There’s no doubt that Chile is full of beautiful places to visit. From the Atacama Desert in the north to the Torres del Paine National Park in the south you won’t run out of things to do or tours to take during your visit to Chile. Apart from its most well-known attractions, Chile also has some lesser-known gems that most international travellers have never heard of. The best part? Many of them are located in the Central Region of Chile, meaning they’re only a short ride from the country’s capital Santiago. If you’re dreaming of the perfect day tours from Santiago, Chile you’re in the right place.
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I should probably also mention that public transportation in the regions in Chile isn’t the best. Trains don’t exist and buses are infrequent if they exist at all. I can safely say that Chile is very much a ‘car’ society, which also means that to get to the best, sometimes isolated spots you’ll need one too.
I recently got the chance to visit some of the lesser-known locations in the Central Valley on two separate day trips from Santiago, Chile organised by both myself and this tour, available on Viator. As I don’t own a car, I have to rent one to really get to those valuable off the beaten track destinations or take a tour in order to get the most out of my day.
Day tours from Santiago Chile are so easy to do- there are so many amazing places to visit near the city. We took two different day trips from Santiago, one by rental car and the other by tour, which took me from Santiago into the Andes Mountains one day and to the beach on the Pacific coast on the other. Chile’s one of those few countries where you can be in the mountains in the morning and the beach in the afternoon, however, you’ll probably want a day in each to get the most out of the experience.
TOUR 1- CAJON DEL MAIPO
After way too much time sitting at my desk in the city centre, I yearned for high mountain passes, glacial views and to get my hiking boots back on. I had always heard about one of the best places to go hiking near Santiago, Cajon del Maipo, specifically the El Morado Monument. This is an easy/medium hike through the El Morado Valley and up to the San Francisco Glacier. Cajon del Maipo is just a short drive from the city of Santiago and there are many places to stop off along the way such as rock formations, local towns and waterfalls.
We continued to El Morado and began the 6-hour hike to the San Francisco Glacier. It was a glorious day with mountain flowers blooming along the path at first, which got more and more rocky as we got to the top. The trail was deserted and the scenery serene and almost eerie. Getting close to the glacier was extraordinary and it was hard to comprehend one of nature’s marvels right in front of me. I was longing to be in the mountains again and I finally got my fix.
TOUR 2- CASABLANCA WINE VALLEY, VALPARAISO AND CONCON
Continuing on with exploring the variety of Chile’s landscapes, today I signed up for this tour- a Full Day Tour Valparaiso – Vina del Mar and Casablanca Valley from Santiago. First, a wine tour at one of my favourite vineyards in the Casablanca Valley followed by some culture and Chilean food in Valparaiso and finally to finish the day off, sunset from the largest sand dunes in Chile. I was down.
Even if you’re not much of a wine drinker, exploring the vineyards of the Casablanca Valley is a real treat as they are simply beautiful properties, surrounded by green vines (in spring and summer) as long as the eye can see and never-ending blue skies. I’d heard about Casas del Bosque for a while but never actually visited as it’s almost impossible to get to by public transport. The vineyard was stunning, to say the least, and we even got to visit the upper part of the vineyard for the most amazing views over the valley. The tour was also really interesting and taught me lot about the wine-making process.
Note: Make sure to check which vineyard the tour visits as sometimes this can change depending on the time of year etc.
Interested in finding out more about The Casablanca Valley’s vineyards? Check out the post here.
After the vineyard, we made our way to Valparaiso, a bohemian port town known for its street art, hills and funiculars. We walked through the coolest little neighbourhoods, Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion eying the skilled street art, the amazing port views and riding the hundred-year-old funiculars. Our guide told us all about the city’s history, the culture and what makes the city so unique today.
After a superb late lunch, we drove up the beautiful, winding coastal road to Concon, a little seaside town just outside of Vina del Mar. Here we enjoyed some blissful beach time watching local kids frolic in the frigid waves. As sunset drew closer we made our way up the top of the Concon sand dunes. From here, the whole coast is visible- from the high-rise developments to the pockets of sand of the dunes. The dunes are huge and quite honesty this quickly rose to be one of my favourite places to watch the sunset in Chile. That golden-hour light was magical dancing on the waves and on the sand. What a splendid two days of tours it was seeing a lot more of what Chile has to offer.
Discover Valparaiso on the perfect day trip from Santiago! Head over here for the short guide.
Prior to my trip with the full day Valparaiso tour, I didn’t really know what to expect from this region of Chile. Sure, I have visited all of Chile’s better-known ‘attractions’ but I had no idea that such pristine beauty exists so close to the capital and to think we only brushed the surface in these two days.
OTHER DAY TOURS FROM SANTIAGO SUGGESTIONS:
Isla Negra and Pomaire – Head Chile’s unspoilt coast and visit Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s beach home. In the afternoon stop for a late lunch at Pomaire, a distinctively Chilean village and get some traditional food. Click here to check availability for your dates.
Santiago: 2 days program, City tour with wine taste & Sea cities. – Spend one day visiting some of the best sights in Santiago and learn about its history and the next day at the coastal cities and visiting the vineyards. Click here to check availability for your dates.
Colchagua Valley Wine Tour visiting Signature Vineyard with Sommelier – Hop from one to the other and sample some of the best wines in Chile. Learn about winemaking traditions in Chile and sample some of the best wines the country has to offer. Click here to check availability.
Planning a trip right now? These are just some of my favourite websites I use to book everything from hotels to rental cars!
Rentalcars.com for quick and easy car rentals worldwide
Booking.com for great deals on hotels
Agoda also for great deals on hotels
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*This is a sponsored post, all comments and opinion are completely my own.
Any questions or comments about these day tours from Santiago, Chile? Leave them below.
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