lucia Street to the west and Victoria Subercaseaux to the east. To the south lies Alameda del Libertador Bernado O'Higgins. The hill is served by an adjacent metro station bearing the same name. It towers 69 meters above its environs and rises to an altitude of 629 meters. It came into being via a volcanic activity that took place 15 million years ago. When viewed from San Cristobal Hill, you will see a conglomeration of high-rise buildings set into the hill. You also won't miss the two forts that turn the hill into a popular tourist attraction.

Cerro Santa Lucia in Downtown Santiago, Chile.
Cerro Santa Lucia, Santiago, Chile

Plaza de las Armas Square

It is the main square in Chile's capital city and bears the characteristic square grid pattern. The square is surrounded by historic architectural structures such as the Central Post Office building and the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago. Lined with palm trees the square features many sculptures and fountains and is a major meeting point for local and tourist, especially during the weekend when it is a buzz of activities.

Plaza de las Armas square.
Plaza de las Armas square, Santiago, Chile


Easter Island

Also known as Rapa Nui, the island is known for its intriguing moai, massive stone statues depicting people. The island lies in the Polynasian Triangle at the southernmost end in the Pacific Ocean. It has already been declared a World Heritage Site and is home to the Rapa Nui National Park. It has an area of 164 square kilometers and a total population of 6,000 people.


Anakena beach in Easter Island.
Anakena beach in Easter Island, Chile.


Ahu Tongariki

This is the largest ahu, or stone sculpture on Easter Island. On the ahu stand 15 stone statues depicting human beings. The human sculptures are referred to as the moai in local dialect. A massive 18-tonne moai stands a short distance from its smaller counterparts.

History has it that the moai were once toppled in the civil wars that rocked the region in the 20th century. A massive tsunami made matters worse by sweeping the gargantuan stone structures inland. However, they have since been restored by archaeologists. To access the stone structures, visit the Rapa Nui National Park, one kilometer from Rano Raraku. If you visit the place during the Summer Solstice, you will find all the moai facing the sunset. Great for taking selfies!

Wild horses graze against the backdrop of the Ahu Tongariki.
Ahu Tongariki, Easter Island, Chile


The Towers, Torres del Paine National Park

The park derives its name from the massive granite peaks within its precincts. They belong to a mountain range known as the Paine Massif and rise to a height of 2,500 meters above sea level. They are surrounded by rivers, lakes, glaciers and valleys. Notable lakes include Pehoe, Grey and the Sarmiento. Tyndal, Grey and Pingo are a few of the glaciers surrounding the three towers.

The Towers, Torres del Paine National Park.
The Towers, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile


Lake Pehoe

Lake Pehoe is a large surface water body in Torres del Paine National Park. You will find this park in the Magallanes region in southern Chile. Its major tributary is the Paine River. Its distributary also bears the same name. The lake also receives discharges from another lake, the Skottsberg. The upper reaches of the lake form its watershed, which is now flourishing with a rich variety of plants and animals. Notable fauna include the wild Guanaco which you will find grazing in the fields.

Beautiful contrast between red house, lake, mountain and the sky at Lake Pehoe
Lake Pehoe, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile


Grey Glacier, Grey Lake

This glacier is located in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. It covers an area of 270 square kilometers. It has its terminus in a glacial lake known as the Grey Lake. Follow the circuit at the Paine Mountain Range to see the grey surface of the lake. If you visit the Torres del Paine National Park, look to the west and you will see parts of the glacier floating next to the lake. One of the key attractions is the island in the middle of the glacier, where visitors disembark, take photos and look around.


Grey Glacier at the Grey Lake in the Southern Patagonia Ice Field.
Grey Glacier at the Grey Lake in the Southern Patagonia Ice Field. Chile.

Atacama Desert

This is the world's most severe non-polar desert. It extends from the southern end of the Chile-Peru border and runs to about 30 degrees latitude to the south. Chile borders it to the south. It covers a 1,000-kilometer stretch along the Pacific coast. It occupies about 105,000 square kilometers. Major features in the desert include sand, salt lakes, a stony terrain and felsic lava flowing into the Andes. Its aridity arises from being enclosed by two mountain chains which prevent moisture from the ocean from reaching the enclosed area.


The Meniquez Lagoon in the Atacama Desert.
The Meniquez Lagoon, Atacama Desert, Chile.


Chiloe Island

It also goes by the name Isla Grande de Chiloe, meaning it is one of the largest islands in the archipelago. As at 2002, the island had a population of 154,775 people. It occupies an area of 8,394 square kilometers. The island is located in the Pacific Ocean in the Chiloe Province of the nation. You will need a ferry to access the island from the Chile mainland.


Houses on wooden columns on Chiloe Island.
Houses on Chiloe Island, Chile.


Chilean Alpaca

Ohhh, how cute they are!
An alpaca is a South American camelid resembling a camel, but it is much smaller and has no hump. Alpacas thrive at elevated grounds so, you will find them grazing at an altitude of 3,500 meters in northern Chile. Unlike camels, they don't carry loads or heavy tasks. Locals breed them for their fiber that they use to make sweaters, gloves, blankets and a variety of other textiles. They use the fiber in the place of wool. Alpacas are also bred for their meat. An interesting fact about the Chilean alpacas is that they can be used as guards. This because they can attack other small canines like foxes. They can therefore be used to guard sheep.


Baby Alpaca in Lauca National Park, northern Chile.
>Baby Alpaca in northern Chile.

Have you ever visited Chile? Let us know what you thought about the country.


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