Our 7 Day Chile Itinerary
A 7 Day Chile Itinerary allows for visiting Santiago, the nearby coastal cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, and perhaps either a short trip up north to the Atacama Desert or down south to Villarrica. After looking at the logistics of it, I would not plan a 7 day Chile Itinerary to the Patagonia area (even if that’s the only place you plan to visit), there’s simply too much to see in 7 days. The other thing to note is that a 7 day Chile Itinerary will actually be 9 days (that includes a day of travel on either end. Last, our style is one of see a lot, sometimes as much as we can, then take some time to chill/relax and repeat. You may not want as hectic of a schedule, or you may want to pack more in…it’s your trip so make it what you want!
Day 1 (technically days 1 & 2 if including the day to fly there)
Arrive in Santiago and immediately take another plane up north to Calama (there are multiple flights daily on Latam and SKY). Rent a car or take the bus to travel from Calama to San Pedro de Atacama. If you arrived into Santiago in the morning, you’ll likely arrive in Calama by early afternoon. Enjoy the scenery on the way over to San Pedro de Atacama. The Andes and surrounding ranges are spectacular against the desert backdrop. Check into your hotel / hostel and then check out the town and grab dinner at one of the great places along Tocopilla or Caracoles streets in downtown. Get rested up for the next 3 days touring the desert.
The highlight of our 7 Day Chile Itinerary was sightseeing in the desert. You can do this on your own (4WD truck or Jeep is a necessity) or my preference, taking a guided excursion and let someone else do the driving while you marvel at the amazing scenery. There are multiple combinations of places you can go and see during these 3 days, but our itinerary included:
Day 2: Valle de la Luna + Laguna Cejar + Ojos del Salar + Tebenquiche (all day from morning until dark)
Day 3: Morning checking out San Pedro de Atacama (including the market, church and just walking around) + Sandboarding at Valle de la Muerte (afternoon until sunset)
Day 4: Tuyacto + Piedras Rojas + Lagunas Altiplanicas + Salar de Atacama (all day until well past dark)
Travel back to Santiago via the return flight from Calama. Check into your hotel / hostal, then grab some dinner and check out your local surroundings.
Get up early and take an 8AM bus to Valparaiso from Estacion Central via Pullman or Turbus. You can check out Pablo Neruda’s home “La Sebastiana”, visit Plaza Sotomayor and the downtown area along Errazuriz. After (or before) lunch, take a bus or taxi/uber over to Vina del Mar. Once there, visit the clock and just meander through the town. You can then take a bus back from Vina del Mar back to Estacion Central in Santiago.
All day sightseeing around the city of Santiago. Walking is pretty easy and buses are plentiful and also easy to get around on. For longer trips, consider the bus or if your budget allows Uber to maximize your time in the city. Sights I would definitely recommend include: La Chascona (another of Pablo Neruda’s former homes), Cerro San Cristobal, Mercado Central, and Plaza de Armas. There are many other things to also see along the way.
We wanted to see the most we could in a short time on our 7 day Chile itinerary. Of course this is what we did with our 7 days in Chile. You may want to see more or less. I hope this helps in thinking about what to do and see when you visit this amazing country. Safe travels!