Making the most of a quick trip to Chile

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By Jane Wooldridge

Q: My wife and I are going to Chile to spend a few days with our daughter, who is attending a study program in Valparaiso. We have four days between the time our daughter goes back to school and our flight to Buenos Aires, where I’m attending a conference. We will already have spent a few days in Santiago, so we’re looking for something else to do. What do you recommend?

— R.K.

A: One of the most beautiful places in the world, in my opinion, is Torre del Paine National Park in Southern Chile. Getting there involves both a flight plus a long drive — so unless you can figure out a way to carve out a few more days, that probably won’t work for you.

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Here are a few other options:

If you’re into wine travel, you could drive a couple of hours north or south of Santiago; each direction offers a terrific wine experience where you can stay in a historic hacienda-style estate and make forays to various local vineyards. The Colchagua Valley to the north has created an easy-to-follow wine route (, based out of Santa Clara. To the South, the Maipo Valley is home to Santa Rita, Conchy & Toro, Underraga and other well-known makers of lusty reds that also give tours.

You could also catch a flight to Puerto Montt to visit the lake district, or — if you can get space on the limited flights — fly five hours west to Easter Island. The country’s official tourism website is

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