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 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)
Make this your holiday
Getting There There are currently no direct flights from major UK airports. Most flights are via Europe, Latin America or US; 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).
When to go This best (and most expensive) time to visit Patagonia is between Nov to Feb. 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 to Aug is winter and the best time to visit ski resorts. Between mid-December to end February and two-middle weeks of July is holiday time for Brazilians and Argentines.