A family vacation to Chile is the perfect way to explore some of the most stunning places on Earth and have a ton of fun while doing it! From the star-studded Atacama Desert to the mysterious statues that decorate Easter Island – this destination is full of kid-friendly adventures that would make for an unforgettable vacation!
Luckily, Chile has so many wonderful places to visit, so every family will find something that fits their travel goals. Below are seven of the most exciting adventures that all ages will enjoy! Use this guide as a source of inspiration for your family vacation to Chile.
1. Explore The Unique Metropolis Of Santiago
Anyone planning a trip to Chile will likely have to fly into the capital city, Santiago. But this city is not just a layover spot. Spend a few days here and you’ll quickly realize that this magical metropolitan city is a destination all on its own! Historic walking tours, innovative green spaces and parks, delicious cuisine, and even some cool interactive museums are all waiting for you here.
Starting any trip with a leisurely walk through the city is a fantastic idea, as everyone adjusts to the new time zone and can enjoy a peaceful day of exploration. The most picturesque neighborhood to wander here is Santiago Centro, the historic and architectural center of the city. One notable landmark includes the Basilica de La Merced, a vibrant red church constructed from adobo that looks like something out of a storybook. Another must-see in Santiago is the Plaza de Armas. Huge palm trees sway in the wind, surrounded by impressive architecture like the Metropolitan Cathedral. When the family is in need of a break, head to the Paseo Ahumada for a bite to eat at one of the many local cafes and restaurants.
Another excellent way to see this impressive city all at once is by taking a ride on the Teleférico, a cable car that gives you stunning panoramic views of Santiago and the Andes Mountains. Soaring over an entire city like this is a rare and awesome experience that anyone can enjoy. If anyone in the family is too afraid of heights, there’s another unique way to get some postcard-worthy views which is by taking a ride on the Funicular to San Cristobal. Instead of flying over the city, you’ll scale the side of a mountain via cable railcar to the top of the mountain, where views overlooking the entire city welcome you.
2. Connect With Nature’s Wild Side In Chile’s Lake District
Looking for some thrilling experiences to add to your family vacation to Chile? Head to the Lake District, whose natural beauty is a remarkable backdrop for some heart-pounding excursions for families who love the great outdoors. If your kids are a little bit older, this is an excellent option for your trip. Go on a guided whitewater rafting excursion down the Trancura River, which features class 3 and 4 rapids that will get your blood pumping as you are tossed around in the waves.
Travelers who want something a little less adventurous can opt-in for a horseback tour around Lago Villarrica. Crystal blue waters shimmer in the shadow of the steep Villarrica mountain in the background, serving as a picturesque backdrop for an afternoon of riding. And for any families that want to fill their days with a truly relaxing outdoor activity, the Lake District is home to dozens of hiking trails whose views will leave you breathless. Puyehue National Park has some beautiful trails that are pretty easy, allowing every type of traveler easy access to the beautiful flora and fauna of Chile’s Lake District.
3. Go Off The Beaten Path To Chiloé Island
Most people planning a trip to Chile have never even heard of this charming, rural destination. However, those who choose to venture off the beaten path are treated to a magical experience on Chiloé Island. Located just off Chile’s Pacific coast, this island has slowly been gaining popularity with international travelers who fall in love with the culture, mysticism, food, nature, and history.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see Chiloé’s 16 churches, a UNESCO Heritage Site that offers a glimpse into the dynamic history of the island. Across the landscape, these wooden churches were built in the 17th century as Spanish settlers began to evangelize the local indigenous population. However, while most colonial architecture in South America resembles European styles, the churches here are a unique blend of local and Spanish work. Although the structures were designed with Spanish influence, all the materials and techniques used were from Chiloé, creating a one-of-a-kind series of buildings that marry the two worlds together. You can see all 16 in just one day of walking when you follow the Chiloe church’s route!
Families can also dive into the mystic history of witches and wizards with a trip to the Ancud Regional Museum. Here, exhibits take you through the history of the indigenous groups on the island and elaborate on what real witchcraft practices look like. This spot is ideally situated in a stunning coastal city, so once you’re done at the museum, be sure to go explore the town and grab a bite at one of the local restaurants. The chefs here are sure to prepare some of the best seafood you’ll ever taste.
4. Encounter Otherworldly Scenery In The Atacama Desert
When it comes to natural wonders, Chile is full of them. Patagonia is, of course, one of the most famous destinations for nature lovers, with bright blue waters and rugged mountains that are astonishing to see up close. But in the northern part of the country, a completely different type of beauty is revealed in the Atacama Desert.
The dry climate and high altitude of this region create an especially unusual ecosystem, one that looks like another planet entirely. Spending a few days here will feel like you’ve been transported to another part of our solar system, especially when you adventure to sites like Moon Valley. Huge red rock formations stretch out in front of you, with canyons and ridges that form a stunning cinematic backdrop for a day trip.
Another strange and spectacular site families should add to their itinerary is the Atacama Salt Flats. If your kids are wildlife lovers, this will be a special experience since three different types of wild pink flamingos often spend the day here, strolling through the lagoon. Or, if your kids have a mind that’s more focused on the great unknown, book a stargazing experience! Atacama is one of the best places in the world to lay out and gaze upon the galaxies above. The combination of clean, crisp air, low light pollution, and high altitude make the Atacama an extraordinary spot to study the constellations.
5. Learn About The Moai Statues On Easter Island
If you want to fill your family vacation to Chile with once-in-a-lifetime experiences, then a trip to Rapa Nui, AKA Easter Island, is essential. Known around the world for the mysterious Moai statues that are scattered all over the land, this is an amazing place for kids to encounter new cultures and get immersed in a historic site.
Go on a private tour of Rano Raraku National Park for a personalized lesson about the Moai statues. Shrouded in mystery, these statues have captured the attention of people around the world since they were first discovered by the outside world in 1868. Today, travelers can learn a lot about what these statues are and why they were built by local guides.
Beyond seeing the Moai, there are some amazing experiences for families traveling to Easter Island! What about a beach day? Since you’re in such a small, remote part of the world, a couple of hours lounging on the sands of Anakena Beach is sure to be a remarkably peaceful experience. While the kids play in the sand or splash around in the water, parents can unwind and recharge their energy as the soothing sounds of nature hum in the distance. Families can also connect with the island’s culture by attending a dance show put on by the indigenous Rapa Nui communities!
6. Wildlife Lovers Should Visit The Penguin Colonies of Isla Magdalena
For families who have passionate animal lovers, a trip to Isla Magdalena is non-negotiable. Seeing colonies of penguins frolicking along the beach is an experience that can’t be replaced by anything else. The small nature sanctuary is home to at least 60,000 pairs of Magellanic penguins who call this small stretch of land home from September through March. February is the ideal month to visit, but there’s a good window of opportunity for you to see these adorable waddling animals during a family vacation to Chile.
Plan your perfect getaway with Kuoda if you want to ensure your itinerary is filled with all the best experiences for kids and parents alike. We’ll organize all your individual dream experiences into an exciting vacation, complete with comfortable transportation, the best accommodations for families, and local guides.
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