Chile is a veritable traveler's paradise for families. Chileans love kids, and the tourism industry goes out of its way to cater to people with kids, including offering children's rates, kids' menus, jungle gyms, and scheduled activities; many larger resorts offer free babysitting for young children. While the long-distance travel can be tiring, Easter Island is a fun place for children, with its easy walks, beaches, and ocean water that is noticeably warmer than the coast of Chile, fun forays to visit moai sculptures, caves to explore, and snorkeling. To include Easter Island in the following itinerary, spend Day 1 in Santiago, Days 2 to 4 in Pucón, Day 5 in transit from Pucón to Easter Island, Days 6 to 8 on the island; return to Santiago on Day 9, and see the city's sights on Day 10 before catching your evening flight home.
Days 1 & 2: Santiago
Arrive and get settled in Santiago. If you can, stay in a hotel with a swimming pool like the family-friendly La Sebastiana Apart Hotel. An inspired way to lift the jet-lag haze is to lose yourself to the city's dramatic setting. If it's a hot summer's day, dip into one of Metropolitan Park's lovely public swimming pools; or take your kids first up the funicular there, ride the gondolalike telesférico across the hill, and on your way out stop for a visit at the city zoo, or Jardín Zoológico. Here your kids can view animals endemic to Chile, such as the puma, condor, and guanaco. There is also a beautifully landscaped public swimming pool here. Kids should next get a kick out of checking out the weird seafood displayed at the Mercado Central; after lunch or an early dinner there, you can visit Parque Quinta Normal with its kid-friendly museums and beautiful gardens.
Day 3: The Andes
A trip to Chile wouldn't be complete without heading high into the famous Andes Mountains that tower above Santiago. If it's winter, grab a shuttle and head up to one of the three ski resorts that lie within 1 to 1 1/2 hours of the city: Valle Nevado, La Parva, or El Colorado. You can rent gear when you get there, and resorts offer ski lessons tailored to kids. During the summer, there's no shortage of kid-friendly activities, especially in the mountain valley Cajón de Maipo, located roughly 45 minutes or 2 hours (depending on how far up the road you travel) from Santiago. Raft the Class III rapids section of the Maipo River, or horseback ride along Andean ridges that open out to sweeping views. If it's warm out, book a cabin at Cascada de las Animas, which has an outdoor pool, horses, and hiking trails, and spend the night.
Days 4, 5, 6 & 7: The Lake District
Hop on a flight to Temuco, gateway to the idyllic mountain village Pucón. During January and February, Pucón is packed to the rafters with vacationing families, and though it's busy during this time, there are certainly a lot of other kids for your children to meet. Book a self-catering cabaña, rent a car, and spend your days taking easy to moderate hikes through lush forest, bike riding around town, relaxing and swimming at Lake Villarrica's beach, or visiting a fun hot spring such as Termas Geométricas. Three activities your kids will love are Pucón's canopy adventure; a horseback ride and farm visit at Huifquenco Fundo; and rafting the Trancura River. The beauty of Pucón is that you can do as little or as much as you'd like, and there are plenty of outstanding restaurants and shops. Full-service hotels such as the Gran Hotel Pucón and Las Cabañas Metreñehue have children's activities and are located next to the lakeshore.
Days 8 & 9: Viña del Mar
Kids love the beach any time of the year, and 2 days in Viña del Mar gives you a chance to relax; visit a couple of kid-friendly museums, such as the Museo de Arqueología e Historia Francisco Fonck; take a buggy ride; or play in a park. The Hotel San Martín has reasonably priced suites that work well for families, or pay a little extra for the Hotel del Mar, which has a children's entertainment center and on-site day care.
Day 10: From Viña to the Airport
Viña is a convenient last-day destination as the airport lies on the highway back to Santiago, meaning you can max out your day with fun (and tire your kids out), in preparation for the flight home in the evening.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.