Self-drive Southern Chile
A self-drive itinerary for those wanting the freedom to explore on their own...
Self-drive itineraries are becoming increasingly popular in Chile, where the roads are kept in a good condition and are straightforward to navigate. For those wanting the freedom to move at their own pace and explore further afield, hiring a car is a great way to get around and can sometimes be more economical than paying for guides and transport in every destination. This itinerary takes in three different areas of Chile, each unique in its own way; Valparaíso and the Central Valley, the Lake District and Chiloé and Patagonia.
Make your way to Santiago
Fly to Santiago International airport and met on arrival.
Met on arrival and transferred to the Lastarria Boutique Hotel to stay for the night on a B&B basis. Although Santiago doesn't have the beauty of Rio or the excitement of Buenos Aires, there is plenty to see in the capital and it is well worth spending a night here before heading off to explore Chile's outstanding nature destinations. Walk up Cerro Santa Lucía for sweeping views over the city or amble across to Santiago's biggest market "La Vega Central" to sample local authentic fare.
The Central Wine Valleys
Met in the morning and transferred to the car hire offices to pick up your car hire to use for 5 days. Heading west out of the city towards the coast will take you to an area of Chile renowned for its production of white wines; the Casablanca and San Antonio Wine Valleys. The picturesque La Casona Matetic will be your base for the next 2 nights while you relax and explore the surrounding vineyards.
Following the Cordillera de la Costa will take you to the quirky port town of Valparaíso. Built onto the hills surrounding the coast, Valparaíso's wonderfully chaotic layout and colourful side streets make it a fantastic place to get lost exploring. With one of your free days, drive up to the beaches and small fishing villages dotted along the coast to try the catch of the day.
Self-drive back to Santiago airport and drop off your car hire in time for the afternoon flight to Puerto Montt in Chile's Sur Chico. Collect your car hire to use for 3 days and drive across via the ferry crossing to Chiloé Island to stay at Lodge Palafito 1326 for 3 nights on a B&B basis. Chiloé is a rugged and relatively untouched archipelago off the coast of Chile's Lake District. Well-known for its numerous churches and stilted houses, it has also retained its unique culture and local traditions.
Self-drive back to the airport in Puerto Montt and drop off your car hire in time for the afternoon flight to Punta Arenas. Collect your car hire to use for 4 days and drive to the Hotel Cabo de Hornos to stay for the night on a B&B basis. Chile's southernmost city, Punta Arenas is used as a departure point for cruises to Antarctica, the ice fjords and is adequate for a night's rest before taking the four hour journey to the Torres del Paine National Park.
Torres del Paine
Setting off in the morning in the direction of the majestic Torres del Paine you will drive through Puerto Natales; the last town before the Park and along to the Milodón Caves at the entrance to the Torres del Paine. Patagonia Camp, a luxury ecocamp set on the banks of Lago Toro, will be your base for the following three nights where you will stay on an all-inclusive basis with daily activities included. Hike to the famous Torres cuernos, take a boat trip to Glacier Grey or try paddle boarding on Lake Toro.
Self-drive back to Punta Arenas and drop off your car hire in time for the afternoon flight back to Santiago. Make your own way to the Holiday Inn Santiago Airport Hotel to stay for the night on a B&B basis.
Make your own way back to Santiago airport to connect onto international flights home.