I've just booked a trip to Santiago and Easter Island from JFK in March, 2012. We had the same trip booked *this* year, but we were forced to cancel it after multiple schedule changes made it unviable.
We'll arrive on Easter Island at midday on March 2nd and leave approximately 72 hours later.
At 7:35PM on March 5th, we'll arrive in Santiago; our return flight is on the evening of March 10th: five full days to sort out.
My initial thought was to spend the entire time in the Santiago area: Maipo canyon, Vina del Mar, Valparaiso, etc., but I've read numerous reviews indicating that these places aren't worthy of five days. We're nature lovers and would be thrilled to see more of Chile's natural beauty, if possible.
Given this fact, is the following itinerary possible / advisable?
Day 1: Santiago or Valparaiso
Day 2: Early morning flight to Calama; transfer to San Pedro
Day 3: Atacama
Day 4: Atacama; late night flight to Santiago
Day 5: Maipo Canyon; transfer to airport for 10:25PM flight home