If you love extreme sports, Chile is the place to be. The country attracts tourists from around the world who enjoy everything from skiing and motorbiking to canyoneering to kayaking. Tons of so-called extreme tourists flock to Chile every year, so why not join them? Here are some of the best extreme sports to enjoy while you’re there.
Skiing in Chile
The ski resorts of Chile are unlike those of Europe. They’re perched high in the Andes mountains with magnificent peaks surrounding you, such as the Aconcagua mountain, which stands at close to 23,000 feet just over the border. You’ll go skiing down the slopes of ancient volcanoes with steaming craters and enjoy world-class resorts.
One of the country’s most popular ski resorts is located in Valle Nevado, east of Santiago. This spot is often seen as the best ski center in all of South America and it’s continually expanding. You’ll ski between 9,000 and 12,000 feet and find a few accommodation options. The Puerto del Sol, however, is the most popular as it’s mere feet from the slopes.
You may be wondering, “What is canyoneering?” Canyoneering, or canyoning, is traveling through the canyons using technical jumps, climbing and swimming and Chile is one of the best places in South America to try this exciting sport. You’ll be equipped with climbing gear, ropes, helmets, wet suits and special shoes to continually test the laws of gravity and your own bravery.
Guides will go along to teach you how to clamber up the rock walls and jump off cliffs into pools of water below, then you’ll learn the art of tobogganing, with no toboggan necessary, by sliding down smooth rock over rushing rapids. Canyoneering is terrifying, exciting and exhilarating all at once and the one of the best ways to enjoy your extreme visit to Chile.
Chile’s Best Surfing
If you’re not quite up to a canyoning adventure, try your hand at surfing. Chile draws in visitors from around the world to its many beaches that are ideal for surfing. Surfing is possible year-round, except during the winter months of July and August, with the biggest waves in the central part of the country. The waves near the north part of Chile are usually preferred for surfing because the tend to be stronger.
The beach near Arica, known as Playa Gringo, is where American visitors often surf and it’s the site of the national championship qualifications. Pichilemu, near Santiago, remains the best spot for Chilean surfing and hosts the championships each year. There’s something here for every surfer, from the gentle waves of Las Terrazas to the challenges of Infiernillo.
Paragliding to See Chile from the Sky
Paragliding uses a very flexible glider and it’s a great way to get a bird’s eye view of the beautiful countryside. One of the best things about paragliding is you don’t need to know anything about how it works so you can really just relax and enjoy the view. If you’re traveling as a pair, take a two-seater glider and sign up for a complete tour over Santiago.