Photo by Pekka Parhi (Wikimedia Commons)

Fantastic Roadtrips on Your Campervan Holiday

Photo by Ricardo Martins (Wikimedia Commons))Monumento a los Héroes de Iquique, Valparaíso Photo by Ricardo Martins (Wikimedia Commons)

Chile is very diverse for visitors deciding to take a road trip in a motorhome rental or campervan hire vehicle.  There’s the arid north or the glacial south, and in between fertile and green valleys.  If you’re travelling to Chile you will probably be spending longer than a few days here, we’ll start from the centre around Santiago and then work our way both up and down this beautiful country.

Santiago to Santiago a trail for wine lovers, though the Andes to the Atlantic.

Collect your vehicle from the airport and take the Ruta 5 south towards San Fernando and your first destination Santa Cruz.  

This road will take you through the heart of the winelands, and as you drive you will pass some of the thriving estates in the valley.  Spend a few nights in the area, its not just wine here, there are many lovely towns and villages to explore, the area of Huaso is particularly beautiful with its old adobe houses.
When you are ready head towards Valparaiso, if you like scenery take the I-80-g which passes quaint towns and countryside, a much nicer route than the main road.  Valparaiso is the oldest and most important ports in Chile; it’s also very picturesque with its surrounded by hills.  

Today head along the coast road towards traditional seaside towns such as Vina del Mar and Con Con.  Along the route pass old whaling stations, and yet more wineries.  

Leave the coast behind you and head for the hills, well mountains, as today is when you start your climb into the Andes.  Drive towards San Felipe where the landscape and the architecture starts to change, this area was one of the first in Chile to be developed for agriculture.  Just north of San Felipe at 1180 meters or 3900 feet you come to the highlight of the area the Alto Jahuel Spa.  This is somewhere to relax for a few hours or a few days and take a few treatments, or just take in the views.

From here it’s a 100Km or 62 mile drive back the start at Santiago.

The Lake District for those who enjoy walking, from Temuco to Puerto Montt

Your first destination on this southerly route will be the town of Pucón, below the peak of the Villarrica volcano and its lake.  The eastern end of the lake is surrounded by native forests, and a good place to stay for a few nights to explore, walk, visit the springs and waterfalls.  A hike to the Huerquhue National park is a must!

Because Chile is such a thin country, today you will be following a route which takes you into Argentina.  You can either take the Mamuil Malal Pass where the vegetation changes from farmland into dry Pampa, or via the Huahum Pass to Panguipulli where you take the ferry for the 2-hour crossing to Argentina.  There are lots of places around the lake to stay for the night.

There are seven lakes in this area and two national parks; the unpaved Seven Lakes road (no prizes for guessing why it’s called that) takes you through traditional villages and the ‘Valle Encantado’, a rocky outcrop.  Choose a spot around Bariloche to rest for the night.

Today you travel back to Chile via the Cardenal Antionio Samore Pass at 1,308 meters or 4,291 feet.  On this route you will again pass through national parks, and there are plenty of hot springs to stop off at along the way.  You will soon reach the pan American Highway; take this route down to Puerto Varas on the shores of Lake Llanquihue.

There are lots of hikes into the park from here, as well as water based activities, so spend time relaxing and when you’re ready Puerto Montt awaits.

These are just two routes for visitors with campervan hire or motorhome rental, but there are many more. 

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