Outside the Chilean capital city, there are plenty of fascinating destinations close enough for a day trip. Here are the five best tours that you can do from Santiago in a day.
Santiago is an excellent place for travellers to spend some time. The city’s museums, plazas, palaces and colonial architecture are enough to keep most travellers busy for months. But sometimes the city becomes cloying and the Andes mountains, snow-capped and visible all around the city, become too alluring to ignore. Here are some great options for day trips that you can take from Santiago, including hiking, skiing, hot springs and more.
Valle Nevedo and Farellones small group tour
To the east of Santiago, the Andes offer myriad opportunities for winter sports enthusiasts to take to the slopes. Watch the mountains tower above you as you drive towards the Farellones ski resort, which was the first of its kind in Chile. You’ll visit a number of different resorts before ending up at El Colorado Ski Center, where you can hit the slopes yourself (please note that rental and passes cost extra). For anybody else, the chance to see the mountains from the cable car is also worthwhile. From $25 per person.
Laguna del Inca and Portillo small group tour
Further into the mountain range, over near the Argentine border, is the small skiing resort of Portillo. This remote spot in the mountains requires a beautiful drive that offers views of Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas. At Portillo, you can hike around Inca Lake (aka Laguna del Inca) and ride the cable car to get a better views of it and the surrounding peaks. Daily departures are available. From $43 per person.
Half-day Santa Rita Vineyard tour
Chilean wine is loved the world over, and one of the oldest and most celebrated wineries is Santa Rita Vineyard. Founded in 1880, its wines have won plenty of accolades over the years and this four-hour tour offers you the chance to drink from the source in the heart of the Maipo Valley. You will get a guided tour of the vineyards and winery’s bottling plant, before the main event: wine tasting. All entrance and tastings fees are included in the tour price. From $68 per person.
Valparaiso, Viña del Mar and Casablanca Valley tour
Another top day tour from Santiago heads down to the colourful, picturesquely ramshackle city of Valparaiso on the Pacific Coast. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage-listed neighbourhoods and take a tour of the port and Plaza Sotomayor, before taking the quirky old elevators up to the top of Alegre Hill. Next, around the bay from Valparaiso, is Viña del Mar, Chile’s garden-filled coastal resort. On the return journey to Santiago, there’ll be time for one more stop in Casablanca Valley, at a vineyard for a wine tasting. From $84 per person.
Cajon del Maipo Hot Springs and Barbecue Experience
The Maipo Canyon is perhaps the most popular destination within an hour’s drive of Santiago, thanks to its broad valley and imposing mountains. It is also a great place to head on a tour, led by a local guide who knows all the best sights and experiences. This ten-hour tour includes a soak in the Valle de Colina hot springs, a visit to a traditional Andean mountain village, and a walk to a photogenic waterfall. Tours depart from Monday to Friday. From $127 per person.