Chile Patagonia
Departing by Air
Duration 14 Days
Available Until September 2021

See natural wonders on the grandest of scales, visit colourful outposts and explore thriving, cultured cities. Fascinating, intoxicating, awe-inspiring Chile has it all. From frozen glacial fields at the southern edge of the world to its driest desert.  From pristine, azure lakes to towering Andean peaks that are home to soaring condors and llama-like guanacos. And from verdant, fertile valleys covered in ripening vineyards, to exciting, colourful cities teeming with exuberant life.  This very special tour is the perfect introduction to this fascinating, ribbon-thin country that stretches half the length of South America.


The Wonders of Chile Available Departures


The Wonders of Chile Tour Highlights

  • The otherworldly Mars and Moon Valleys in the Atacama Desert
  • Punta Arenas, at South America’s southern tip
  • Discover the Milodón Cave and breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park
  • UNESCO-listed Valparaiso
  • The Garden City of Viña del Mar and the wine-producing Casablanca Valley
  • Cruise to the majestic Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers
  • Explore Puerto Montt, in the shadow of a snow-capped volcano
  • The Petrohué River Falls, beneath conical Orsorno
  • The wooden churches and seafaring legends of Chiloé Island
  • The flamingo-filled lagoons of Chaxa, Miscanti and Meñiques
  • Take in the view from the Salt Mountains
  • Meet desert dwellers in Socaire and the volcanic town of Toconao
  • El Tatio’s fumaroles and spouting geysers
  • The colourful Chilean capital Santiago

Price Includes

  • 11 nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation at hotels in Valparaiso (2 nights), Puerto Natales (3), Puerto Varas (2), San Pedro de Atacama (3) and Santiago (1)
  • Four lunches and two dinners
  • A tour of Santiago
  • Return flights to Santiago
  • Internal flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas, Punta Arenas to Puerto Montt to Calama and Calama to Santiago
  • Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel and transfers throughout
  • Escorted by friendly, experienced, expert local tour managers

Single supplements apply. Subject to availability.

Itinerary

Day One – Fly overnight to Santiago de Chile

Head across the Atlantic and over the towering Andes to the Chilean capital.

Day Two – Transfer to Valparaiso

Upon arrival, meet your tour manager and make the short journey west to the shores of the Pacific Ocean, to picturesque, UNESCO-listed Valparaiso. Enjoy a short introductory tour of this town where the colourful houses cling to steep hillsides, often reached by funicular railways. See the colourful waterfront and the main Plaza Sotomayor, then transfer to your hotel. Here you’ll have the chance to rest and relax before dinner is served.

Day Three – Included visit to Viña del Mar and a wine-tasting

On a relaxing day, you’ll visit beautiful Viña del Mar to see its stunning colourful houses and lovely beaches, and head into the wine-producing Casablanca Valley to visit a vineyard and taste some of the wine that has built Chile’s reputation across the globe.

This evening you’re free to relax and explore Valparaiso.

Day Four – Fly to Punta Arenas and travel to Puerto Natales

Travel back to Santiago, and fly south to the sprawling city of Punta Arenas at the foot of Southern Patagonia. This fascinating mix of the rugged, windswept and weather-beaten, and the ultra-modern, was forged from the spoils of fishing and sheep-farming. Catch a glimpse of this “edge of the world” outpost, with its penguins and wind-blown shores, before making the three-hour journey north to Puerto Natales. This colourful, welcoming place is breath-takingly set at the edge of the Ultima Esperenza (Last Hope) Sound, backed by distant mountains. One here, settle in to your hotel.

Day Five – Included boat trip to Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers

Be on the quayside early this morning to board a boat for the stunning three-hour cruise through the scenic Señoret Channel. This glorious inland fjord, at the head of which looms the great Balmaceda Glacier beneath its mountain peak is a great place to spot birds and sea lions. Disembark for a short hike to the foot of the pristine Serrano Glacier, before enjoying a traditional Patagonian lunch.

Day Six – Included visits to the Milodón Cave and Torres del Paine National Park

Cross the Patagonian Steppe towards one of South America’s most dramatic sights, the mountain paradise of the Torres del Paine National Park. Here the landscape of glaciers, rivers and pristine lakes is crowned by jagged peaks that are home to the giant condor. Herds of wild guanacos (a close relative of the llama) roam the foothills surrounding Grey Lake, beyond which the distant Grey Glacier hovers. En route, you’ll call at the extraordinary Milodón Cave, former refuge of the now-extinct giant sloth. And, after a spectacular day that includes lunch in the National Park, your return to Puerto Natales.

Day Seven – Over the Icefield to lakeside Puerto Varas

You’ve a very early start, today, first heading back to Punta Arenas, then taking a short flight over the Patagonian Icefield to Puerto Montt. This fast-growing centre of the salmon fishing industry on the edge of the Pacific is your gateway to Northern Patagonia’s stunning Lakes Region. Take a tour of the bustling city, and visit the nearby cove at Angelemó to explore its colourful fish market and tempting shore-side restaurants, before heading to Puerto Varas, the beautiful, pink-hued City of Roses, that sits on the shores of Lake Llanquihue.

This afternoon, after checking in to your Puerto Varas hotel, journey around the shores of the lake to stunning Petrohué Falls, which tumble down across lava once spewed by Mount Orsono, whose cone dominates the lake.

Day Eight – A day on the island of Chiloé

Today is spent discovering South America’s fifth-largest island. This lush, windswept paradise of rolling, forested hills is dotted with remote outposts inhabited by a proud people with a rich nautical heritage, whose unique wooden churches (some UNESCO-listed) are constructed in the shape of ships. Cross the Chacao Channel that separates the island from the mainland, and enjoy a memorable day visiting some delightful places where houses are built on stilts above the water, and where colourful markets peddle hand-crafted wares. Lunch is included today, adding to the pleasure.

Day Nine – Journey to the Atacama Desert

By way of complete contrast, today you’ll fly north, via Santiago, to Calama, and travel on to San Pedro de Atacama, the dusty, sun-baked gateway to the wonders of the fabled Atacama Desert. Later, enjoy your first legendary Atacama sunset.

Day 10 – The lagoons of the Atacama

Explore the extraordinary landscape of what is, officially, the world’s driest corner, with its vast salt flats, red-rock outcrops, deep canyons and thermal lakes. Drive onto the high Andean plateau to the lagoons of Miscanti and Meñiques, meet locals as you enjoy lunch in remote village Socaire, and journey to Toconao, where houses and an array of artefacts are fashioned from volcanic rock by skilled craftsmen. Return to San Pedro and perhaps enjoy a sundowner in this spectacular setting.

Day 11 – Included Atacama Desert tour

Continue your Atacama exploration with an early morning journey to the extraordinary fumaroles and gushing geysers of El Tatio (the world’s highest, at 14,000ft). Stand amazed as jets of super-heated steam and water spout up into the air. There will also be an opportunity, today, to bath in the health-giving hot springs at Puritama before a visit to the barren, exquisite landscape of the Valley of the Moon at sunset brings the curtain down on your desert stay.

Day 12 – Fly back to Santiago for an included tour

Leaving the desert behind, today you’ll head back to the Chilean capital, where a guided introduction to this fascinating, cosmopolitan city will reveal the Barrio Centro, centred on Spanish colonial Plaza de Armas, and grand Avenida General O’Higgins (Chile’s 19th-century leader was of Irish descent).

Enjoy discovering this walkabout grid of shopping streets, grand neo-classical architecture, bars and cafés. Head up to the statue of the Madonna on the lofty heights of Cerro San Cristobal, which offer a spectacular view of the city and the breath-taking Andes. Don’t miss Metropolitan Cathedral on Plaza de Armas, and perhaps enjoy lunch at the Central Market or in one of Bohemian Barrio Bellavista’s pubs and restaurants.

Day 13 – Fly back to the UK

After breakfast, bid farewell to your Chilean hosts and head to the airport to check in for your overnight transatlantic flight home.

Day 15 – Arrive back in the UK

Arrive home, this morning, at the end of a wonderful South American adventure.


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