Traveller Talks

| Sapa Pana Travel

With our 4-year-old daughter to Chile & Argentina

We wanted to go to the big nothingness for two months. To areas where nature sets the rhythm, where we could walk endlessly and drive through plains, but where we would also have a lot of fun with our four-year-old daughter. It became a tour through Chile and Argentina. First three weeks in the north and then four weeks to the south.

Deserts, volcanoes, guanacos and flamingos

While the Chileans protested against the inequality in their country, we set foot in Santiago. Fortunately, people were still happy with the arrival of tourists and we were able to explore the city at our leisure.

Then we flew to Arica, in the north of Chile. The great pleasure started. Really every day the landscapes were so breath taking. And when you thought 'it can't be more beautiful' you saw something else unimaginably beautiful. Especially National Park Lauca is a hidden gem. It is not often that you are in such a beautiful place and nobody is there.

Photo: Tim de Groot© 

Photo: Tim de Groot© 

We drove through the deserts of Iquique to San Pedro de Atacama, and then via the green Salta, back to the rough Cafayate and abandoned San Antonio de los Cobres. Of course the altitude makes it exciting, but that's what makes it special. You cross the border between Chile and Argentina a couple of times and those rides are so spectacular. The guanacos and flamingos that blend in perfectly with the landscape, the colours, the extremely bright starry sky and the unearthly scenes we will never forget. We've already seen a lot in the world, but this area exceeded our expectations.

It was so much fun to hear Spanish all day, to sleep in different accommodations all the time, and to end every day with a swim in the pool.

Photo: Tim de Groot© 

Photo: Tim de Groot© 

Lakes, waterfalls, glaciers and penguins

The second part of the trip started in Puerto Varas and Pucón, the Lake District of Chile. We stayed there a bit longer, so we could both make a long hike and of course climb the Villarica volcano. For adventurers this is one of the highlights. After you have seen the active crater, you can sleigh all the way down on your ass in the snow.

After beautiful rides in the Argentine Lake District, we drove the Carretera Austral. Despite some rain, nature and especially the pioneer villages made a big impression on us. And also here we stayed in some beautiful accommodations.

The marble caves at Lago General Carrera in Puerto Guadal are not to be missed. And as icing on the cake we visited El Chaltén, the glacier Perito Moreno and Torres del Paine. Our personal favourite is El Chaltén. Luckily, we had an extra day here to climb Mount Fitz Roy. This is one of the most beautiful hikes we have made in our lives. Also, the glaciers and Torres del Paine were beautiful. Finally, we managed to take the last boat to Isla Magdalena in Punta Arenas to see hundreds of new-born penguins. We could not have finished the trip better.

​Foto's: Tim de Groot© 

Travelling with a four-year-old

Our experience is that this trip is very suitable to do with children. The only condition is that they don't have too much trouble sitting in the car. If they like walking and like an empanada for lunch every day it is a good extra thing.


In Chile our daughter slept in a Deryan tent next to our bed and in Argentina she had her own bed everywhere. This is mandatory in Argentina and this variation worked well for all of us.

The first three weeks were easy, because we had a swimming pool every afternoon. The sun and the beach at the beginning also helped. The height can be a bit uncomfortable, but it is mainly a matter of keeping to the instructions. Simply drink a lot at altitude and just don't make any effort.

For the children you can also get a local chewing gum from coca leaves. The border crossings and sleeping at altitude went fine. And for peace of mind, both at the border crossings and in the hotel near San Antonio de los Cobres, an oxygen tank has been provided; one that is used very little by the way.

Furthermore, there are playgrounds everywhere. Even though we are not very fond of horse riding, in Pucón they are all about horse riding for little ones and this was a lot of fun to do. During the long hikes we made, we alternated with each other. We thought they were too long to take our daughter with us. Mount Fitz Roy is very easy to hike, and the paths are well signposted. On all other tours, like the marble caves at Puerto Guadal, fishing trip in Futaleufú and glacier Perito Moreno it was no problem to take her with us.

Our daughter’s favourites were the swimming pools, horseback riding and the penguins. But eventually, nothing beats the empanadas for her. She's had seventy in fifty days. Now back to the Dutch cheese sandwiches. It will take some getting used to that again.

​Photos: Tim de Groot© 

Want to travel with your family?

Would you like to make a trip with your family to Chile & Argentina or another destination? Then take a look at our pages about family holidays. Here we have collected a lot of information about travelling with children, including great tips, the best destinations by age and round trips for inspiration. You can book these trips directly, but we are also happy to create a personal programme based on your wishes and ideas.

Do you have a question? Feel free to contact us. Call +31 73 610 62 04 or send an e-mail to We are happy to help.

More about family holidays

More about Argentina

More about Chile