a) First of all.... motorcycle to travel between Santiago and Atacama? I don't think it's a good idea. It's a lot of miles and very expensive. Also, cross the Andes isn't easy (weather, international policy, rough roads), even in car is a big experience and I suggest better rent a car. Remember is a mountain range to cross!!
Also, I wouldn't recommend use rental car to move between countries.
b) Between Santiago to Atacama you have many many places to see. Depends of what do you love. For example: a great place to spend some days is "Valle del Elqui", is a valley in the middle of mountain ranges and looks impressive. Also a natural place to go is "Punta Choros".
Also, all the beaches between Viña del Mar and La Calera are great to spend some time. After "La Calera" to the north, is mostly desert.
If you will be in Santiago, I highly recommend go to the south towns to visit wineries, country and popular pottery.
c) New year: VALPARAISO. period. The best of the best
Posted Sep 27, 2011