A Gap Year in Chile

Why go backpacking in Chile?

Chile is less travelled by backpackers compared to some of its neighbours in South America which, frankly, is ridiculous. Backpacking in Chile should be an essential part of any gap year around Latin America.

It’s not just because of its vibrant cities – like capital city Santiago – and stunning scenery in the jaw-dropping Patagonia region, but also because you’ll find its trails a little less well-worn than in (relatively) nearby Argentina and Brazil.

Things to do in Chile

Check out our current top picks


South America Coast to Coast via Patagonia

from £1895

51 days

Argentina, Brazil, Chile

Join our expedition truck through some of South America's most spectacular National Parks, the vast wilderness of Patagonia, Iguazu Falls...

Teach & Learn Spanish in Chile

from £3315

84 days


Make the most of your chance to travel and head to the far reaches of South America. Get immersed in...

The Southern Explorer

from £3405

From 30 days

Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Hong Kong, Japan, Peru, ...

Visit mysterious Easter Island, idyllic Tahiti, explore South America, experience the wonderfully different world that is Japan before finishing up...

Volcano Surfing & Southern Skiing

from £1945

14 - 360 days

Australia, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand, Nicaragua...

A real flight deal for the intrepid gappers out there. Start off in Nicaragua for some volcano surfing, before heading...

Kingdoms & Carnivals

from £3545

84 - 105 days

Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Peru

An adventure for anyone yearning for an awesome road trip around South America’s most famous sites and undiscovered corners, from...

Latest advice and inspiration for Chile

Check out what our writers have been up to in Chile


The cities

Your first point of call on a gap year in Chile is likely to be Santiago, the capital city, nestled in a valley surrounded by the snow-capped Andes and the Chilean Coastal Range – it’s an incredible place to be even before you’ve begun to explore. There are plenty of colonial landmarks, including the beautiful Royal Court Palace, and quaint cafes to wile away the days, before heading to Barrio Bellavista after dark for some intense nightlife.

Vina del Mar and Valparaiso both offer long stretches of pristine coastline and beaches, and if you’re venturing into the Atacama you’ll probably stop in San Pedro de Atacama in the north, where the sky shimmers with stars as night falls.

The scenery

Chile has a coastline that stretches the same distance as Scotland to Nigeria. So its landscape includes mountains, desert, glaciers, beaches, and more. You really are spoiled for choice in what kind of scenery it offers during your backpacking adventure.

Torres del Paine is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the world, with endless mountain vistas and blocks of ice as big as your house. Punta de Choros benefits from the Humboldt current rolling up from Antarctica, offering glimpses of penguins, whales, and dolphins, and if you keep heading south you’ll reach the Tierra del Fuego, characterised by vast, silent forests and grizzled ranchland. It’s a land that feels truly wild and removed from civilisation.

Don’t forget Easter Island! It’s one of the world’s most isolated spots, and can eat up a huge amount of your trip as it’s a long flight from Santiago, but it’s worth it to see the mysterious stone heads and the incredible night skies. Oh, the things you’ll see on your Chile gap year!

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