Updated: Aug 7, 2020
Chile is such a diverse and amazing destination, that I recommend spending at least 10 days when you make your visit! I only went for 10 days and it was not enough! I plan to go back to visit Southern Patagonia. From the driest desert in the world in the north to eternal glaciers and waterfalls down south, Chile has everything an active traveler is looking for.
In this post, you can see details on the custom trip that I created for myself -- I can do all of this and more for you too! Please call me at 504-834-7000 or email me at email@example.com for your own tailor-made trip to Chile!
Best time to visit: Chile’s seasons are opposite to the US, so the best time to visit October to March. If you are wanting to visit Patagonia, visiting in shoulder season of late September or early May will allow you to have great experiences without the crowds.
What to pack: Being such a long country with a wide variety of weather in each region, you need to pack for all types of weather! Research each region you plan to visit to help you pack best. I recommend having hiking gear, layers, and a light rain jacket for everywhere you plan to go.
Highlights from my Trip:
- Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar
- Lakes District in northern Patagonia
- Ancud Island
- Local hospitality
- Wine tasting in Colchagua Valley
- DOGS everywhere!!
We spent two nights in Santiago. While there, we did a private city tour and a day trip to Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar. During the private city tour, we explored the city’s capitol and history. Highlights and major sites from this tour included: Plaza de Armas, La Moneda Palace, the bohemian neighborhood of Bellavista, San Cristobal Hill, and Santa Lucia Hill. Bellavista was my favorite neighborhood in Santiago, so if you plan to stay in Santiago, select a hotel in this area!
The surrounding park for San Cristobal Hill is amazing, so I recommend spending at least an afternoon exploring! The views from the top of Santa Lucia Hill are gorgeous! And the space itself is a great place to relax and enjoy the skyline of Santiago. There is so much history from the Santa Lucia Hill, so having a guide explain this put so much context to the buildings, statues, and plaques in the area.
Views from Santa Lucia Hill
Views from San Cristobal Hill
Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar
We only took a half day tour to visit both places and it was not enough. If I were to re-do my trip, I would spend only one night in Santiago and two nights in Valparaiso. The entire coastal city of Valparaiso is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It is a labyrinth of cobbled alleys and colorful cities. There is no other place like it and it is so amazing to walk around and explore. See below for some of the street murals.
Vina Del Mar is known as the “Garden City” and famous for its flower clock. If you love to gamble, Vina Del Mar has a beautiful casino that is great for nightlife.
We spent 5 nights in the Lakes District of Chile, and it was the top highlight of our vacation! We stayed at the Cumbres Hotel in Puerto Varas which had phenomenal views of Lake Llanquihue and Volcan Osorno. Most of the time this region is under a blanket of clouds, but we were lucky enough to have sun and clear skies for the duration of out stay.
Our first day here, we visited Volcan Osorno and Petrohue Falls. The second day, we visited Ancud on the island of Chiloe, Penguin Colony, and Puerto Elvira Farm. Chiloe was gorgeous and so authentic that I wish we had extra time to spend a night or two here to explore more of the island. The third day, we visited Frutillar. Fruitillar is a charming city next to Llanquihue Lake and home to Teatro del Lago, a $20 million dollar concert hall which hosts the biggest Chilean classical music festival annually.
Volcano Osorno, Lake Llanquihue, and Petrohue Falls
Ancud, Penguin Colony, and Puerto Elvira Farm
After a flight back to Santiago, we picked up our rental car and drove about an hour and a half to a charming bed & breakfast in Santa Cruz. Chile is one of the few places in the world that makes Carmenere wine. Carmenere wine is so unique and blended with the different red varieties in the area which makes wine tasting in the region a special treat for visitors! While in the region, we visited several wineries: Apalta, Montes, Santa Cruz, and Laura Hartwig.
Our favorite wines were from Apalta and Montes and our favorite place to eat was at Fuegos De Apalta located at the base of Vina Montes. The dinning experience here was one of the best I have ever had – the food, the wine, the service, the ambiance – everything was so amazing that we dined there twice! If you love wine – there is a cool wine route you can experience through Argentina and Chile stopping at different wineries along the way. We met an Australia family that was doing this self-guided wine trip and they recommended it!
Pictures from different wineries in Santa Cruz, Chile
Dog Lovers Go To Chile!
Oh, to be a dog in Chile! Never before have I seen strays looked after so well as in Chile’s capital. Dogs everywhere here smile up at you, happy and healthy. Their coats shine and there’s a plumpness to their bodies you don’t normally see in animals on the street. One of the reasons the dogs here are so healthy is because the locals have taken it on themselves to feed them. The animals are part of the community, part of the city’s population, and are treated with respect. The dogs happily stroll the streets like they own them, they sit underneath your table at al fresco restaurants, and they play with each other in the park.
People even build kennels in some areas so the animals have somewhere to sleep. The dog bowls in front of these kennels seemed to always be well-stocked too. See below for some of the happy dogs I saw while on my travels through Chile!
If you haven't been to Chile yet, go! This destination is so diverse, beautiful, and relatively unknown to tourist yet. It's a truly authentic vacation you won't forget!
I can do all of this and more for your own trip to Chile! Let me help you plan your own AMAZING itinerary!! Call me at 504-834-7000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to get started planning! You can also book a consultation time with me by clicking here.