There is a tour company that you can contact directly owned by Francisco Moreno (Pancho). He speaks English.
He has clearance from the National Tourism Office to enter the pier.
If you want tours from Val to San - Port Compass www.portcompass.com offers some nice trips. As a direct trip, it takes about 2 hours by car. There are some nice all day options - providing you aren't flying out the same night. We used them for tours in BA as well. I highly recommend them. Well run and cheaper than the cruise lines.
We also arrived in Santiago a few days early. We made arrangements through our hotel for a "tour" to Valpariso/Vina del Mar on the morning on the day we needed to board ship. It was a great tour to see things along the way; we had lunch at a seaside restaurant in Vina del Mar and were delivered to the ship at about 3pm. Our ship was scheduled to depart at 6pm, so we had plenty of time.
The cost of this tour back then was half of what Princess wanted just for the transfers although our lunch was not included.
You might check with your hotel and see if they can arrange a city tour for you also. I found that the hotels were very cooperative and helpful.
Any other questions, please feel free to email me.
By the way, let me know if you are stopping in Puerto Montt. I can recommend a wonderful private tour guide.
We just got back from our SA cruise in Feb. We had used a prepaid transport company
that we paid $60.00 pp to get us from Santiago to Valpariso with several stops of
interest along the way. We also used private tours in all the ports except one. We
used Hilda Cerda in Santiago for our city and winery tour.
If you want any additional info just email me and I will be glad to share this information.
Hope you have a smooth cruise............................................ .........Clare
Distances between Valparaiso and Santiago aprox 130 km (about 85 miles) roads are excelent and the views and landscape outstanding suggest you visit www.turismonuevomundo.cl great company dedicated to assist passengers from the cruise industry.
Their e mail is firstname.lastname@example.org They help us a lot not only in Valparaiso and Santiago but in every port our ships stop between Argentina and Chile