An amazing country which occupies a long and narrow stretch of land covering the western coast of South America, Chile has an incredible range of beautiful landscapes that will stun and astound any visitors to its shores. As it cuts through a number of lines of latitude, the corresponding differences in climate mean that the country has a diverse array of ecosystems and contrasting environments. Combine this with its mountainous natural beauty and you have a spectacular selection of stunning sceneries to discover and revel in.
From the driest desert on earth to the rainy, lake and glacier filled mountains of the south; Chile has it all and that’s without even mentioning the magnificent Easter Island that is part of the country. In essence this is a land of incredible beauty that must be seen and experienced to be believed. The best way to do this is to step into the wild and head to the most beautiful national parks in Chile.
Map of National Parks in Chile
Located in far north of the country, Lauca National Park is actually situated in the famous Andean Range. With a number of snow-capped volcanoes in the park, stunning scenery is guaranteed as they rise impressively from the plains below them, dominating their surroundings and reaching to the heavens. As the two Cotaconi and Chungara Lakes are also in Lauca you will find, as is so often the case in Chile, an array of diverse ecosystems within the park’s boundaries. From lava fields and calderas to rivers and archaeological sites, you will certainly have your work cut out trying to visit all the amazing sites in Lauca National Park. As llamas, alpacas and cougars call the park home; you really do have the best of Chile located in just one national park.
Made up of three scenic islands located far off shore in the Pacific Ocean, it is fair to say that visiting this national park does take a bit of effort and planning. Having said that though, it is definitely worth the voyage as the unbelievably beautiful islands are a spectacular sight to behold. Rising up from the ocean, the green coated mountains of the archipelago are best viewed by boat. Isolated and alone in the ocean, the islands’ seclusion means that the flora and fauna on show are very different from that which you’ll find on the mainland and as such trekking around them makes for a lovely adventure. In order to attract tourists, one of the islands was renamed Robinson Crusoe Island as the novel was actually inspired by stories of shipwrecked sailors being marooned in the archipelago. Very much off the beaten path, Archipielago de Juan Fernandez National Park will certainly not disappoint.
This biodiversity hotspot has a huge range of ecosystems that are sure to entice and enthral any visitor to the park. Whether it is trekking through the Andes, exploring the ancient lava flows or delighting in the crystal clear waters of the lakes that dot Conguillio; this national park is almost a miracle of nature such are the abundant riches on show. One of the primary attractions of the park is the Llaima volcano which frequently erupts, causing the impressive lava formations that surround it. Overlooking Conguillio Lake, the white-capped volcano forms a beautiful backdrop to the blue lake and the green forests around it. A world of colour contained in just one small area.
The main draw for tourists to Queulat National Park are the amazing glaciers located among the mountains. The Queulat Hanging Glacier is the piece de resistance in this respect and, nestled amongst the peaks, it is marvelous to behold. With huge canyons ripping their way through the mountains, a number of stunning ravines and cliffs can be found among the other natural wonders of the park. Evergreen forests cloak the valleys and contrast beautifully with the rough grey of the mountainside. Formed many millennia ago by ice caps forcing their way through the rock, this ancient landscape is untamed and untouched. With a number of great paths and trails winding their way through the scenic park, Queulat National Park is definitely worth a visit.
The largest national park in Chile, Bernardo O’Higgins is home to an incredible section of the Southern Patagonian Ice Fields. Wild and remote and all the more beautiful for it, visiting this national park is a challenge such is its isolation from the world. Flying in by helicopter or sailing in by boat are the only two options available to the hardy tourist who attempts to visit. You will, however, be amply rewarded for your efforts as visiting Bernardo O’Higgins is to truly step into the wild. Pristine glaciers greet you for as far as the eye can see and the massive Glacier Pio XI and towering Mount Balmaceda are two of the most scenic parts of the park. Taking to the water and exploring the fjords that intersperse the glaciers and mountains by sea kayak will surely be the highlight of any trip to Chile such is the unique and mesmerizing landscape you will find yourself immersed in.
Reminiscent of the Alps in Europe, the mountains in Laguna del Laja National Park are a sight to behold. Located in the Andes, this park has blindingly white snow covering its surface and a number of beautiful views can be found from the mountain slopes. Whether it is trekking the snowy paths, climbing the rocky cliffs or skiing down the pristine slopes; Laguna del Laja has something for everyone to enjoy. Whatever pastime you prefer, you will always have a stunning landscape that accompanies your activity. Two of the main sights to see in the park are the impressive Antuco Volcano and the awe-inspiring Sierra Velluda. The latter is particularly breathtaking as its craggy peaks paint a delightful image against the blue skies behind it.
In this mountainous country, impressive geological formations and volcanoes are never far away. This amazing park has a number of picture-perfect panoramas and scenes for visitors to enjoy as it is located in the endless Andes. The scarred land looks marvelous and this stupendous landscape is due to the fact that glaciers open the ground over the millennia, forcing the rocks apart with their unstoppable movement. Among all of the mountains that dominate the environment is Lake Todos los Santos, a tranquil and peaceful body of water that stunningly contrasts with the fiery fury of the ancient volcanoes around it. A boat trip on its calm waters is a great way to see the mountains in their element as the sun sparkles off of the water before you and the protruding peaks are reflected in the ripples of the lake. Wow.
Famous the world around, the massive monuments of Easter Island are like no others on earth. Unique in their appearance, how they were erected remained a mystery until recent times and even now there is some contention as to how it was done. These gigantic stone statues are a marvel of human ingenuity and, isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, people at one point thought that aliens had transported them there such was the desolation of the island. Impressive to behold, these awe-inspiring statues make Rapa Nui National Park a lovely and unique place to visit. Visitors will not fail to be impressed by the heads and, staring out over the ocean, they give off a melancholic feel as they are the last remaining bastion of their ancient civilization.
With sweeping fjords penetrating deep between the ravines that delineate one mountain from another, it is fair to say that Alberto de Agostini National Park certainly has an array of beautiful panoramas and landscapes for visitors to delight in. Located right near the southern tip of Chile, the park comprises the final parts of the Andes before they trail away into a series of isolated mountains that slowly plunge into the depths of the Pacific. Isolated and far removed from the rest of the country, some parts of the park were remarkably only discovered within the last century. Consequently the environment remains pristine and wild. Scarred by glacial movements, the rocky mountains contrast stunningly with the bright blue waters that surround them.
Probably the most popular park in the whole of Chile, the breathtaking landscapes are possibly what spring to mind when one thinks of the country. Regularly considered to be one of the most stunning locations in the world, Torres del Paine National Park is a must-see for anyone visiting Chile. In actual fact, words can never do justice to the incredible images that are on show in this awe-inspiring part of the globe. Simply put, the stunning snow-topped mountains, crystal clear waters of the lakes and the rolling hills and valleys around them need to be seen to be believed. Beauty personified, this natural wonder is mesmerizing and bewitching such is its splendor.