'Selfdrive in Chilean Patagonia'

What makes this trip special?

Maipo wines

Maipo wines

Maipo Valley wineries

Home to Chile and Latin America's most recognised wine producers Concha y Toro, the Maipo Valley is a short distance from Santiago and a perfect morning or afternoon trip if you are based in the city. The wineries here offers tours of the vineyards and cellars, as well as a tasting session to finish.

Volcanoes and lakes

Volcanoes and lakes

Puerto Varas & the Chilean Lake District

Puerto Varas is a small town on the shores of Lake Llanquihue with stunning views across to the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. A great base for exploring the region, there is a huge array of activities to suit the sedentary or more active traveller.

Patagonian jungle

Patagonian jungle

Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve

Huilo Huilo Reserve is a private project setup with the aim of preserving the regions native forest and wildlife. There is over 600km2 of land within the park, and with rivers, trees and mountains at your disposal this is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts.

Seafood and stilts

Seafood and stilts

Chiloé Island

Chiloé's isolation from mainland Chile has preserved its long standing air of mystery and tradition. The island has some of the country's best seafood, and perhaps its most unique architecture in the form of its wooden churches and stilted houses on the sea front. There are large colonies of Humboldt and Magellanic penguins towards the beaches of Puñihuil, and this is the only known place in the world where both species exisit toegther.

Granite peaks of Patagonia

Granite peaks of Patagonia

Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine is one of South America's most famous, and possibly its most photogenic national park. The massive rock pillars of Las Torres loom above the vast expanse of grasslands, glaciers and lakes, and are visible from almost all the trails within the park. The park is home to an abundance of flora and fauna, and remains Chile's premier destination for walkers and hikers.

Magellanic Penguins

Magellanic Penguins

Magdalena Island

This small island in the straits of Magellan is home to a wide variety of seabirds, but most famously to the Magellanic Penguin. The island is uninhabited by humans, but hosts thousands of Penguins, and remains one of the best places to see them in Patagonia.

Poetic port-town

Poetic port-town


Chile's unique second city of Valparaiso is now an UNESCO world heritage site made famous by its colourful hilltop neighbourhoods and rickety funicular railway elevators still in active use. The town's most famous resident and Nobel literature prize winner Pablo Neruda, was hugely influenced by the town. His former home 'La Sebastiana' has been preserved much as it was: a worthy pilgrimage for those new to his poetry and those who have made it part of their lives.

Itinerary map for Chile 'Selfdrive in Chilean Patagonia' holiday


  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Santiago
  • 2 Santiago
  • 3 Temuco
  • 3 Pucon
  • 4 Huerquehue
  • 5 Huilo Huilo
  • 6 Huilo Huilo
  • 7 Puerto Varas
  • 8 Chiloé Island
  • 9 Torres del Paine
  • 10 Torres del Paine
  • 11 Torres del Paine
  • 12 Punta Arenas
  • 13 Punta Arenas
  • 14 Valparaíso
  • 15 Valparaíso
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Selfdrive in Chilean Patagonia'


Arrive in Santiago and transfer to your hotel with an introductory walking tour

Upon arrival you are met and taken to your hotel in the Chilean Capital. The transfer to your hotel in the centre of the city takes you past a few areas of interest in Santiago, and your English speaking guide is on hand to give you an introduction to the area around your hotel, helping you locate nearby restaurants and places of note. After your brief tour, you have the rest of the afternoon free to explore more of the city or relax at your hotel.


Visit to a winery

Today you leave the hustle and bustle of Santiago city centre and head into the nearby countryside to visit one of Chile's most well known industries with a visit to to a local winery. The tour starts by taking you through the vineyards and cellars of the wine makers before you see the production process and eventually a comprehensive tasting session to get to know the different varieties on offer. You have the opportunity to buy any of the wines that you have tasted, before then heading back to your hotel in town.


Fly to the Lake District and pick up hire car

At the agreed time you are taken to Santiago airport on time for your flight to Temuco. On arrival, pick up your hire car and drive around 2 hours to Pucón on the shores of Lake Villarica. The town itself is a major centre for adventure tourism within the lake distrcit, and is the ideal base for active excursions such as white water rafting or hiking the Villarica volcano. You have the rest of the afternoon free.


Free day in the region

Today you are free to explore the area around Pucón independently. One option is to visit the Huerquehue National park using your car, and this beautiful protected area is typical of the region with forests and lakes providing some fantastic walking trails and views across the valleys and towards the Villarica volcano. Alternatively, if you would like to do something more adventurous, then you could organise some white water rafting or kayaking on the river Pucón whilst there are also places to mountain bike and horse ride if you prefer to be off your feet for the day.


Drive to Huilo Huilo National Park

Today drive south through the Villarica National Park towards the Huilo Huilo reserve. This protected Biological area is around 3 hours drive south of Pucón, and a private ecotourism project in the what is described as the Chilean Patagonia rainforest. On the way down to Huilo Huilo, you may like to stop in the Geothermal hot springs around 17 km outside of Pucón towards the the town of Coñaripe. The hot springs have 20 thermal pools with temperatures ranging between 39°C and 44°C, and are located in the middle of the native forests of the Villarrica National Park.


Day to explore Huilo Huilo

Today you have a full day to explore the Huilo Huilo Reserve, with use of your car as you see fit. There are walks all around the reserve that can be done on a self-guided basis such as the Truful and Botanical trails, as well as excursions that can be booked locally with guided assistance that range from mountain biking and rafting trips to an exhilarating network of ziplines through the canopy.


To Puerto Varas

Today drive from your hotel in Huilo Huilo to Puerto Varas. The most direct route is around 300km along the Ruta 5, but on your way down to the south, come off the main road and head east around the Llanquihue lake towards the Osorno Volcano. Along this road skirting the edge of the lake you can take a walk around the perfect conical volcano for some excellent photo opportunities, or continue on the road until arriving at the beautiful Petrohue Falls. Beyond the waterfalls the road continues to Lago Todos Santos and a volcanic beach with views across the water towards the mountain village of Peulla. Otherwise continue to Puerto Varas, and this final stretch of journey takes around 45 minutes.


Day tour of Chiloé Island (wooden churches and houses on stilts)

Depart from your hotel to the pier in Puerto Montt to take the ferry to Chacao on the Island of Chiloé. Visit the village’s main square and church and then continue to Dalcahue to visit a traditional handicraft fair, renowned for its wool and wood products. Proceed to the Island’s largest town, Castro, where you stop for lunch (payable locally). Chiloé is known for its unique culture, which is quite distinct from that of the Chilean mainland, and you will see some fine examples of this in the Castro area with visits to the neighbourhood of Gamboa with its typical ‘palafitos’ (houses on stilts) and to the Church in Nercón, a beautiful example of Chiloés numerous wooden churches and a World Heritage Site.


To Torres del Paine

In the morning drive back to Puerto Montt to drop off your hire car and fly further south to the town of Punta Arenas. On arrival in Punta Arenas you pick up your second hire car of the trip from the rental office and drive the 300 km or so to Torres del Paine National Park for a stay of three nights. Please note that your entrance fees for the park will be payable locally, and this would be organised at the entrance to the Park. To break your journey you have the option of stopping in the frontier town of Puerto Natales, located around 2 hours outside the centre of the Park, and the Milodón cave. The cave is made famous for the discovery of the remains of a giant ground sloth, or Milodón, resembling a large bear. Continue towards the entrance to the Park where you fill in your details with the rangers before arriving at your lodge in the late afternoon. Your stay at a lodge in the park is on a half board basis that includes dinner at the hotel as well as breakfast.

DAY 10

Torres del Paine

Today you are free to explore the park independently, using your hire car to get to the different area within Torres del Paine. Walks within the park vary in length from full day hikes to shorter morning or afternoon excursions, whilst there are some option available for non-walkers such as an excursion by boat to the glacier grey, or horse back rides through the Pampa grasslands.

DAY 11

Torres del Paine

Today is a second full day within the Park with your hire car.

DAY 12

Transfer back to Punta Arenas

You are at leisure with your hire car until you chose to drive back to Punta Arenas. On arrival you drop off your car, and stay at your hotel in town for a further 2 nights.

DAY 13

visit Tierra del Fuego and King Penguin colony

This is a very full day excursion by ferry boat to the island of Tierra del Fuego. You arrive by boat at Porvenir town where you visit the fascinating local ethnographic museum to learn about the lives of the Selk'nam native people who lived here. After lunch in town you continuing to the site of a small colony of King Penguins. The site is controlled by local authorities, and is one of the world's more accessible places to see the second largest species of Penguin up close. Across the Bahia Inutil and at the mouth of the Marazzi river you have around 45 minutes with this small colony. It's then a drive north across the grassland steppe to the northern end of the island for a ferry across the narrowest part of the Straight of Megellan rnning from Punta Delgada to Bahia Azul, keep an eye out on the way for other typical Patagonian wildlife e.g. rhea and guanacos and marine and birdlife. You will return to your hotel in Punta Arenas very late in the evening.

DAY 14

To Valaparaiso

This morning you are at leisure until the agreed time when you transfer to the airport on time for your flight back to Santiago. You are met on arrival in Santiago and rather than staying in the city you are transported to Valparaiso for a stay of 2 nights. Alternatively, if you prefer to visit Valaparaiso as a day trip, then perhaps alter your last two nights to stay in a hacienda in the Chilean countryside surrounded by vineyards.

DAY 15

Tour of Valparaiso

Today enjoy a guided walking tour starting from Prat Pier to walk through Sotomayor Square where you can see the Monument to the Heroes of Iquique which commemorates the Battle of Iquique an important naval confrontation during Chile’s War of the Pacific against Peru and Bolivia. Take the El Peral lift, one of 15 distinctive funicular elevators still operating in the city, which takes you to Paseo Yugoslavo and the typical zone of Cerro Alegre. Journey through the winding streets of Cerro Alegre and then on to Cerro Concepción, arriving at Paseo Gervasoni and Paseo Atkinson. Return to the ‘plan’ of Valparaiso, the name given to the flat areas of the city, and take the trolleybus to Plaza Aduana. Continue by taking the lift to Paseo 21 de Mayo where your vehicle awaits to take you back to your hotel.

DAY 16

Return to Santiago and fly back to the UK

Today you are transferred to Santiago airport in time for your international flight home.

Guide prices for 'Selfdrive in Chilean Patagonia'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Mid-range hotels, category B manual hatchback, shared excursions 2 people sharing £4,125
Prices are per person and include:
  • all accommodation
  • all travel within Chile
  • meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • 10 days rental car in two locations with basic CDW insurance with a deductible and unlimited mileage
  • all excursions described
  • domestic flights
Prices do not include:
  • transatlantic flights
  • travel insurance
  • airport and departure taxes
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • car-hire: additional driver insurance
  • car-hire: petrol
  • car-hire: refundable deposit

Customer reviews for 'Selfdrive in Chilean Patagonia'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.


Seasonal information for 'Selfdrive in Chilean Patagonia'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm
2 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm
3 Temuco 25°C rainfall 38mm
3 Pucon 24°C rainfall 67mm
4 Huerquehue 22°C rainfall 40mm
5 Huilo Huilo 21°C rainfall 50mm
6 Huilo Huilo 21°C rainfall 50mm
7 Puerto Varas 20°C rainfall 76mm
8 Chiloé Island 17°C rainfall 80mm
9 Torres del Paine 10°C rainfall 117mm
10 Torres del Paine 10°C rainfall 117mm
11 Torres del Paine 10°C rainfall 117mm
12 Punta Arenas 15°C rainfall 36mm
13 Punta Arenas 15°C rainfall 36mm
14 Valparaíso 23°C rainfall 3mm
15 Valparaíso 23°C rainfall 3mm

Typical weather for January


Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Selfdrive in Chilean Patagonia'

Days 1 - 2

Hotel Providencia


A newly renovated, 75 room traditional hotel with a garden swimming pool and fitness centre, conveniently located near the Providencia metro station and close to the entrance to the Cerro San Cristobal. Rooms have cable TV, A/C and free Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant on site, as well as pleasant gardens and food is served in the terrace area by the pool.


Hotel Providencia
Double room
Days 3 - 4



Hotel Malalhue is a mountain style hotel with 24 guestrooms. All have private bathrooms and WIFI whilst there is a bar and restaurant open all year round. The hotel is around 800m from the centre of town so ideal for those with a car. Guests also have use of the outdoor heated swimming pool.

hotel exterior
Days 5 - 6

Montaña Mágica Lodge

Huilo-Huilo Reseve

This quirky volcano shaped lodge located in the Huilo Huilo reserve is 5km from the Huilo Huilo falls. The lodge is ideal for people self-driving due to its remote location, and nearby are a variety of outdoor activities. Rooms do not have televisions, but there is wifi, private bathrooms and a café on site.

Montaña Mágica Lodge
Lodge Exterior
Days 7 - 8


Puerto Varas

Hotel Puelche is located a few blocks from dowtown Puerto Varas, facing lake Llanquihue and with views of Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. All 21 rooms (divided into Premium and Superior Rooms) at the hotel have private bathrooms, hairdryers, safety deposit boxes and minibar. Facilities at the hotel include a restaurant and spa.

Exterior of the hotel
Days 9 - 11

Río Serrano

Torres del Paine-Rio Serrano

Located near the Serrano River and the South entrance to the Torres del Paine National Park the hotel is a good mid range option. The hotel comprises a total of 95 standard (24 sq mt) and superior (32 sq mt) rooms all with en-suite facilities (shower for standard rooms and bathtub for superior rooms) that include safety deposit box, telephone, central heating, bathroom amenities, hairdryer, desk and mini-bar. There is a ground floor bar, and the views from the upstairs restaurant are excellent.

Río Serrano
Hotel Exterior
Days 12 - 13

Isla Rey Jorge

Punta Arenas

Located near the main square, this colonial building features 22 rooms (including one junior suite) with amenities such as cable TV, telephone, hair-dryer and safety box. The hotel also has a bar which serves food, a games room and internet access.

Isla Rey Jorge
Front of the hotel
Days 14 - 15

Gran Hotel Gervasoni


A quirky, characterful and historic building near Cerro Concepción on the Gervasoni Walk. Originally a private house built by European immigrants in the late 19th century the public areas retain their high Victorian décor and furnishings. With its steep wooden staircases (no lift) and commanding views over Valparaiso town and out to the bay you might think you are on a ship. There are 15 rooms each with en-suite (4 of which with hydro massage) facilities, central heating, satellite TV and Wi-Fi all individually decorated. Rooms vary in size and some have views to the sea. There is a breakfast room with a nice terrace, a restaurant and a wine cellar.


Gran Hotel Gervasoni
Hotel entrance