04 Dec 2021 By travelpulse
Chile is probably most notable for its stunning natural geography, so it’s unsurprising that mountain climbers, hikers and other active travelers would seek out its attractions to explore. But the destination's natural geography and diverse environments also make it a great sustainable destination, with an environment and attractions to suit everyone’s lifestyles.
Chile offers five different ecological zones: The Northern Zone features the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world; the Central Zone is known for its Mediterranean-style climate that makes it perfect for growing and producing wine; the Southern Zone is characterized by its abundance of both lakes and volcanoes; the Patagonia and Antarctic Zone offers some of Chile’s most famous landscapes, including glaciers; and its Islands Zone includes Rapa Nui, which is famous for its Maori statues, as well as Chiloé and others.
Overall, the country is home to over 2,900 volcanoes, 376 lakes, lagoons and reserves and 76 percent of South America’s glaciers. Native forests cover 21.5 percent of Chile’s landmass.
It’s also considered the stargazing capital of the world, since its high altitudes, low light pollution and an average of 300 clear days a year have all led to perfect stargazing conditions. More than 40 percent of the world’s astronomy infrastructure is located in Chile, and some of the best places to explore the Milky Way here on Earth are at the Fray Jorge National Park and the Paranal Observatory.
In the Northern Zone, travelers can explore the Atacama Desert, which has a blooming season of about four months. There, they can camp under one of the most starry night skies in the world in places called the Valley of the Moon and the Valley of Mars and visit the flamingoes that call the Atacama Salt Flats their home.
In the Central Zone, travelers can explore one or several of its many wine valleys, including the famous Casablanca Valley. This region is perfect for day trips from popular cities like Santiago and Valparaiso. Only 40 minutes away from Santiago in the Andes mountain range are also some of the best slopes for skiing and snowboarding in the country.
Southern Chile is known for its lakes, volcanoes and hot springs (it boasts over 270!), but it’s also a great place to experience several of the country’s national parks. Conguillio National Park, Huerquehue National Park and Villarrica National Park offer dense forests, spectacular mountains and waterfalls, as well as volcanic hot springs.
In the Patagonia and Antarctica Zone, travelers can discover Torres del Paine National Park and Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. Travelers to this region can see penguins and glaciers, as well as learn how to be a Chilean gaucho, or cowboy. The famous Marble Caves, which are located within Lake General Carrera, can also be explored in this region.
Lastly, but certainly not the least, is the Islands Zone. It comprises Chiloé and the islands of Rapa Nui, or the Chilean Polynesia, which are Rano Raraku, Hanga Roa, Anakena, Rano Kau and Orongo. On Chiloé, travelers can find beautiful forests and plenty of whale-watching opportunities, while travelers to Rapa Nui can stand in silent contemplation before the 1,000 Maori statues that have stood on the islands for centuries. The islands also feature pink sand beaches, volcanoes and other natural wonders to enjoy.
Chile is an incredible destination, and its natural wonders never cease to awe its visitors. Trips to national parks and natural wonders help local communities preserve these treasures for the future.
For more information about traveling to Chile, please click here.
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