Last updated on December 31st, 2018 at 02:45 pm
Chile is 3000 miles in length – as long as the East Coast to the West Coast of the United States. From the northern tip in the Atacama Desert, to the southern tip in Tierra del Fuego, Chile’s diverse landscapes and cultures will astound you. Here are some unique tours in Chile for each of its 5 main regions.
Santiago & the Wine Region
Let’s start in Santiago de Chile, the country’s capital, and largest city. Rather European in style, Santiago features pleasant parks, soaring skyscrapers, a waterfront, and views of the snow-capped Andes Mountains only a couple hour’s drive away. Spend a day visiting museums and other historic landmarks, and the nearby port city of Valparaiso. We also recommend heading up to the 20th floor of the W Hotel in Santiago for Pisco sours during happy hour or a seafood dinner – allegedly, it’s the best in the city.
For those who are adventurous, there are plenty of outdoor activities to be had just outside the city. Go skiing at Andean ski resorts Tres Valles (the peak ski season is from June-August), or get away from the crowds for a day excursion to Provincia Hill. It’s a 4-hour difficult trek, but the payoff is well worth it effort: you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of steep mountains plunging into valleys. Plus, you may see some Andean condors.
Santiago is blessed with a Mediterranean climate, and the Maipo and the Colchagua river valleys boast fertile vineyards as far as the eye can see. We recommend a VIP wine tour of the Colchagua valley, complete with tours of world-class vineyards and stays in boutique hotels.
>> View our Chile Wine Tour.
Chile’s Lake District
Many people think that the Chilean Lake District begins in Puerto Varas and Puerto Montt, and it’s true that these two cities are often the starting point for the lake crossing to Bariloche, Argentina. But there is a biological reserve north of Puerto Varas, called Huilo Huilo, where the Lake District truly begins. To get here, you’ll need to take a flight from Santiago or a 3-hour private transfer from Puerto Varas.
This private park includes 3 enchanting lodges owned by an eccentric guy: choose from the Nawelpi Lodge, with its bungalows covered in forest, the 4-star Notophagus Hotel, with its unique beehive shape, and the fairy-tale-esque 3-star Montaña Mágica Lodge next door. Have fun staying in a whimsical lodge while exploring the biological reserve – there are Andean foxes, raptors, and more wildlife to spot, as well as plenty of hiking trails, kayaking rides, and fishing excursions to help you relax and unwind. See waterfalls, lush valleys and mountains, volcanoes, and plenty of lakes. The reserve even has a magical creatures page on their website – a guide for spotting goblins, faeries, and other woodland creatures.
Also in the Chile Lake District, we offer trips to Chiloe Island, one of Chile’s largest inhabited islands full of fishing villages and colorful palafitos houses along the waterfront. It’s a 4-hour drive from Puerto Varas, plus a ferry ride to Ancud and the drive to Castro, the main island city. Alternatively, you can take a flight from Puerto Montt direct to Chiloe Island. The palafitos are fun to see, especially during the summer (from December-February), when the minga festival occurs. Fishing families will move their palafitos (floating homes), to another part of the island where the fishing is better. The houses are pulled by bueyes (gelded bull), and you can watch the lively procession. You can even stay at the Palafito Hotel, right over the water.
>> View our Chile Wine & Lakes Tour.
One unique Chile Patagonia tour is to travel along the Austral Route, between Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas. From the lake district to the deep interior of southern Patagonia, you’ll see ice fields, glaciers, lakes perfect for fishing, and the snow-capped Andes Mountains. In Punta Arenas, you can visit Cerro Castillo, a new national park perfect for trekking, camping, and sightseeing. Cerro Castillo has been named the new “Torres del Paine.” View our 11-day Chilean Carretera Austral Patagonia Tour.
For a more luxury option in Chile Patagonia, explore the California Valle, which includes luxurious camping in comfortable yurts, and transfers in helicopters. Visit the Lago Palena National Park, the Palena River Valley and its tributary, El Tigre River, where you can relax among tranquil landscapes, go fishing, have mate tea with the locals, go white-water rafting or mountain biking.
>> View the Austral Route Tour.
The Atacama Desert is one of the world’s driest. Stay hydrated at the luxury 5-star Alto Atacama Hotel, which features individual swimming pools with each suite. Explore the Miscanti y Meñiques lagoons in the altiplano (and maybe see some Chilean flamingoes, ducks, llamas, and vicuñas), ghost towns, Salar de Atacama salt flats, the Reserva Nacional de los Flamingoes, and the Geysers of El Tatio.
>> View our Santiago & Atacama Tour. It’s also easy to combine an Atacama tour with the Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia.
When you travel to the remote Rapa Nui, Easter Island, plan for 3-4 days at most to explore the island. Easter Island is only 63 square miles, so it is easy to see all the highlights in a couple days. Stay at the Hanga Roa Eco Village, and go biking through town, along the wide-open roads, and see the moai statues. You can even take a boat cruise to the motu islands. View our Santiago & Easter Island Tour.
Unique Tours in Chile
There are several more unique tours in Chile that we also offer – just browse our Chile Tours. Whether you just want to get out of the main cities and explore the surroundings, or if you want to arrange a completely custom tour to Chile, we can help you!