Chile Grand Adventure
This Chile adventure explores the country from north to south. It offers a mix of cultural touring, adventure activities and stunning rural landscapes. Beginning in Santiago, Chile’s capital city, travel north to an arid Atacama Desert. The oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, near the flamingo filled Atacama Salt Lake, is surrounded by snow-capped volcanoes. Nearby, Valley of the Moon has a lunar appearance and north of San Pedro, are El Tatio Geysers, are the highest geothermals in the world.
In central Chile’s Lake District are charming lakeside towns, traditional fishing villages and spa resorts towered by snow-capped volcanoes. Continue to Northern Patagonia landmass, fragmented with multitude of fjords and islands offering boat cruises. Further south, Torres del Paine national park is home to towering granite peaks, crowned by glaciers and surrounded by turquoise lakes. The region is known for the best hiking and trekking routes in Chile.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 13-DAY TRANS-CHILE ADVENTURE…
And, experience its varied landscapes from north to south.
Beginning in the capital, Santiago, we will travel through deserts, snow-capped mountains and vast, icy lakes to reach the famous Torres del Paine National Park in the far south. You will see the eerie moonscape and geysers in the Atacama Desert, the numerous lakes and lagoons of the Lake District and the unforgettable grandeur of Patagonia. Chile is also a country rich in tradition and culture and we will guide you to the most significant sacred sites and archaeological museums along your journey to further enrich the experience.
The beauty of San Pedro de Atacama and the surrounding area is astounding. The oasis town lies on the edge of the enormous Atacama Salt Lake. Flamingos fly in the shadow of towering, snow-capped volcanoes. Floods, winds and minerals have given the nearby Valley of the Moon a lunar appearance and it is the place to observe spectacular sunsets while, 95km north of San Pedro, El Tatio Geysers is the highest geothermal field in the world.
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; such as Chiloe 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.
Santiago, Atacama, El Tatio, Puerto Varas, Chiloe Island, Torres del Paine
(13 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 01 – Arrive
Santiago, Chile Meet and greet on arrival in Santiago and transfer to your hotel for check-in. Rest of the day at leisure.
Afternoon tour (Optional)
If you have time then take an afternoon tour to visit the neoclassical La Moneda Palace, home of Chilean presidents until 1958 and today the seat of the government. Though you may see the best art wandering the cobbled streets of Santiago's older barrios, there's no shortage of ultra-modern cultural centres including the Pre-Columbian Art Museum and Museo National de Bellas Artes.
Towering over the Chilean capital, is Cerro San Cristobal, Santiago’s iconic park. This hill-hugging park is a recreational oasis with public pools, botanical gardens, and breathtaking views of both the city and the Andean peaks – smog permitting. Santiguans come here to jog, bike, and hike. Tourists come to ride the rickety funicular up to the hilltop Virgin Mary statue and sip on mote con huesillo while taking in the panorama.
The historic heart of Santiago, Plaza de Armas continues to pulse with excitement. For better or worse, it has all the makings of a tourist trap – cheap local food, semi-authentic art stands, a soap box atmosphere, and all the excitement needed to make a pickpocket's job easy. Plaza de Armas is certainly a must see, but one needn't linger too long.
Overnight – Plaza El Bosque Park & Suites.
Day 2 – Valle de la Luna Tour
San Pedro de Atacama Transfer to the airport to board our flight to San Pedro de Atacama. San Pedro is an unusually colourful village at 2,000m above sea level in the middle of a green oasis. In the afternoon we will enjoy the eerily silent moonscape of Valle de la Luna with its backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes- a view which intensifies during sunset. Later, we will return to the hotel.
Overnight in San Pedro de Atacama. (B)
Day 3 – Atacama Salt Lake Tour
San Pedro de Atacama Visit San Pedro de Atacama – the centre of a Palaeolithic civilization which built impressive rock fortresses on the mountains encircling the green valley. The exploration includes a visit to the extraordinary archaeological museum of Padre Gustavo Le Paige which houses several amazingly well preserved mummies, including one known as ‘Miss Chile’. Later, drive to the pre-Columbian village Tulor (founded approx. 3,000 years ago). The archaeological remains here are the oldest evidence of human settlement in the valley. Travel on to the huge Atacama Salt Lake, an inland sea formed millions of years ago, whose vast emptiness and white salt crusts reach out as far as the eye can see, it is one of the most spectacular and dramatic landscapes in Chile.
Overnight in San Pedro. (B, L)
Day 4 – El Tatio Geysers Tour
San Pedro de Atacama Early departure (at 4 –00am) to see the El Tatio Geysers, a geothermal field flanked by soaring peaks. At dawn powerful spurts of steam shoot up from various blowholes and condensate in the cold air. The steaming ponds are encrusted with brilliant salt crystals that reflect the metal blue sky; along with the rising columns of steam they make for a breathtaking sight. On the way back from the geysers to San Pedro, we will visit the settlement Machuca. Only a few shepherds still live here, at the former resting place for llama caravans travelling the Inca Trail. It is an amazing place in the middle of the highland with a spectacular view of the Andes and the Atacama Salt Lake. In the afternoon we will return to San Pedro.
Overnight in San Pedro de Atacama. (B)
Day 5 – Transfer
Puerto Varas Transfer to the airport of Calama for your connecting flight. After arrival at Puerto Montt Airport, we will enjoy a short city tour of Puerto Montt. A transfer will then take us to Puerto Varas, also known as the ‘City of Roses’, located on the shores of Lake Llanquihue, Chiles second largest lake, with the volcanoes Osorno and Calbuco reflected in the crystal clear water.
Overnight in Puerto Varas. (B)
Day 6 – Explore the Surrounds
Puerto Varas Enjoy a scenic drive along the shoreline of Lake Llanquihue this morning to Petrohue; in the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. We proceed to Petrohue to board the catamaran to navigate across Lake Todos los Santos to Peulla enjoying beautiful views of the surrounding mountains on the way. You will have time for lunch at the Hotel Peulla and/or a walk to the nearby waterfalls.
Overnight in Puerto Varas. (B)
Day 7 – Visit Chiloe Island
Puerto Varas Depart to Pargua today and cross the Chacao Channel by ferry to Chiloe Island. We will either visit Ancud, famous for its traditional market, featuring a wide range of seafood and crafts, or the well known houses built on stilts in Castro and other sights of interest in town. If weather conditions allow, we will visit the penguin islands, situated on the north-west coast, about 30 minutes from Ancud. During the ride in our zodiac to the islands we will be able to see Humboldt and Magellan penguins.
Overnight at hotel in Puerto Varas. (B)
Day 8 – Explore the Surrounds
Puerto Varas This morning, visit Frutillar, situated on the shoreline of Lake Llanquihue and founded by German settlers around 1850. Here you will visit the outdoor museum dedicated to those pioneers. Afterwards you will be taken back to Puerto Varas with the afternoon at leisure to discover other nearby sights or to relax.
Overnight in Puerto Varas. (B)
Day 9 – Transfer
Puerto Natales In the morning, transfer to the airport in Puerto Montt to catch your flight to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival at Punta Arenas Airport depart to Puerto Natales; on the way visit the penguin colony (high season only!) at Seno Otway.
Overnight in Puerto Natales. (B)
Day 10 – Explore the Surrounds
Torres del Paine National Park Depart early today to the majestic Torres del Paine National Park. In the Torres del Paine we will pass Laguna Amarga and Lake Pehoe and enjoy the beautiful view onto Paine Massif, Almirante Nieto, and the famous Torres (towers) del Paine. We will be able to observe local wildlife such as guanacos, foxes, skunks, black-necked swans, flamingos, condors, and eagles.
Overnight in the park. (B)
Day 11 – Explore & Transfer
Puerto Natales The morning will be at leisure. There will be time for a stroll in the surroundings of the hotel. In the afternoon we will leave the park and drive to Puerto Natales. On the way we will visit the Milodon Cave where archaeologists found the 12,000 year old remnants of a giant sloth. Overnight in an authentic Patagonian sheep farm halfway between Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas.
Overnight at the Estancia Rio Verde (B, D)
Day 12 – Transfer
Santiago Transfer to the airport of Punta Arenas and flight to Santiago. Overnight in Santiago de Chile. (B)
Day 13 – Depart
Santiago Transfer to the airport of Santiago for your outbound flight. (B)
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