Self Drive Holidays in Chile

Chile Self Drive

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Get Your Kicks... on Ruta 40

10-day Self Drive Holidays in Chile and Argentina for £1995pp

We always try and give people as much freedom as they want on our holidays, but in many countries we have to draw the line at self drive, whether that's due to the roads, the available vehicles, the other drivers, or a combination of all three! Happily in Patagonia we have no such worries and we think our self drive holidays in Chile and Argentina are a great way to explore this beautiful part of the world.

The itinerary given here is just an idea, of course - our self drive holidays in Chile can be as long or as short as you like, but hopefully this gives you some idea of the possibilities, and a flavour of how you can benefit from having all the nuts and bolts like accommodation in place, enjoy the backup of our local staff on the ground, but still have the freedom that self drive offers you to take things at your own pace rather than someone else's...

Outline Itinerary

  • Day One: Arrival in Santiago de Chile
  • Day Two: Free Day in Santiago
  • Day Three: Travel to Patagonia
  • Day Three: Drive into Torres del Paine
  • Day Four: Torres del Paine
  • Day Five: On to El Calafate
  • Day Six: Visit Perito Moreno Glacier
  • Day Seven: Drive to Puerto Natales
  • Day Eight: On to Punta Arenas
  • Day Nine: Fly to Santiago
  • Day Ten: Overnight flight back to the UK

"We enjoyed everything, but the canoe along the Napo creek was just out of this world."

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Detailed Itinerary

Day One – Start of your Holiday in Chile

Your self drive holidays in Chile will begin this morning as you touch down in Santiago, and we will be there to meet you and take you straight to your hotel in the upmarket Providencia area of the city. You will then have the rest of the day free to relax and enjoy one of South America’s most sophisticated capital cities.

Day Two – Free Day in Santiago

We’ve left you with a free day in Santiago to explore old colonial centre and some of the newer neighbourhoods so you can get a feel for the the contrast between old and new which typifies the city. We recommend starting off with a look at the grandest of Santiago’s colonial buildings, including the imposing Presidential Palace and Mint Building, and the neo-classical Cathedral. You could then travel through some of Santiago’s most modern districts on your way to San Cristobal hill. Here a funicular railway takes you right to the top for a fantastic view over the city. (B)

  • If you’d prefer to book a guided tour for today such as a tour by bicycle or even on foot then just let us know! Alternatively you could take a trip to the Maipo Valley wine region? Another option would be a full day tour to the colourful port city of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. Just ask us for more information!

Day Three - Fly to Patagonia

After breakfast today we will pick you up and take you to the airport for a flight south along Chile's long Pacific coast and down into Patagonia. We will land this afternoon in Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the country, where you will pick up your vehicle for the next week. You then have the rest of the day to drive north to your hotel in the small town of Puerto Natales. Along the way, why not stop at Otway Sound to visit the huge Magellanic Penguin colony there? (B)

  • Our standard price is based on a Europcar I3 tariff (Toyota Hilux or similar) but if you'd like more room or power, just ask us about the full range of vehicles available.

Day Four - Drive into Torres del Paine National Park

Your adventure begins in earnest today as you drive up into the Andes and the spectacular scenery of the Torres del Paine National Park. Offering some of the finest high mountain scenery in the world, with snow-capped peaks, clear glacial lakes and wildflower-strewn meadows, Torres del Paine is an unforgettably beautiful place. (B)

Day Five - More time in Torres del Paine

Today is completely up to you, as you have another day in the Torres del Paine to enjoy. We're happy to help with detailed recommendations, of course, but with your own car, you have the freedom to drive and park up wherever you like to enjoy some walking or just find that perfect picnic spot... (B)

  • If you don’t think two nights gives you enough time in Torres del Paine then just let us know and we can add in an extra day to give you more time to explore and hike the trails around the National Park.

Day Six - Drive into Argentina

Passports at the ready today as we leave Chile temporarily behind and continue your self-drive holiday in Argentina. Crossing the border at El Castillo, you will drop down the eastern slopes of the Andes towards the small town of El Calafate, on the shores of Lake Argentino, enjoying some great views of the vast Argentina Pampas spread below you. (B)

Day Six - Visit to Perito Moreno

You can spend today however you choose, but we strongly recommend you use it to visit the Glaciers National Park and the colossal Perito Moreno glacier. Over 200km long and with a front ice 'wall' which is 60m high and 4km wide, it's an incredible spectacle, and even better if you get to see huge chunks of ice 'calve' from the front wall and drop into the lake. You can even go for walks on the top of the glacier, or just explore some of the other marked trails in the National Park. (B)

  • Keen hikers may want to consider adding on an extra couple of days to drive up to El Chaltén and Mount Fitz Roy. This is some of the best hiking in all of Patagonia, and the photo opportunities are just incredible!

Day Eight - Drive to Puerto Natales

Ruta 40 is famous in Argentina for the beauty and wildness of the scenery it shows you, and happily this is the route you will follow today as you drive back across the border into Chile. After a full day's drive, you will arrive back in Puerto Natales in the late afternoon or early evening - depending on how often you stop for photos! (B)

Day Nine - Back to Punta Arenas

You have your vehicle for the rest of the day so you can make sure you've explored every inch of Patagonia on your self drive holidays in Chile and Argentina, and then you will need to drop it off back in Punta Arenas before heading to your hotel. (B)

Day Ten - Last Day of your Self Drive Holidays in Chile

Sadly, your self drive holidays in Chile and Argentina will come to an end today. This morning you will have some free time to relax or to see a little more of Punta Arenas, and then it's time to head back to the airport to drop off your hire car and catch a flight back to Santiago, where you will arrive in plenty of time for your international flight home. (B)

Options for our self drive holidays in Chile

Wine tasting holiday in Chile

Wine Tasting in Maipo Valley - from £95pp

Chileans are justifiably proud of their wines, and any holiday in Chile is enhanced by a trip out to some of the country's vineyards for a tasting session. We'd suggest a day trip into the fabulous Maipo valley, where you can visit a couple of Chile's best vineyards to sample their wares, as well as enjoying the beautiful countryside.

Chile's Atacama Desert

Atacama Desert - 4 days from £995pp

The Atacama desert is the driest place on earth, and also one of the strangest. This four-day extension to our self drive holidays in Chile will take you out deep into the Atacama desert to experience the other-worldly landscape of giant red volcanoes, coloured mineral lakes, and wildlife including chinchillas and pink flamingoes!

La Campana National Park

La Campana National Park - from £170pp

If you'd like to extend your self drive holidays in Chile to explore some of the country's most lovely natural scenery, easily accessible in a day trip from Santiago, why not take a trip into the gorgeous La Campana National Park? Ideal for walking and trekking, with paths that are accessible all year round, you can enjoy seeing waterfalls and palm trees, wildcats, skunks, eagles and chinchillas before driving back to Santiago in the evening.

Easter Island tour

Easter Island Tour - 4 days from £1250pp

The enigmatic Moai statues make Easter Island one of the most mysterious holiday destinations in the world, but happily its mysteries are within relatively easy reach of Santiago so adding on a tour of Easter Island to this Chile holiday is fairly straightforward. This four-day package will allow you plenty of time to relax and enjoy all the highlights of Easter Island.

Valparaiso and Viña del Mar tour

Valparaiso & Viña del Mar Tour - from £140pp

The port city of Valparaiso was once one of the most famous in South America, and before the opening of the Panama Canal it was a regular stop for all shipping as they circumnavigated South America. Today you can see its superb historic architecture and the brightly-painted hillside houses, reached by Victorian funicular railways. From Valparaiso we'll travel on to the beachside town of Viña del Mar to enjoy its lovely promenade and parks.

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What's Included?

Our standard price for these self drive holidays in Chile and Argentina is £1995 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin room in our standard hotels.

That price includes all your accommodation, rental car with unlimited free mileage and local taxes (excluding the local airport pickup tax which unfortunately we are unable to pre-pay), self drive information pack, all transfers in Santiago, and breakfast every day.

We don't have any "local payments" or sneaky charges: everything you have read about on this itinerary is included in that price. And because everything we do is tailor-made, we don't have fixed departure dates or minimum numbers for our trips. Outside of national holidays or other special events, this price is valid for the whole of 2020.

International flights

So with the exception of a few meals, everything on your holiday is included. What we don't include as standard is your international flights, because with these you have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.

We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.

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