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5 days in Chile - critique my itinerary

5 days in Chile - critique my itinerary

Old Dec 2, 19, 2:55 am
  #1  
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5 days in Chile - critique my itinerary

I am going to the USA for Christmas and have used points to fly to SCL from Australia and then onward to the USA. I gave myself 5 days and 4 nights in Chile, before I head to the USA. So this trip is just in a few weeks, but all I've booked are my flights into and out of SCL! I arrive at 9:15a and depart at 9:50pm hence the 5 days bit.

It is my first time to Chile. It's such a big country and I've been surprised to find that internal flights are very inexpensive, so that has opened up so many options... it's been difficult to narrow it down. But here's what I have so far:

Day 1:

Arrive SCL at 9:15a. I'm in J, and a veteran long-haul traveler so should be reasonably rested despite the 15 hour flight.
I am thinking to book the Holiday Inn at SCL for the day, so I can drop my checked bag off (dang Christmas presents). Then try and catch the 10:30a bus to Valparaíso. If I can't make it, I can get a bus to the metro and catch a bus to Valparaíso from there.
Spend ~2 hours in Valparaíso, get lunch and some fresh air. Then return via bus to SCL, shower and check-in for my flight: SCL-PMC (Puerto Montt) 7:25 pm departure
Arrive to PMC at 9 pm

*Have not booked this flight yet but it's currently only US$65 one way
**If I'm exhausted or my flight is delayed I can just skip the bus trip to Valparaíso and relax at the hotel
***I could rent a car to Valparaíso, but I am thinking I'd be too tired, and it might be tough to find parking....

Day 2, 3:

Rent a vehicle and explore the area around PMC (Lake District to the North, N. Patagonia to the South), I'll have 2 full days and 3 nights. I don't think Puerto Montt is the best place to stay but obviously I'll be arriving late. I also have a fairly early flight from PMC on day 4. So where should I stay these three nights??
Not sure where to stay or where to go on these three days. So many options! I would like to see lakes and mountains rather than beaches. I would enjoy small towns and local culture. Not interested in wineries or fine foods, etc. I need help here!

Day 4:

Fly to PMC-SCL 9:15 - 11:00
1 night in hotel Santiago (thnking Crowne Plaza or IC, because I'll get an IHG bonus, but open to suggestions! A late check-out is a bonus given my itinerary)
Have not researched Santiago much yet

Day 5:
Day in Santiago
Depart SCL 9:50pm to ATL

Nothing is booked yet in Chile! No internal flights and no hotels. But I need to do it soon, so thank you for your advice!!

Cheers

Last edited by CPMaverick; Dec 2, 19 at 3:01 am
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Old Dec 2, 19, 9:12 am
  #2  
 
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There's a lot to see and do in the south of Chile so you'll want to prioritize. Not far from Puerto Montt, Lago Llanquihue is the southernmost part of the lakes district and very scenic. Puerto Varas and Frutillar are two towns on the lake's shoreline, both of which show evidence of German influence, from the original European settlers in the area. Puerto Varas is close enough to Puerto Montt that you could stay there. It's a nicer place and a popular tourist spot so plenty of places to stay.

If you have time in Puerto Montt, stop by the Angelmó market. Very Chilean! And if you want a Chilean challenge, ask for a bowl of "erizos" (sea urchins), a real specialty of southern Chile.

A little further north, I really like Lago Ranco. It's worth driving around and stopping along the way at places like Llifén.

You can also do a day trip to Valdivia and the coast to the north. Wonderful area, one of my favorite parts of Chile, also a lot of German influence. If you want a truly Valdivian dining experience, try the "crudos" (a German/Chilean take on steak tartar) at Café Haussman with, of course, a draft beer (locally called a "schop").

To the south of Puerto Montt, consider a day trip to the island of Chiloé. It has been many years since I have been there but I doubt it has changed much. Very pastoral, uniquely styled wooden churches. Nice corner of the world.

Enjoy your stay.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 11:59 am
  #3  
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I'll just put some comments in bold


Day 1:

Arrive SCL at 9:15a. I'm in J, and a veteran long-haul traveler so should be reasonably rested despite the 15 hour flight.
I am thinking to book the Holiday Inn at SCL for the day, so I can drop my checked bag off (dang Christmas presents). Then try and catch the 10:30a bus to Valparaíso. If I can't make it, I can get a bus to the metro and catch a bus to Valparaíso from there.
Spend ~2 hours in Valparaíso, get lunch and some fresh air. Then return via bus to SCL, shower and check-in for my flight: SCL-PMC (Puerto Montt) 7:25 pm departure
Arrive to PMC at 9 pm

*Have not booked this flight yet but it's currently only US$65 one way
**If I'm exhausted or my flight is delayed I can just skip the bus trip to Valparaíso and relax at the hotel
***I could rent a car to Valparaíso, but I am thinking I'd be too tired, and it might be tough to find parking....

If you go to the coast, I'd consider renting a car. The highway out is a lovely drive and easy drive (toll road). While you absolutely do not want to drive around Valpo, there's a good parking lot right at Plaza Sotomayor (main town square) where you can dump the car, walk around, take the asencores up/down the hills, etc. You can also drive up through Viña del Mar, Reñaca, etc. with the car (a short drive up the coast). Note that SCL access, car rental, etc., has been messy with all the construction. Your other option is to hire a driver for the day. Or just take a nice nap at the hotel, to start your trip refreshed.

Rent a vehicle and explore the area around PMC (Lake District to the North, N. Patagonia to the South), I'll have 2 full days and 3 nights. I don't think Puerto Montt is the best place to stay but obviously I'll be arriving late. I also have a fairly early flight from PMC on day 4. So where should I stay these three nights??
Not sure where to stay or where to go on these three days. So many options! I would like to see lakes and mountains rather than beaches. I would enjoy small towns and local culture. Not interested in wineries or fine foods, etc. I need help here!

Puerto Montt is a perfectly ok place to stay. I've been there probably 10+ times. There's a decent Holiday Inn Express and there's plenty of easy dining/shopping should you need right nearby. (It is actually connected to a mall with a supermarket and a food court). While it isn't nearly as picturesque as some of the small lake towns, these are short and easy drives. I particularly recommend going out to Petrohué, in addition to towns of Frutillar, Pto. Varas, etc. I particularly don't recommend driving around the northeast side of Lago LLanquihue (around Volcan Osorno, past Pto. Octay) unless that road has been paved in the years since I last took that drive. Also, a day trip up to Valdivia is lovely. While I really enjoyed my visit to Chiloé, I am glad it was with a friend (from Pto. Montt, born in Castro (Chiloé) who could explain things. It is also a time consuming and not particularly inexpensive proposition to go there on the car ferry, and I don't suggest this for a day trip.

Day 4:

Fly to PMC-SCL 9:15 - 11:00
1 night in hotel Santiago (thnking Crowne Plaza or IC, because I'll get an IHG bonus, but open to suggestions! A late check-out is a bonus given my itinerary)
Have not researched Santiago much yet

I would not currently stay at the Crowne Plaza. While the hotel itself is so so / acceptable enough and the location is quite good for where I will need to be on my upcoming trip. it is right near Plaza Italia, which is ground zero for the protests, and any other gatherings. I once stayed there (during typical peaceful times) and there was no road access for part of the time due to some sort of event with road closure.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 7:03 pm
  #4  
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Thank you all very much for your help. Since nobody has suggested I am crazy, I have booked my internal flights and hotels. I chose the IC in Santiago.

I decided to book an apartment in Puerto Varras, being a similar distance from the airport as Puerto Montt but more centrally located.

I've rented a pickup for my 3 nights / 2 days in Puerto Varras. Beyond that, I don't have any firm plans on where to explore! So keep the suggestions coming.
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Old Dec 2, 19, 8:10 pm
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IC is a good choice IMO, you're in the heart of the so-called Sanhattan business district which is secure and offers plenty of good restaurant options within easy walking distance.
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