Top Walks and Hikes in Chile
Hiking, rambling, tramping; whatever you wish to call it, there is something really rather special about getting out and about and discovering a country’s hidden gems on foot. Chile, being home to such a rich and varied terrain, is one of the world’s great destinations for hiking; from the vast expanse of the Atacama Desert to Torres del Paine National Park with its dramatic mountain scenery. So, read on as we discover Chile’s top walks and hikes, some may surprise you!
Moon Valley, Atacama Desert
Taking a walk in one of the driest places on earth may not be something that springs to mind immediately when planning an active holiday, even for the most seasoned of hikers, but there’s much more to this desert than miles and miles of empty land. From geysers and salt flats to the sparkling Altiplano lagoons, a broad range of landscapes can be found here. One Atacama Desert walk that should definitely be on your itinerary is Moon Valley. A popular destination at dusk, you will often pass through Death Valley before arriving at the craggy rock formations of Moon Valley itself, ready for a soul-stirring sunset.
French Valley, Torres del Paine National Park
With soaring mountains, majestic icebergs and glistening lakes, this national park really is one of Chile’s natural wonders. Hikes of varying difficulty degrees are abundant here but for a day trip that encompasses many of the region’s highlights, you can’t go wrong with a trek through French Valley. Watch hanging glaciers crash to the ground as you make your way through this breathtaking landscape; you may even be fortunate enough to spot some of the Condors that inhabit the area.
Full-day City Tour, Santiago de Chile
Walking while on holiday doesn’t have to be all about the backpacks and specialist footwear. Head to Santiago, and you will find all manner of delights waiting to be discovered on foot. Guided tours will ensure you see all the main attractions of the capital, including the Palacio de la Moneda and the historic Plaza de
Alejandro Selkirk Island, Juan Fernandez Archipelago
If you’re looking for an island paradise, why not follow in the footsteps of the world’s most famous castaway, Alexander Selkirk? The name may not be instantly familiar, but this island was – for four years and four months – home to the man who inspired Daniel Defoe’s novel, ‘Robinson Crusoe’. Here you can retrace his steps through lush forests right up to his eponymous lookout point, where you’ll be greeted by postcard-worthy views of the sea stretching into the distance on both sides of the island, as well as pristine examples of local flora and fauna. While on the island, you can also visit a colony of endemic Fur Seals, the 18th-century Santa Barbara Fort, or the Patriots’ Cave.
El Mirador, El Cani Sanctuary
For those who enjoy a challenge – particularly one that rewards you with exceptional vistas of the surrounding volcanoes – then a trek to El Mirador is the one for you. This hike is not for the fainthearted with its steep inclines, but as you walk past ancient Araucania trees and gaze upon the azure waters of the lagoons, the hard work will definitely feel worthwhile. Once at El Mirador itself you’ll be able to look out to no less than four volcanoes that loom in the distance. If you wish to prolong your visit, there’s a campsite at Laguna Negra where you can pitch up for the night and make the most of your time here.
Rano Kau, Easter Island
Combine the joy of walking with the archaeological treasures of Easter Island, or ‘Rapa Nui’. Trails on the island don’t have to be difficult, with plenty of short walks taking you to fascinating Ahu across the island. For unforgettable views from an elevated vantage point, climbing to the top of Rano Kau is certainly one of the top walks in Chile. Not only will you be able to revel in the geological wonders of the volcano itself, but also explore the ceremonial village of Orongo, a real glimpse into what life was like here many moons ago.
Full-day Tour, Valparaiso
The bohemian city of Valparaiso is quite simply a joy to explore, and how better to soak up the good vibrations that abound here than on a walking tour? Whether you opt for a day with a guide or strike out alone to wander the streets, you’ll be sure to find a host of delightful sights as you make your way through the city. The Bicentennial Heritage Trail weaves across 19 miles and in some parts there are even helpful arrows on the walkways to keep you on the right track. Taking in the busy Prat Pier, the enchanting Palacio Baburizza and the pretty Paseo Atkinson, you can take as long as you wish to get to know this charming coastal city.
Termas de Calleo, Vicente Perez National Park
This park is one of the most sizable in the Lake District, where you’ll find unspoilt landscapes, exotic birds, geothermal activity and some of Chile’s top walking trails. Spend several days here trekking along the riverbanks, which of course naturally attract a plethora of wildlife, navigating swinging bridges as you go. Eventually your trip will come to an end at the warm waters of Termas de Calleo. There’s no better way to revive weary bones after a long walk than a well-deserved soak in a thermal bath; bliss!
Feeling inspired? Why not build your trip to Chile with Discover Your South America, personalising your itinerary by handpicking the hotels, activities and length of stay according to your preferences. You can also call Surtrek on 1 866 978 7398 (Canada and USA) or 080 8189 0438 (UK) to talk to a travel expert; our team is always ready to help!
For more inspiration on Chile holidays, take a look at our Chile blog articles by clicking here.