Torres del Paine National Park

Tourist places of Central Chile

Chile is administratively divided into regions, with Central Chile being only a natural division. Central Chile includes the Metropolitan Region, where the capital Santiago is located, and the southern part of Valparaíso, as well as the O'Higgins and Maule regions. Although the northern part of the Bio Bio Region is theoretically part of Central Chile, most people associate it with the South due to its proximity, climate, customs, and unique identity. For this reason, it will be considered separately in the section on Attractions in the Bio Bio and Ñuble Regions.

Central Chile is characterized by its lush vegetation and significant agricultural and wine production, (although there are fears that the slow advance of the desertification from the North could affect this condition in the coming years). This part of Chile concentrates most of the country's population and an important economic activity, hosting major cities, such as the port of Valparaiso which together with the neighboring municipalities of Viña del Mar, Concon, Quilpue and Villa Alemana forms an important urban center of more than 1 million inhabitants.

A little over 120 km southeast of Valparaíso, nestled near the foothills of the Andes, you will find the capital, Santiago, also known as Santiago de Chile, with a population of 6,000,000. Today, the Chilean capital leads in various aspects across Latin America, including quality of life, environmental initiatives, personal development, and economic growth. The vicinity of Santiago boasts major ski resorts and numerous natural attractions, making it one of the top tourist destinations in South America.

Another important city in Chile, located very close to Santiago (just 87 km to the south), is Rancagua, the capital of the O'Higgins Region. This city is of great historical importance as it was the site of one of the key events in the Chilean independence process, the Battle of Rancagua, also known as the Disaster of Rancagua. From Rancagua you can start a tour through different communities of the Cachapoal Valley to experience the traditions of rural Chile.    
Further south, still following the Ruta 5 Sur (the southern section of the Pan-American Highway), you'll find the city of Talca, an important urban center in the country with a population of about 220,000. Talca, the capital of the Maule region, has unique characteristics that make it an attractive destination, thanks to its picturesque Andean landscapes, beautiful beaches and wine tours that include visits to internationally renowned vineyards, the city offers a diverse range of experiences. Go to Tourist Attractions in Talca.  

In a country where its main tourist attractions are concentrated in the northern and southern regions, it is also gratifying to discover charming places near the capital city of Santiago. These places combine picturesque Andean landscapes, urban life, countryside views, and coastal scenery. In addition to the aforementioned destinations, we can also highlight the "playas del litoral central" (beaches of the central coast), the cities of San Felipe and Los Andes, which are part of the Valparaiso Region in the Aconcagua Valley. This region is surrounded by towering mountains and is renowned for its vineyards and as a prime fruit-growing area. 

La Parva, winter sports center, Chile.
A view of La Parva Sky Resort, near Santiago

In summary, Central Chile offers numerous destinations worth visiting. Particularly notable are the Winter Resorts nestled in the foothills of the Andes, such as Portillo, Valle Nevado, Farellones, El Colorado, and La Parva. The modern capital, Santiago, is a bustling city brimming with intriguing attractions. Nearby, you'll find the garden city of Viña del Mar. Every February, Viña del Mar hosts the 'Festival Internacional de la Canción' (Viña del Mar International Song Festival), a renowned competition featuring performances by world-famous artists. The festival's last night unofficially marks the end of the high tourist season. 

Beaches and other places of interest  

Due to its proximity and easy accessibility from the capital of Chile, the beaches of the central coast are among tourists' favorite destinations during the summer season. 

In Viña del Mar, Reñaca stands out as one of the most popular and exclusive beach resorts in Chile, located in the northern area of Viña del Mar. This beach is a preferred destination for young people seeking entertainment, fine dining, and water sports. The beach spans 1.3 km, surrounded by dunes and terraced buildings on the hillsides. 

Other famous beaches and places in Viña del Mar are: Caleta Abarca, very close to the downtown, Cerro Castillo Palace and the Flower Clock; Acapulco, central and accessible beach, with a great hotel and commercial infrastructure; Cochoa, a quieter and more relaxed beach, with restaurants serving seafood specialties; Las Salinas, a small beach, with the best waves in Viña del Mar, as to practice water sports such as surfing and scuba diving, with a neat, beautiful pedestrian promenade.

San Alfonso del Mar resort, Chile.
The world's largest swimming pool
San Alfonso del Mar Resort, Algarrobo, Chile
Algarrobo, another of the favorite summer beaches, the city also stands out for having the largest swimming pool in the world, belonging to the San Alfonso del Mar private resort. Located in the province of San Antonio, Valparaiso region.  

Algarrobo beach has an extension of about 20 kilometers and is divided into several areas, highlighting Mirasol, El Canelillo and El Pejerrey. Each of them has its own charm and attractions, such as La Cueva del Pirata (Pirate's Cave), the pine forest or the calm and crystal clear waters. Algarrobo beach is an ideal destination to enjoy the sun, sand and sea, various water sports such as sailing, surfing and others, as well as the local cuisine and coastal culture.

Tunquen Beach, Playa Tunquen is a unique and lesser-known destination for tourists, so far, without further real estate development. With its impressive features, it offers a serene and picturesque experience for visitors. Some highlights of Tunquen include:

Length and Width: The beach is about 5 km. long and half a kilometer wide, providing ample space for visitors to explore and enjoy the surroundings.

Massive Dunes: Tunquen is known for its massive dunes, which add a striking visual element to the beach

Quiet Atmosphere: Despite its beauty, Tunquen remains a relatively undiscovered destination, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a tranquil and peaceful beach experience.

Tunquen Wetland Nature Sanctuary: The Tunquen Wetlands is a protected area that offers a home to diverse flora and fauna, providing an opportunity for visitors to learn about the local ecosystem. 

Nearby Attractions: Tunquen is located just 20 km north of popular Algarrobo, which offers additional attractions, such as boat tours to see penguins, dolphins, and seals, as well as snowcapped volcanoes in the distance.  

Maitencillo, very popular beach because of its white sand and calm waters, surrounded by pine and eucalyptus trees, located in the commune of Puchuncaví, Valparaíso region. A variety of services and activities are available for visitors, such as water sports, paragliding, hiking and bird watching. Maitencillo is the perfect mix of countryside and beach to enjoy an unforgettable vacation.

Just to mention a few other beaches in the area: Zapallar, an elegant and quiet seaside resort, with a white sand beach and crystal clear waters; Matanzas, an ideal destination for water sports such as windsurfing, kitesurfing and sailing, with a landscape of dunes and cliffs; Isla Negra, a place full of magic and poetry, where the house-museum of the Nobel Prize for Literature Pablo Neruda is located, there is a beach of rocks and black sand.


In the O'Higgins Region you can visit the town of Pichilemu, without large apartment buildings or hotel complexes. However, due to the characteristics of its coast, this small tourist town is known as "The Chilean Capital of Surfing".  Its beaches and waves make it one of the most privileged places in the world for the practice of this and all related sports. 

In Pichilemu, notable beaches include Punta de Lobos, Infiernillo, and La Puntilla. You can also enjoy the aristocratic architecture of the Agustin Ross Park and the old Casino, both National Monuments. In addition, you can visit the Salinas de Cahuil, saltwater ponds in which an ancestral technique of salt extraction is still used.

Also a popular tourist destination for its beaches, historical heritage, gastronomy and ecotourism is Constitución, a coastal city located in the Maule region. Among its main attractions are the Los Ruiles National Reserve; the Piedra de la Iglesia, a rock formation with caves symbol of the city; the Municipal Museum; the Banco de Arena Bridge designed by Eiffel and the Putú dunes and wetlands, which is the largest dune field in the country, ideal for ecotourism.

Also good options to visit in this part of Chile are the interesting Museums in Santiago  (follow link) and the Wine Tours to the vineyards of the central valleys, available at local tourist agencies.

Central Chile on Google Map