This itinerary offers the best of Chile in 2 weeks. Start in the capital, Santiago, where you’ll enjoy elegant colonial architecture, bustling markets and the infamous lomito sandwich. Zip over to Valparaiso, Chile’s main port city and get lost in its colorful hilltop neighborhoods. Visit the expansive beach of Viña del Mar, also known as the “Garden City” for its lush green spaces. Then take on a variety of outdoor adventures in Pucon, from hiking to volcano climbing. Enjoy your wanders in Chile!
Days 1-5: Santiago
Santiago is an energetic, yet manageable capital that’s easy to walk around and fun to explore. In the Plaza de Armas, the city’s main social hub, get a feel for everyday life. Check out the frenetic markets of Mercado Central and La Vega. Spend an afternoon visiting Cerro Santa Lucia, a lovely hilltop park, or see pre-Colombian artworks and artifacts at the Museo Chilean de Arte Precolombino. Don’t leave without trying the iconic “lomito,” an authentic Chilean sandwich. And for a memorable outing, make the scenic hike through Parque Metropolitano de Santiago to the top of Cerro San Cristobal. For more details, visit our post on Santiago, Chile.
Days 6-8: Valparaiso
From Santiago, take the short, two hour bus ride to reach Valparaiso (“Valpo.”) In “El Plan,” take in the exquisite heritage buildings and lively cafés of Plaza Sotomayor, the town’s main square. Enjoy fresh seafood at a local eatery like Restaurant Montserrat near the waterfront. Passing the walls of graffiti and the town’s infamous street art, climb up into the hills of the residential neighborhoods. Marvel at the different colored homes on picturesque streets like Pasaje Templeman and Paseo Atkinson. And enjoy a ride on one of the town’s many funiculars. For more details, visit our post on Valparaiso, Chile.
Day 9: Viña del Mar
From Valparaiso, it’s just a 15-minute bus ride to the beach city of Viña del Mar. Start off by walking through the picturesque neighborhoods up in the cerro (“hills”) before making your way to el Plan (“downtown”). Visit Museo Fonck, an archeology and history museum or just see its Moai statue on display outside the entrance. Pass by art deco landmark, Hotel O’Higgins, the oldest hotel in the city, and wander through the manicured gardens of Plaza Vergara. At the beach, walk along the boardwalk and take in the sights of sunbathers, strollers and wandering gypsies. For more details, visit our post on Viña del Mar, Argentina.
Days 10-13: Pucon
From Viña del Mar, head back to Valparaiso to take an overnight bus ride to the tiny resort town of Pucon. Arrange for an outdoor activity such as skiing, white water rafting or volcano climbing. Alternatively, take a more Cheap and Charming approach by taking advantage of sights in and near town. Visit La Poza, a vast woodland park along beautiful Villarica Lake featuring a black beach made of volcanic sand. Or take a short local bus ride to Huerquehue National Park offering multiple hiking trails. For more details, visit our post on Pucon, Chile, or join us on our wanders in Uruguay: The best of Uruguay in 2 weeks