Top ChoiceMine in Copiapó

Mina San José

In 2010, 33 miners were trapped more than 700m underground after a devastating collapse within the mountain where they'd been working. Following a Herculean effort – which pulled resources from a number of...

National Park in Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar

Pan de Azúcar

The cold Humboldt Current flows up the desert coastline, bringing with it its peppy namesake penguin and abundant marine life. The worthwhile 44,000-hectare Pan de Azúcar includes white-sand beaches, sheltered...

Island in Parque Nacional Pan de Azúcar

Isla Pan de Azúcar

The subtriangular-shaped Isla Pan de Azúcar lies a tantalizingly short distance offshore, its base often shrouded by camanchaca (thick fog) at twilight. It is home to about 2000 Humboldt penguins, as well as...

Museum in Copiapó

Museo Regional de Atacama

This catch-all museum provides an overview of the region's natural and human history, its mineral wealth, and key events that have shaped history over the centuries. Among the wide-ranging displays, you'll find...

Archaeological Site in Valle del Encanto

Monumento Arqueológico Valle del Encanto

An intriguing gallery of pre-Colombian rock art can be found at Monumento Arqueológico Valle del Encanto, a rocky tributary canyon of the Río Limarí 19km west of Ovalle. An array of petroglyphs and pictographs...

Museum in Ovalle

Museo de Limari

Housed in the right flank of the old train-station building, this museum houses dramatically lit ceramics, most of which are Diaguita, dating from around AD 1000 to AD 1500. The museum touches on key facets of...

Winery in Limarí Valley

Tabalí

Tabalí is a great little winery that's making waves in the Limarí Valley. Located at 1600m and planted on a mix of soils (alluvial, transitional, granitic), the vineyards here produce a one-of-a-kind wine that is...

Brewery in Vicuña

Cervecería Guayacan

Cervecería Guayacan

You won't get far in the Elqui Valley without someone offering you a Guayacan, and if you're even vaguely interested in beer, you should accept. This little craft brewery's reputation is growing fast, and brief...

Nature Reserve in Reserva Nacional Pingüino de Humboldt

Reserva Nacional Pingüino de Humboldt

This aquatic reserve, encompassing some 888 hectares and several islands is home to some 68 species of land vertebrates, including sea lions, with bottle-nosed dolphins and the occasional whale (humpback and...

Wildlife Reserve in Parque Nacional Llanos de Challe

Parque Nacional Llanos de Challe

This 45,000-hectare desert park north of Huasco is a great place to escape the crowds. Several well-marked trails take in a bit of the desert flora (and with luck, you might see guanacos). The beaches here are...

Museum in Vicuña

Museo Gabriela Mistral

Museo Gabriela Mistral

The town's landmark Museo Gabriela Mistral, between Riquelme and Baquedano, celebrates one of Chile's most famous literary figures. Gabriela Mistral was born Lucila Godoy Alcayaga in 1889 in Vicuña. The museum...

Park in La Serena

Jardín del Corazón

With its trickling brooks, drifting swans and neatly manicured rock gardens, this Japanese garden makes an idyllic escape from the city bustle. Don't miss the greenhouse collection of adorable bonsai trees in...

Observatory in Elqui Valley

Observatorio Interamericano Cerro Tololo

Observatorio Interamericano Cerro Tololo

Probing the mysteries of stars billions of miles into the past is all in a night's work at the futuristic Observatorio Interamericano Cerro Tololo, which sits at 2200m atop its hill. And while visitors can't...

Observatory in Elqui Valley

Observatorio Cerro Mamalluca

Observatorio Cerro Mamalluca

The star of the stargazing show, the purpose-built Observatorio Cerro Mamalluca, 9km northeast of Vicuña, is Elqui Valley's biggest attraction. So big, in fact, that you're likely to share the tour with hordes of...

Beach in Norte Chico

Playa La Virgen

Until just a couple of years ago, the stunning Playa La Virgen, 46km south of Bahía Inglesa along a lovely coastal road, was a well-guarded treasure of just a few in-the-know Chileans. While the secret is now...

Museum in La Serena

Museo Histórico Casa Gabriel González Videla

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...

Tomb in Montegrande

Mausoleo Gabriela Mistral

Mausoleo Gabriela Mistral

The gravesite of Gabriela Mistral lies on a hillside just south of Montegrande's main plaza. A winding path to the top is lined with quotes and biographical details about the famous poet, providing a fine tribute...

Observatory in Elqui Valley

Observatorio Collowara

Observatorio Collowara

Like Mamalluca, the shiny hilltop Observatorio Collowara in Andacollo is built for tourists; no serious interstellar research is conducted here. Two-hour tours run in summer at 9:30pm, 11pm and 12:30am; in winter...

Distillery in Vicuña

Planta Pisco Capel

Planta Pisco Capel

Capel distills pisco at this facility and has its only bottling plant here. Located about 2km (a 20-minute walk) southeast of town, this large pisco maker offers 45-minute tours of the facilities, which includes...

Buddhist Stupa in Cochiguaz

Centro Otzer Ling

Centro Otzer Ling

A Buddhist stupa in a remote corner of northern Chile? You'll think you took a wrong turn off the Panamericana and somehow ended up in the Himalaya rather than the Andes. Built in 2016, this evocative snow-white...