Six of the best places in Chile for Photographers
From semi-professional photographers to recreational Instagram-users, the impressive and staggering natural landscapes of Chile can’t fail to inspire any camera-wielding traveller to get snapping. As the Chile travel experts, we’ve teamed up with Turismo Chile to pick six places to visit, guaranteed to leave your Chile holiday photo album bursting at the seams. You’ll be packing your wide-angle lens before you know it.
Trek to the base of Torres del Paine
No trip to Chile is complete without a visit to the immense glaciers and soaring granite peaks of Torres del Paine. A little work is required to find the perfect photo spot – the lake at the base of the peaks is reached on foot and the trek can take up a whole day – but you’re rewarded with an iconic photograph of one of the world’s most recognisable views. Once you’ve taken a quick snap of you in the foreground for Instagram (#RainbowToursUK), unpack your lightweight tripod and set your DSLR on a long exposure to capture the staggering landscape. Time it right to arrive at sunset or sunrise to catch the peaks illuminated, glowing in golden hues. To relax after the trek, we suggest staying at the Tierra Patagonia. This modern hotel overlooks Lake Sarmiento and has been designed in harmony with its natural surroundings, so there are plenty more photography opportunities just a stones’ throw from your room.
Shoot the stars in the Atacama Desert
The Atacama Desert offers some of the best stargazing in the world and an almost unrivalled the opportunity for amazing night-time photography. Far from any light pollution vast, dark night skies awake every evening, covered in a thick blanket of stars that stretches to the horizon in all directions. To try your hand at astrophotography, mount your DSLR on a sturdy tripod and set your aperture as wide as it can go (experts recommend using f/2.8 to capture the stars) and set your ISO high. Play around with keeping the exposure time relatively short (15 seconds) for a crisp, clean shot or to get a clear view of the Milky Way. Later, lengthen the exposure time (up to a few minutes) so that the effect of the earth moving during the captures the star’s movements across the sky, creating stunning star trails.
Meet the Moai on Easter Island
Easter Island is famed for its ancient Moai sculptures, scattered in groups across the island, but there’s only one set with their toes in the sand. Head to Anakena Beach in Rapa Nui National Park where seven recently-restored Moai stand overlooking the warm waters, ready to grace your photographs – once you’ve taken a dip, of course. If you’re an early-riser keen to catch the best light during the ‘golden hours’, hot-foot it over to Ahu Tongariki at sunrise (or even sunset) to photograph the 15-strong row of Moai silhouetted against the changing skies. Our Chile Winter Adventure tour spends 3 days in Easter Island after exploring the highlights of the mainland.
Capture vast, untouched landscapes without a hint of civilisation at Laguna Miscanti in northern Chile’s altiplano. The snow-capped Miñiques Volcano and a rugged mountainous landscape provide the perfect backdrop for the deep lake waters, boldly reflecting the bright blue skies on a clear winter’s morning. Use a wide-angle lens and a tripod to take the camera low to the ground, where the yellow, scrubby grasses inject some bright colour and textures into the foreground. We recommend setting off to reach this scene by 4x4 after acclimatising to the altitude of the Atacama Desert at Alto Atacama.
Santiago from above
For a stunning city skyline, ascend Chile’s answer to the Shard – the Gran Torre Santiago – and make the most of your vantage point above Santiago. Standing at 300 metres, the Sky Costanera Observation Deck is the highest in South America and offers an impressive 360° view of the capital city. The birds’ eye view of Santiago is impressive at any time, but as the night falls and the city lights begin to shine, the Observation Deck is the perfect place to try out a time lapse as the bright car headlights weave through the streets. Enjoy this experience on any of our Chile tours.
Hike to the top of Villarica Volcano
Action-ready adventurers should hike (or snowshoe) up Villarica Volcano for sweeping views across Chile’s volcano-dotted Lake District. If you have paired your DSLR with a tripod that has a 360° rotating head, this is the place to take panoramic images. If not, even mobile phone cameras can’t fail to capture the beauty of the lake-punctuated landscape unfurling beneath. If you’ve packed a selfie-stick (we know it’s a guilty pleasure), a cheeky team photo at the top is a great way to celebrate completing the trek. Speak to a Rainbow Tours Chile Specialist about spending a few nights at Vira Vira, set in the ancient Mapuche lands surrounding the volcano, and including the hike into your tailor-made itinerary.