Chile is among the leaders when it comes to ecotourism. The country’s diverse landscape and government initiatives have allowed an assortment of adventure and eco-friendly activities to thrive. From the lush wilderness of Patagonia to the endless stretches of the Atacama Desert, hike, trek, camp, kayak, surf, and more while exploring Chile’s terrain and biodiversity. Strict “leave no trace” principles of the country will help ensure that you’re doing your part by making a minimal impact.
Torres Del Paine National Park
Located in Chile’s Patagonia region, Torres del Paine National Park is host to impressive mountains, stunning blue lakes, massive glaciers, and picturesque grasslands. While the go-to outdoor activities of camping, hiking, and even stargazing are encouraged when visiting the park, staying at an environmentally conscious accommodation proves to also be a memorable experience.
Eco-friendly domes, built in a similar style to those once used by the nomadic indigenous people, make use of as much natural light as possible with solar panels and hydroelectric generators. Luxury hotels and spas are also available which use energy-saving technologies and environmentally-friendly alternatives. One hotel even donates a tree seedling to be planted for each guest that books a room.
Pan de Azucar National Park
Camp at Pan de Azucar National Park for clear night views of the star and opportunities to meditate near calm water pools. Regenerate your mind and body in a tranquil environment and admire the coastal reserve’s interesting flora and fauna of cacti, beachcombers, guanacos, penguins, and more. Trek and bike along mountain trails or snorkel and swim in clear waters. Guided boat tours are also available to see Humboldt penguins in their natural habitat.
Easter Island (Rapa Nui)
Visit Easter Island and see the moai, a series of more than 800 unique, giant face statues. These statues are shrouded in mystery since they are not found anywhere else in the world. Apart from the famous moai, the Rapa Nui National Park is a UNESCO site, with pink sandy beaches, caves, volcanoes, and vast prairies, best explored by bike or even on horseback. For those interested in environmentally friendly extreme sports, surfing in the bays of Mata Veri or Tahai is a popular choice with historic Polynesian roots. If you opt to surf, remember to use eco-friendly sunscreen brands that don’t harm the local marine life and ask for a surfboard made from sustainable materials.
Visit Easter Island in early February to catch the biggest celebration of the year, the Tapati Festival. Welcome in the spring season and have a first-hand local experience of Rapa Nui cultural foods, music, art, mythology, and dancing. See traditional Polynesian costumes and clothes, body painting, and symbolic competitions that ultimately elect a new island queen. Take part in this authentic cultural experience, and gain intimate knowledge as to why protecting the island for future generations is so important.
Chile’s incredible landscapes are worth capturing whether by the human eye or camera. Professional and amateur photographers alike will find a plethora of photogenic sites in Chile. Picturesque places include the glaciers of Patagonia and Antarctica, the endless sweep of the Atacama Desert, sunsets over the Pacific, or sunrises over the towering Andes. Snap a lasting picture and don’t give a second thought about damaging the environment while doing it.
See the Chilean fjords on a kayaking adventure. Start from Comau and Quintupeu and be prepared for mountain cliffs, glacial valleys, green rainforests, and exciting wildlife. Kayaking leaves a minimal carbon footprint while providing a good workout. Local tour operators offer package tours and full-day or half-day trips that can include meals and camping. Other outdoor sports and locations of note are rafting trips on the rapids of Maipo River or skiing in the Navarro Valley. Take your eco-adventure as slow or as fast as you like. Chile has a pace for everyone.