Amazing Places to Visit in Chile with Kids

South America is increasingly popular for travelers looking for unique and memorable vacations. Chile is a great option for families where concerns like security and finding appropriate activities are key. We are sharing some of the best places to visit in Chile with kids.

Best Places to Visit in Chile with Kids

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Where to Go on a Chile Family Vacation

As one of the safest destinations in Latin America, especially outside of the capital, and with a wide variety of excursions for all the family, Chile is an ideal destination for families looking for an adventure-led trip that everyone will remember for years to come.

As the longest country in the world, it’s packed full of breathtaking nature, diverse cultures, and a range of climates that vary from highland deserts to luscious rainforests, subtropical islands, and Patagonian pampas.

You can visit the awesome town of San Pedro de Atacama, where civilizations and nature have learned to thrive at thousands of feet above sea level or discover the magic of Easter Island, where myths, legends, and giant statues lurk amongst idyllic white beaches and rolling green hills.

Mirador Cuernos Torres del Paine Chile with kids

For an action-packed adventure, head south to the rushing rapids and wide lakes of the Lake District to see some fascinating wildlife or explore the wilderness of the epic Torres del Paine National Park – yes, there are even things here for families too!

But with so much diversity come some lengthy distances and occasionally complicated logistics. A trip to Chile should be a vacation for the parents too, so take the stress out and leave the planning and unexpected occurrences up to a travel company.

Ecochile Travel designs custom itineraries to fit your family’s interests and requirements and will be with you every step of the way. With a 24/7 emergency contact line and an onhand operations assistant to help with any unexpected issues, you can sit back and enjoy the ultimate family vacation.

What Not to Miss in Chile with Kids

Discover the Capital City of Santiago

If you’re arriving by plane to Chile, you’ll surely land in Santiago, the country’s capital. Almost bang in the middle of the longest country on the planet, it’s a great starting point to travel onwards to other parts of this amazing country! 

There are of course loads of things to do in the capital. In addition to Santiago’s museums, you can head to the Andes mountains that overlook the city to explore some of the hikes in the nearby parks.

Plaza de Armas Santiago Chile

Or you can stay closer to the hustle and bustle to climb the San Cristobal or Santa Lucia hills, explore the artisanal markets, or the different neighborhoods that each have their own families. 

Taking a guided tour could be a good idea if you’re unsure, in part to make sure you get to see the most exciting parts of the city, and in part to keep you away from the sketchier areas.

One of these could be a half-day food tour of the city. As well as the city’s iconic historical landmarks, explore the bustling markets, with all their colors, sights, and smells. You’ll be able to try samples along the way, too, immerse yourself in some of Chile’s delectable flavors, and maybe inspire some recipes to try when you’re back home.

Find Art and Wine on a Day Trip to Valparaíso

From Santiago, you can also take a day trip to Valparaíso, a bohemian coastal city bathed in color and art. Explore the magnificent trolley lifts that take locals up the steep hills, and learn about the city’s culture through its street art and graffiti. If you’re an arty kind of family, be sure to include a graffiti workshop in your itinerary. 

Valparaiso Chile colorful buildings

As you return to the capital, you’ll pass through the Casablanca wine valley, famous worldwide for its crisp and fresh whites. Of course, the wine is for the parents! But there’s plenty for under-18s too.

Some of the wineries offer tastings with juice, so they can get in on the flavor fun. Others offer e-bike tours, horseback riding, and tours of kitchen gardens. There are often animals running around the grounds which everyone is sure to enjoy!

Marvel at the Night Skies in San Pedro de Atacama

After a couple of days in Santiago, hop on a short flight to one of its celebrated destinations. San Pedro de Atacama, in the north of the country, will show you one of the most out-of-this-world landscapes you can find on the planet.

Hop on a flight to Calama (around 2 hours), and drive or take a transfer to San Pedro de Atacama (around 1.5 hrs). Don’t worry about the length of the journey – on the way your eyes will be fixed to the awesome surroundings and wildlife. 

Atacama desert reflections

Take your time when you arrive to acclimatize to the altitude and it’s recommended to take it easy on the first day. Rest at the hotel and make the most of its facilities or explore artisanal markets and restaurants in the town center.

Catch your first glimpse of the famous starry night before getting some sleep or add in an astronomy tour if your kids are learning about the solar system, maybe a short astronomy tour would be a great way to see the Milky Way in all its glory!

Check out Amazing Wildlife in the Highland Lagoons

When you’re ready to get out and explore, there are plenty of natural wonders and cultural legacies to discover like the Highland Lagoons. These blue lagoons are a great opportunity to spot the Atacama’s desert-defying wildlife. From flamingoes to vizcuñas, many of the desert’s animals come here for their watering holes. 

From here, you can visit the weavers of Socaire. Although the desert is hot during the day, it gets very cold at night. Plus the alpacas and llamas in the area provide a great source of wool, meaning that wool manufacturing is a fundamental part of the local culture and economy here.

As well as a tasty lunch with the local community, you can learn about the whole system of producing wool, from agriculture to livestock rearing to the final product.

Travel to Another World in Moon Valley

No trip to the Atacama is complete without a visit to the iconic Moon Valley. So-called because its surface replicates the moon, the valley’s colors and textures are mind-blowing.

Moon Valley Chile

Walk amongst the lunar landscapes where the Mars Rover was tested as well as visit the local Ayllus villages, meeting the locals and trying some typical (and delicious!) Atacameñan food.

Explore Volcanoes and Waterfalls in the Lake District 

Chile’s Lakes Region is one of the most family-friendly locations. It’s well worth spending at least 3 nights based in Puerto Varas to take different tours in the area.

A visit to the picturesquely conical Osorno Volcano and the impressive Petrohué Falls is a must. You can do a fun walk here near the base of the volcano and walk on the volcanic rock before paying a visit to the powerful waterfalls of Petrohué.

Petrohue Falls Chile

If you’re looking for something with more of a thrill, adding a white water rafting experience here is great for older kids. 

In an area full of forests and biodiversity, a favorite family activity is to explore one of the area’s interpretation trails. One of the most impressive is the trail through the Alerce Andino National Park.

We recommend a guide in Alerce Andino National Park to get the most out of the visit. They’ll teach you more than you thought was possible about the giant trees that date back thousands of years and the secrets of the local wildlife.

Take a Day Trip to Chiloé to See the Penguins

The charming and mystical island of Chiloé makes for an unforgettable day trip to see the Humboldt penguins of Ancud and Puñihuil.

Humboldt penguins Chile

If you have time to stay overnight here, you can add the island’s capital, Castro, and Dalchue to your itinerary. This will allow you to explore more of the island’s trails and stay in a colorful ‘palafito’ (a house on stilts over the water).

Head to Punta Arenas in Southern Patagonia

Punta Arenas is Chile’s southernmost city and a great stop for wildlife lovers. Take a half-day tour to Magdalena Island to see the curious Magellan Penguins.

Add on a full-day tour for whale watching, either on a boat or by kayak (yes, really!). Do check before you book that penguins and whales haven’t migrated away on your dates as they only stay for the warmer spring and summer months.

Stunning Outdoor Adventures in Torres del Paine National Park

From Punta Arenas, you can drive or take a transfer to the Iconic Torres del Paine National Park. This can take between 3 and 5 hours, depending on your hotel, and if you make any stops along the way (you’ll be graced with some epic views on your pit stops!).

If you dread the idea of a lengthy drive, you can fly into Puerto Natales instead, which is just next door to the park.

Torres del Paine National Park Chile

Torres del Paine is home to some of the world’s most famous hikes – the W and the O circuits. You can do these with children as there are no age restrictions. Do check the weather conditions before you set off though and be prepared to face all four seasons in a matter of hours, no matter when you go.

If you’re looking for a more low-key (but just as magnificent) option, there is an endless variety of shorter walks ranging between one and three hours to get out and explore.

Some good ones include the Fauna Trail, a walk around Grey Lake, or a hike to the Salto Grande and Cuernos Lookouts for that iconic Patagonia view.

Don’t miss the grey glacier!

For something truly mind-blowing, take a boat trip to the Grey Glacier. After a short walk, jump on the catamaran to get up close to this impressive glacier.

Depending on your tour, you might be offered a pisco sour or whisky served with glacial ice, too! If your group is all over 18 and is up for the physical challenge, you can also take an ice trek on the glacier – it’s highly recommended! 

Torres del Paine may be known for adventure but there are opportunities for cultural learning experiences too. Visit an estancia (a typical Patagonian ranch) to enjoy some delicious southern food, learn about the sheep-rearing culture, and explore exclusive landscapes on horseback or foot. The Patagonian sheepdogs are definitely a plus!

Go back in time on Easter Island

There are only a few flights a week to Easter Island and all leave from Santiago, so getting there requires a bit of thought and organization but it’s well worth the trip. This is a true paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Spending at least three nights here is recommended, but you could easily spend 5 or more. 

Easter island figures

The island offers your family a chance to explore the remains of a fascinating culture. Some great activities are visits to Rano Raraku and Rano Kau, two dormant volcanoes, and quarries for the Moai statues.

You can also visit the island’s caves to hear the legends that have shaped the local culture, visit local artisans at work as they carve statues, animals, and household objects out of wood, or learn about the island’s body painting traditions in a hands-on class.

Of course, the beaches are a treat here too. Be sure to sign up for a snorkeling or scuba tour for a chance to see a sea turtle, or head out to the islets on a boat trip!

Ready to Plan Your Vacation to Chile with Kids?

One of the great things about Chile is that there’s so much to see and do but it can be overwhelming to do it all in one trip. Working with a travel company like Ecochile Travel can help you plan your family vacation to create an efficient and stress-free trip. You can discuss with your specialist which are the locations that most interest you and adapt the activities to your family’s preferences.

About the author: Emily Gregg’s global travels inspired a love of the Spanish language that eventually took her to live in Chile, far from her native UK. She has been working with Ecochile Travel and Ecoargentina Travel for almost two years as their Communications Coordinator, helping to show off the wonders of this corner of the world and visiting them as often as she can!