Ten Epic Adventure Holidays In Chile

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Chile is the home of adventure tourism in South America. Not our words, but the words of the World Travel Awards 2017, who bestowed that exact award on the country. Given that South America is a pretty adventurous place all-round, we reckon that’s quite the accomplishment.

It’s an accomplishment founded on the massive variety of climates and landscapes you can find in Chile. There are mountains, rainforests and the driest desert in the world, and that’s just the mainland – there’s even more adventure to be found on Chile’s Pacific islands.

Piqued your interest? Here are ten of the best activities you can do in Chile. We reckon you could plan a cracking 2018 break around a few of these.

Surfing The El Gringo Wave

Not one for beginners, the powerful El Gringo wave – also known as the Chilean Pipeline – has huge swells and shallow reefs. The best location for surfing El Gringo is in Chile’s northernmost city, Arica.

Sandboarding In San Pedro de Atacama


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If you prefer to stay dry while “surfing”, then sandboarding in San Pedro de Atacama might be more up your street than El Gringo. The 120m-high dunes provide plenty of thrills (we’re sure you can provide the dramatic spills) and at 2,400m above sea level, you get incredible views, including the lunar landscape of the nearby Valley of the Moon.

Parasailing Over The Dragon Hill In Iquique

Dragon Hill is a huge, 4km-long sand dune in the coastal city of Iquique. There’s no better way to see it than by parasailing over it and the city, landing on the shore.

Mountain Biking In Pan De Azucar National Park

Chile has an almost limitless supply of excellent spots for mountain biking, but this huge coastal nature reserve in the north of the country has some of the very best trails. That’s especially true if you’re a wildlife fan, with Humbolt penguins, guanacos (bit like a llama) and vicunas (also a bit like a llama to be honest) to spot.

Scuba-Diving Off Easter Island


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Easter Island is 3,700km off the coast of Chile and undoubtedly one of the coolest places in the world, with the huge Moai – monolithic human statues – found all over the island reason enough to visit. You can see one of those statues under water, along with over a hundred species of fish, on a diving trip. And you will see them – the lack of pollution in the water around the island means visibility can exceed 35 metres.

Snowcat Skiing In El Arpa

These guided skiing trips use a snowcat – the machine that grooms pistes for skiing – to head for the backcountry, meaning you’ll be almost guaranteed fresh snow. At the summit of the valley in this trip you’ll get an incredible view of Aconcagua, which at 6,961m is the highest mountain outside of Asia. skiarpa.com

Cable-Riding In Cajón Del Maipo

Cajon del Maipo is a gorge in central Chile, near the capital Santiago, that offers fantastic hiking, climbing, rafting and cycling. Or you can get above it all (as much as 25m above it all) with a cable-ride, for the best views of the forest.

White-Water Rafting On The Futaleufu River


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The Futaleufu river in the south of the country provides the setting for one of the most scenic white-water rafting trips you can find anywhere on earth, with the turquoise waters running beneath snow-capped mountains and glaciers.

Ski Down A Volcano In Pucón

What did you do on your last holiday? Wander around an old city? Lie on a beach? Sit in an all-inclusive bar and get leathered? They all sound good. But not quite as good as SKIING DOWN A VOLCANO. The Ski Pucón resort has over 20 runs, and the season runs from mid-June to October. Oh, and by the way, the volcano in question is Villarrica, one of the most active in Chile.

Ice-Field Walking In Patagonia

After Antarctica and Greenland, the Patagonian Southern Ice Field is the third-largest ice mass in the world. And who wants to go to Antarctica or Greenland? The ice field stretches over three different national parks and provides the setting for a truly unique trekking experience – you probably even get to wear those tennis racket snow shoes.

Find out more about all these activities at chile.travel

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.