Travelers with 2 weeks will be able to visit their choice of Chile's highlights and travel at a pace that allows some relaxation -- unless, that is, you intend to visit multiple long-distance destinations, for example from Patagonia to Easter Island and then Atacama, in which case you'll spend a lot of time traveling and little time actually visiting. The following itinerary is geared toward both the adventurous traveler and the low-key traveler. All destinations listed offer something for everyone, or low-key travelers might consider following the 1-week itinerary described earlier and combining it with a visit to Patagonia, San Pedro de Atacama, or Easter Island. Adrenaline junkies will not want to miss the adventure mecca of Pucón. The following itinerary includes Patagonia, the Lake District, and the Atacama, but the Atacama could easily be replaced with a 4-day journey to Easter Island. Easter Island does not offer arduous trekking, but it does claim some of the best scuba diving in the world, has powerful waves to surf, and offers great mountain-biking terrain. Another option for this itinerary is to skip the Lake District and spend more time in the Atacama and Patagonia. This "classic" itinerary takes you to Chile's extremes, in terms of distance, culture, and landscapes.
Day 1: Santiago
Arrive and get settled in Santiago. Chances are your flight arrived early in the morning; once you've rested and freshened up, head to Cerro San Cristobal and its Metropolitan Park for sweeping views of the city and to get your bearings. Afterward, take a stroll around the bohemian Barrio Bellavista and pay a visit to La Chascona, the former home of Pablo Neruda and now a museum. Head to the Mercado Central for a typical Chilean seafood lunch and watch fishmongers shuck and fillet. Once refueled, walk to the Plaza de Armas to visit the city's best museum, the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. Take a peek at the Palacio de la Moneda, at Plaza de la Constitución, before heading over to the streets of Bellavista, where you can peruse the artists' galleries and shops before enjoying an afternoon cocktail at one of the area's bars. Later that evening, order a frosty pisco sour and dine on traditional Chilean bistro food at Bar Liguria.
Days 2, 3 & 4: San Pedro de Atacama
Continue your 2-week holiday in the north, at the eerily beautiful San Pedro de Atacama. Take an early morning, 2-hour flight to Calama, then drive 1 hour to San Pedro. Check into your hotel and spend the afternoon getting to know the artsy colonial town, or walk or rent a bike and pedal out to the Pukará de Quitor. During the next 2 days, you can take your pick from a host of tranquil activities: visiting the archaeological ruins of Aldea de Tulor and touring the town's outstanding archaeological museum; admiring the sunset at Valle de la Luna; or floating on salty water at Laguna Sejar. Travelers with more gusto can take the early morning tour (4am) to the high-altitude Geysers del Tatio, finishing with a soak in the hot springs called the Baños de Puritama. Adventure lovers can mountain bike or horseback ride in the Valle de la Muerte, join a 4x4 trip up to the high-altitude lakes Meñique and Miscanti, or even climb a high-altitude volcano (this must be done on the fourth day, in order to acclimatize beforehand).
Day 5: Punta Arenas
You'll need to climb aboard an early morning flight out of Calama to Punta Arenas; it's more or less 7 hours travel time, but you'll get in early enough to tour the sights in this far-flung city. If you are visiting between November and January, don't miss the chance to waddle on out to the Seno Otway penguin colony or Isla Magdalena National Park. Afterwards, if time permits, visit Punta Arenas' poignant city cemetery, where funereal sculpture reaches its heavenly zenith, or the Museo Salesiano Maggiorino Borgatello, which presents vivid geographical and ethnographical exhibits. End your evening with dinner at Damiana Elena.
Days 6, 7, 8, 9 & 10: Torres del Paine
Leave early the following morning for Chile's star attraction, Torres del Paine National Park; the contrast between this southern park and the Atacama is striking. As a traveler, you have a few lodging options: Lodge in Puerto Natales and take day trips to the park, enjoying town life at night; lodge at one of the park's hotels or a working estancia outside the park and take day hikes; or camp and hike the W trail (you'll need to be a fit hiker to complete the W trail; you can choose to bunk in the park's series of refugios, or cabins, in lieu of pitching a tent). During these 5 days, you'll want to hike to Las Torre/The Towers (or horseback ride with local gauchos), walk to the French Valley, and hike or ride a ferry to Glacier Grey. Impassioned hikers will need an extra week to complete the Circuit, a weeklong (mostly flat) trek around the entire massif.
Days 11, 12 & 13: Puerto Varas or Pucón
Many flights from Punta Arenas to Santiago stop in Puerto Varas (Puerto Montt airport) and Pucón (Temuco airport) -- why not take advantage of this stopover and break your trip up? Both towns are virtually identical in terms of activities, and both boast a backdrop of a perfectly conical volcano and are surrounded by lush, temperate rainforest. Spend your last days recuperating from trekking in Torres del Paine at the lakeshore beach, soaking in the hot springs, and visiting one of the regional spas. Or, keep the action going with a climb to the top of the smoking Volcán Villarrica or Volcán Osorno; fly-fish, raft, or kayak the Río Trancura rapids; hike to the top of a forested peak; zip through the trees on a canopy line; and more.
Day 14: Santiago
Plan your last-day flight to connect with your outbound flight from Santiago back home. If you can get an afternoon flight, spend your last day shopping for souvenirs for family and friends.
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.