Bring your kids' geography lessons to life as you visit waterfalls, glaciers, lakes, and caves on this Patagonian adventure! Begin by wandering around Chile's capital city while daring your children to try the local delicacies. Then, fly to Punta Arenas, the gateway to Chilean Patagonia. Board a boat to an island filled with penguins, and see strange natural wonders, such as the Milodón caves and the Devil's Seat. Finish your trip with a trek past Andean condors—the largest flying bird in the world.


  • Get up close and personal with Chile's largest penguin colony
  • Enter gigantic caves and discover turquoise lakes in Torres del Paine National Park
  • Visit remote glaciers by boat and feast on a Patagonian barbecue
  • Spot huge condors as you trek past waterfalls and mountains

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santiago, Afternoon City Tour Santiago
Day 2 Fly to Punta Arenas & Chilean Patagonia Punta Arenas
Day 3 Penguin Colony on Magdalena Island, Transfer to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 4 Full-Day Tour of Torres del Paine National Park Puerto Natales
Day 5 Boat Tour to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers Puerto Natales
Day 6 Trekking & Condor Watching Puerto Natales
Day 7 Fly to Santiago, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santiago, Afternoon City Tour

Try local delicacies on a tour of Santiago's busy markets and plazas

Welcome to Chile's vibrant capital, Santiago! A driver will be at the airport to welcome your family and transfer you to your city-center hotel. After taking some time to relax and unwind, let the little ones stretch their legs after the journey and head out to explore the city on a guided 3.5-hour excursion. 

Start by wandering the aisles of Santiago's labyrinthine Mercado Central. This market is the beating heart of the city, overflowing with vendors and locals eager to get their hands on the day's fresh produce. Dare the kids to try charqui de caballo (dried horse meat) or chunchules con harina tostada (intestines with toasted wheat flour). Pickier eaters can stick with fresh fruit juices and the ever-popular tamales.

Next, visit the Plaza de Armas, located in Santiago's historic center and founded in 1541. You'll finish your tour at Cerro Santa Lucía, a great place to take some family pictures against a panoramic backdrop of the city. Spot famous landmarks like the Gran Torre Santiago (also known as the Costanera Center), the tallest building in Latin America. Head back down to the city center and grab some dinner before getting some rest for the night.

Day 2: Fly to Punta Arenas & Chilean Patagonia

Welcome to the gateway to Chilean Patagonia!

Wake up early to catch a four-hour flight to Punta Arenas in the south of Chile. Upon arrival at Punta Arenas Airport, a driver will take you to your hotel. You're now in the major transport hub in one of the most beautiful regions of Chile. If time permits, take a guided two-hour tour of this interesting city. Or, explore on your own terms. Wherever you go, start at the central Plaza Muñoz Guerrero, a leafy square surrounded by neoclassical mansions once owned by rich sheep-ranching families.

If the kids are dying to get out into the wild, then head to the nearby Reserva Nacional Magallanes for the afternoon. This 33,000-acre (13,350 ha) reserve is filled with native trees and short hiking paths. Come back to Punta Arenas in time to see the sun go down over the Patagonian wilderness from Mirador Cerro de la Cruz. Be sure to head out in the evening and enjoy a local dinner. Seafood is a staple, so see if you can convince the kids to sample local specialties, like chupe de centolla (king crab souffle), as well as oysters, scallops, and other shellfish.

Day 3: Penguin Colony on Magdalena Island, Transfer to Puerto Natales

Get up close to thousands of penguins!

Get up bright and early this morning and take a cab to a pier on the Strait of Magellan. From there, board a vessel that will take you 16 miles (25 km) northeast to Isla Magdalena in approximately 1.5 hours. On this island is Los Pingüinos Natural Monument, a protected area home to Chile's largest colony of penguins. But don't just watch from a distance! Meet the 170,000 tuxedoed residents on a walk around the island and take some pictures of the sweeping views from the old lighthouse.

Once back in Punta Arenas, get the bus to Puerto Natales. While a three-hour journey with kids usually calls for iPads, books, and games, the passing views of Patagonia will likely have you all hooked. Check in to your hotel and spend the rest of the evening relaxing at your new lodgings and exploring the town.

Day 4: Full-Day Tour of Torres del Paine National Park

Enter the huge Cueva del Milodón and take selfies with the prehistoric sloth replica

Discover all of the hidden wonders in Torres del Paine National Park today on a full-day guided excursion into its wilderness. Drive 15 miles (24 km) north with your guide to the Cueva del Milodón—the largest cave in a network of caves and houses. Learn about the differences between stalactites and stalagmites and find out just how big a giant prehistoric sloth—called a mylodon—would have been with a life-size replica. The kids are bound to want selfies with this one!

Continue your journey and become entranced with spooky local legends about the Silla del Diablo (Devil's Chair)—a rock formation shaped like a seat. Reach Lago Grey, rimmed with mountains, and stretch your legs on a stroll to the Lago Grey viewpoint. Stop for a picnic lunch prepared by your guide, and continue to the turquoise Salto Grande waterfall and the impressive Lago Nordenskjöld viewpoint. Wind your way along a scenic route that takes you past the Laguna Amarga (Bitter Lagoon) and gradually return to Puerto Natales for the night.

Day 5: Boat Tour to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers

Build up the anticipation as you head toward massive glaciers
Plan your trip to Chile
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

This morning, head to the dock near Puerto Natales and hop on a boat bound for Balmaceda Glacier, located at the southern end of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. The park is only accessible by foot or by boat, and this seven-hour day tour follows the Seno Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound) from Puerto Natales to the glacier.

Keep your camera close during this scenic boat ride, where you'll be treated to vast, panoramic views of native forests composed of coihue, canelo, and lenga beech trees. You're also likely to spot sea lions as you head north toward the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers. Disembark and get up close to these enormous ice structures on land. From here, a short, child-friendly hike leads you to a local estancia (ranch), where the kids can meet the resident animals and pets before enjoying a traditional Patagonian barbecue. As the day draws to a close, return to Puerto Natales for the evening.

Day 6: Trekking & Condor Watching

See one of the biggest bird species in the wild!
Wake up and have breakfast at a leisurely hour this morning before joining your guide on a drive to a Patagonian ranch on Lago Sofia. From here, you'll start an easy hike to watch the majestic condors—one of the world's largest flying birds. This is bound to be a favorite activity for any wildlife-loving kids, who'll be holding their breaths as they wait to spot the next condor! Pass by waterfalls and cliffs, and stop for a reviving snack while keeping your eyes peeled for interesting wildlife. Loop back round to your starting point, and enjoy the scenic ride back to your Puerto Natales hotel.

Day 7: Fly to Santiago, Depart

Say a fond farewell to Puerto Natales
Today, look back on all of the memories made on your Patagonian adventure. Depending on flight schedules, you'll have a transfer to the Puerto Natales airport and fly to Santiago or to the bus terminal and take a bus to Punta Arenas and board your flight from there. Once back in Santiago, connect to your onward flight home. Buen viaje!

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Map of Chilean Patagonia for Families: Caves, Glaciers & Wildlife - 7 Days
Map of Chilean Patagonia for Families: Caves, Glaciers & Wildlife - 7 Days