This route covers the northern part of Chile, from Santiago to Arica.
It is great for travelers who want to continue onwards to Peru or who visit the country during winter season,
when the south becomes inaccessible.
The marked route is available
for online viewing and download in the gpx format.
Viña del Mar
San Pedro de Atacama
~ 2450 km
Santiago de Chile
The busy capital located only a few kilometers from the dramatic and snow covered Andes mountain range.
The center contains various plazas with elegant colonial buildings and some great museums
(especially the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino).
To get an overview of the city you can walk up the 70 meter high Cerro Santa Lucia.
The markets and product themed districts are a great place to buy some affordable last minute souvenirs (for example alpaca and vicuña yarn)
before returning home.
Cerro San Cristóbal, it takes about 45 minutes to walk up the 300 meters of altitude,
another option is to take the Teleferico.
At the top there are a large statue of the Virgin Mary and some of the best viewpoints of the city.
Many picturesque vineyards to the south and en route west to Viña del Mar.
Skiing in the nearby Andes mountains
By bus to Viña del Mar
Viña del Mar
Resort town on the coast.
Has a spotless and extensive beach, a casino and the lovely Museo Fonck with an original Moai from easter island.
Valparaíso is a port town and part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Famous for its old Funiculars and newer murals.
Offers more sights than Viña del Mar but can still be explored in an afternoon.
Reachable by metro in 15 minutes.
By bus to La Serena
The nicest town on this route, popular with expats.
Beside the characteristic colonial era nucleus, the sights include
a well kept Japanese garden, an archeological museum with another huge moai statue
and a lengthy beach promenade leading all the way to neighboring Coquimbo.
Rent a bike or walk 10km along the beach to Coquimbo to see sea lions hanging out around
Many joints at the seaside offer tasty fish and chips.
Boat tours are available for watching whales and tiny penguins in the National Park Pingüino de Humboldt.
The Valle del Elqui where the grapes for Pisco are grown can be reached by bus in about two hours.
By bus to Copiapó
Good halfway point to spend the night on the way to San Pedro and a first few steps into the Atacama dessert
but otherwise not much to do.
By bus to San Pedro de Atacama
San Pedro de Atacama
This little village is the main access point for visits around the Atacama dessert and
an Eldorado for active travelers.
Most sights are located outside the village and reachable by organized tours, inside there is an
unusual meteorite museum.
The following excursions are only a small selection.
Walk to the ruins of the ancient hill fortress Pukará de Quitor for some good views of the
little oasis and the awe inspiring volcanos in the distance.
It is located about 3km north of the village.
The Vale de la luna tour offers sandboarding, hiking through fascinating landscapes and sunset views.
The Geysers del Tatio tour starts early in the day because it takes a while to
get there and the steam is most visible in the morning hours but definitely worth it.
The astronomical tour under the clear night skies is an unforgettable experience.
By bus to Arica or to the Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia).
A seaside town near the Peruvian border with beaches for swimming and surfing.
The main sight is the striking Morro de Arica, a steep hill near the coast
and a perfect place to watch the sunset.