Stunning diverse landscapes cover Chile all the way from the North to the South. Our 2 week Chile itinerary will take you through four regions: the wild south of Patagonia in Torres Del Paine National Park, the bohemian port city of Valparaiso, the mystical Elqui Valley where mountains are covered in cacti, and lastly to the Atacama Desert, considered one of the best places in the world for star gazing. Your 2 weeks in Chile will be filled with adventure!
2 Weeks in Chile
Day 1: Santiago - get settled in after your long flight in Chile's capital
Days 2-4: Puerto Natales & Torres del Paine National Park - spend time in the cute port city and hike to the famous Three Towers of Paine in Patagonia
Days 5-7: Valparaiso - explore the bohemian and creative city known as the Berlin of Chile
Days 8-10: Elqui Valley - drive through the mystical valley with mountains covered in cacti and visit the free-spirited village of Pisco Elqui
Days 11-14: Atacama Desert - visit the driest non-polar place on Earth known for its fascninating landscapes and the best stargazing in the world
Ultimate 2 Week Chile Itinerary
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Day 1: Santiago
We stayed in Santiago for two nights but were underwhelmed by the capital city and recommend saving days for other exciting parts of Chile. Once you arrive in Chile get a good nights rest in a hotel close to the airport to prepare for your flight to Patagonia the next day.
Day 2: Puerto Natales
Puerto Natales is the main hub and closest city to Torres Del Paine National Park. It's just a 2 hour drive away from the park entrance. We loved the cute port city and were surprised by the variety of quirky restaurants, bars and cafes in the area. The first day in the city will be your preparation day before going into the park.
To get to Puerto Natales from Santiago, you will have to take a 3-hour flight. Our flight left at 11am and we had no problem preparing everything for our trek the next day. Make sure you book your flight far in advance as it books up fast.
You don't have to do a multi-day hike to see the famous three towers in Torres Del Paine National Park. You can do a day hike and camp or stay at a hotel at the base of the park. You will need to purchase your bus tickets and any hiking snacks in Puerto Natales the day before you leave, as well as pick up your camping equipment if you're renting anything such as a tent, sleeping bags etc.
Where to stay in Puerto Natales
Hostal TreehouseBefore our hike in Torres Del Paine National Park, we stayed at Hostal Treehouse, a rustic and well designed guesthouse that offers shared and private accommodation. The bonus is that you can keep your extra stuff you don't want to take hiking with you in their free big wooden lockers. All you need is your own lock. This is great if you decide to camp in the park.
The hostel was very quiet and they set up breakfast early for those catching the 7 AM bus to Torres Del Paine National Park. We stayed in a private room with a private bathroom and it was spacious and comfortable.Check out rates for Hostal Treehouse
Toore PatagoniaAfter hiking in Torres Del Paine National park, we were ecstatic to wind down in a fabulous spacious bungalow at Toore Patagonia. The bungalows are tastefully designed and the hotel has a wonderful locals craft store.
Check out rates for Toore Patagonia
Where to eat in Puerto Natales
Best for lunch: Cafe Artimana
Cafe Artimana offers hearty Chilean cuisine. They have stellar reviews, with a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor. I ordered the homemade vegetable gnocchi and Ari the salmon salad. Both did not disappoint. The environment was warm with a cozy artistic decor and great music.
Best for an intimate dinner: Aldea
Aldea has delicious local food, which changes frequently on their blackboard. The high quality dishes, wine selection and intimate setting make for a fabulous evening. We ordered the ceviche and lamb with a glass of red Chilean wine. The owner had great wine recommendations.
Best value dinner: La Guanaca
If you want something easy to have back your hotel, pick up a delicious wood-fired oven pizza at La Guanaca.
Days 3-4: Torres Del Paine National Park
Today you will arrive in the beautiful and rugged Torres Del Paine National Park, where you can hike up to the famous Three Towers of Paine. Once you ascend 750 meters to the Towers Lookout, you will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the three granite towers behind a blue glacial pool.
Prepare for the weather, as it's extremely windy and you could have a blizzard come through at any moment. The best time to hike in Torres Del Paine is from November-March when it's summertime.
There are two different ways to go about your itinerary depending on if you plan to stay in a hotel or camp. Both methods require you to book far in advance. Camping will be a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel.
If you plan to camp in Torres Del Paine National Park
- Take the 7 AM bus to the Amarga entrance at Torres Del Paine National Park.
- There is a shuttle that leaves from Amarga to Las Torres Hotel where you start your hike.
- Hike up to the Towers Lookout and drop off your camping gear at the Chileno refugio along the way.
- Hike back down to Chileno and camp there over night. Chileno has a lodge you can eat at. The total hike for the day is about 13 km with a 750m ascent and 400m descent. It will take you around 7 hours.
- The next day hike the 5 km back down to Los Torres Hotel. From there, take the shuttle to Amarga and the bus back to Puerto Natales for the night.
If you plan to stay in a hotel in Torres Del Paine National Park
- Organize transfer with your hotel to get from Puerto Natales to the hotel.
- Spend the rest of the day relaxing and taking in the views at the hotel.
- Do the day hike to the Towers Lookout early the next morning. Your hotel will shuttle you to the start of the hike. The total hike is about 18km (750 m ascent, 750 m descent) and will take you 8-9 hours.
- Spend another night at your hotel and arrange transfer to the airport the next day.
If you're able to extend your 2 weeks in Chile we recommend doing the 5 day W Trek in Patagonia. Read our comprehensive 5 Day W Trek itinerary for more info.
Days 5-7: Valparaiso
You don't want to miss seeing the less travelled city of Valparaiso. The bohemian city was a thriving port and "Jewel of the Pacific" in the late 19th century until a massive earthquake struck in 1906 and the Panama Canal was completed in 1914. Wealthy families then abandoned the city and it underwent 100 years of decline.
Valparaiso became the Berlin of Chile attracting artists, creatives, writers, and poets. It's filled with street art, contemporary art galleries, cobblestone streets, fascinating architecture and quirky hillside cafes and bars.
Located an hour west of Santiago, it is an easy drive from the Santiago airport. Renting cars in Chile is easy and the roads are great to drive on.
Where to stay in ValparaisoWe highly recommend staying at the trendy Hotel Winebox, which is completely made out of shipping containers. It also has an amazing view of the city. We booked the upper-floor premium room, which was modern and funky with a full kitchen.
Breakfast was included and had a good spread with banana smoothies and avocado toast. We enjoyed sitting in chairs made out of an old free-standing bathtub for breakfast and drinking wine with the owner up on the rooftop patio in the evening. The hotel doesn't accept check in past 10 PM, so plan your flight accordingly!
Fun things to do in Valparaiso
- Take the funicular up the hills and walk down to explore different neighbourhoods
- Explore Concepcion neighbourhood, filled with quirky cafes, restaurants and art galleries. It was our favourite area.
- Walk up Cumming street starting from the bottom, where you can find tons of live music bars and restaurants. Pick your choice of music and enjoy! Most restaurants open late in the evening at 8:00PM
- Cook your own private dinner on the balcony of your room at the Winebox hotel
- Have cocktails up on the rooftop of Winebox hotel
Day 8-10: Elqui Valley
Road trip time! If you have a rental car you can either drive 6.5 hours to Pisco, Elqui from Valparaiso or you can drive back to Santiago, take a quick 1 hour flight to La Serena and pick up another rental car for the 1.5 hour drive into the Elqui Valley. We chose the latter to limit our driving time.
The relaxed and sunny drive from La Serena airport to Pisco Elqui was one of the most beautiful drives we've ever done. We had never seen so many cacti or rather, mountains covered in cacti in our lives. It was exciting driving through the "route of the stars" to the quaint town of Pisco Elqui. The area is famous for its astro tourism and production of Pisco, a type of brandy used to make one of our favourite cocktails the Pisco sour.
Where to stay in Pisco ElquiWe highly recommend staying at Cabanas Caballieri, one of our favourite stays on our world trip. The garden oasis has cabanas perched on the hillside and features a beautiful pool area with suntanning beds to unwind at.
It's worth splurging for the Aire cabana. It sits at the very top of the hill and has a large terrace overlooking the mountains with sun beds for star gazing. It felt very private. The cabana is spacious with high ceilings and four large skylights. The service was impeccable and we were welcomed with a refreshing Pisco sour on arrival. Each morning the hotel staff brought breakfast to our patio outside, which included eggs, fresh fruit juice, cold cuts meats, cheese, bread, avocado, and five different types of sliced fruit!
Pisco is the perfect place for relaxation and introspection. We spent our time admiring the view and stargazing on our terrace, swimming in the pool and cooking on our private BBQ. It was a wonderful place to connect with nature. The town of San Pedro has a couple small grocery stores and a cute market where you can shop for local goodies. I bought a pair of earrings.
When one is in Pisco, one must go on a Pisco tasting tour! We went on a Pisco tour at the Mistral Pisco Distillery, which cost 6,000 CLP per person ($9 USD). It included a tour of their vineyard and how they produce Pisco, two tastings, and a monogramed Pisco glass. We enjoyed drinking Pisco Sours afterwards on their large outdoor terrace and eating fresh ceviche.
Day 11-14: Atacama Desert
The mountainous barren landscape of the Atacama Desert was nothing like we've ever see before. Not one tree or cactus. It truly felt like we were on Mars. We can see why NASA tests rovers here!
The night sky was what we were the most excited for. The arid desert conditions and altitude make it arguably the best place in the world to see the stars and galaxies. The stars seemed closer, almost like you could touch them. They were vibrant in colour and brightness.
When we were flying in, we noticed it was raining and thought that was strange since the area only gets 15 mm of rain each year! We soon learned there was a rare flash flood blocking the only road to San Pedro de Atacama and flooding the town! San Pedro de Atacama is the main hub for the tourist attractions, so everything was closed for the next week.
Amazing things to do in the Atacama Desert
Visit the Paranal Obervatory to see The Very Large Telescope
We were fortunately still able to visit one of our 'most excited to see' attractions located in the south west: The Very Large Telescope. We had a childhood dream come true by visiting the Paranal Observatory, home of the largest telescope on earth.
Not only did we get to see the telescope and where the astronomers work, we got to see their famous residence featured in the movie James Bond Quantum Solace! Even better, the tour is free. Space is limited since they only run tours on Saturdays. Make sure to book well in advance!
The Hand of the Desert
The Hand of the Desert is a 11 meter high sculpture on the way to the Paranal Observatory and is worth a visit. It was created by the awarded Chilean artist, Mario Irarrázabal in 1992 and is free!
San Pedro De Atacama
We had planned to stay in San Pedro De Atacama for a few nights to visit Valle de la Luna and Laguna Chaxa to see the flamingos, so we hope to come back someday to do so. Although we didn't get to experience these areas, we've heard great things about them and highly recommend seeing them. Even just the pictures blew us away. San Pedro De Atacama is a great hub for exploring the area.
Don't forget to add a stargazing tour to your itinerary. We booked a stargazing tour with Atacama Desert Stargazing by Jorge, a LuxuryTravelGuide award winner for Unique Experience of the Year in 2016 that we had to sadly cancel due to the flooding. We were sad to miss out on seeing the night sky with a telescope. Make sure you plan your visit around the new moon, so you have the best view of the stars possible. A lot of stargazing tours don't open during a certain period around the full moon due to the visibility of the stars.
Enjoy an incredible 2 weeks in Chile!
Planning a trip to South America? Check out our travel guides to Argentina, Peru and Rio De Janeiro!
- Argentina: one week itinerary for the foodie and wine lover
- Brazil: 10 non-touristy things to do in Rio De Janeiro
- Peru: hiking the Salkantay trek to Machu Picchu
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