Are you planning a trip to Chile and wondering what to do with the 1 week you’ve got there. This 1 Week in Chile Itinerary will give you a good introduction to the country and help you take advantage of your time there while still allowing for some city, beach and relaxation time.
Chile is a long and thin country, measuring 4270km (2653mi) north to south, 356 km (221 mi) at its widest point and 64 km (40 mi) at its narrowest. It’s climate has 4 seasons and varies dramatically in the north compared to the south.
It has so much to offer from beaches, to mountains; desserts to glaciers. There are dunes, forests, volcanoes and fjords. It’s got Easter Island, which is located in the South Pacific Ocean, nearly half way to Tahiti. And then there is the wine! Don’t forget about the wine!
But probably my favorite part of Chile is it’s people. They are full of kindness and love. They are proud of their country and will do anything to help you.
Keep reading to learn about…
1 Week In Chile: The Absolute Best Itinerary
3 Nights in Santiago
Start your 1 week in Chile by arriving in Santiago. Try to arrive early to make the most of day 1. If you are like me, you may have arrived in the morning after a long 18 hour journey. Fight your jet lag, freshen up, and head out onto the streets to get in a full day of exploring.
Santiago is full of arts and culture. There are colorful murals around every corner, amazing architecture, and some of the best museums in South America. And make sure you visit a winery. 3 days is the perfect amount of time to take it in.
Read more: How to Spend 3 Days in Santiago, Chile
4 Nights in Valparaiso or Viña del Mar
First, you will need to decide if you want to stay in Viña del Mar or Valparaiso. They are both coastal cities on the Pacific Ocean, about 9km apart from each other, but both have completely different vibes. With 4 days, you will have time to fall in love with the Valparaiso, spend time on the beach of Viña del Mar, and head north to see Las Dunas de Concon.
Read more: Stay in Valparaiso or Viña del Mar?
Make Sure to Try…
Chorillanas are a ‘sharing’ plate of fries topped with various ingredients, usually meats and sausages, and a sauce but will vary from restaurant to restaurant. I had this delicious chorrillana at El Palacio de Chorrillana in Bellavista, Santiago.
Pisco Sour is the ‘national drink’ of Chile, made from pisco, citrus juice (usually lime) and sweetener. Everywhere has them on their menu. Make sure you try one! They are very refreshing on a hot day. You can find them in almost every restaurant and bar.
I love empanadas and they are always top of my list to try in every South American country that I visit. They are a dough or pastry, filled with various fillings and are either baked or deep fried. The best!
Carménère is a grape originally from France but pretty much only found in Chile now, although there is a small region in Italy that still produces carménère.
Caldillo de Congrio
Caldillo de Congrio is a delicious soup made from Pablo Neruda’s poem ‘Oda al Caldillo de Congrio’. It’s made from congrio (cusk-eel), vegetables, spices and cream. So delish!
When to Visit
Chile has 4 distinct seasons and because of its size, north to south, it has a very diverse climate. When to go, depends on what part(s) of the country you plan to visit and what activities you want to do. Also, don’t forget that their seasons are opposite of North America.
- Patagonia – best time is Dec-Feb
- Beaches – best time is Dec – Feb
- Skiing the Andes – Jul – Sep
- Wine tasting – all year round, however from Mar – Apr is harvest season
Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL) is the main international airport of Chile. If flying internationally, you will likely fly in and out of this airport.
- From the airport – A taxi from the international airport to central Santiago is $30USD per direction. We had our hotel prearrange a pick up to make things easier after a long travel day.
- To/from Viña del Mar/Valparaiso – To get to either Viña del Mar or Valparaiso, you can drive or take the bus. There is no flight service. I don’t know about you, but the thought of driving, especially getting out of central Santiago, really does not appeal to me. Once you are out of the city, it would be fine as the highway to the coast is in great shape. We chose to take the bus. It’s about a 2hr ride to either on comfortable air conditioned busses. I was pleased to find they also had wifi. Buses depart from Parajitos station nearly every 15 minutes and cost around 4500CLP one way.
Spanish is the official language of Chile however there are other indigenous languages spoken in small numbers. In Santiago, Valparaiso, and Viña del Mar, we found that in most hotels there would be at least a few employees that could speak English. Some servers in restaurants could speak some English but otherwise, you will find that everyone speaks mostly Spanish only. It’s a good idea to learn some basic Spanish before you go and to make sure you load Google Translate on your phone to help you out along the way.
The currency of Chile is the Chilean peso (CLP). At time of writing $1USD = 800CLP, $1CAD = 600CLP or €1EUR = 900CLP. These are approximate and change on a daily basis.
ATM’s and Credit cards
ATM’s are widely available. Most higher end hotels and restaurants, as well as most tourist attractions accept credit cards. Smaller restaurants and street vendors will be cash only. I always like to make sure I have some local currency before I arrive in a new country.
Chile is an amazing country to spend a week in, especially as an add-on to a visit to neighboring Argentina. The Chilean people are passionate and loving, and who are as vibrant and colorful as the buildings surrounding them.
Te amo Chile! 💗