Reserva Nacional Radal Siete Tazas
Italian Eduardo Provasoli chose a marriage of neo-Gothic and classical architecture in his design for the elaborate Iglesia San Francisco, finished in 1912 to replace an earlier church that burned down (which had replaced an even earlier church that had burned down).
Nowhere is Viña's nickname of 'the garden city' better justified than at the magnificently landscaped Parque Quinta Vergara; the entrance is on Errázuriz at the south end of Libertad. It once belonged to one of the city's most illustrious families, the Alvares-Vergaras, but when they fell on hard times they sold it to the city council.
This national park covers the entire archipelago, a total of 93 sq km, though the township of San Juan Bautista and the airstrip are de-facto exclusions. In an effort to control access to the most fragile areas of the park, Conaf requires many of the hikes to be organized and led by local registered guides.
Startling aquamarine lakes surrounded by verdant old-growth forests ensure wonderful Parque Nacional Huerquehue is one of the shining stars of the south and a standout in the Chilean chain of national parks.
Cerro Castillo’s basalt spires are the crowning centerpiece of Reserva Nacional Cerro Castillo , a sprawling 1800-sq-km mountain reserve of southern beech forest, 75km south of Coyhaique. The park boasts fine fishing and hiking, along with little foot traffic. Its namesake, the 2700m triple-tier Cerro Castillo, is flanked by three major glaciers on its southern slopes.
Ahu Tahai, in the vicinity of Museo Antropo-lógico Sebastián Englert, is a highly photogenic site that contains three restored ahu . Ahu Tahai proper is the ahu in the middle, supporting a large, solitary moai with no topknot. On the north side of Ahu Tahai is Ahu Ko Te Riku, with a topknotted and eyeballed moai .
Boasting Chile’s largest population of endangered huemul deer, Reserva Nacional Tamango protects a 70 sq km transition zone to the Patagonian steppe. Huemul are notoriously shy, but chances of sighting one are better here than anywhere. At the entrance, trails (1.5km to 7km in length) lead to Laguna Elefantina, Laguna Tamanguito and 1722m Cerro Tamango.
Watching the sun set from the exquisite Valley of the Moon is an unforgettable experience.
The prison that gave this hill its name was closed in 1999, but the crumbling remains of cellblocks and exercise yards, decorated with huge graffiti, functioned for years afterward as a grass-roots cultural center. Protests broke out after Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer was chosen (and later released from his duties) to turn the space into a huge arts center.
This gorgeous urban oasis was created, as the name suggests, in celebration of the Chilean bicentennial. In addition to more than 4000 trees, a peaceful location alongside the Río Mapocho, and access to city bike paths, the park features inviting chaise lounges and sun umbrellas to lounge under, plus state-of-the-art playground equipment for kids.
Although richly stocked with general historical artifacts, this two-story museum in an 18th-century mansion concentrates on one of La Serena's best-known (and most controversial) sons. González Videla was Chile's president from 1946 to 1952.
Looming large within this national park are two of the highest mountains in the coastal range, Cerro El Roble (2200m) and Cerro La Campana (1880m), which Charles Darwin climbed in 1834. Visitor numbers have risen since then, but La Campana remains relatively uncrowded despite its closeness to Santiago.
The Museo del Mar Lord Cochrane was built in 1842 for the dashing Scottish naval hero Lord Thomas Cochrane (who set up Chile's navy), but was never occupied by him. The building, a tile-roofed, colonial-style house above Plaza Sotomayor, held Chile's first astronomical observatory. There are few exhibits, but the patio has a stunning view over the harbor.
Along busy, diesel-fume-laden Av Angelmó is a dizzying mix of streetside stalls (selling artifacts, heaps of smoked mussels, cochayuyo - edible sea plant - and mysterious trinkets), crafts markets and touristy seafood restaurants with croaking waiters beckoning you to a table.
If you don't have the time or resources to boat out to the other hot springs, this is an excellent alternative. Located roadside on the Carretera Austral, 6km south of Puyuhuapi, this new miniresort has one big pool and three small pools facing the sound, surrounded by umbrellas and lounge chairs.