With 12 days in Chile at your disposal, you can enjoy a well-rounded adventure of three regions, which range from Patagonia and the Atacama Desert, to the Lake District and Easter Island. While domestic flights transport you to specific regions for several days at a time, when stationed in Santiago, you have the freedom to venture out on day trips out to coastal towns, like Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, and nearby valleys, such as Casablanca and Maipo. Experience the culinary, scenic, and historical highlights of Chile in these five trip plans below.

Itinerary #1: Santiago, Pacific Coast, Maipo Valley, & Patagonia W Trek

On this classic vacation through Chile, begin with some exploration of Santiago, followed by two day trips—to Viña del Mar and Valparaíso, as well as the Maipo Valley. Then, head to Chilean Patagonia to visit Magellanic penguins and stroll the small-town waterfronts. Embark on a four-day hike along the W Trek in Torres del Paine National Park, followed by a trip to a working estancia for outdoor fun and local food.

Glacier Grey
Glacier Grey
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Santiago & City Tour Santiago
Day 2 Viña del Mar & Valparaiso Excursion Santiago
Day 3 Maipo Valley Full-Day Tour Santiago
Day 4 Fly to Punta Arenas & Self-Guided Tour Punta Arenas
Day 5 Visit Magellanic Penguins on Magdalena Island Punta Arenas
Day 6 Travel to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 7 Visit the Famous Towers - W Trek Day 1 Torres del Paine
Day 8 Hike Along Lake Nordenskjöld - W Trek Day 2 Torres del Paine
Day 9 Explore the French Valley - W Trek Day 3 Torres del Paine
Day 10 Admire Glacier Grey - W Trek Day 4 Puerto Natales
Day 11 Visit a Patagonian Estancia Puerto Natales
Day 12 Depart From Santiago  

Touch down in Santiago and head out on a guided, half-day city tour. Explore the local markets, stroll the historic plaza, enjoy a meal in hip Barrio Bellavista, and make the trip to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal for amazing welcome views below. Wake up and head out on a day of touring the Pacific Coast. First, stop in upscale Viña del Mar to enjoy some shopping and fresh seafood. Then, visit bohemian Valparaíso’s hilly streets and art culture. Next is a full-day excursion to the Maipo Valley to experience the dramatic peaks and bright-turquoise waters, along with a picnic lunch.

Catch a flight to the Patagonian hub of Punta Arenas and do some sightseeing of your own. Stroll the Plaza Muñoz Guerrero, visit Palacio Sara Braun, and take in the sunset at Mirador Cerro de la Cruz over the Strait of Magellan. In the morning, take a boat ride to Magdalena Island to visit the Magellanic penguin colony. Then, make the 3-hour transfer to Puerto Natales, and stroll the waterfront promenade, which sits on Ultima Esperanza Sound. Take in another incredible sunset with several peaks in the distance.

Embark on the W Trek today out of Torres del Paine National Park. Along the 9.6-mile hike, the first highlights include the hanging glacier at Mount Almirante Nieto and the park’s best views from Mirador Base Torres. Next, trek past beautiful Lake Nordenskjöld and hop over the rocks with jagged mountain peaks and wild animals in the backdrop, before landing at Cuernos del Paine to spend the night.

The French Valley is next. Hike through the forest and digest the incredible multi-lake views around you. View French Glacier and settle at Lake Pehoé for the evening. The final trekking day takes you to the famed Glacier Grey. Hike through more forestry to get to Lago Grey, and get a glimpse of the massive ice walls in front of you. The final day transports you to a traditional estancia—via boat along Ultima Esperanza Sound—to visit a sheep ranch, go hiking and horseback riding, and enjoy a traditional barbecue of local lamb, before heading back to Punta Arenas to catch your onward flight out of Santiago. Learn more

Itinerary #2: Chilean Highlights: Patagonia, Santiago, & the Pacific Coast

Take a highlights trip through Chile to experience some of the most famous destinations in the country. Explore Santiago before flying to Patagonia to hike through the best areas—Las Torres, Lake Nordenskjöld, French Valley, and Glacier Grey. Visit a traditional estancia and go kayaking on a Patagonian fjord, and return to Santiago to visit two neighboring towns on the Pacific Coast.

Puerto Natales
Puerto Natales
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Santiago & City Tour Santiago
Day 2 Travel to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 3 Hike to Famous Las Torres Torres del Paine
Day 4 Hike Along Lake Nordenskjöld Torres del Paine
Day 5 Hike the French Valley Torres del Paine
Day 6 Trek to Lake Grey Torres del Paine
Day 7 Lake Grey Boat Tour & Return to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 8 Visit a Patagonian Estancia Punta Arenas
Day 9 Kayaking in Eberhard Fjord Puerto Natales
Day 10 Fly Back to Santiago Santiago
Day 11 Viña del Mar & Valparaíso Excursion Santiago
Day 12 Depart From Santiago  

Take a cable car ride up to Cerro San Cristóbal for exceptional welcome views of Santiago down below. Stroll Plaza de Armas and Catedral Metropolitana, followed by a visit to the local markets. Wake up and fly to Punta Arenas, and make the transfer to Puerto Natales. Enjoy the waterfront views along Ultima Esperanza Sound at sunset. Then, venture into Torres del Paine National Park for four days of trekking. Experience iconic Las Torres, Lake Nordenskjöld and its stunning surrounding waterways, before retiring around the peaks of Los Cuernos. Then, take a boat ride from Lake Pehoé to the French Valley, and through the lenga forest, to take in the sight of French Glacier hanging from Paine Grande. Next, visit Lago Grey and Grey Glacier, home to the famous massive ice walls. Head out on an optional excursion—ice hiking on the glacier, or kayaking in the lake. Close out your journey through Torres del Paine aboard the Grey III catamaran for final, photo-worthy views of Grey Glacier up close.

From Puerto Natales, take a boat ride to Estancia La Peninsula to visit a working sheep ranch. Get acquainted with the herd, and tour the grounds as you see fit—hiking, on horseback, or via 4x4. Then, indulge in a traditional lamb barbecue. In the morning, make the trip to Estancia Puerto Consuelo to embark on an educational kayaking trip around Eberhard Fjord. Look out for native birds, like Andean condors, Chilean flamingos, and black-necked swans.

Wake up and head back to Punta Arenas to catch your flight to Santiago. Enjoy more of the capital city, and visit any sights you may have missed on at the beginning of the trip. Have dinner in trendy Barrio Bellavista, which is a modern representation of Santiago’s burgeoning culinary scene. Then, it’s off to the Pacific Coast for a final day trip. First, stop in Viña del Mar to check out the upscale shopping and beautiful gardens. Then, visit Valparaíso’s street art, hilly neighborhoods, and old, colorful plazas. Return to Santiago and enjoy one last night out on the town, before catching your departure flight the next day. Learn more

Itinerary #3: Northern Chile Highlights: Santiago, Atacama Desert, Easter Island, & More

Embark on a versatile vacation through Northern Chile. Enjoy the popular sights in Santiago, visit the salt flats, geysers, and lagoons in the Atacama Desert, and get acquainted with the ancient moai who inhabit alluring Easter Island.

Easter Island
Easter Island
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Santiago Santiago
Day 2 Fly to San Pedro de Atacama & Stargazing Tour San Pedro de Atacama
Day 3 Atacama Desert - Lagoons & Salt Flats San Pedro de Atacama
Day 4 Tour El Tatio Geysers & Fly Back to Santiago Santiago
Day 5 Santiago - City Tour Santiago
Day 6 Viña del Mar & Valparaíso Excursion Santiago
Day 7 Maipo Valley Full-Day Tour Santiago
Day 8 Fly to Easter Island Easter Island
Day 9 Easter Island - Rapa Nui Full-Day Tour Easter Island
Day 10 Easter Island - Orongo & Ahu Akivi Tour Easter Island
Day 11 Easter Island - Free Day Easter Island
Day 12 Departure From Santiago  

Explore Santiago’s most popular historical sites, like Plaza de Armas and Palacio de la Moneda, before boarding a cable car to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal to take in the views of the capital all around you. Stroll the cobblestone streets of Barrio Bellavista and have a bite to eat.

Fly to Calama next, and make the transfer to San Pedro de Atacama in the morning. Your first excursion in the Atacama Desert is a stargazing tour, accompanied by Chilean wine. Wake up and visit several lagoons—Laguna Chaxa, Miscanti, and Miñiques, as well as the Atacama Salar salt flats. Visit Socaire for lunch, and shop for handicrafts in Toconao at the end of the day. Get an early start to visit Tatio Geyers, followed by breakfast and an optional geothermal dip. Then, stop in Machuca to browse crafts and see the local llamas and flamingos, before catching a flight back to Santiago.

Continue discovering Santiago on a guided tour. Stroll the central markets, ascend the Costanera Center’s glass-encased skyscraper, and walk through Santa Lucia, a central park. In the morning, take a day trip to two coastal towns: Viña del Mar and Valparaíso. The first is upscale and is known for its shops, gardens, and high-rises, while the second is a colorful city rich with artistic history. On day seven, visit the Maipo Valley. Take in the snow-capped peaks and sparkling streams, and enjoy an alfresco picnic by the river.

Hop a flight to Easter Island to explore the beaches and Polynesian history—which includes 600 stone moai figureheads on display throughout the island. Enjoy some self-exploration of the main town, visit a local museum for a history lesson, or take a hike outside of town to visit the caves at sunset. Continue the discovery on a full-day tour of Rapa Nui. Highlights include central stones, a volcanic crater, two known ceremonial platforms, and beautiful Anakena beach. Next, join two, guided, half-day tours. Begin in Orongo nearby an inactive volcano and visit the sea cave. Then, visit Ahu Akivi, an ancient stargazing ground. Continue on two a pair of archaeological sites to end the day. The trip winds down with some free time on Easter Island. Enjoy some snorkeling or surfing back at Anakena and enjoy a final dinner among spiritual statues, before heading home the next day. Learn more

Itinerary #4: Lake District, Torres del Paine, & Atacama Desert

This outdoor tour of Chile takes you through three regions and the capital city. Enjoy popular sights in Santiago before heading to the Lake District to explore waterfalls and volcanos. Then, embark on a journey through Patagonia, from the island wildlife to the incredible Torres del Paine. The trip ends in the Atacama Desert to visit salt flats, geysers, and villages, along with some stargazing.

The village of Puerto Varas
The village of Puerto Varas
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Santiago & City Tour Santiago
Day 2 Fly to Puerto Montt & Transfer to Puerto Varas Puerto Varas
Day 3 Visit Osorno, Petrohué Falls, & Lago Todos Los Santos Puerto Varas
Day 4 Chiloé National Park Tour & Overnight in Puerto Varas Puerto Varas
Day 5 Fly to Punta Arenas Punta Arenas
Day 6 Magdalena Island, Marta Island & Transfer to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 7 Milodon Caves & Torres del Paine National Park Puerto Natales
Day 8 Torres del Paine - Full-Day Private Tour Torres del Paine
Day 9 Fly to San Pedro de Atacama & Stargazing Tour San Pedro de Atacama
Day 10 Atacama Desert - Lagoons & Salt Flats San Pedro de Atacama
Day 11 Atacama Desert - Tatio Geysers & Machuca Village San Pedro de Atacama
Day 12 Departure from Santiago  

Join a guided, half-day tour of Santiago to launch into the trip. Visit Plaza de Armas and Catedral Metropolitano, peruse the local markets and stroll the cobblestone streets of Barrio Bellavista. Then, fly to Puerto Montt and make the transfer to Puerto Varas. Walk around the town, which is near Llanquihue Lake, and take in your first views of Osorno Volcano. Spend the night discovering the City of Roses.

Get to experiencing the Lake District and its small towns and villages. Stop in Ensenada and begin the ascent of Osorno, followed by a break by the thundering Río Petrohué Waterfalls and a visit to stunning Lago Todos Los Santos. Embark on a full-day tour of Chiloé Island and Chiloé National Park today. Take in the vast, green forestry and hike from Playa Rahue to Punta Pirulil for the best views, with a stop along the way at Muelle del Alma, a wooden boardwalk. Transport to Quilque next, an indigenous community. Have lunch with locals and hike the El Tepual Trail among the rainforest.

Hop a plane to Punta Arenas, the hub of Chilean Patagonia. Explore the town on your own—visit the Palacio Sara Braun mansion, Plaza Muñoz Guerrero, and watch the sunset over Mirador Cerro de la Cruz. Take a boat to Magdalena Island to visit the native penguins, and Marta Island, which is home to a large sea lion colony, and travel to Puerto Natales. Wake up and visit the Milodon Caves before entering Torres del Paine National Park. Tour the best areas, from Amarga Lagoon to Horns of Paine and Lago Grey to Salto Grande. The park adventure continues into the next day to learn about the flora and fauna of the region on a private tour.

Catch a flight to Calama and take the ride to San Pedro de Atacama. Have a relaxing afternoon at the hotel, followed by a stargazing tour in the open Altiplano. Next, visit the Atacama Salar salt flats and the Los Flamencos National Reserve, followed by a lagoon tour, and stops in two villages: Socaire and Toconao. The morning calls for an early start to depart for the Tatio Geysers, followed by breakfast with a view and a geothermal soak. End the day with a visit to Machuca to visit the locals and the native animals. Enjoy your last night in the desert before catching a flight back to Santiago and your onward flight tomorrow. Learn more

Itinerary #5: Central Chile, Lake District & Atacama Desert

This three-region trip through Chile covers beautiful outdoor territories. Explore the most popular stops in Santiago, along with a food tour, followed by wine tasting in Casablanca Valley and a visit to two, neighboring towns. Then, head into the Atacama Desert to enjoy the lagoons and salt flats, as well as some stargazing. The trip ends with a tour of the Lake District, a visit to Chiloé Island, and more.

Tatio Geysers
Tatio Geysers
Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Santiago Santiago
Day 2 Santiago Food Tour Santiago
Day 3 Valparaiso, Viña del Mar & Casablanca Valley Santiago
Day 4 Fly to San Pedro de Atacama & Stargazing Tour San Pedro de Atacama
Day 5 Atacama Desert - Lagoons & Salt Flats San Pedro de Atacama
Day 6 Atacama Desert - Tatio Geysers & Machuca Village San Pedro de Atacama
Day 7 Fly from Calama to Puerto Montt - Transfer to Puerto Varas Puerto Varas
Day 8 Tour of Osorno Volcano, Petrohué Falls & Todos los Santos Lake Puerto Varas
Day 9 Chiloé Island Self-Drive Tour - Day 1 Castro
Day 10 Chiloé Island Self-Drive Tour - Day 2 Castro
Day 11 Cultural Tour of Castro - Return to Puerto Varas Puerto Varas
Day 12 Puerto Varas to Santiago - Departure  

Touch down in Santiago, and head out on a tour of the city at your leisure. Hike—or ride the cable car—to the top of Cerro San Cristobal for wraparound views of the city. Stop at historical outposts like Plaza de Armas and Palacio de la Moneda to close out the first day. Wake up and join a delicious, half-day food tour. Visit Central Market and sample local eats and have lunch in trendy Barrio Bellavista. The next day takes you to Casablanca Valley for a wine region tour. Then, visit two nearby coastal cities. Valparaiso is known for its colorful art influence and bohemian vibe, while Viña del Mar is a more affluent town filled with boutiques and upscale high-rises.

Board a flight to Calama in the morning and head to San Pedro de Atacama. Take in the desert landscapes on the ride to your hotel. Take the afternoon to relax, and then go on a stargazing excursion through the Altiplano. Then, embark on a desert tour of the lagoons and salt flats. Stop at Los Flamencos National Reserve to visit the birds, stop in Socaire for lunch, and shop handicrafts in Toconao later in the day. Rise early for your trip to Tatio Geyers to watch the high-rising steam. Have breakfast onsite and enjoy a morning soak in nature’s jacuzzi. Then, visit the small, welcoming town of Machuca.

Fly to Puerto Montt via Santiago in the morning. Make the transfer to Puerto Varas and enjoy views of the lake and the surrounding architecture. Enjoy your pick of restaurants in town for dinner. After breakfast, head out on a full-day tour to Osorno Volcano, the Petrohué waterfalls, and Todos los Santos Lake. Rent a car in Puerto Varas and take the scenic drive to Chiloé Island, with beautiful views of Castro along the way. Upon arrival to the island, enjoy the rest of the day on your own—visit a penguin colony, rub elbows with locals, and enjoy a delicious, local dinner. Wake up and visit Chiloé National Park. Navigate the rugged trails through the lenga forest, and explore the docks, bays, and surrounding cliffs. Keep a close watch for monkeys, otters, birds, and more. Meet a private guide to tour Castro’s churches and museums, along with the local café-gallery overlooking the water. Return to Puerto Varas for your final night out, before departing in the morning. Learn more

Map

Map of 12 Days in Chile - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas
Map of 12 Days in Chile - 5 Unique Itinerary Ideas