Chile is long and narrow. It is only 100-miles wide, on average, and it stretches over 2,653 miles along the west coast of South America, overlooking the Pacific and bordered by Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. It has a share of Southern Patagonia, and the legendary Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is also part of this wildly diverse country. Beautiful beaches in the central region are within an hour or two of the capital of Santiago. But the wilds of Chile’s deserts, mountains and immense national parks are what you really want to experience on a family vacation, especially with older kids and teenagers.
Chile is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites including Sewell Mining Village and Valparaiso’s historic quarter.
The country’s coastline is 2,653 miles long, with surf beaches in the north, balmy resort beaches in the central region and wild shores in Southern Patagonia.
Chile has 36 national parks covering over 9 million hectares. The most famous is on Easter Island (Rapa Nui), and the most accessible is La Campana, just an hour east of Valparaiso.
Santiago and the central coast are great to visit year-round. If you want to go skiing in summer, head to the Andes in June and July. El Grand Norte is best in Chile’s summer months (December to April). Punta Arenas in Patagonia has warm and sunny weather for beach vacations from November to March.
You’ll need to take tours, drive or fly to get about a country that’s this long and includes both Southern Patagonia and Easter Island. If you’re traveling with older kids, Chile is one of the world’s greatest road trips, and it’s not unusual for families with older kids or teens to hire an RV to explore one of the regions in depth. Just beware of the weather conditions at all times, keep the size of the country front of mind, plan everything in detail and book places to stay in advance.