Chile, that thin, long country with mountains to the east and the ocean to the west, has astounding geographic diversity as one of its principal attractions for travelers.

From the Atacama Desert of northern Chile — some parts of which have not received rain in 200 or more years — to the massive glaciers of the south, where visitors are likely to experience weather that takes them through four seasons in a single day, Chile delivers on its promise.

Here are 8 natural wonders that should move Chile to the top of your trip list:

Photos: Julie Schwietert

1. The sand dunes of the Atacama Desert

Photo: clearlycool

2. The massive glaciers of Tierra del Fuego
3. The 6000ft granite walls of Torres del Paine

Photo: winkyintheuk

4. The penguins of Punta de Arenas

Photo: Steve Deger

5. The active Volcán Villarica, just outside of Pucón
6. The surreal world of the Atacama Desert
7. The pristine beaches of Easter Island
8. The quiet bays of Chiloe

Photo: velazsolano

Photo: SFmatador

Community Connection

Have you been to Chile? Thinking about going? Share your favorite natural wonders or questions about Chile below. Read Matador member VickiElizabeth’s blog, “10 Things I Have Learned in Chile.” Check out Matador organization Patagonia Volunteer, which offers numerous opportunities for travelers to volunteer in the Southern Cone.