A long narrow strand along the South American coast and up into the western Andes, Chile has lush forests, a wild seacoast, rugged mountains and pristine highland lakes. Patagonia, a vast region of steppes and mountains across the southern reaches of the continent, contains several of these spectacular natural areas.
Cerro Qielol National Park. For anti-roughing it-ters a national park fully enclosed by a small town, with a great restaurant smack dab in the middle.
Huerquehue National Park. A myriad of small lakes and trails: great camping.
Los Paraguas and Conguillio . For volcano lovers everywhere, plus dramatic monkey puzzle tree forests. Wonderful hiking, and a great park infrastructure.
Nahuelbuta National Park. Set in the Nahuelbuta mountain range.
Tolhuaca National Park. The place to kick back in hot springs while looking out at some great scenery.
Villarrica National Park . Home to Chile's most active volcano. The last eruption was in 1984.
Chiloi National ParkA small island linked to the mainland by ferries. Dense forest, panoramic views, rare wildlife and a temperate climate, if you don't mind waiting for the sun. Inhabited by a enterprising stock, mostly indigenous, who have created a distinctive economy centered around farming, the sea, and sturdy crafts.
Easter Island (Rapa Nui) .
Out in the middle of the ocean with a mere 2,000 inhabitants, this desolate group of islands is an odd outpost of Polynesian culture and history.
A tiny temperate rainforest in the middle of the Atacama Desert.
Laguna San Rafael National ParkThe most popular attraction in the Aisin region. Fjords, mountains, glaciars, coastal wildlife, icebergs. Expensive and difficult to get to, but worth it.
Lauca National Park
Dramatic scenery, profuse and unusual wildlife, and one of the world's highest lakes.
Torres del Paine National Park
A world class national park. Home to the Torres del Paine Circuit, which is on everybody's short list of must-do treks.
Cerro Castillo National Reserve
Large highland lake and a castle-like basalt ridge that attracts international mountain climbers. Dramatic scenery, lightly traveled.
Rmo Simpson National Reserve
Great trekking in this sheltered network of mountain valleys and high summits. The Cerro Catedral, a glaciated granite range, is the reserve's centerpiece.
Tamango National Reserve
Near Cochrane in Patagonian Chile. A highland plateau, edged by a vast ice sheet.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication