On this two week trip, you’ll visit many of the classic places that have made Chile an iconic country for travelers and mountaineers alike. You’ll journey to places like the Atacama Desert and the Patagonian glaciers as you discover a land of myths and mountains. You’ll also have the chance to stay in Santiago and Valparaíso to get a sense of Chile’s city life.

Highlights

  • Visit the capital, Santiago, and the charming town of Castro
  • Experience the World's driest desert & walk Chile’s Moon Valley at sunset
  • Take a swim to find yourself floating in the Atacama Salt Flat
  • Hike in the mountains of the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers
  • Stop at Torres del Paine National Park and the Paine towers

Overview

You'll have the chance to enjoy Chile’s cosmopolitan centers and historic towns, but this trip is more about experiencing Chile’s vast natural landscapes. Imagine wide, open vistas of jagged granite peaks, desert volcanoes, mountain lakes, steaming geysers, glaciers, and wild forests.

You'll interact with locals that have carved villages out of hillsides and cultivated fresh produce from rocky valleys for generations. You’ll experience the remarkably resourceful and resilient Chilean spirit throughout your trip as you hike throughout the mountains and swim in alpine lakes. No better place depicts such cultural traits as Castro, a town built on stilts in a lake, and its "UNESCO World Heritage of Humanity" awarded church.

Brief itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Santiago de Chile Santiago
Day 2 Santiago de Chile - Valparaiso Valparaiso
Day 3 Valparaiso - Valleys of the Atacama Desert - San Pedro de Atacama San Pedro
Day 4 The Atacama lagunas - San Pedro de Atacama San Pedro
Day 5 Altiplanicas Lagoons - Piedras Rojas - San Pedro de Atacama San Pedro
Day 6 El Tatio Geysers - San Pedro de Atacama - Santiago de Chile Santiago
Day 7 Santiago de Chile - Puerto Montt - Puerto Varas Puerto Montt
Day 8 Puerto Varas - Castro Castro
Day 9 Castro - Puerto Varas Puerto Varas
Day 10 Puerto Varas - Puerto Montt - Punta Arenas - Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 11 Puerto Natales - Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers - Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 12 Puerto Natales - Torres del Paine National Park - Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 13 Puerto Natales - Punta Arenas - Santiago de Chile Santiago
Day 14 Santiago de Chile  

Detailed itinerary

Day 1: Santiago de Chile

You’ll arrive in Santiago where you’ll be transferred to your hotel by an English-speaking guide. Upon arrival, visit Chile's capital, nestled in the foothills of the Andes. Santiago has become a modern and bustling city, but today you will have the chance to discover the romantic ambiance of the historic quarters of the city. Stroll down cobblestone streets of Bellavista and visit the Plaza de Armas, San Francisco Church, and Cerro San Cristobal. Return to stay overnight in your hotel.

Day 2: Santiago de Chile - Valparaiso

This morning, your guide will meet you at your hotel at 9:00 a.m. to depart for the town of Valparaiso. After a short drive, you’ll arrive at a beloved mountain town with old neighborhoods listed as UNESCO World Heritage sites. You’ll see picturesque homes perched on hills, steep narrow streets, and a cable car railroad.

Take in the local atmosphere in the town’s central plaza and see street performers play timeless songs. Close by, walk up the street to visit La Sebastiana, one of Pablo Neruda's houses. We highly recommend having lunch in one of Valparaiso’s traditional seafood restaurants. Stay overnight in Valparaiso.

Day 3: Valparaiso - Santiago de Chile - Calama - Valleys of the Atacama Desert - San Pedro de Atacama

Today, receive a transfer to Santiago’s airport. Here, take a short morning flight from Santiago to Calama. When you arrive at Calama airport, you’ll be received by an English-speaking guide, who will accompany you on your drive from San Pedro de Atacama. San Pedro de Atacama is a miraculous oasis in the dead center of the driest desert on Earth.

Later in the afternoon, go from San Pedro and drive to the Salt Cordillera of Chile’s Moon Valley. Here, you’ll take a walk through a magnificent landscape made of sand dunes and sculpted calcareous mountains. Enjoy the sunset in the Moon Valley with an evening drink before returning to San Pedro.

Day 4: The Atacama lagunas - San Pedro de Atacama

This morning, leave San Pedro at 9 a.m. and head south towards the Atacama Salt Flat and the Laguna Céjar. After a short walk around a lake surrounded by mountains, swim in the lagoon to find that you are floating due to the extreme salt concentrations in the water. After a magical and unforgettable moment in the desert, drive to another lagoon, Ojos del Salar.

Enjoy another swim and end your day tour at Laguna Tebenquiche, where you will be able to enjoy the beautiful colors of the Licancabur Volcano. Return to San Pedro and have a relaxing afternoon. You may choose to take a walk around the San Pedro de Atacama, or you may want to simply relax at the swimming pool of your hotel. 

In the evening, you’ll join an astronomer at the San Pedro observatory for a tour of the southern sky. After 2 hours of looking through 10 different telescopes, the guide will give you an explain what you saw over a hot beverage before you head back to San Pedro. 

Note: Today's excursions are open to other tourists. The excursion will be canceled if the moon is full or if weather conditions make the journey impossible. Don’t forget your jackets and coats (the temperature can go down to - 15ºC in the winter).

Day 5: Altiplanicas Lagoons - Piedras Rojas - San Pedro de Atacama

Today, you’ll leave your hotel around 10:00 in the morning. You’ll have a full day to discover the Atacama Salt Flat and its surroundings. You’ll get to see many places that have created a myth and mystic surrounding Chile’s legendary landscapes. You’ll have the chance to discover the Quebrada de Jérez, the Chaxa, the Miscanti and Miñiques lagoons and their volcanoes. You’ll also have a chance to explore the vast Piedras Rojas landscape and the Tuyacto laguna. Enjoy lunch in the village of Socaire.

Return to San Pedro at the end of the afternoon and pass by the village of Toconao. Experiencing Toconao is like stepping into another time. You’ll have a chance to interact with locals as you stroll through the town’s historic church, central plaza, and craft market.

Day 6: El Tatio Geysers - San Pedro de Atacama - Calama - Santiago de Chile

Today, leave your hotel early in the morning, sometime between 4.30 and 6.00 depending on the vehicle, the number of passengers, and the season. You’ll arrive at Tatio at the perfect time to admire the sunrise and the geysers steaming in the cold air of the Altiplano. This valley is very geologically active and surreal. Boiling hot clear water springs (70°C/160°F) spurt from a frozen ground of volcanic formations.

After a few hours driving through the Machuca Valley, arrive at San Pedro. Next, join your English-speaking guide for a private transfer from your hotel to Calama airport. Stay overnight in Santiago.

Day 7: Santiago de Chile - Puerto Montt - Puerto Varas

This morning, depart on a flight from Santiago to Puerto Montt. Arrive at Puerto Montt and meet your English-speaking guide, who will take you in a private vehicle to Puerto Varas. After dropping your luggage at the hotel and having lunch, join your guide for a tour of the charming little village of Puerto Montt next to Llanquihue Lake. Enjoy the village’s cultural mix of German and Mapuche.

In the afternoon, drive to the famous Petrohue Waterfalls, where you'll have a great view of the Osorno volcano. At the end of the day, drive back to your hotel in Puerto Montt.

Day 8: Puerto Varas - Castro

Today, leave your hotel with your guide around 9:00 am in the morning to return to Puerto Montt. From Puerto Montt, drive up the Panamericana 5 highway to the port of Pargua. From here, take a ferry to Chiloe island. The ferry crossing takes approx. 30 minutes before you land in the village of Chacao. Next, you’ll visit the Puñihuil Penguins National Reserve before heading further south to Castro, the capital of the island.

Day 9: Castro - Puerto Varas

Today, leave your hotel with your guide around 9:00 a.m. to travel to a fascinating town on stilts, Castro. Here, you’ll have the chance to visit the Churches of Chiloé, which are classified as World Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Beyond the town, travel through fishing villages. Take a nice walk at the pace of this quiet island, which is centered on its fishing and agriculture activities. By late afternoon, return to the Puerto Varas by the same ferry, and return to your hotel.

Day 10: Puerto Varas - Puerto Montt - Punta Arenas - Puerto Natales

This morning, your guide will pick you up from Puerto Varas and take you to El Tepual airport (Puerto Montt). Next, hop on a short flight from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival to Punta Arenas, receive a transfer to Puerto Natales, a city close to the Señoret canal and Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most spectacular parks in South America.

Day 11: Puerto Natales - Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers - Puerto Natales

Today, depart from your hotel at 7:00 a.m. and travel towards Mount Balmaceda (2,035 m.) in the O'Higgins Park. This park is only explored by foot or by boat, and your journey into the park starts at the Puerto Natales dock. On your boat ride, take in the green scenery with views of the forests of Coihues, Canelos, and Lenga.

As you sail along the coast, cruise by sea lions and head north towards the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers. You’ll have the chance to access this wonderful site on foot and enjoy the view. You’ll also reach the Hosteria Perales, where a typical Patagonian barbecue will be served. Return in the afternoon to Puerto Natales.

Note: This 9-hour group trip runs daily from September to March and only on Sundays from April to August.

Day 12: Puerto Natales - Torres del Paine National Park - Puerto Natales

Depart from your hotel at 7:45 to go to Torres del Paine National Park, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1978. You’ll enter the park by the lagoon area to enjoy a panoramic view of the famous Paine towers, three impressive granite peaks.

Along the way, discover the Nordenskjold and Pehoe lakes and take a 45-minute walking tour of the site. See the cascade of del salto grande, the panorama of the Paine Massif and glacier, and the "Cuernos" del Paine. This iconic Chilean park will amaze you with its massive turquoise lakes and jagged peaks.

Day 13: Puerto Natales - Punta Arenas - Santiago de Chile

Today, you’ll take a private transfer to the Punta Arenas airport. Hop on a domestic flight from Punta Arenas to Santiago. Arrive in Santiago and receive a private transfer to your hotel.

Day 14: Santiago de Chile

This morning, a private shuttle will take you from your hotel to Santiago airport.

Map

Map of Wonders of Chile - 14 Days
Map of Wonders of Chile - 14 Days

Recent Trip Reviews

Related trips planned by kimkim specialists

Wonders of chile - 14 days, Chile - Feb 7 - Feb 21, 2018

Traveler: Sheila S. - Local specialist: Mariano Galindo

We were impressed by our guides along the way. In Santiago, Maria showed us the sights. She was very knowledgeable. Vivian picked us up at the airport and dropped us off for the flight home. She was lovely, stayed in contact on Whatsapp and was very helpful.
In St Pedro, the tours were interesting, guides Elaine and Sina were very good. Really enjoyed the Moon and Mars valley with Sina very much. She was a fountain of information. The wine and cheese at sunset was a nice surprise.
All went... read more

We were impressed by our guides along the way. In Santiago, Maria showed us the sights. She was very knowledgeable. Vivian picked us up at the airport and dropped us off for the flight home. She was lovely, stayed in contact on Whatsapp and was very helpful.
In St Pedro, the tours were interesting, guides Elaine and Sina were very good. Really enjoyed the Moon and Mars valley with Sina very much. She was a fountain of information. The wine and cheese at sunset was a nice surprise.
All went well in Puerto Varas and Chiloé. The car rental experience was excellent and it was nice to drive around and make our own plans. Parque Quilquico Hotel was outstanding. Lovely scenery, peaceful surroundings, great staff and fabulous food.
In Patagonia, we were met by the Los Torres driver, Hernan, who had lots of sights to point out and was very interesting. The Cerro Negro stop was nice. The Las Torres hotel was great. Glad we did the all inclusive. Room was comfortable, staff very helpful and the food was excellent. Even the box lunch was well done. The excursions were very interesting. Our guide, Steve, on the Full Paine was excellent, very knowledgeable and helpful. The horseback ride toLake Norgenskjol was fun, lovely horses and guides there too. All in all an unforgettable vacation!