If you’re headed to Chile, you’ll likely end up flying into Santiago for some amount of time. One of the most unique things about Santiago is its proximity to both the coast and the mountains. After taking some time to explore the city, it’s worth taking a few days to explore the surrounding regions. Want to learn more about the best day trips from Santiago? Read on for our top picks.
A charming seaside town wedged between a shipyard and a hill, Valparaíso (or lovingly named ‘Valpo’ by the Chileans) is a wonderful place to spend a day. Unlike the bustle of Santiago, Valpo’s laid back streets seemingly have beautiful boutiques and vibrant street art around every corner. Visit Pablo Neruda’s home, which overlooks the sea atop a hill, or take the funicular car up to the top and get lost in the city’s winding alleyways. Whether you spend the day walking through the city by foot or perched in a café with an amazing view, this charming city has something for everyone.
Getting to Valparaíso
There are several bus companies, including Pullman and Turbus, that leave frequently from Santiago. It takes about 1.5 hours to arrive in Valparaíso from Santiago. These buses cost about 6,300 CLP each way and leave from the Pajaritos Bus Terminal.
2. Viña del Mar, Reñaca, and Concón
As Valpo’s friendly neighbor, Viña del Mar is a classic beach town. With sparkling surf crashing alongside rocky cliffs, it’s the perfect place to catch some sun or simply enjoy the fresh sea air with a pisco sour in hand. It’s a wonderful place to spend a lazy weekend day, people watching or tasting some fresh seafood dishes at a beachside joint. If you want to get away from the crowded shores of Viña, head a bit farther down the coast in a local bus to the quieter towns of Reñaca and Concón. Here you can truly get a break from the energy of the city and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Pacific Ocean.
Getting to Viña del Mar
Similar to Valparaíso, you can take a direct bus from Santiago to the Viña del Mar bus terminal. It takes 1.5 to 2 hours to arrive in Viña del Mar from Santiago. These buses also cost about 6,300 CLP each way and leave from the Pajaritos Bus Terminal.
3. Isla Negra
If you haven’t quite had enough of Pablo Neruda in Santiago and Valparaiso, you’re in luck! His third home, open to the public, is a quick hop from Santiago in a small town called Isla Negra. Many travelers claim that this is his most fascinating home, with very different decor and history than his other two homes. It’s also surrounded by a charming, seaside town with craggy rocks, offering a lovely place to spend a day and get some peace and quiet.
Getting to Isla Negra
There are Pullman buses from Pajaritos Bus Terminal that pass through Isla Negra en route to other destinations. When purchasing your ticket, be sure to ask the employee at the kiosk for more detailed directions.
Are you a fan of artisan goods, handmade pottery, and charming pastoral living? If so, Pomaire is a wonderful place to take a day trip. This town became an artisan hotspot because of natural clay deposits in the nearby land, causing the pottery industry to boom here. Pomaire’s iconic pottery symbol? A reddish clay pig often found in homes and restaurants. If you’re getting hungry during your trip, Pomaire is also home to some of the biggest empanadas in Chile, ranging from 1.5 kg to 10 kg!
Getting to Pomaire
Buses from Santiago run frequently to nearby town Melipilla. From there, you can hop on a local bus onward to Pomaire. There are also a handful of direct buses to Pomaire – for these be sure to inquire at the bus station kiosk.
5. Casablanca Valley
En route to Valparaíso from Santiago, you may see rows and rows of green vineyards. This is the Casablanca Valley, home to some of Chile’s best white wine vineyards famous for its Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir wines. Located west of Santiago, visitors flock from all over Chile to hop from vineyard to vineyard on sunny days.
Getting to Casablanca Valley
The easiest way to get around Casablanca Valley is to rent a car and drive (responsibly). However, if you’re planning on drinking, you can also book day tours on a chartered bus from Santiago through most major hotels/hostels/tour operators.
6. Maipo Valley
On the opposite side of Santiago, right next to the Andes Mountains, is the Maipo Valley, home to even more vineyards of both the red and white variety. The famed Casillero del Diablo (of Concha y Toro Winery) is located here, as well as several other famous Chilean vineyards that specialize largely in Cabernet Sauvignon and other cold weather varieties.
Getting to Maipo Valley
Again, the easiest way to get around Maipo Valley is to rent a car and drive (responsibly). However, if you’re planning on drinking, you can also book day tours on a chartered bus from Santiago through most major hotels/hostels/tour operators.
7. Valle Nevado
Whether you’re there to ski or simply to enjoy the scenery, a day trip to this ski resort region near Santiago is worth the ride. The mountain views here are some of the best in the region, and people come from all over the world to ski these slopes. If you’re looking for a relaxing day in a mountain lodge, this is one of the best day trips from Santiago to try.
Getting to Valle Nevado
The easiest way to get to Valle Nevado from Santiago is to rent a car. However, if you prefer to take shared transportation, there is a shuttle option called SkiTotal that costs 18,000 CLP each way.
8. Cajón del Maipo
If you’re reading through this list and wondering which day trips are good for nature lovers, you’ve finally arrived! Cajón del Maipo is a stunning mountainous gorge located just over an hour from Santiago. Here, you can hike, camp and visit some hot springs. It’s an outdoor lover’s paradise, with endless amounts of fresh air and beautiful areas to explore.
Getting to Cajón del Maipo
Miraculously, you can get to Cajón del Maipo almost entirely on Santiago’s public transit. Take the metro to Bellavista de la Florida, Las Mercedes, or Plaza de Puente Alto, then hop on Bus 72 to Cajon del Maipo. You can also take a colectivo (shared taxi) from Metro Las Mercedes.
9. Sewell Mining Town
High in the Andes lies this old mining town, which is now a ghost town located just a few hours from Santiago. Inside the town are colorful houses, a main square, and old shops and businesses that now lie deserted. It’s a unique and historic place to visit, and one of the most fascinating of all of the day trips from Santiago.
Getting to Sewell Mining Town
You cannot access Sewell Mining Town without being on an organized tour, since private vehicles cannot access this protected town. You can book a tour to this ghost town with Viator.
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Have you been on any of these day trips from Santiago, Chile? Do you have another to share? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!