Chile with kids

If visiting Chile with kids has not crossed your mind as an appealing family vacation possibility, read on … we just got back from a tremendous trip with Latin Excursions, a top-notch tour operator specializing in travel to Central and South America. As I’ve been running into people who follow my Facebook feed, their first comment is that my photos are incredible. They subsequently ask if Chile is really THAT beautiful and amazing. My answer? Yes, indeed. 

Although Chile doesn’t have a landmark icon like the Eiffel Tower or the Matterhorn to draw attention to it, the country is full of astonishing natural wonders, from the driest non-polar desert in the world, to smoking volcanoes glowing red with lava at night, to some of the most striking and remote wilderness areas on earth in Patagonia. Extending 2,653 mi/4,270 km from north to south, it’s impossible to feel like you’ve made a dent in a single vacation, but we got a taste for its wild beauty and can’t wait to go back.

Many people have heard about Patagonia, but not about all the other things there are to see and do around Chile with kids of all ages. It’s far for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere, but you can still craft a wonderful 10- to 14-day vacation given the moderate time change and accessibility of the destinations of interest. It’s more or less the same travel time as going to Europe from the West Coast with a connection, i.e. long but doable and worth it.

Astounding Landscape Diversity
Once you arrive in Santiago, Chile offers wildly different landscapes to experience within a few hours’ drive or flight. You don’t need to travel far south to Patagonia to have enough incredible things to see and do. With the Pacific Ocean on one side of this narrow country and the Andes on the other, ocean and mountain lovers can get their dose of bliss. In a one-week trip we experienced the coast, mountains, vineyards, lakes and rivers. It reminds me of California in this way — you can drive a short distance and be in a totally different place from a climate and visual standpoint. 

Active Family Paradise
Chile is an active family paradise with both soft and more strenuous adventure opportunities. Although we were intrigued by Valparaiso and Santiago, the country’s gems, in my opinion, are its natural wonders, and experiencing them in full requirements an interest in outdoor pursuits like trekking, biking, skiing, whitewater rafting, surfing, boating, fishing and alike. If you enjoy such activities as a family, run — don’t walk — to Chile!