Amazing Chile: 9 places that must be seen.
Chile is a state champion. Because of the nature of the landscape, nature often falls into extremes. This is the longest country (stretched from north to south for 4,600 kilometers), with the world’s driest desert (there are no precipitations for centuries in the Atacama Desert), the world’s highest mountain lake (the reservoir in Ochos del Salado is 6,390 meters above sea level seas).
There are a lot of “most-most” places and attractions, to inspect all the usual holidays is not enough. We chose the most interesting:
1. The Hand of the Desert
In the Chilean Atacama Desert, 75 km south of the city of Antofagasta, there is a monument that is least expected to be met there by a lone wanderer. A monument to the despair and loneliness of man in the sands – the Hand of the Desert – was put here in 1992 by the sculptor Mario Irarzarabal. If a concrete giant is buried in the sand, this gesture will say goodbye to the world.
Going to inspect the sculpture (from Antofagasta tourist groups bring here), do not forget that in the desert for several tens of kilometers around there are neither McDonald’s nor toilets. The hand of the desert is the only thing that reminds us of the presence of man.
2. Torres del Paine National Park
If the Jewish god had to land Eden a second time, he would have chosen Torres del Paine. In 1978, the UNESCO Commission recognized the Chilean National Park as a biosphere reserve. It seems that here are collected the most beautiful pieces of nature from all corners of the earth: mountains and forests, glaciers and fjords, springs and lakes. Several multi-day walking routes are laid in the park – Torres del Paine is the most visited tourist place in Chile.
3. The largest swimming pool in the world
Imagine a football field filled with water. Multiply by ten. You will receive the world’s largest outdoor swimming pool.
San Alfonso del Mar is located 100 kilometers west of the Chilean capital of Santiago. One kilometer in length, 77 thousand square meters of area – in a pool of such size one can not only swim, but also sail.
What the Chileans do: in San Alfonso del Mar, anyone can rent a catamaran or a yacht and swim on a smooth, like a mirror, the water. Despite the fact that the pool water is taken from the Pacific Ocean, it is not salty and so transparent that the bottom is visible at any point.
4. Marble caves
Not far from the village of Chile-Chico, 1500 kilometers from the Chilean capital, is the best place in Chile (and perhaps in the world) for kayaking – the Marble Caves or the Marble Cathedral on Lake Carrera. In fact, the walls of the caves, which form a meandering labyrinth in the rocks of the peninsula, are not marble, but consist almost entirely of limestone.
However, the glare of the water on the blue arches creates the full impression that you are floating inside the fairy-tale marble palace. You can get to the caves by boat, and deep into the labyrinth you can only get on a small boat or kayak.
5. Easter Island
Welcome “to the devil on Easter cakes”: Easter Island is the most remote inhabited island of civilization. From the coast of Chile to the island more than three and a half thousand kilometers. Nature has deprived the island of a variety of plants and animals. Here are a couple of dozens of species of seabirds, and little that grows, except for weeds and mulberry trees. However, travelers do not seek for beauty, but for secrecy.
Easter Island is known primarily for its stone statues – Moai. Ten- and fifteen-meter statues in the form of human heads are turned to the back of the head to the sea, and nose to the depths of the island. Judging by the ruins of the ancient quarry, the statues were made of compacted volcanic ash in the center of the island. How they managed to be delivered to the coast (the weight of some statues exceeds 200 tons) – scientists are still unknown.
6. Ghost Town Humberstone
In the north of Chile, in the middle of the desert, fifty kilometers from the nearest settlement (the city of Iquique) is the abandoned city of Humberstone. The city was founded in the late 19th century, when a deposit of saltpeter was found here. At first the mining community, then the town with the theater, the church and the railway station – Humberstone quickly expanded.
And just as quickly was emptied, when the nitrate vein was exhausted. Having lost their earnings, people gradually left the city, leaving behind themselves houses with acquired property. Here and today you can go into any abandoned house and rummage in old chests, hoping to find some valuable souvenir.
8. Colony of penguins on the island of Magdalena
Perhaps this is the only available place on Earth, where anyone can see so many penguins in one place at a time. The island of Magdalena is located in the Straits of Magellan, in the vicinity of Punta Arenas. Annually in late October, almost 50,000 pairs of penguins get here to have offspring. By February, the island is covered with penguins in a solid layer, like black snow.
Penguins do their own business and are not at all afraid of tourists who come here to look at them. You can get to the island in the tourist group on the ferry (2 hours one way).
9. The Moon Valley (Valle de la Luna)
If you travel 30 kilometers from the city of San Pedro towards the center of Atacama – the world’s driest desert, you can stroll along the Moon.
Lunar Valley – so called the quaint landscapes of this part of the desert for their similarity to the lunar surface. Water and winds for many millennia polished stones and sand, the white color of salt lakes gives the valley even more similarity with the cosmic landscape.
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