One of my favorite aspects of Santiago is that you don’t have to go far to experience something completely different. The locals love to tell you that you’re always within a couple of hours from the surf or the snow.
And it’s true.
With an endless supply of activities, I wanted to highlight my favorite day trips outside Santiago.
I’ve previously written about my first experience with skiing at Valle Nevado, an unforgettable adventure in the Andes. Santiago hosts several other high-end ski resorts such as Farellones, Portillo, Parva and family-friendly Colorado that are easy day trips from the capital.
The ski resorts can be easily reached in your own vehicle, or you can opt for a tour through Ski Total, where you can rent all your gear, transportation and lift tickets through the company.
EXPLORE CASABLANCA WINE VALLEY
Chilean’s wine valleys are famous in their own right, and you can spend years exploring each winery tucked away throughout the country. One of the most popular day trips close to Santiago is known as Casablanca, and is filled with powerhouse wineries, along with small boutique outfits that are thriving.
It’s about an hour outside Santiago, and is best explored with a car. While the wineries are open daily, they open until 10am and close early at 5pm. Most also stop serving food / tastings around 4pm. If you’re headed there on a weekend, it’s best to call or email beforehand to make reservations for tours and tastings.
Cajon del Maipo is one of the easiest places to get to from Santiago, with frequent buses that take you to the town of San Jose del Maipo, about 90 minutes away. You can get dropped off at any point on the bus route to explore hiking routes.
My favorite one is through the Reserva Coyanco, with constantly changing landscapes, and several stream crossings that made it a fun experience. If hiking is not your thing, you can also visit the famous Embalse del Yeso water reservoir or the various hot springs, but these are only available through tours or with your own vehicle.
The last day trip on my list, but certainly not the least, is the charming city by the sea, Valparaiso (or Valpo as the locals call it). You can’t go wrong with a visit to Valpo - there are buses from the main bus terminal of Pajaritos in Santiago every 10 minutes, or you can book online via BusBud on popular days to ensure a spot.
You can get to Valpo in 90 minutes, and you have an array of activities to choose from - graffiti tours, boat tours, restaurants and bars. It’s a special place, and a must-see day trip from Santiago.