Ideal for families nurturing keen young naturalists and explorers, this 10-day itinerary leads you through some of Chile's most beautiful places. Start in historic Santiago, then discover the Lake District's parks, fjords, and colonial towns. Head to Patagonia to hike and boat your way around the extraordinary Torres del Paine and Bernardo O'Higgins National Parks. Meet cute penguins, spot soaring condors, and marvel at ancient cave art as you follow in the footsteps of intrepid explorers of the past.


  • Tour the highlights of historic Santiago de Chile
  • Kayak through the beautiful landscape of Reloncaví Fjord
  • Make friends with a cute colony of Magellanic penguins
  • Hike through the stunning Torres del Paine National Park
  • Sail to the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santiago, Tour the Highlights Santiago
Day 2 Fly to Puerto Varas, Tour of Puerto Montt & Puerto Varas Puerto Varas
Day 3 Day Trip to Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park Puerto Varas
Day 4 Reloncaví Fjord Kayaking Puerto Varas
Day 5 Fly to Punta Arenas Punta Arenas
Day 6 Isla Magdalena Penguin Colony, Bus to Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 7 Explore Torres del Paine National Park  Puerto Natales
Day 8 Boat Trip to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers Puerto Natales
Day 9 Hike from Lago Sarmiento to Laguna Amarga  Puerto Natales
Day 10 Fly to Santiago, Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Santiago, Tour the Highlights

Explore historic Santiago with the family

Welcome to Santiago, Chile's vibrant capital! Your driver will meet you at the airport and transport you to your central city accommodation. Once you've settled in, head out and get a feel for this lively Latin American metropolis. A great place to take the city's pulse is the Mercado Central (Central Market). Have a bit of extra fun by taking a guided tour—your guide will help you and the kids navigate the maze-like streets and negotiate with the vendors to get the finest local treats at the best price.

Afterward, visit the Plaza de Armas, Santiago's historic town square. The whole family will enjoy the lively atmosphere, with abundant live music and street food. Make some time for the Catedral Metropolitana, the impressive neoclassical church dominating the western side of the plaza. Then make your way up to the hills of Santa Lucía or San Cristóbal for panoramic views. Get the kids to spot the Gran Torre Santiago (also known as the Costanera Center), the tallest building in Latin America, before grabbing some dinner in one of the excellent restaurants nearby and heading back to the hotel.

Day 2: Fly to Puerto Varas, Tour of Puerto Montt & Puerto Varas

Puerto Varas
Tour the towns of Lago Llanquihue

Rise early for your family's two-hour flight to Puerto Montt in Chile's Lake District. On arrival, your driver will take you to your accommodation in Puerto Varas, on the shores of Lago Llanquihue. Settle in, then take the kids out exploring on a guided tour. You'll spot a fascinating mix of German colonial architecture and Indigenous Mapuche culture as you stroll the flower-lined streets against the beautiful backdrop of the Osorno volcano. Highlights include the Old Town, where you'll find the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a replica of a German Black Forest church. 

Your tour also includes Puerto Montt, where you'll visit the central Plaza de Armas to see the cathedral and a monument to the German colonists. Next, you'll head to the Manuel Montt lookout for panoramic city views, then to Isla Tenglo, a traditional fishing settlement just a short boat ride from the city. You and the kids will be fascinated by the local legends and lifestyle. When you arrive back in Puerto Montt, you'll explore its picturesque port of Angelmó, where you and the kids can dine in authentic local restaurants or pick up some treats and handicrafts from the market before heading back to your accommodation.

Day 3: Day Trip to Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park

Petrohue waterfalls and Osorno Volcano
View the stunning Petrohué waterfalls and Osorno volcano

Take your intrepid little explorers into the exciting Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park for the day. Depending on the ages and fitness levels of the family, this park offers good car access to many of its sights, making it particularly suitable for smaller legs. Start at the Osorno Mountain Ski Center, 4,068 feet (1,240 m) above sea level, and linger over the views of the Calbuco volcano, Lago Llanquihue, and the Pacific Ocean. Take the lift even farther up to the glacier for the ultimate family photos. 

Continue to Petrohué and take an easy 30-minute walk with the kids through the native forest around the Saltos del Río Petrohué, one of Chile's most beautiful spots. You and the kids will be awed by the spectacular turquoise waters thundering through the centuries-old crystallized lava rock formations. Next up is Lago Todos Los Santos—take the family on a boat ride on the calm water, surrounded by majestic forests, mountains, and volcanoes. When you're ready, your driver will take you back to Puerto Varas, where a delicious dinner at one of the many authentic local restaurants awaits.

Day 4: Reloncaví Fjord Kayaking

Take the family kayaking through the Reloncaví Fjord
Plan your trip to Chile
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

This morning head out bright and early to the town of Ensenada, on the shore of Lago Llanquihue—the perfect base for a kayaking adventure. Pick up your gear and start your trip off with a technique and safety briefing. You'll have the choice of single or tandem kayaks, perfect if you have younger children. Your tour begins with some practice paddling in shallow waters before you and the kids head to the small village of Ralún and on through the Reloncaví Fjord. Then, it'll be time for lunch. Enjoy a traditional farm-style meal with locals before heading out for a short, scenic walk. 

Get back out on the water, and paddle the fjord at a leisurely pace. Surrounded by lush landscape and snowcapped volcanoes, you and the kids will have plenty of scope to spot birds, from pelicans to cormorants, as well as sea lions and penguins—this area is a haven for wildlife. The kids will be delighted to be accompanied by dolphins as they make their way through the fjord. Your trip ends at the village of Cochamó, a scenic spot between the Andes and the Pacific. Catch a bus back to Puerto Varas, arriving just in time for a well-deserved dinner. 

Day 5: Fly to Punta Arenas

Catch the spirit of exploration at Nao Victoria Museo, Punta Arenas

Take a two-hour flight deep into Chilean Patagonia today to reach Punta Arenas. On arrival, head to your hotel and settle in before you and the kids step out to explore the area. Punta Arenas' location on the Strait of Magellan, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific, makes it the perfect base for explorers heading into the surrounding wilderness or even to Antarctica. While the latter isn't on the cards for your family today, you'll find hints of the city's intrepid maritime past scattered throughout its streets.

Head to the main square to see the monument to Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (ensure your return to Punta Arenas by touching the lucky toe!) and read his story. A short stroll away, you'll find the Museo Regional de Magallanes, a mansion that has been converted into a museum giving a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the wealthy in early Patagonia. Alternatively, take the kids a short way out of town to the Nao Victoria Museo, where they can scamper around a life-size replica of Magellan's ship, as well as three other replicas of historic vessels. 

Day 6: Isla Magdalena Penguin Colony, Bus to Puerto Natales

Magellanic Penguin
Make friends with a cute colony of Magellanic Penguins 

Today's escapade is a fun boat trip across the Strait of Magellan to Isla Magdalena. After 1.5 hours, you'll be at your destination: Los Pingüinos Natural Monument, Chile's largest penguin colony. With up to 170,000 fluffy inhabitants, this small island is certainly a busy one! Take the kids up to the picturesque old lighthouse in the company of their new penguin friends and be rewarded with sweeping views out over the strait. Enjoy discovering the area's natural beauty with the kids beside the historic waters mapped by Magellan and made famous by Charles Darwin. 

If the weather allows, you'll also stop off mid-strait at Isla Marta, home to a large sea lion colony, as well as several species of seabird: your budding nature photographers can capture cormorants, skuas, arctic pigeons, and more. Head to your vessel and make the journey back to your accommodation. You should arrive back at your hotel by midday, allowing plenty of time for lunch before you load the kids onto the bus to Puerto Natales, the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park, and your base for the next four nights. 

Day 7: Explore Torres del Paine National Park 

Look for wild guanacos in Torres del Paine
Enjoy outdoor family fun in Torres del Paine National Park

Pull on your walking shoes this morning and get ready to discover the extraordinary Torres del Paine National Park for yourselves! First up, though, it's a stop-off at the fascinating Cueva del Milodón, the largest of a cave network and famously home to a life-size replica of a mylodon (well-preserved remains of the giant prehistoric sloth were discovered here in 1895). You'll also pass by the distinctive Silla del Diablo (Devil's Chair) rock formation, the subject of plenty of local lore. 

As you head along the road, get the kids to keep their eyes peeled for the Cuernos del Paine (Paine Horns), the peaks that gift the park its distinctive skyline. Arriving at Lago Grey, you'll have time for a pleasant walk along its shores and a picnic in the park. After lunch, continue to the Salto Grande waterfall and the Lago Nordenskjöld viewpoint for panoramic vistas. Follow the route to Laguna Armarga, enjoying the scenery along the way. When you're all hiked out, head back to Puerto Natales—be sure to stop off at the Lago Sarmiento viewpoint on the way for today's last glimpse of this beautiful region. 

Day 8: Boat Trip to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers

View of Serrano Glacier
Take the kids on a boat trip to Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers

Put your sea legs to work today as you swap your hiking boots for a boat trip to Balmaceda Glacier in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. Take the full-day trip, which follows the Seno Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound) all the way from Puerto Natales to the glaciers. You and the kids will have plenty of chances to take fantastic photos; the sound is lined with extensive native forests of coihue, canelo, and lenga beech trees, and you're also likely to spot sea lions along the way.

Once you reach the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers, you'll disembark the boat and enjoy these enormous ice structures from the land. A short walk takes you to a nearby estancia (ranch), where a traditional Patagonian asado (barbecue) awaits you and your hungry kids. Enjoy the region's famous lamb and beef dishes, and, if you have time, take a look around—the estancia is known as one of Patagonia's most beautiful and is still fully operational. Afterward, your driver will transport you back to Puerto Natales. 

Day 9: Hike from Lago Sarmiento to Laguna Amarga 

Hiking Torres del Paine
Spend the day hiking in Torres del Paine National Park

It's back to Torres del Paine today to explore some of the lesser-known parts of the park. This time you'll enter near Lago Sarmiento and take an easy hourlong hike to view 6,000-year-old old cave paintings made by Patagonia's first settlers. This trail is also great for spotting wildlife—as you pass by Laguna Blanquillos, you'll be close to nesting sites for many native birds, including upland geese and black-necked swans. Encourage the kids to walk quietly and see what they can discover.

Continue walking to the Laguna Amarga gate, the park's main access. From here, you'll drive to Paine Waterfall, a scenic backdrop to a well-deserved picnic break! You'll have a fantastic view of the park's three granite torres (towers). After your break, you'll head out hiking again toward the Cañadón Macho. Nature photographers, keep your cameras at the ready—guanacos, gray foxes, black-chested eagles, and even pumas are on the list of animals you're likely to see. With their 10-foot (3 m) wingspan, you can't miss Andean condors as they fly overhead—this is the perfect place to see these rare birds. As the afternoon draws to a close, your driver will transport you back to Puerto Natales. 

Day 10: Fly to Santiago, Depart

Puerto Natales old jetty
Take a stroll to the Muelle Historico in Puerto Natales
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— 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 Family Tour of Chile's Lake District & Patagonia - 10 Days
Map of Family Tour of Chile's Lake District & Patagonia - 10 Days