Spend a week making family memories on this outdoor-oriented family tour of Chilean Patagonia. Start in Santiago, getting to know the capital on a child-friendly tour before flying south to the Lake District, where little ones can paddle in Lago Llanquihue and meet the adorable penguins of Isla Chiloé. Continue south to Punta Arenas and the Strait of Magellan, and let the kids explore a life-size replica of the HMS Beagle and spot frolicking dolphins on an adventurous boat tour.


  • Explore Chile's capital, Santiago, on a family-friendly tour
  • Observe Magellan and Humboldt penguins on Isla Chiloé
  • Spot Peale's dolphins near Punta Arenas
  • Look around the first Chilean settlement in Patagonia

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Santiago, Family-Friendly City Tour  Santiago
Day 2 Fly to Puerto Montt, Transfer to Puerto Varas Puerto Varas
Day 3 Isla Chiloé: Ancud, Caulin & Penguins Puerto Varas
Day 4 Fly to Punta Arenas, Nao Victoria Museum Punta Arenas
Day 5 Isla Magdalena Penguin Encounter Punta Arenas
Day 6 Dolphin-Watching Adventure Punta Arenas
Day 7 Explore Fort Bulnes, Fly to Santiago & Depart  

Detailed Itinerary

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

Family Friendly Santiago City Tour
Stop at Castillo Hidalgo and imagine all of the adventures that took place within the castle's walls

Welcome to Santiago, the capital city of Chile! Your driver will meet you at Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport and take you on the 30-minute drive to your hotel in the city center. After the kids have checked out your room, you can relax and settle in or, if you have the time and energy after your flight, head out to immerse yourselves straight into city life on a tour of Santiago that's been designed specifically for families.

When you're ready, you'll be picked up from your hotel and will visit La Moneda Palace, home to the government. In 1973 there was a military coup here, and you and the kids can learn all about this and other moments in Chilean history. Next, you'll visit the Plaza de Armas in Santiago's historic center, where there are often street performers. Here you can try street food that all of the family will enjoy, such as sopaipillas (fried dough with sweet or savory toppings) and mote con huesillo (a drink made with dried peaches, wheat berries, water, and cinnamon).

After you've eaten, climb to look out from the viewpoints on Cerro Santa Lucía and Cerro San Cristóbal. While walking up the ladder, stop at Castillo Hidalgo and imagine all of the adventures that took place within the castle's walls before heading to the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción statue at the hill's top. There will also be the option to visit Santiago Zoo if you have younger kids or to cool off at a swimming pool with amazing views during the summer months.

Then, it's on to the neighborhood of Providencia, where you'll visit the largest mall in South America, the Costanera Center, and the Costanera Tower, which is the tallest building in South America. On its 62nd floor, there's the Sky Costanera, with a 360-degree view of the city below and the Andes mountains. End the day in Araucano Park, where you can sip coffee while watching the youngsters playing and making new friends. There's a good selection of restaurants and other attractions near the park if you all have energy after your busy day!

Day 2: Fly to Puerto Montt, Transfer to Puerto Varas

Town of Puerto Varas with volcano Osorno on the background
Lakeside Puerto Varas lies in the northern Patagonian Lake District

You'll leave Santiago first thing today to head south to the city of Puerto Varas in Chile's famous Lake District of northern Patagonia. You'll be picked up and driven to the airport to catch a flight to Puerto Montt, which will take less than two hours. Once you've arrived, another driver will be waiting, ready to whisk you and your kids to your hotel in Puerto Varas.

After you've checked in, you have a free afternoon to explore. If the weather is warm, relax on Lago Llanquihue's shore or lake beach. It's a great spot for children who can swim, as the water is calm and not too deep. If it's too cool to take a dip, enjoy hot drinks with a lake view. After you've explored, introduce the kids to the local food, which is a cross between German and Chilean cuisine. Adventurous little ones may want to try crudo, a raw beef dish similar to steak tartare. Plus, the German-style cakes and chocolates are sure to be a winner with all of the family.

Day 3: Isla Chiloé: Ancud, Caulin & Penguins

Chiloe Fauna: Ancud, Caulin & penguins of Puñihuil
The stars of the show for the kids today will be the Magellan and Humboldt penguins of Isla Chiloé

The kids will be excited this morning as you're picked up early to drive to Pargua to board a ferry to Isla Chiloé. You'll cross the Chacao Channel and dock in the village of Chacao, where Spanish settlers first arrived in 1567 and where you can all admire buildings made out of larch wood. Follow the coastal route to get to Caulín, a coastal village known for oyster farming and its wildlife. Once there, you'll all board a boat to visit the islets where today's stars of the show live: the Magellan and Humboldt penguins. You'll be able to observe them from around 164 feet (50 m) away.

Next, you'll head to the town of Ancud on the north coast of Chiloé to look around San Antonio Fort, which was built at the end of the 18th century. You'll also visit UNESCO-listed churches, the town's Main Square, and the Mercado Municipal (Municipal Market). Once you've taken some family pictures, head back to Puerto Varas for a relaxing evening.

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Day 4: Fly to Punta Arenas, Nao Victoria Museum

The Nao Victoria Museum
Realistic replicas and life-size models of historic characters bring history alive at the Nao Victoria Museum

Leave Puerto Varas today to travel south to the city of Punta Arenas, which lies on the Strait of Magellan. You'll be picked up by your driver in the morning to transfer to the airport, allowing plenty of time to check in and navigate the airport with children before your two-hour flight. Upon arrival, you'll be picked up and driven to your hotel.

After you've all settled into your new room, ask the reception staff to book you a taxi for a 10-minute journey to the Nao Victoria Museum. Here, the kids can learn about the first ship to circumnavigate the earth, Ferdinand Magellan's The Victoria, plus other famous vessels such as the HMS Beagle, which you'll probably know because of Charles Darwin. Realistic replicas and life-size models of historical characters will help to bring history alive for younger members of your family, and the kids will love exploring the decks of some of the boats and posing for photographs.

Day 5: Isla Magdalena Penguin Encounter

Magdalenda Island - Pinguins Encounteer Half Day Tour
Isla Magdalena is home to one of the largest Magellanic penguin colonies in South America

The kids will bounce out of bed today after you tell them that you're visiting a colony of penguins on Isla Magdalena. You'll board a comfortable catamaran at Laredo Dock to sail to the island in the Strait of Magellan in around 90 minutes. You're likely to see plenty of the cute birds waddling around, as Isla Magdalena is home to one of the largest Magellanic penguin colonies in South America. There's also a lighthouse and other wildlife for you all to spot, including skuas, black-browed albatrosses, cormorants, and terns. Keep your eyes peeled for dolphins and sei whales as you travel too.

Day 6: Dolphin-Watching Adventure

Dolphins Watching - From Punta Arenas
Look out for Peale's dolphins today

There's more excitement in store this morning when you head out to spot dolphins. You'll be driven to Agua Fresca Bay, where you'll all be kitted out with waterproof gear and life jackets and given instructions for the trip. Then it's time to go to the beach to board your inflatable boat. Look out for Peale's dolphins while you're on the water, which often live in small groups of around 20. You can see them not too far from the coast, which makes this an ideal excursion for children. They may even come close to your boat to play in the waves!

After your trip, you'll get changed back into your normal clothes and return to Punta Arenas for the last evening of your family tour.

Day 7: Explore Fort Bulnes, Fly to Santiago & Depart

Fort Bulnes Visit
Fort Bulnes was the first Chilean settlement in Patagonia

It's the last day of your family tour today, and if you have time before your journey home, you'll be picked up first thing to drive around an hour south to the Strait of Magellan Park to tour Fort Bulnes. En route, you can stop at the monument showing the geographical center of Chile, considering the Antarctic territory. The fort was the first Chilean settlement in Patagonia, and in its visitor center, you'll all learn about both the Indigenous inhabitants and those who settled here. The cannons at the fort are always a hit with smaller children!

After you've looked around and taken your final family snaps of the trip, it's time to transfer to the airport to catch a flight back to the starting point of your tour, Santiago. From here, you'll connect with your flight to your onward destination. Safe travels!

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Map of Family Trip to Chilean Patagonia: History, Lakes & Wildlife - 7 Days
Map of Family Trip to Chilean Patagonia: History, Lakes & Wildlife - 7 Days