I am heading to Santiago with my wife in Late march and after a couple days in Santiago plan on heading southward to explore the coast and the lake district over a 2 week period.
I want to head towards Valparaiso first and hit the coastal road to Conception to catch some of the surf in the area before heading inland to see the lakes and the volcanoes and hopefully some of the fjord lands around Puerto Montt/Varas.
I had originally been thinking of renting a small car to do the journey but as we are on a pretty tight budget (US$50each/day) i was starting to think it might be better to just catch buses/trains between major locations and just rent a car when we get to Puerto Varas to explore some of the more off the beaten track locations. Can anyone comment on how easy it is to get around south Chili without a rental car? To get to out of the way spots. ie. national parks, surf spots, etc...
Are there smaller buses running from the southern towns/cities to get you out to sight seeing spots without having to book expensive tours?
Any advice on this area would be greatly appreciated,