Snow-capped volcanoes, pristine mountain lakes, and quiet hiking trails await you on this active weeklong adventure around northern Chilean Patagonia. After a day of sightseeing in Santiago, spend the rest of the trip exploring the great outdoors in Puerto Varas. You'll trek through spectacular landscapes, kayak on a fjord, spot rare birds, enjoy a traditional lunch on a family farm, and much more!


  • Kayak on Reloncaví, Patagonia's northernmost fjord
  • Enjoy views of the snow-capped Andes while trekking near Osorno Volcano
  • Sample modern Chilean cuisine in Santiago's excellent restaurants
  • Hike around mountain lagoons in Alerce Andino National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santiago, Explore Santiago
Day 2 Day Trip to Cajón de Maipo Santiago
Day 3 Transfer to Puerto Varas via Santiago  Puerto Varas
Day 4 Trek to Osorno Volcano & Paso Desolación Puerto Varas
Day 5 Kayak on the Reloncaví Fjord Puerto Varas
Day 6 Hike in Alerce Andino National Park Puerto Varas
Day 7 Depart Chile  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santiago, Explore

Hike or take a gondola up to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal
A view of Santiago from the cable car leading to Cerro San Cristóbal

Welcome to Chile! Upon arrival at Santiago International Airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to explore the city. Snap photos of the Palacio de la Moneda, Chile's opulent presidential palace, a short stroll from the Plaza de Armas. Next, stroll the cobblestone streets of Barrio Bellavista to see colorful houses, vibrant street art, and an eclectic array of eateries and bars that are great for people-watching.

For dinner, enjoy a culinary adventure in the city. In recent years, Santiago has emerged as a global foodie destination as Chilean chefs reinvent traditional dishes, like empanadas and cazuelas (stews), with ingredients sourced from the Atacama Desert and the southern Patagonian region. You'll find great restaurants and wine bars in the Bellavista neighborhood and the revitalized historic districts of Yungay and Italia. Head back to your hotel to get some rest before tomorrow's day trip to the countryside.

Day 2: Day Trip to Cajón de Maipo

Landscapes in Cajón del Maipo near Santiago, Chile

Today's adventure will take you outside of the city of Santiago and into the neighboring Maipo Valley. As you navigate the winding roads into the valley, you'll see why Cajón del Maipo is known as the adventure capital of the larger Santiago area. Throughout the year, the region attracts outdoor enthusiasts for cycling, trekking, rafting, and camping.

Stop in the small town of San José del Maipo, where you'll have the chance to walk around this historic settlement and get a feel for the local population. Throughout the day, your guide will lead you to different spots in the area for short hikes, visits to small villages, and scenic lookout points. At the end of the tour, you'll stop near a beautiful waterfall for a picnic lunch before returning to the city.

Day 3: Transfer to Puerto Varas via Santiago

The village of Puerto Varas
A view of the village of Puerto Varas

This morning you'll fly from Santiago to Puerto Varas on the deep blue Lake Llanquihue. Drop your luggage at the hotel, have a leisurely lunch, and then explore the village. Puerto Varas is known for its Germanic heritage, visible in its 19th- and early 20th-century architecture. Stroll on the waterfront, viewing the snow-capped Andean peaks in the distance. You'll venture out to discover the surrounding landscapes the next day after a relaxing evening in Puerto Varas.

Day 4: Trek to Osorno Volcano & Paso Desolación

Petrohué Falls with Osorno in the background
Petrohué Falls with Osorno in the background
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Today's excursion leaves from Puerto Varas, traveling along Llanquihue Lake and continuing northeast toward the Osorno Volcano. Along the way, pass the mouth of the Río Pescado (Fish River) and the villages of La Poza and Los Riscos. Head toward the base of the volcano to begin today's six-hour hike.

The trek starts on the trail that leads to Lake Todos Los Santos. During the 7.5-mile (12 km) walk, take in spectacular views of the Tronador and Puntiagudo volcanoes, the snow-covered summits of the Andes, and the lake's emerald waters. The name of this trail, Paso Desolación (Desolation Path), refers to the low-lying vegetation of lichens and shrubs that frame panoramic views along the route. Return to Puerto Varas for the evening. 

Day 5: Kayak on the Reloncaví Fjord

Kayaking on the Reloncaví Estuary
Paddling on the Reloncaví Estuary

After an early breakfast, depart your hotel in Puerto Varas and ride 40 minutes east to Ensenada. Pick up your gear and choose between a single or tandem kayaking expedition, then continue to the town of Ralún and the mouth of Patagonia's northernmost fjord: Reloncaví. You'll put in on the shores of this estuary and begin the journey south. After enjoying a traditional lunch and freshly brewed coffee at a family farm, you'll take a short tour around the woods. Then it's time to get back on the water.

The schedule for the rest of the trip involves little more than enjoying the scenery as you glide along the fjord's surface. Surrounding you will be vast panoramas featuring the snow-capped Yate and Hornopirén volcanoes. Flying overhead, you'll spot birds like pelicans and cormorants, and frolicking in the water beside you, look for sea lions, dolphins, and the occasional penguin. The kayak excursion ends at Cochamó, a village that sits on the coast between the Andes and the Pacific. Transfer back to Puerto Varas for the evening.

Day 6: Hike in Alerce Andino National Park

Dense foliage in Alerce Andino National Park

Today, you'll get another early start for a full day of trekking. After breakfast, you'll depart Puerto Varas for the 30-minute journey to Puerto Montt. Then it's another 30 minutes south to the coastal town of Lenca, the gateway to Alerce Andino National Park.

Today's trek follows a route that runs along the edge of the Chaicas River. The scenery in this part of Chile's Lake District is nothing short of spectacular. You'll pass through great swaths of unique, temperate forests abounding with mañio, tepa, arrayán, and alerce trees. Take breaks at Lagos Chaiquenes and Triangulo, a pair of glassy mountain lagoons that are excellent spots for bird-watching. At the end of the trek, you'll return to Puerto Varas.

Day 7: Depart Chile

Take a morning stroll in Puerto Varas

The adventure has come to an end. After breakfast, your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport to catch your flight home. Safe travels!

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Map of Active Chilean Patagonia: Lakes & Volcanoes - 7 Days
Map of Active Chilean Patagonia: Lakes & Volcanoes - 7 Days