Save or Splurge: Travel Options in Chile’s Five Diverse Regions – Part 1

Five Diverse Regions, One Country: Chile.

2,690 miles in length and no more than 112 miles wide, there are 5 distinct geographical regions in Chile, just waiting to be explored! Whether you’re on a tight budget or have some extra money to spend, these save and splurge ideas are sure to enhance your study abroad experience in Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. Follow us on a five part journey through the Norte Grande, Norte Chico, Zona Central, Zona Sur and Zona Austral.

Part One – Norte Grande

One of the least inhabited regions of Chile, the Norte Grande, is 360 degrees of breathtaking views open to visitors year round.  Most notable in the region, the Atacama Desert, is one of the driest places on earth. Let San Pedro de Atacama be your jumping off point for traversing the vast inhabitance in all its glory.

Photo by ISA Student Natalie Golden
Tatio Geysers - Photo by ISA Student Natalie Golden


Preserve pesos by staying around town and renting a bike to discover the historical and sociopolitical significance of San Pedro de Atacama. The dirt road and adobe lined streets allow for an afternoon of strolling around town.

Enjoy the local cuisine and sift through the handmade ‘artesania’ booths to get a true feel of San Pedro.

Photo by ISA Student Natalie Golden
Valle de la Luna - Photo by ISA Student Natalie Golden


San Pedro is riddled with adventure companies promoting combination deals that will allow you to experience the environmental magnificence that is the Norte Grande. You did make the trek up north for a reason, so you might as well see the sights! Recommended excursions include the sunrise Tatio Geyser tours complete with breakfast and thermal baths! (Dress in layers as the frigid morning temperatures can dip below freezing)

If you’re looking for an out of this world experience, Valle de la Luna is for you! The moon-like rock formations are enough to make you feel like an alien exploring a foreign land.


For more information about Chile, check out the ISA Chile website.


See more posts in the Save and Splurge series:

Part One – Norte Grande

Part Two – Norte Chico

Part Three – Zona Central

Part Four – Zona Sur

Stay tuned for Part Five on 5/29.


Author: International Studies Abroad (ISA)

Since 1987, International Studies Abroad (ISA) has provided college students in the United States and Canada the opportunity to explore the world. ISA offers a wide variety of study abroad programs at accredited schools and universities in 73 program locations throughout the world.

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