It’s simple and yet, so complicated. All you want to do is spend the day learning about the colors that weave through Mapuche fabrics and basketry, or watching your loved ones dance la cueca in one of Santiago’s lively street fairs. Instead, you're stuck trying to figure out if a solo adventure is right for you, or if a Chile tour guide is the way to go.
Between scouring the internet for tickets to the Interactive Mirador Museum, and tracking down the best time to tour Valparaiso, relaxing with a Pisco in hand sounds like a distant dream. A guide could be the perfect solution, but they might take away from your trip, depending on what you’re looking for.
Wondering how to weigh your options? We’ve got you covered. By the end of this article, you’ll have this whole “guide business” sorted, leaving you to enjoy the Andes, the Atacama and everywhere in between.
Grab Your Gear: When A Guide Will Work For You
As the world’ longest country, there’s a whole lot of Chile to get around. Exploring vast terrain, varying climates and numerous cultures is no easy feat. A guide comes in handy by…
- Being Your Compass: As exciting as the prospect of exploring a nation as vast as Chile is, gathering 756,950 square kilometers of adventure into a tour that you and your family will love is an intimidating task. How will you get to the Atacama on time? Is there a great horse riding option in Puerto Varas? Local guides can answer all of your questions, easing any “planning fatigue”.
- Bridging The Language & Culture Gap: With only 10% of the Chilean population understanding English, trying to navigate the nation’s transport, social scene and culture can be tough. Guides bridge the gap not only when it comes to language. They teach you the social and cultural language of Chile’s heart, also known as its people.
- Skipping Detours & Saving Time: Nobody wants to waste time getting lost when they could be cultivating new experiences. Hunting for tickets to venues isn’t the best way to spend your time either. Instead of fishing for tickets to the Chilean National Museum Of Fine Arts for hours, or getting turned around at the wrong landmark in Chiloe, leave the logistics to a local guide who knows the best timing, and how to avoid unnecessary detours.
Solo Navigation: When You Should Go It Alone
There’s something to be said about taking on the thrill of a new destination on your own. If you fit the following descriptions, a guide might feel more like a hindrance than help.
- You Like Surprises & Detours: Spending your day trying to figure out how to get from Puerto Varas to Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park only to get lost in a small comuna (town) isn’t something that would frustrate you. You love being sidetracked by the day’s events and don’t care about itineraries, time limits or trip structure.
- The Andes Mountains? More Like Your Backyard!: Chile is more than a destination for you. It’s your second home. You’ve been to the Atacama Desert, you can name the stalls at the Persa Víctor Manuel flea market, and Puyehue National Park is your favorite place. You don’t need a guide. You are the guide.
- You’re The Pablo Neruda of Planning Itineraries: If you could major in getting an affordable, time conscious, flexible and inclusive tour together, you’d have a PhD by now. Planning is where you shine, and the research stage is heaven for you, so a guide would only take from your fun.
Stuck In The Middle: Why Private Guided Tours Work & Traditional Ones Don’t
If you’re still in decision purgatory and thinking of a guided tour as a cattle herding expedition rather than a relaxing vessel of knowledge, let me make it easier. GoWithGuide tours aren’t like your average, archaic tours filled with strangers and repetitive sites. We do things differently.
When It Comes To Traditional Tours, Be Prepared For…
- Large Numbers & Noisy Groups: Riding the San Cristobal cable cars gets pretty awkward when you’re in a group of 20 people and one member keeps shouting over the phone throughout the tour. What’s worse? The fact that you don’t get to decide who comes with you.
- The Same Old Sites: For a frequent traveler, hearing “So, first we’ll head to Plaza de Armas, then walk towards the Metropolitan Cathedral before checking out the Sky Costanera” doesn’t exactly spark joy. More like an eye roll and disappointment at having to visit the venues you’ve likely already explored yourself.
- Stiff Itineraries & No Time: Since you’re rolling with 10-20 others, you can’t decide to skip that one boring venue, or stay at The Museum of Memory & Human Rights a little longer. You’re at the mercy of an impatient group and an overwhelmed guide.
With A GoWithGuide Private Tour, Be Prepared For…
- Invites Only: Not ready to share personal, life changing memories with 10 strangers? You don't have to. With our private guided tours, you decide who comes along. You can explore solo with an expert by your side, or share the good times with your inner circle.
- Fresh, New Venues & Hidden Gems: We all love Chile’s showstoppers, but after you’ve seen the statues on Easter Island, and you’ve soaked up the sights at the Ascensor Reina Victoria, there’s a deeper side to Chile that only locals get to experience. A private guide cracks that tiny window wide open.
- Flexibility & Convenience: Looking to add some extra venues or explore one site for longer than most would? Maybe you’re not the best at tracking down tickets. Just let your guide know what your ideal Chile trip looks like and they’ll mix in their knowledge to create a schedule that bends to your desires.
How To Hire A Chile Guide In 3, 2…1
Okay, so maybe getting lost in the Atacama isn’t your cup of tea, but you’re not exactly sure how this whole guide thing works, or how to get the best fit for your Chilean adventure. I’ll break it down for you in 3 easy steps.
- Start by heading to our Chile local guides page where you can check out Chile’s finest local explorers. See one or more profiles that you like? Click to learn more about your potential guide.
- If the guide’s biography, tours and availability match up with your travel goals, you can instantly book the tours offered, or if you'd like a custom creation, give them a nudge by hitting the “message guide” button.
- Let your guide know how long you'll be in Chile, what you’d like to do, your group size, and any special preferences you may have (e.g “ I’d like to skip the Spanish sites in Santiago and find the local street food scene”). Hit send and get the conversation started!
Do’s & Don’ts: Tips To Remember On Your Guided Tour
Alright, so a private guided experience is the way to go for you, but you’re not sure how to go about your first guided tour experience. These tips should help you and your guide get along just fine.
Itinerary Inspiration: Some Tours To Get You Excited!
Alright, a guided tour is the way for you and your loved ones. Now comes the fun part, picking and choosing which items will land on your custom Chilean itinerary. Here’s some suggestions to get things going.
- Soaking Up Santiago Full Day Tour: There’s no better place to start your Chilean adventure than the city that centers the entire nation, Santiago. From the city’s origins at Santa Lucia Hill, to savory empanadas along notable street eat spots, Santiago’ s flair, passion and convenience create the first of many unforgettable settings.
- Huaso Horse Riding & Sweet Barbecue: Embrace the Chilean Cowboy culture with a full day tour of the Chilean countryside via horseback riding. From scenic mountain views to calm rivers, you’ll work up an appetite just in time for a savory summer barbecue.
- Valparaíso & Viña del Mar Discovered: Ever wondered what lays beneath this UNESCO World Heritage Site? Let your local guide take you through the port city’s greatest hits and hidden treasures, from Sotomayor square to the handcraft fair.
The wild and wonderful Chile waits for no one! It’s time to build your dream itinerary, so get in touch with one of our Chile tour guides today and start building your dream itinerary.
P.S Knowledge is power. Share this article with a friend and get them just as excited about trying the guided tour life as you are.