Chile Adventure Holiday
Chile is an amazing destination for adventure holidays. Its terrain ranges from vineyards to desert and from deep fjords to towering glaciated volcanoes. In the north, Atacama, is the world’s driest desert with active volcanoes and spitting geysers. Central Chile includes the capital Santiago, an area replete with vineyards. In the south, lies the Lake District and its snow-capped volcanoes. Further south, is the glacial paradise of Patagonia, with Torres del Paine National Park.
This tour begins in Santiago, a vibrant city with colonial architecture and a relaxed pace of life. Discover the colourful port of Valparaiso, the beach resort of Vina del Mar and Chile’s many world-class vineyards. Next to San Pedro de Atacama, set near a Salt Lake filled with flamingos. Nearby is the Valley of the Moon, a lunar appearance. Finally, explore Torres del Paine national park and its beautiful landscapes of granite peaks and glaciers.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 11-DAY CHILE ADVENTURE…
And, experience its highlight destinations from north to south.
Chile’s vast length crosses many latitudes and climate zones, creating a huge variety of landscapes from snow-capped volcanoes to the vineyard-packed Central Valley, and from the striking Lake District to the narrow fjords of the south, all sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the mountainous spine of the Andes.
Santiago, its vibrant capital 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.
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.
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.
Chile Highlights Tour
Santiago, Atacama, Torres del Paine
(11 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive
Santiago On arrival at Santiago Airport you will be met and transferred to your chosen hotel for your three-night stay.
Overnight – Galerias Hotel or The Ritz-Carlton
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.
Day 2 – Valparaiso Tour
Santiago Spend an unforgettable day at Vina del Mar, Chile’s most fashionable beach resort. Discover nearby Valparaiso, a place bursting with character where hundreds of brightly coloured wooden houses cling to the hillside, and which is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its historic architecture and role as a merchant port. (B)
Day 3 – Vineyard Tour
Santiago Today you will have a chance to sample first-hand the delightful and highly-regarded New World wines of Chile. Your fascinating guided half-day tour, a wine lovers’ delight, to one of the areas leading estates such as Concha y Toro or Vina Undurraga, will cover every step of the winemaking process and will culminate in some well earned wine tasting. Enjoy spectacular scenery and views of the magnificent Andes on your return to Santiago. (B)
Day 4 – Transfer
Atacama Desert This morning, depart Santiago for your flight to Calama, gateway to the extraordinary landscapes of the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to the wonderfully isolated oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama for a three-night stay. Later, explore the mystifying lunar landscapes of the Moon Valley and enjoy a spectacular sunset over this eerie bonedry desert.
Overnight – Hotel Altiplanico Atacama or Tierra Atacama (B)
Days 5-6 – Hiking the Moon Valley
Atacama Desert Over the next two days, various activities and excursions are yours to enjoy. There is much to see and do here. There are many activities available, something for all tastes, interests, ages and levels of fitness. Hiking the Moon Valley opens the eyes to so many unique terrestrial formations. Salar de Atacama (the salt flats) has the most unusual, thick textured granular covering of salt. Los Flamencos National Reserve offers incredible views of three species of flamingos, and beautiful sunsets over the lake. The Cejar Lagoon has such a high concentration of salt that it allows you to float like in the Dead Sea. And there are active volcanoes and El Tatio geysers, the highest geothermal field in the world at over 4300m above sea level.
Overnight – Hotel Altiplanico Atacama or Tierra Atacama (B, L)
Day 7 – Transfer
Santiago Travel back to Calama airport for your flight to Santiago. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at leisure.
Overnight – Galerias Hotel or The Ritz-Carlton (B)
Day 8 – Transfer
Puerto Natales Flight to Punta Arenas, followed by a private transfer to the bus station. Board a public bus and travel to Puerto Natales, gateway to Torres Del Paine National Park, for an overnight stay. Services for the Deluxe option are on a private basis and include a visit to Seno Otway penguin colony or Parque Nandu en-route to Puerto Natales.
Overnight – Hotel Weskar or Hotel Altiplanico del Sur (B)
Day 9 – Explore
Torres Del Paine National Park Enjoy a spectacular journey as you’re transferred into Torres Del Paine National Park, part of Chile’s Patagonian wilderness where the vistas are magnificent and the immensity of the natural formations almost defies belief. Accommodation for the next two nights is in the heart of the park on Lake Grey with fantastic views onto the lake and glacier that feeds it. Your afternoon is at leisure.
Overnight – Hosteria Lago Grey (B)
Day 10 – Explore
Torres Del Paine National Park Today you have a full day tour to explore the main attractions of the park. Highlights will include – the Laguna Azul, the Cascada Paine Waterfall, the iconic craggy peaks of Mirador de los Cuernos and also the powerful Salto Grande Waterfall where Nordenskjold Lake drains into the turquoise Lake Pehoe Overnight – Hosteria Lago Grey (B, L)
Day 11 – Depart
Torres Del Paine After breakfast, begin the private journey back to Puerto Natales where you connect onward by shared transfer or public bus (depending on the season) to Punta Arenas Airport where your tour concludes. (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