I am planning a trip to Chile next year from 15th March to 12th April.
The first part is organised, we are heading straight down to Patagonia and have a program in Torres del Paine, finishing in Puerto Natales on 22nd March.
My plan (which I am now reconsidering) was then to fly from Punta Arenas to Puerto Montt on 23rd March, and spend time in Chiloe and then the Lake District and then vineyards south of Santiago, self-driving, before flying from Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama on 4th April (so that's 11 full days of exploring), and then spending four days in the Atacama, and a three day trip to the salt flats in Bolivia, before returning to Santiago to fly out on 12th April.
BUT I have now decided I'd really like to fit in La Serena and the Elqui valley if possible. What do you think? I was thinking I could cut out maybe one day in the Atacama and a couple in the lake district, and fly from Santiago to La Serena, and hire a car there, and then fly La Serena to Antofagasta and get the bus to San Perdo. (As it doesn't seem you can fly La Serena to Calama other than via Santiago).
I like beautiful scenery, walking, relaxing. I've been a bit put off SPA by what I've read about
how touristy and busy it is, hence thinking about cutting a day there. Also we're not on a luxury budget and mid-range options seem pretty limited there.
All comments and thoughts gratefully received!