Unveil Chile's diverse highlights from north to south with this far-reaching, two-week family trip. From Santiago, you'll fly to the otherworldly Atacama Desert for stargazing and gentle hikes through its lunar landscapes. Encounter enigmatic moái statues and play on the volcanic beaches of Easter Island, then fly south to Patagonia to finish your adventure amid the penguins of Isla Magdalena and the dazzling mountain landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park.


  • Stargaze under the world's clearest skies in the Atacama Desert
  • Discover the mysterious moái and ancient culture of Easter Island
  • Make friends with the fluffy Magellanic penguins of Isla Magdalena
  • Take family hikes through the famed landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park
  • Cruise to jaw-dropping glaciers and stop for lunch at a traditional estancia

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santiago, Family-Friendly City Tour Santiago
Day 2 Fly to San Pedro de Atacama, Astronomy in the Atacama Desert San Pedro de Atacama
Day 3 Hidden Desert Lagoons Adventure San Pedro de Atacama
Day 4 Explore Yerbas Buenas, Rainbow Valley & the Valley of the Moon  San Pedro de Atacama
Day 5 Free Time in San Pedro de Atacama, Fly to Santiago Santiago
Day 6 Fly to Easter Island, Self-Guided Tour of the Island Easter Island
Day 7 Easter Island Highlights Tour Easter Island
Day 8 Orongo Village & Ahu Akivi Tour Easter Island
Day 9 Free Morning in Easter Island, Fly to Santiago Santiago
Day 10 Fly to Punta Arenas, Guided City Tour  Punta Arenas
Day 11 Visit Isla Magdalena Penguin Colony, Transfer to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 12 Explore Torres del Paine National Park  Puerto Natales
Day 13 Boat Tour to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers Puerto Natales
Day 14 Fly to Santiago, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santiago, Family-Friendly City Tour

Wander the pretty streets of Santiago
Wander the pretty streets of Santiago to get your bearings in the Chilean capital

Welcome to Santiago! Chile's vibrant and relaxed capital teems with culture, history, and family-friendly activities. Your driver will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your downtown hotel. Settle in after your flight, then head out to meet your guide and discover this lively Latin American metropolis. Start at Mercado Central, the city's beating heart, where you'll have fun meeting the stallholders and sampling delicious local produce along the way. 

Afterward, visit the Plaza de Armas, Santiago's historic town square. This is the place to grab a cool drink and people-watch as your guide relays tales of the city's past. Don't miss the Catedral Metropolitana, an impressive neoclassical church that dominates the western side of the plaza. You'll finish your tour with a walk up to the hills of Santa Lucia or San Cristóbal to admire the panoramic views of the city. See if the kids can spot the Gran Torre Santiago (the Costanera Center), the tallest building in Latin America, before finding a spot to dine in and toast the start of your trip.

Day 2: Fly to San Pedro de Atacama, Astronomy in the Atacama Desert

See star trails in the Atacama desert
See star trails in the Atacama Desert with the help of high-powered telescopes

Swap bustling Santiago for the remote desert outback today with a flight to Calama, in Chile's far north. Your adventure starts as soon as you touch down and meet your driver for the 1.5-hour journey to the remote outpost of San Pedro de Atacama, the launching point for adventures into the Atacama Desert. As you pass evocative, ancient landscapes featuring towering Andean peaks and endless salt flats backed by red-hued mountains in the volcanic Cordillera Domeyko, you and the kids will feel like you've arrived on another planet. 

Reach your hotel and get a bite to eat before tonight's star-studded excursion. As dusk falls, you'll meet your guide and take a short drive to the Altiplano, a plateau surrounded by volcanoes, which reaches 12,000 feet (3,660 m) above sea level—the ideal conditions for stargazing. Aided by your experienced guide, discover the basics of astronomy so you and the kids are prepped for what to look out for. Then, as night descends, you'll use high-powered telescopes to view galaxies, nebulae, and an array of celestial objects as you create lifelong memories with the kids.

Day 3: Hidden Desert Lagoons Adventure

See the hidden Baltinache Lagoons
Visit and float in the salt-laden waters of the Baltinache Lagoons

Familiarize yourselves with more of the desert's gems today with a trip to the Lagunas Escondidas de Baltinache (Hidden Lagoons of Baltinache). These seven saltwater lagoons dot the sugar-white terrain of Atacama's Cordillera del Sal (Salt Mountain Range) and feature startling bright turquoise waters. Your family will have the opportunity to swim in two of them, and thanks to the high volume of salt, the kids will love the experience of bobbing around in the buoyant waters.

There's more floating fun this afternoon with a guided tour of Laguna Cejar, set amid the Atacama Desert's salt flats. Bathe in the clear topaz waters before continuing to the Ojos del Salar (Salt Eyes). Almost otherworldly in appearance, these two crater-like lagoons are flanked by the Domeyko and Andes mountains. The kids will enjoy keeping an eye out for the resident flamingoes and foxes as you watch the sunset over the water at Laguna Tebenquiche. It's an enchanting sight, with the surrounding hills reflected on the pool's surface.

Day 4: Explore Yerbas Buenas, Rainbow Valley, & the Valley of the Moon 

Hike through the otherworldly Yerbas Buenas terrain
Explore the otherworldly terrain of the Valley of the Moon

Today's adventures begin after breakfast with a trip to Yerbas Buenas to see the ancient engravings carved into the desert rocks. The journey sets the scene with the vast desert plains amid the preternatural rocks and mountains, resembling a sci-fi movie landscape. With your guide, you and your young explorers will see one of Chile's most important archaeological sites and discover the petroglyphs made by the Atacameños people. The kids will be fascinated by stories of the vast distances traveled by the tribe in llama-led caravans to exchange goods with other tribes.

Continue your journey through Matancilla, an area rich in flora and fauna, until you reach the Valle del Arcoíris (Rainbow Valley), named for the variety of tones that can be seen in the surrounding hills made of clay and plutonic rocks. It's a great spot to capture a pic with your family against the unusual backdrop of the red, blue, gray, green, white, and yellow rocks. 
Plan your trip to Chile
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Return to San Pedro and break for lunch before picking up your discovery of the Atacama Desert's geological wonders this afternoon with a guided tour of the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon). You'll visit the Cordillera del Sal's unique salt caves and the Three Marias, stone formations carved out by wind and salt over millions of years. Even weary teens will be impressed when the sun sets over the desert, painting the mountains in shades of pink and red while the mighty Licancabur volcano looms overhead.

Day 5: Free Time in San Pedro de Atacama, Fly to Santiago

Free time in San Pedro de Atacama
Spend a relaxed morning in the tiny town of San Pedro before your flight to Santiago

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and some free time this morning to explore San Pedro with your family. It's possible to walk around the entire town in around 15 minutes, so take your time, browse the artisan crafts and pottery at the souvenir shops, and enjoy a cool drink at one of the local cafés. If the kids were wowed by their night under the stars, the town's Meteorite Museum is a great bet. Learn about the solar system's origins and see the collection of meteorites, some of which the kids can touch.

Despite San Pedro's tiny size, there's plenty of history to be found as you stroll the dusty streets. Chile's second-oldest church can be found here; the small whitewashed Church of San Pedro de Atacama in the town center dates back to 1540 and contains a three-tiered Baroque altar, the only one of its kind in Chile. Depending on your flight time later today, lunch at one of the local eateries (you'll find a varied choice of restaurants here) before transferring to Calama airport for your flight back to Santiago, where you'll lodge overnight at the airport hotel.

Day 6: Fly to Easter Island, Self-Guided Tour of the Island

Welcome to Easter Island
Discover ancient customs and culture in Rapa Nui (Easter Island)

Your South American experience continues this morning with an early 5.5-hour flight to one of the world's remotest islands. Rapa Nui, or Easter Island as it's more commonly known, was formed by volcanic rock 2.5 million years ago. Famous for its 900 towering moái stone figures, with some reaching a height of 32 feet (10 m), they were fashioned by the Polynesian settlers after they arrived in 800 CE.

After a transfer to your accommodation, settle in and spend the rest of the day exploring the island. Its compact size (63 sq mi/ 163 sq km) makes it easy to navigate, and there's plenty to ignite the kids' curiosity. Start with a visit to the Museo Antropológico Sebastián Englert. This anthropology museum brings Rapa Nui's history to life with exhibits including ancient tools, sculptures, and totems. 

The island's main town, Hanga Roa, is home to 3,000 residents, or roughly 87 percent of the island's inhabitants. Its laid-back coastal vibe makes it an excellent stop for dinner with the kids. Try the local ceviche, empanadas stuffed with fresh tuna, and try the regional specialties—po'e (a pumpkin and plantain cake) and taro ice cream. End your first day with a hike to Ahu Tahai, the island's most well-known ahu (ceremonial platform), where the sun sets directly behind the iconic moái figures, creating a memorable finish to your evening. 

Day 7: Easter Island Highlights Tour

See Easter Island's magnificent Moai
See Easter Island's magnificent moái

Breakfast at your hotel and spend the day discovering the island's geographical and cultural highlights with a guided tour. Your first stop is Ahu Te Pito Kura, where a unique rock structure featuring a central stone will be sure to fire the little ones' imaginations. Legend has it that the stone was brought over by a king of the first tribes and supposedly still emits spiritual power. Then, it's off to the bright-green Ranu Raraku, an impressive volcanic crater where the island's moái and other statues were made. 

Stop for a picnic at Ahu Tongariki, the largest ceremonial platform on the island, where you and the kids can wander around the spectacular sight of the 15 moái displayed in a row and enjoy the gentle rolling scenery. After a visit to another ancient ceremonial platform, Ahu Akahanga, you'll finish the day on the beautiful white sands of Anakena Beach. Go for a dip in the warm waters of the Pacific, play on the beach with the kids, or laze under a palm. You'll be dropped back at your hotel in time for you to enjoy dinner out with the family.

Day 8: Orongo Village & Ahu Akivi Tour

Rano Kau Volcano
Visit the remarkable Rano Kau volcano

There are more treasures to uncover on today's tour, and you'll start with a journey back in time to the 16th century and a visit to the remains of the village of Orongo on the island's southwest corner. Famous as the site of the island's "Birdman" era, Orongo became the ceremonial stage for a belief system that took root in the 1500s and saw islanders compete annually to be crowned Rapa Nui's next chief. You'll have the opportunity to see many ancient Birdman-related rock carvings as you explore the village.

Afterward, head to nearby Rano Kau, an extinct volcano with a crater lake at its center. It's a memorable spot to take in the panoramic views over the island while exploring the volcano's unusual geographical features. Finish your morning tour with a trip to Ana Kai Tangata, a remarkable sea cave with ancient paintings related to the Birdman mythology on the cave's ceiling. 

You'll have time to return to your hotel and grab some downtime and refreshments before this afternoon's tour takes you a mile inland to Ahu Akivi. This ceremonial platform doubled as a celestial observatory. It's a particularly sacred site and notable as the only Ahu where the statues face the water rather than inland. After a short hike to Ana Te Pahu, a cave adorned with bana trees at its entrance, and the Puna Pau volcano, your driver will take you back to your accommodation in time to enjoy your last evening on the island. 

Day 9: Free Morning in Easter Island, Fly to Santiago

Catch one more sunrise on the island
Catch one more sunrise on the Island before your flight to Santiago
It's your last morning on the island. Depending on your flight time, you'll likely have the morning at leisure to continue exploring, relax at your hotel, or stroll Hanga Roa and shop for souvenirs. Your driver will take you to the airport to catch your flight to Santiago at the appointed time. You'll arrive back in the capital in time for dinner, then head to your hotel for an early night.

Day 10: Fly to Punta Arenas, Guided City Tour 

Plaza de Armas, Punta Arenas
See the statue of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan in the Plaza de Armas

It's time for the next leg of your adventure this morning with a four-hour flight to Punta Arenas, the gateway to adventures into one of the country's most beautiful regions—Chilean Patagonia. The town's location on the Strait of Magellan, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific, makes it the perfect base for explorers heading into the surrounding wilderness to access some of the region's most impressive natural attractions, including Torres del Paine National Park and Isla Magdalena.

Settle in at your hotel, then find your feet with a guided city tour. Start with a stroll around the Plaza de Armas, a leafy central square lined with elegant French street lamps and a statue of the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. The surrounding neoclassical mansions, once owned by the moneyed sheep-ranching families of the 19th century, give an insight into the wealthy families that formed the beau monde of early Patagonian society. 

After you've parted ways with your guide and seen the main sights, consider taking the kids to the Nao Victoria Museo—a museum where they can explore a life-size replica of Magellan's ship and other historic vessels. If tummies are rumbling, enjoy dinner at one of the waterfront restaurants. Seafood is a staple here, so don't miss local specialties such as chupe de centolla (souffle of king crab) and an array of delicious shellfish. If the kids still have energy to burn afterward, head to Mirador Cerro de la Cruz, a great place to watch the sun go down over Patagonia. 

Day 11: Visit Isla Magdalena Penguin Colony, Transfer to Puerto Natales

Make friends with the Magellanic penguins
Make friends with the Magellanic penguins of Isla Magdalena

It's an early start this morning, which begins with a fun 1.5-hour boat trip across the Strait of Magellan to Isla Magdalena, home to Los Pingüinos Natural Monument, Chile's largest penguin colony with up to 170,000 of the adorable creatures. Ignite the kids' curiosity for adventure as you explore the area's natural beauty, hiking alongside penguins beside historic waters mapped by Magellan and made famous by Charles Darwin. 

If the weather allows, you'll stop off mid-strait at Isla Marta, where your mini wildlife enthusiasts can see the large colony of playful Patagonian sea lions. This rocky outpost is also home to several species of seabirds, where you can spot cormorants, skuas, and arctic pigeons. Arrive back in Punta Arenas in plenty of time for lunch before transferring to the bus terminal for your three-hour ride to Puerto Natales, located at the edge of Torres del Paine National Park and your base for the next three nights. 

Day 12: Explore Torres del Paine National Park

Explore the magnificent Torres del Paine National Park
Take some gentle family hikes around the lakes of Torres del Paine

Begin today's adventure with a journey into Torres del Paine National Park, an extraordinary area known for its soaring granite peaks, turquoise lakes, glaciers, and golden grasslands. On the way, you'll stop off at the fascinating Cueva del Milodón, a large cave network that's home to a life-size replica of a giant prehistoric sloth whose remains were discovered here in 1895. The kids will definitely need a selfie with this one! Pass by the Silla del Diablo (Devil's Chair) and hear spooky local legends about the seat-shaped rock formation from your guide.

Continue along the road, keeping your eyes peeled for the Cuernos del Paine, the Park's distinctive horn-shaped peaks. Arrive at Lago Grey, stretch your legs with a walk around the shores, and enjoy a lakeside picnic. Then, you'll continue to the Salto Grande waterfall and hike to the dazzling Lago Nordenskjöld viewpoint. The breathtaking views continue as you follow a winding route to Laguna Amarga (Bitter Lagoon). Afterward, you'll return to Puerto Natales via the Lago Sarmiento viewpoint for one last glimpse of the park.

Day 13: Boat Tour to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers

Explore the impressive Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers on today's trip
Explore the impressive Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers on today's boat trip

It's your final day in Patagonia, and this morning, you and the kids will don hats and mittens and hop on a boat bound for the Bernado O'Higgins National Park, home to the impressive hanging Balmaceda Glacier. The park is only accessible by foot or boat, and you'll follow the Seno Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound) from Puerto Natales to the glaciers. Keep your cameras close and get the kids to spot the sea lions you'll likely spot along the route and panoramic views of native forests lined with coihue, canelo, and lenga beech trees.

Once you reach the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers, you'll have plenty of time to disembark and view these enormous ice structures from the land. A short walk through the icy landscape takes you to a nearby estancia (ranch), where you and the kids will enjoy a traditional Patagonian asado (barbecue) of the region's famous beef and lamb dishes. Explore the ranch, considered one of Patagonia's most beautiful estancias, and then return to Puerto Natales. Spend your last night at one of the town's excellent restaurants for a special family dinner, and recount the highlights of your trip. 

Day 14: Fly to Santiago, Depart

Depart Chile
Say your farewells to Patagonia before your flight back to Santiago

It's the last day of your trip today. If time allows, explore Puerto Natales a little more. Take the kids for a stroll through the town center and do some souvenir shopping. Not far from the center, you'll find the Muelle Historico, a scenic old jetty, and an excellent spot for some family photos. The waterfront is also home to the Monumento al Viento, a striking sculptural tribute to the strong winds that can blow here. When it's time, head to either Puerto Natales or Punta Arenas airports, depending on your flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Epic Family Trip to Chile: Atacama Desert, Easter Island & Patagonia - 14 Days
Map of Epic Family Trip to Chile: Atacama Desert, Easter Island & Patagonia - 14 Days