Chilean Lake District
The Chilean Lake District is a region in the Andean foothills of Southern Chile defined by its many lakes. Stretching from Temuco in the north to Puerto Montt in the south, it is known for snow-capped volcanoes, pale green lakes and adventure activities. Conguillío National Park, in the north is known for its beautiful landscapes and lakes including Lake Conguillío. The area around Pucón and Villarrica, below Volcán Villarrica is popular with Chilean holidaymakers and adventure seekers.
Santiago's idyllic position between the Andean highlands and the Pacific coast makes it a perfect destination to start a holiday. An easy drive away is the beach-rimmed Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. Chile’s Lake District is a verdant land of rivers and fertile valleys, and of charming lakeside resorts towered over by snow-capped volcanoes. Torres del Paine is considered by many to be Latin America's finest national park and home to huge towering granite peaks.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 10-DAY CHILEAN LAKE DISTRICT…
And, experience Torres del Paine’s turquoise lakes. Waterfalls & glaciers.
Chile’s vibrant capital, Santiago, has a warm Mediterranean climate and a relaxed European atmosphere. Modern skyscrapers sit side-by-side with colonial architecture and wherever you are in Santiago, the snow-capped Andes soar above you. Just outside the city, you can discover the colourful port of Valparaiso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the beach resort of Vina del Mar and Chile’s many world-class vineyards.
Chile’s Lake District is a verdant land of rivers and fertile valleys, and of charming lakeside resorts towered over by snow-capped volcanoes. Heading south into Northern Patagonia, the landmass fragments into a multitude of fjords and islands where traditional fishing villages coexist with ancient legends and myths. Boat cruises and spa resorts abound, and you can even cross the spine of the Andes into Argentina.
Torres del Paine is considered by many to be Latin America's finest national park and home to huge towering granite peaks which were created during the Ice Age and are still crowned today by glaciers. The two-coloured Cuernos (the Horns) and the distinguished Torres (Towers) are surrounded by a string of aquamarine, emerald and turquoise lakes. Waterfalls, glaciers and amazing hiking trails will put you in touch with nature.
Flights from the UK and Ireland: There are currently no direct flights from major UK airports. Most flights are via a European, Latin American or US city; LAN, Iberia, British Airways and Air France are all options. It’s worth paying attention to the routes used by the different airlines; even the shortest and most convenient ones via Madrid or Buenos Aires entail a total travelling time of over 16 hours. Flying via the US is longer still (though sometimes cheaper).
Flights from the US and Canada: US travellers shouldn’t find it too hard to get a fairly convenient flight to Santiago. American Airlines, Delta and LAN offer non-stop flights from airports such as Miami, Dallas-Fort Worth and Atlanta. It is also possible to travel via other Latin American countries such as Peru and Brazil.
Torres del Paine Adventure
Buenos Aires, Chilean Lake District, Torres del Paine
(10 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive
Santiago Meet and greet on arrival and transfer to your hotel. If you have time then take an optional tour of the Santiago city.
Overnight – Galerias Hotel.
Day 2 – Colchagua Valley
Santa Cruz Travel to the stunning Colchagua Valley known for its boutique vineyards, and visit one of the exquisite wineries such as Viu Manet, in order to learn about wine production and to taste some of the fantastic wine. Arrive at the colonial-style Santa Cruz Plaza Hotel with its lovely outdoor pool and the all important wine cellar, where a traditional lunch awaits. Continue to the Colchagua Museum, housed in an adobe manor built in 1850, to experience Chile’s colourful history.
Overnight – Santa Cruz Plaza Hotel (B, L)
Day 3 – Wine Tasting
Puerto Varas Enjoy a morning at leisure before further wine tasting and a visit to an Indian settlement at Santa Cruz winery. Return to Santiago and fly to Puerto Montt in the afternoon. On arrival at Puerto Montt Airport, you will be met and transferred to your chosen hotel in the scenic lakeside town of Puerto Varas.
Local architecture reflects the influence of German settlers who arrived here over 100 years ago. Stroll along the shore of Lake Llanquihue, Chile’s largest lake, and admire the stunning Calbuco volcano and Osorno with its near-perfect, snow-capped cone rising to 2652m.
Overnight – Hotel Bellavista or Hotel Cabanas del Lago (B, L)
Day 4 – Along Lake Llanquihue
Puerto Varas Chilean Lake District (Peulla & Petrohue); This morning, travel along the shores of Lake Llanquihue past various beaches to Petrohue, located in the National Park Vicente Perez Rosales. After an optional stop at the emerald waterfalls at Petrohue you will board a catamaran to sail across the beautiful Lake Todos los Santos to Peulla. Enjoy a delicious lunch at the Hotel Peulla and if time allows, walk to nearby waterfalls before returning to Puerto Varas.
Overnight – Hotel Bellavista or Hotel Cabanas del Lago (B, L)
Day 5 – Beach Resort
Puerto Varas Chilean Lake District (Frutillar); After breakfast, discover the charming summer beach resort of Frutillar situated on the shores of Lake Llanquihue and founded by German settlers around 1850. Visit the outdoor museum dedicated to these pioneers (closed on Mondays) and then transfer back to Puerto Varas and have the afternoon at leisure to discover other nearby sights or just relax and enjoy the panoramic views.
Overnight – Hotel Bellavista or Hotel Cabanas del Lago (B)
Day 6 – Torres del Paine NP
Punta Arenas Take a brief city tour before you are taken to the airport of Puerto Montt for your onward flight to Punta Arenas. On arrival at Punta Arenas Airport you will be met and transferred to the station to board a bus to Puerto Natales (3-4hrs) and then onto a private transfer (2-3hrs) to your hotel in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park.
Travelling through the Pampa Steppes, watch out for typical animals like the nandu and a variety of smaller birds. Visit the famous Milodon Cave before checking into the Hosteria Lago Grey for three nights, located in the heart of the park on the shores of Lake Grey. The private tour includes a direct transfer to Torres del Paine with a stop en route at the Seno Otway penguin colony (Nov-Mar) or Parque & Nandu.
Overnight – Hosteria Lago Grey (B)
Day 7 – Explore
Torres del Paine Today, a full-day excursion in the national park awaits. Visit the main attractions of the park such as Laguna Azul, Cascada Paine Waterfall, Mirador de los Cuernos and Salto Grande Waterfall where Nordenskjold Lake drains into the turquoise Lake Pehoe. Stay at the boutique Cerro Guido Estancia Lodge, a working sheep farm situated just outside the park, with amazing views onto the ‘Torres del Paine’.
Overnight – Cerro Guido Estancia Lodge (B, L)
Day 8 – Explore
Torres del Paine Enjoy a full day at leisure. We highly recommend taking a boat on Lake Grey and travelling up to the awe-inspiring glacier wall which shares the same name. Alternatively, enjoy a full-day tour observing the wildlife of the area including guanacos, rheas, foxes, flocks of flamingos and condors amongst many others.
Overnight – Cerro Guido Estancia Lodge (B)
Day 9 – Transfer
Santiago Transfer to Punta Arenas Airport for your flight to Santiago. On arrival transfer to your hotel.
Overnight – Cerro Guido Estancia Lodge (B)
Day 10 – Depart
Santiago Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
The true price is customised based on final choice of hotels, travel dates, and other custom preferences. All prices exclude international flights.
Price Includes: hotels, airport transfers and transportation within the country, unique experiences guided by local experts and 24X7 support during your trip.
Make this your holiday
Overview Shaped like a long and narrow strip, along the western edge of South America, Chile is a country of startling contrasts and extreme beauty. Travellers are drawn to this country because of its magnitude in natural attractions, from the towering volcanic peaks of the Andes to the ancient forests of the Lake District. It has some very good parks, and plenty of opportunities for fine adventure travel. Chile is justly famous as the location of Torres del Paine, considered by many to be the finest nature travel destinations in all of South America.
Where to go Chile is a long, narrow sliver of land, clinging to the edge of a continent. The Andes, the great mountain range forms its eastern border, are a formidable barrier of rock and ice that cuts the country off from Argentina and Bolivia. To the north, the Atacama Desert, a 1000km stretch of parched wasteland, separates it from Peru. And to the west, only a few islands dotted in the Pacific Ocean break the waves that roll onto Chile’s coast from Australasia.
You will probably start in Santiago, the Chilean capital, a city of nearly six million inhabitants, yet it has an almost provincial atmosphere, dramatised by the constant backdrop of jagged Andean peaks looming over the smog on the horizon. Its main highlights for visitors are its Cathedral and the leafy hillside parks of Cerro Santa Lucía and Cerro San Cristobal.
Most travellers who prefer a wine tour, head to the picturesque country town of Pirque, which is the home of one of Chile's most well-known vineyards. The owners' original country estate and mansion can be seen from the road, surrounded by the smaller cottages of the vineyards' workers.
In the middle is the Lake District is Chile's natural wonderland. Implausibly symmetrical snow-capped peaks reflected in looking-glass lakes, quaint wooden hamlets steeped in healthy alpine air. One of the most breathtaking journeys in all South America, from Puerto Montt to San Carlos de Bariloche in Argentina, traverses lakes Llanquihue and Todos los Santos.
Lying at the far south of the Andes mountain chain, Torres del Paine is Chile's most impressive national park, bursting with glaciers, lakes and gnarled Magellanic trees, and providing some of the most magnificent walking trails in the world.
At the land southernmost tip of South America is Tierra del Fuego, the bleakest, stormiest part of the continent, yet it exerts a constant fascination for travellers who want to visit the last land-call before Antarctica.
Not to forget the Easter Island, Chile's Polynesian possession, nearly 4,000 km west of the mainland, is one of the world's most intriguing islands, dominated by more than 600 giant stone statues of unknown origin. The first inhabitants of Easter Island called their home Te Pito o Te Henua - the Navel of the World.
When to go Nov–Feb (High Season): This is best and most expensive time to visit Patagonia. Early in the year as temperature begins to warm up the beaches throng with crowds.
Mar–May & Sep–Nov (Shoulder): March is the period for grape harvest and wine festivals and April is fall. Between September and November is possibly the best time to visit Santiago, the temperatures are pleasant and good value for money.
Jun–Aug (Low): A good time to visit the North but the mountain passes may be blocked due snow. The best time for ski resorts.
Between mid-December to end February and two-middle weeks of July and Holy Week (Semana Santa), the week proceeding Easter Sunday is holiday time for Brazilians and Argentines. Popular destinations are Pucón and Viña del Mar.
Visas If you are a British passport holder visiting Chile for less than 90 days, you do not need a visa. On arrival in Chile the immigration authorities will issue you with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo - Tourist Card’, an A5 sized white form. You must retain this document and present it to immigration when you leave.
Passport validity: Your passport should be valid for the proposed duration of your stay. No additional period of validity beyond this is required.
For further information check with the Chilean Embassy.
Visa information source: www.gov.uk