Things to do in North Chile

Our most recommended things to do in North Chile

Punta Arenas: Walk with Penguins on Magdalena & Marta Island

1. Punta Arenas: Walk with Penguins on Magdalena & Marta Island

After check-in at the meeting point, transfer to Laredo Bay port to board speedboats for a 45-minute trip to Magdalena Island. Once there, enjoy 1 hour with a guide to discover the habitat of the Magellanic penguins on Magdalena Island, the second largest Magellanic penguin colony in South America that receives more than 120,000 penguins every year. Next, if the weather conditions are good, continue your journey to Marta Island, which hosts a colony of more than 1000 Patagonian sea lions, as well as copious bird life. Keep an eye out for cormorants, skuas, austral seagulls, Antarctic pigeons, and the occasional elephant seal. If you're lucky, see southern dolphins, piebald dolphins, and sei whales during your trip. The tour includes with return to Laredo Bay port and transfer back to the original meeting point.

Santiago: Cajon del Maipo & El Yeso Dam Day Trip with Picnic

2. Santiago: Cajon del Maipo & El Yeso Dam Day Trip with Picnic

Discover the magnificent Andes Mountains on a guided day trip from Santiago. Pass by the Tinoco Tunnel, admire the picturesque Cajón del Maipo gorge, and enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the El Yeso Dam. Start your tour early in the morning with a convenient pickup directly from your accommodation. Hop into the air-conditioned van and set out towards the Maipo Canyon. As you travel, admire the wonderful views of this natural landscape full of high mountain passes, lakes, and forests. Hear about the area's traditions and listen to folktales told by your guide. Along the way, you'll pass the Tinoco Tunnel, a dark disused train tunnel that runs along the Camino Al Volcán, a remnant from the region's railway days. Listen as your guide tells you about the history of this unusual attraction and the tragic story behind the shrines located at the tunnel's entrance and exit. Not far from here, you'll reach the El Yeso Dam. This large reservoir was created in 1964 by damming the Yeso River and now serves as one of the major sources of water for Santiago. Stop here to enjoy a picnic-style lunch served with a glass of wine and some juice. Then, sit back and relax as you set out on your return journey to Santiago, where your driver will drop you off directly at your accommodation.

San Pedro de Atacama: Valle de la Luna Sunset Tour

3. San Pedro de Atacama: Valle de la Luna Sunset Tour

Meet your group at the meeting point and travel to Valle de la Luna, located 13 kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama. Explore the lunar-like landscape which will mesmerize you with its colorful geology. Discover interesting rock formations composed of natural minerals, including Las Tres Marías created by wind erosion over many decades. See other sights such as the Grand Dunes, the Salt Cave, the Amphitheater, and the Coyote Stone. At the end of the day, admire the sunset from an exceptional lookout point overlooking the valley. Enjoy a panoramic view of the rugged beauty of the Atacama desert, and see the beautiful colors of the sky as the sun gradually sets.

Piedras Rojas, Altiplanics Lagoons & Salar Full-Day Tour

4. Piedras Rojas, Altiplanics Lagoons & Salar Full-Day Tour

Be collected from your accommodation in San Pedro de Atacama around 6:30 AM. Your first stop, after an hour, will be at the Miscanti and Miñiques highland lagoons, located at 4,200 meters above sea level. In these lagoons, enjoy breakfast and admire the fauna and flora here.  The next visit is to the Salar de Talar, known as Piedras Rojas or purple stones. The beauty of this place will leave you speechless. Continue to your next stop at the Atacameño village of Socaire, where you can observe the terraces of cultivation and the village church. Then visit the Salar de Atacama, Chile's largest salt lake. Here are the national flamingo reserve and the Chaxa lagoon, which is home to three types of flamingos as well as other species. Return to San Pedro de Atacama around 5:00 PM. 

Puerto Natales: Torres del Paine Full Day Tour

5. Puerto Natales: Torres del Paine Full Day Tour

Start the tour with pick up from your accommodation and set off for the Torres del Paine National Park. After arriving access the park through Portería Laguna Amarga, where you will be able to get an excellent view of the Paine Towers. As you venture through the park, observe a wide variety of native fauna and flora. Make several stops at the main viewpoints to appreciate the uniqueness of the landscape and the magnitude of the Paine Massif from different perspectives. At Midday, stop for lunch before continuing the itinerary toward Grey Lake. Here, enjoy a 1-hour hike through an ancient Lenga forest and along Grey Lake Beach. From this side of the park, it is possible to enjoy the view of the West face of the Paine Massif and the intense blue hues of Grey’s glacial ice. Once your adventure in the park is over, drive back to Puerto Natales. On the way, stop by the Mylodon Cave Natural Monument, of the Pleistocene era. Return to the city by about 7 PM.

Puerto Natales: Base of the Towers Day Hike

6. Puerto Natales: Base of the Towers Day Hike

Go a full-day 18 km trek and discover the breathtaking scenery leading to the granite pillars of Torres del Paine National Park, including the Lake Nordenskjöld and the Almirante Nieto Mountain. After transportation to the national park, your trek starts at the gateway just before Hotel Las Torres beginning with a downhill walk towards the Valle del Ascencio, until reaching El Chileno Mountain Lodge. The trial continues through a Millenial Lenga forest until the base of the rock formation where you will begin the challenging ascent to the base of Torres del Paine for panoramic views of Torre Sur, Torre Central, Torre Norte and Cerro Nido de Cóndor. Once you are done sightseeing and enjoying the beauty that Torres Del Paine has to offer, walk down to Hotel Las Torres. From there which you can relax and rest your legs as you are driven back to the hotel in Puerto Natales.

Pucon: Full-Day Villarrica Volcano Climb

7. Pucon: Full-Day Villarrica Volcano Climb

Meet with the local partner the day before your climb for an equipment check-up and brief explanation of the hike. The next day drive 30 minutes from the center of Pucon to the base of Villarrica Volcano. From here begin the hike to the summit of one of Chile's iconic active volcanoes. The first stage will be a traditional hiking ascent, starting at 1,800 meters above sea level. Acclimatize at an easy pace. As you approach the summit glacier, start using crampons and ice axes, with the assistance and explanation from the guides. After four to five hours of climbing, reach 2,847 meters at the summit. Gaze at the middle of the crater and its impressive geological formation. See fumaroles and maybe even some lava. From here also enjoy 360-degree views of surrounding volcanos, lagoons, and forests. Spend approximately one hour at the summit and then descend in half the time it took to climb up. Combine walking and controlled snow sliding to get down. During your hike have conversations about the native peoples of the Andes, the mountains and their relationship with them, as well as topics in volcanology. Once you've reached the base, your vehicle will be waiting to return you back to the departure office in Pucon.

Puerto Natales: Full-Day Torres del Paine Tour

8. Puerto Natales: Full-Day Torres del Paine Tour

Your day begins as you are collected from your accommodation between 7:30AM and 8:00AM in the morning. From there, begin your beautiful trip to Patagonia to visit one of the 8 Wonders of the World: the Torres del Paine National Park. Travel along the coast before jumping onto Route No. 9 in the direction of the village of Cerro Castillo, which was the home of the famous Tierra del Fuego Exploiting Society. Along the route and traveling between Patagonian landscapes, enter the Torres del Paine National Park, a real spectacle where guanacos, condors, and ñandú usually accompany the beautiful views of the park. Visit all the main lookouts of the park, among them Nordenskjold Lake, Pehoe, and the beautiful Salto Grande, the latter of which where you take a small walk of about 30 minutes to get closer for some views. Along the way, encounter lakes, rivers, and a great variety of flora and wildlife. There is then a stop for lunch in the park before you resume your trip to your final stop, the lake alongside Gray Glacier which is a part of the Southern Ice Field. Whilst there, take a beautiful walk through an old lenga forest to the beach of this amazing lake to appreciate its icebergs. On the way back to Puerto Natales, pass by the Milodon Cave, a huge natural formation where it is believed that primitive man and the Milodon Darwini, an extinct animal that lived in Patagonia 10,000 years ago, had inhabited. Whilst at this fascinating cave, take a short walk to learn about its beauty and history.

San Pedro de Atacama: Astronomical Tour

9. San Pedro de Atacama: Astronomical Tour

Enjoy two different views of the night sky during your tour. The first will be the Western vision, which studies the universe, the brightness of the stars, and their planets. You can observe, with a telescope, objects in the solar system, deep space, and constellations. Learn about the cosmos and its formation.  Then, go on an ethnic astronomical journey to understand how the ancient inhabitants of the Andes interpreted the universe, the milky way, and the night sky. Many centuries before the arrival of the Spaniards, in the indigenous settlements of America, many wise observers of the universe interpreted the objects of the night sky. In all the black spaces, they observed figures that gave them information about their daily life including animals, water, rivers, schedules, and life after death. 

La Paz: Uyuni Salt Flats & San Pedro de Atacama 3-Day Tour

10. La Paz: Uyuni Salt Flats & San Pedro de Atacama 3-Day Tour

Day 1 09:00 p.m. Bus La Paz to Uyuni. Day 2 07:00 a.m. Arrival to Uyuni city. 10:30 a.m. Tour Uyuni Salt Flats Day 3 Tour Uyuni Salt Flats + National Reserve Day 4 Tour Uyuni Salt Flats + National Reserve 10:30 a.m. Transfer to San Pedro de Atacama. 2:00 p.m. Arrival time to San Pedro de Atacama. DAY 1 Go to the bus office at 8:30 p.m. for the check-in, then bus departures at 9:00 p.m. Inside the bus, enjoy the service of Dinner (Meat and Vegetarian Option), Breakfast, a Bottle of Water, a Hot Drink, Heating, Toilets, a Polar Blanket, Wi-Fi and First Aid Kit. DAY 2 Arrive in Uyuni City at 7:30 a.m. then go to our office 1 block near from bus station, Start your tour leaving Uyuni town at 10:30 a.m. from Perla de Bolivia's office. Visit: Train Graveyard, the small settlement of Colchani (salt miners´ workshops next to the salt flats), handicrafts made of salt, and textile art made of llama and alpaca fiber. Next, “Ojos de Agua Salada” (‘saltwater eyes’), a hotel-museum made completely of salt, Isla Incahuasi. Then, make sure you and your group pose for some fun perspective- and proportion-distorted photos, taken against the backdrop of the striking white surface of the salt flats. To end of the day, head to an open, spacious area for the unique experience of seeing a beautiful sunset, spreading its dazzling colors all over the salt flats, and finally arrive at Ajencha town to have dinner and night stay in the hotel. DAY 3 Start off at 7:00 a.m. for breakfast. Visit: Galaxy Caves, Chiguana Desert, Ollagüe, the rocky road “El Pasito Tuntun”, the famous: Cañapa, Hedionda, and Chiarcota Lagoons in which flamingoes can be seen. Finally in the day, enter “Eduardo Avaroa National Reserve”, Desert of Siloli, Rock tree, and the immense Red Lagoon to see more pink flamingos in their natural habitat. Stay the night at a hotel in Huayllajara. DAY 4 Get off to an early start around 5:00 a.m. to visit: Sol de Mañana Geyser, Hot Springs, Dali Desert, Green Lagoon, White Lagoon on the foot of Licancabur volcano. Then head back to the Bolivia-Chile border (Hito Cajon), Guide will assist with your border crossing at 10:30 am, finally arrive at San Pedro de Atacama at 2:00 p.m. The drop-off point is at San Pedro de Atacama’s main square.

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What people are saying about North Chile

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 819 reviews

We had the most brilliant day with our guide Daniel today! We stopped so many places and each was more beautiful than the last. You can tell that Daniel is really passionate about Patagonia and his energy is contagious.

Beautiful views of the reservoir/dam. Could not have accessed this area on our own, as the drive is rather precarious and requires a driver experienced with the twists and turns.

Only do this if you are good at hiking. This is fun, but a tough hike especially when the weather is not great.

Guides and tours were excellent. Enjoyed the breakfasts and appreciated the expert driving on rough roads.

This is a great trip if you only have one day and you want to cover as much of the park as possible.