If you've never been to Chile before, it's an ideal vacation spot. There are so many amazing things to see that in order to get the most out of your time there, it can pay to do a little research before you go. We've put together a guide that points out the top threes of places to go, places to stay and places to eat. You'll find that each selection is based upon the luxury and popularity with tourists.
A brief overview of Chile
Chile is a South American country that is laid out in a long and narrow strip that borders the western edge. This is a great benefit for tourists because over six thousand kilometers of Pacific Ocean coastline are included. It's capital is Santiago which is in a great location because it is located strategically in the middle between the coast and the beautiful Andes mountain range. Here you'll find a range of climate extremes from mild coastal weather; the snowy peaks of the Andes and the dry desert of Atacama. There is a little something for everyone in Chile. Here are our recommendations.
The capital city of Chile, it sits between the Andes Mountain range and the Pacific Ocean. Santiago is our top pick because of the variety of things to see and do, luxury hotels and fine dining venues. A little planning could make this the trip of a lifetime. Packed with remnants of its' rich history, Santiago offers Plaza de Armas at the colonial core of the city featuring two neoclassical landmarks which are a must see. Visit the 1808 Palacio de la Real Audiencia at no cost and while you're there, go through its National History Museum. The admission fee varies with free entrance on sundays and major holidays. On other days you can expect to pay approximately $1.50 in USD per person.
Another attraction in this area is the eighteenth century Metropolitan Cathedral and admission is free.
San Cristobal Hill is also close and is easy access for tourists. It features the Parque Metropolitano. Here you'll find a funiclar leading to the summit, a zoo, botanical garden, swimming pools and interesting trails. It's the perfect choice for a nature excursion. Admission to the park is free, but there are various charges for using the pools or visiting the zoo.
If you enjoy shopping, you'll fall in love with the luxury boutiques which are featured in Santiago. You'll find Avenida Alonso de Cordova along with the Museo de La Moda which is a fashion museum that is located in the upper class neighborhood of Vitacura
If you prefer to browse through a large selection of crafts,then nearby village Pueblito Los Dominicos is an area that is dedicated to Chilean specialty crafts. Find Mercado Central if you're in the mood for fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood. End your day with night time entertainment in the Barrio Brasil or Bario Bellavista neighborhoods.
Top luxury hotel in Santiago
The Ritz Carlton Hotel is the most luxurious place to stay when you're in Santiago. The hotel is situated between the andy beaches of the Pacific on one side and the Andes Mountains on the other. It offers a sophisticated retreat in Santiago's El Golf neighborhood which is amongthe most upscale in the city. The service is top notch and the amenities are exquisite. After a day of sightseeing, enjoy the services of the spa or the health and fitness center located on the roof top, and take your pick of the four distinctive restaurants within the hotel. The starting price of rooms at the Ritz Carlton is Santiago is $273. USD per night with the most expensive suites costing $419 a night. (http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/santiago)
Best restaurant in Santiago
The number one rated restaurant out of more than 3,000 options in Santiago is Peumayen Ancestral Food. It gets a 4.5 out of 5 stars with high marks for the food, service, value of the meals and the atmosphere. This is the place to go if you enjoy fine dining with Chilean, South American, International and contemporary cuisine options. They serve lunch and dinner. The restaurant features outdoor seating with a full bar, wine, beer, wheelchair accessibility and free WiFi. The Average meal prices range between $25 to $50 USD. It's good to call ahead for reservations.
Pucon is situated deep within the Patagonian Andes and it's a town that must be accessed by airplane during the summer. You can also get there from Santiago by train or car. It takes about nine hours to get there but the trip is well worth the time investment. This is one of the top bases for adventure vacations in Chile. Mout Villarrica consistently oozes lava and because of volcanic activity, the thermal pools which run hot and cold are very popular with tourists. You may also enjoy exploring the Andes Mountains by bike, car or on horseback.
In addition to paying the Park entrance fee, you should be prepared to pay approximately $15.00 USD per person to enjoy the luxury hot and cold springs at Termas Geometricas. Only 300 persons are allowed in this area at one time but as soon as some leave, others are ushered in.
Best luxury hotel in Pucon
The top rated hotel in Pucon is Hotel Boutique Casa Establo. It is rated with a 9.1 out of a rating scale of 10. It gets high marks for location, comfort, excellent service and amenities. It is situated in a location that overlooks Villarica Lake. It offers a hot tub, wimming pool and restaurant. The rooms are spacious and bright with large windows and lake views. Each comes with WiFi, ceiling fans and plasma tvs. The walls are softly colored with parquet flooring. Enjoy food and drink at the local restaurant that offers salads, soups and sandwiches. The bar offers service in the garden area. Massages are available on request and the hotel offers swimming pools, hot tub and sauna amenities. This property is also rated for the best value in Pucón. The room rates start ata $145 per night.
Best restaurant in Pucon
The number one choice for fine dining in Pucon is La Maga Restaurant. It features steakhouse, barbecue, Chilean, South American and grill cuisines. The average meal prices range between $20 and $25 USD.
Valparaiso is one of the most popular locales for tourism. It is located on Chile's coast and well known for its rich history, colorful buildings and steep funiculars. It features the former home of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda which is now a museum that features amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. Valparaiso is filled with activites and sightseeing opportunities as well as great accommodations and fine dining venues.
Tourists who enjoy absorbing culture will thoroughly immerse themselves in the richness of Valparaiso. Now a labyrinth of alleys crafted of cobbled streets with multiple artists and cultural entrepreneur shops set on the city's hillside historic districts. It is an experience in Chilean culture with plenty of shopping and musing venues. Landmarks to visit in this city are Iglesia de la Matriz which is an eighteenth century church that features Creole style architecture on the exterior and classical on the inside.
Plaza Aníbal Pinto features the famous Fountain of Neptune, erected in 1892 and is a popular spot for tourists who want to learn a little more about the history of the region and get photographs of this lovely fountain.
Plaza Sotomayor is another place that we recommend when in Valparaiso. The main attraction in the Plaza is the monument honoring Chilean sailors slain in the Battle of Iquique and the Battle of Punta Gruesa. This is in the historic district and is the current headquarters for the Chilean Navy. Nearby is the National Council of Culture and the Arts.
Best hotel in Valparaiso
Casa Galos Hotel and lofts is the top rated hotel in Valparaiso. The accommodation options feature standard rooms, superior rooms, loft apartments and deluxe loft apartments. Guests have given it a 4.5 out of 4 star rating for excellence in comfort, service and amenities. The starting price for daily rates is $145 USD.
Top rated restaurant in Valparaiso
Restaurant La Concepcion comes in first place out of 305 dining venues. It offers Italian, Latin, Mediterranean, European, Seafood, Chilean, South American, Pacific Rim and Soup cuisines. This restaurant is given high marks for excellence in service, food and an amazing atmosphere. The average cost per meal in this fine dining establishment is between $25 and $45 USD.
These are the top three locations to visit if you're planning a trip to Chile. The Capital of Santiago offers upscale luxury accommodations with so much to see and do that a week won't be enough. Pucon is the place to be if you enjoy adventure and want to take a dip in the hot springs or witness an active volcano in action. Valparaiso is the place to be if you're into the arts, culture and shopping. Each locale is a good choice and we recommend them as popular vacation spots in Chile for your consideration.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker