Chile’s a long country; making it difficult to see all of the highlights in a short space of time.
The deserts of the north and the mountains of Patagonia in the south are both amazing destinations, but it is challenging to reach both if you have just one week in Chile.
However, if you base yourself in Santiago – the capital of Chile – you’re in a great position to see some great spots in the city’s surrounding areas. Including skiing, wine-tasting, hikes and unique towns, here’s a list of the best day trips from Santiago.
Skiing in El Colorado or Valle Nevado
If you’re visiting Chile from June to October and are keen to hit the slopes, you can do so easily on a day trip from Santiago; even when temperatures in the city are in the late teens in the winter months, there is snow up in the mountains!
If you’re a beginner skier, we recommend El Colorado. Valle Nevado is great for advanced skiers who want to tackle more challenging slopes. It takes about two hours to reach the slopes from Santiago city, and it’s easy to organise a package deal which includes the rental of ski equipment from many tour providers in Santiago.
Central Valley Wine Region
The Central Valley Wine Region encompasses the Rapel Valley, the Maipo Valley, the Curico Valley and the Maule Valley. If you’re looking for a wine region close to the capital, the Maipo Valley is just south of Santiago – and the furthest area is 400 kilometres south!
Some of the best wines in South America can be found here and the variation of wines is what makes the Central Valley so unique. As it traverses over the different terrains that Chile is so famous for; from coastal to the Andean foothills, the wine style and taste changes.
Visit the Central Valley to sample some distinct wines and be awe-inspired at the breath-taking scenery.
For anyone who’s into artisan products and pottery, Pomaire is a must-visit. Clay deposits which are found in the land near to the town are the material used to create pottery products that are manufactured in the town; and subsequently, Pomaire is adorned with cute little pottery figures.
For anyone who enjoys being in the countryside and rural living, Pomaire is a must. Look out for the pottery pig which is a symbol of the town, found in many restaurants and houses. Pomaire is also the home of empanadas, with some being up to 10 kg in weight!
This colourful city makes a great day trip from Santiago, although many people (including Pablo Neruda!) are enchanted by this colourful spot and end up spending more time there. The edgy and colourful architecture has captured the imagination of many creatives, and just walking around the city, exploring its bright buildings and vibrant street art, is a fantastic experience.
Some other things to do in Valpariso include taking the Peral elevator up the Cerro Alegre and seeing ‘La Sebastina’, the old home of Chile’s Nobel Prize for Literature Winner, Pablo Neruda.
Cajon del Maipo
Just an hour away from the city is this spectacular natural wonder. Cajon del Maipo is the ideal spot to get out of the urban centre for a day. It is home to camping and picnic areas, hot springs, hikes and gorges.
One of the main highlights is the San Francisco Glacier, which is about a 5-6 hour moderate hike. Once you’ve completed the glacier trek, soak in the Baños Morales, which are relaxing thermal baths and great for easing any achy muscles!
Another must-visit spot is Embalse el Yeso; an Andes reservoir that provides Santiago’s drinking water. The turquoise waters contrast beautifully with the mountainous surroundings and sky, making it a great place for some photo opportunities.
Now you’ve got some great ideas for your trip, don’t forget to arrange travel insurance as soon as you’ve made a booking. Get a quote today or call one of our friendly team on 1300 819 888 to discuss your requirements.