Summary

Destinations: South America
  • 13 Days From
    R 64600
  • Trip code: AAE
  • Activity: Culture, Natural Wonders, Cultural Wonders
  • Min age: 16
  • Group size: 5 - 16
Leisurely / Moderate

Visit four distinct regions to see deserts, glaciers, volcanoes and lakes

Chile’s narrow coastal strip stretches for 4300km and is dominated by the towering peaks of the Andes. Covering over half the length of South America, Chile has an unparalleled range of environments; from the world’s driest desert, the hostile Atacama, with its geysers and salt flats, to the fertile valleys and vineyards of central Chile. To the south lies the Lake District with dramatic, snow-capped volcanoes, deep blue lakes and gushing waterfalls. Further still, we reach Patagonia, a land of ice fields, mountains, glaciers and immense solitude; the ‘uttermost part of the earth’.

Key information
  • 12 nights hotels, all en suite.
  • Travel by internal flights, bus/minibus and boat
  • Some long distances covered
  • Easter Island extension available
Activities
  • 12 nights hotels, all en suite.
  • Travel by internal flights, bus/minibus and boat
  • Some long distances covered
  • Easter Island extension available
Highlights
  • Visit the unique and colourful Pacific Coast city of Valparaiso
  • Excursions to Atacama salt flats, altiplano lagoons, El Tatio geysers
  • Sunset over the Valley of the Moon in the Atacama Desert
  • City tours in cosmopolitan Santiago, German influenced Puerto Varas, and the fish market of Puerto Montt
  • See the Petrohue Falls, enjoy a boat cruise on Lago Lago Todos los Santos, and walk at Osorno Volcano
  • Patagonia and the famous granite towers of Torres del Paine National Park
  • Internal flights included, reducing driving distances so that we can visit four distinct regions of Chile
What's included
  • All breakfasts
  • Internal flights
  • All accommodation
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
    Food

    All breakfasts are included.

    All areas offer good quality local and international meals. Beef is very popular in Chile, especially steak, and the majority of dishes tend to be quite meaty. In Patagonia, lamb takes over as the most popular meat. There is also delicious, freshly-caught fish and seafood in the areas closer to the coast. Service can be slow in restaurants so do not expect European standards.

    Vegetarian food is available in many of the restaurants but options may be limited, especially in Patagonia. Please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.  

Highlights

  • Visit the unique and colourful Pacific Coast city of Valparaiso
  • Excursions to Atacama salt flats, altiplano lagoons, El Tatio geysers
  • Sunset over the Valley of the Moon in the Atacama Desert
  • City tours in cosmopolitan Santiago, German influenced Puerto Varas, and the fish market of Puerto Montt
  • See the Petrohue Falls, enjoy a boat cruise on Lago Lago Todos los Santos, and walk at Osorno Volcano
  • Patagonia and the famous granite towers of Torres del Paine National Park
  • Internal flights included, reducing driving distances so that we can visit four distinct regions of Chile

Dates & Pricing

 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
21 Oct 2019
02 Nov 2019
Guaranteed (Fully Booked)
R 65600
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
04 Nov 2019
16 Nov 2019
Guaranteed (Fully Booked)
R 65600
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
18 Nov 2019
30 Nov 2019
Guaranteed (Fully Booked)
R 64700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
02 Dec 2019
14 Dec 2019
Guaranteed (Limited Availability)
R 64700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
16 Dec 2019
28 Dec 2019
Guaranteed (Available)
R 66400
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
13 Jan 2020
25 Jan 2020
Available
R 67700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
20 Jan 2020
01 Feb 2020
Available
R 67700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
03 Feb 2020
15 Feb 2020
Available
R 67700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
10 Feb 2020
22 Feb 2020
Available
R 67700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
17 Feb 2020
29 Feb 2020
Guaranteed (Available)
R 66600
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
24 Feb 2020
07 Mar 2020
Available
R 66600
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
02 Mar 2020
14 Mar 2020
Available
R 64700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
16 Mar 2020
28 Mar 2020
Available
R 64700
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
19 Oct 2020
31 Oct 2020
Available
R 66000
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
02 Nov 2020
14 Nov 2020
Available
R 66000
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
16 Nov 2020
28 Nov 2020
Available
R 66000
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
30 Nov 2020
12 Dec 2020
Available
R 66000
 
Start
Finish
Availability
Price
14 Dec 2020
26 Dec 2020
Available
R 67400

Reviews

Spectacular sights and scenary

Chile is a stunning country that has something for everyone. This trip nprovided a wonderful insight and delivered a variety of sights and scenery: nfrom desert and volcanoes, to lakes (and more volcanoes) then mountains and nglaciers, followed for me with the legendary moai of Rapa Nui (Easter nIsland).nnAs the itinerary makes clear, a significant amount of time is spent ntravelling (I feel I am now very familiar with Santiago airport!) but that is ndue to the large distances covered. There is very little 'down time' and nseveral early starts so it is definitely not for someone who wants a relaxing nholiday. However, if you enjoy spectacular views and new experiences then it nticks all the boxes.nnOur group of 16 got on well and, alongside our tour leader and drivers, nhelped to make it a fantastic holiday.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • It is impossible to choose a single highlight as there were so many. The ncolourful houses and street art of Valparaiso; the Atacama desert with its nrock formations, lagoons, wildlife and the most amazing night sky; the boat ntrip on Lago Todos los Santos, gazing up at the snow-topped Orsorno volcano; nthe breathtakingly beautiful Torres del Paine and Last Hope Sound; watching nthe mesmerising waves of the Pacific Ocean break on the rocky shores around nRapa Nui and visits to places such as Rano Kau and Ahu Tongariki.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Nacho was calm, caring and a real gentleman. He enjoyed telling us tales of nhis life as a flight attendant and introducing us, with a mix of enthusiasm nand humour, to his wonderful country. He always had a variety of restaurant nsuggestions for dinner to cater for people's different preferences.nnI was the only one in the group who had chosen the Easter Island extension. nNacho took me to the airport for the flight, met me upon my return a few days nlater and took me back again the next day for the journey home to the UK. He nwaited while I checked in and then, deciding that the queue to go through ncustoms was too long, took me to another part of the airport where the queue nwas much shorter.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • I took advice from a previous review and took Chilean pesos with me (which nmeant I could gauge exchange rates and determine when to purchase them). As a nresult I managed with cash throughout the trip but others in the group used ntheir credit or debit cards without difficulty in most places.nnChile is notably expensive. Just one main course and some water for dinner ncould cost u00a312-u00a315 and, in Easter Island, it was even pricier (for example, na fish and rice dish with a natural fruit juice in a cafu00e9 away from the nharbour cost over u00a325).nnThis was a more sedate trip than I had anticipated so don't choose it if you nprefer or expect some proper walks or long hikes.nnIt is a busy schedule with some long days. There isn't much time to do nhandwashing and get clothes dry before heading off to the next location so nyou may wish to factor that into your packing. The hotel in San Pedro also nhas notices in the rooms asking people not to wash clothes.nnI ended up wishing I'd packed more long-sleeved shirts as I found myself nwearing them for sun protection in the desert as well as protection against nboth the sun and dengue fever-carrying mosquitoes in Easter Island.nnIf you like a bath, bring a universal bath plug as many of the hotels don't nprovide one.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • I investigated several companies who offered pretty much identical trips. I nparticularly liked the fact that Exodus included most of the activities (eg nthe visit to Valparaiso) in the upfront price, avoiding the need to budget nfor additional expenditure/take extra cash.nnMany in the group would have preferred to have saved time by having lunch in nValparaiso rather than Vina del Mar and therefore been able to include a trip nto a winery on the journey back to Santiago.nnWhile I enjoyed the stay in Puerto Varas, I'd happily dispense with the walk nin the Orsorno lava fields and the few hours in Puerto Montt seemed to be njust a filler while we waited for the flight to Punta Arenas. I'd also have nloved more time and a chance to do some walks (e.g. for 1-2 hours) while in nTorres del Paine. I had visited the area previously on a similar tour several nyears before and know that there are some walks that could have been worked ninto the itinerary without turning it into a different type of trip.nnI appreciate that the main 'Discover Chile' itinerary has been designed to be naccomplished in 2 weeks. However, for somewhere like Chile with the sheer ndistances involved, it would have been lovely if it could have been extended nby a further few days, giving more time in Torres and perhaps including a nboat trip amongst the fjords.

Chile

This trip covered a lot of ground in a short time frame. I (and the rest of nmy group) agreed that the one area of improvement would be to include a visit nto the wineries and have lunch in Valparaiso.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Seeing the stars in the Atacama Desert and the landscapes of Patagonia

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Ignacio was wonderful. He was organized, attentive and had a good sense of nhumor.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Bring layers! It was unexpectedly cold when we visited the geysers.

Awe inspiring.

A land of so many sights, warm people and the impressive Andes mountains nalmost throughout.

Rating 4
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • The Atacama Desert. Its forever changing scenery. The Lagoons, The Wetlands nand Flamingo's, Geysers over 80 in one area. Sand dunes and forever rock nformations. The long long roads and starry nights. Unlike any other desert I nhave visited.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Nacho was brilliant. His charm, smile and funny stories, seeing us all nthrough some very long days. He was Informative throughout the trip. His nobservations and empathy were outstanding. Great fun and ensuring everyone's nneeds were met. A calm and unstressful gentleman.nWould be great to have Nacho on every Exodus trip.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Chile felt to be a very safe and friendly country from the moment if arrival. nThis did not change or alter throughout.nHappy walking around alone.nnDon't expect your International adapter plugs to work. I borrowed one and nsome bought some locally. The 2 circular pins were much smaller. I believe it nwas the European pinned one that works.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • A boat trip to through the Fjords would be a great addition to this trip. As nwould a few hours at one of the vineyards when driving right through them.

Chile

Discover Chile is a great trip and a fantastic way to see all the best areas nof this long thin country. It is full of travelling though and not just nflying. However, as a brilliant and thorough voyage around the Atacama, nLakeland and Patagonia you can't beat it.

Rating 4
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Too many to mention high Lakes in the Atacama, hummingbirds in the temperate nrain forest and all of Patagonia!

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Our le.ader was knowledgeable, helpful, enthusiastic and fun. He made the ntrip much more enjoyable

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Don't expect to stop for long meals or have much down time but you do see a nlot instead.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • If you can avoid spending a morning in Puerto Montt do so. Stay and have a nbetter look round Puerto Varas instead, it is much prettier and interesting.

Good Title as we moved around alot to give us insite of what the country offered.

The group of people on the trip all 'gelled' together and with the help of nour excellent guide made a trip to be remembered. My only criticism, not nyour fault, was that I hadn't realized how warm / hot it would be and, as a nresult I didn't take enough light weight summer clothes.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Seeing the Volcanoes cone shaped and the tops covered in snow. The salt ncovered rocks of the canyons in the desert.nFlamingos feeding in the lagoons. Watching the Condors circling overhead.nThe visit to Valparaiso, the UNESCO World Heritage Site. to view all the nexcellent wall art.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Our group leader was Ignacio Hewstone and he was excellent. Meeting and ngreeting at the airport went well as did all the other travel travel narrangements he made. His extensive knowledge of Chile was shown to us and nit was interspersed with anecdotes (mostly funny) from his youth. This helped nto further bring the group together.nHe was always around should any of us require help , or to advise us on where nto eat - many suggestions were given.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Check the temperatures of the various areas to be visited. Take cash or card nfor money as at some places money can't be exchanged.nComfortable shoes or boots for walking in the desert.nEnjoy the Pisco Sour !! and don't forget to bring a bottle home.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • No

Fascinating country

We really enjoyed the chance to see so much of this great country in 2 weeks. n The itinerary was excellent with visits to three very different regions. A ngood mix of walking and lots of wildlife and scenery to enjoy. The hotels we nstayed in were all of a high standard and our guide gave good recommendations non places to eat in all locations.

Rating 4
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Patagonia is like nowhere else in the world and we were so fortunate to have ngreat weather and see the Torres de Paine at their best. The flamingos in nAtacama were equally memorable.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Robert was a terrific leader u2013 hugely knowledgeable and very eager to nensure we had the best possible visit. He judged the group very well and ntweaked our schedule to cater to our preferences. He is guaranteed to keep nyou entertained with stories and facts on all the bus journeys - like where nthe brand name Fanta come from.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • If you enjoy a cup of tea at days end pack a small travel kettle. Donu2019t nfret about packing everything u2013 all of the large towns in Chile had well nstocked shops and pharmacies that will supply anything you might unexpectedly nneed.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • Exodus should reduce the time spent in Valparaiso and include a visit to a nwinery on the journey back to Santiago.nnThey should also remove the morning spent in Puerto Montt where there is nlittle to see and at the fish market you will be pestered by restaurant ntouts. Instead allow guests a free morning in the far nicer town of Puerto nVaras.nnWith these changes I would award the extra star.

January 7, 2019

Excellent trip

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Traveling through the different landscapes and climate zones

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Alex Aguilera is a very good group leader.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • It's the excellent opportunity to see different parts of Chile in a single ntrip but any future traveler should be ready to spend a lot of time commuting nfrom one place to another. Itu2019s absolutely worth it but should be noted.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • To start the tour one day earlier (one more day) and spend an extra day in nthe Lake region

Exhilarating

u2018Discover Chileu2019 was a fantastic holiday and certainly in my top three ntours over the last 20+years. The main reason it was fantastic was that we nhad brilliant weather throughout and considering this holiday was to nprincipally look at the natural landscapes within the country this was nessential. Although it was a certainty that we would have clear weather in nthe desert which was confirmed, the bonus of views of the snow capped Mt nOsorno and others in the Lake District, and also the fantastic Torres del nPaine against cloudless backdrops was the icing on the cake.

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • There were many highlights on the tour but these are my top three:nn3.tMt Osorno in the Lake Districtn2.tAntiplano Lakes and Mountain Scenery in the Atacaman1.tTorres del Paine Mountain Scenery in PatagoniannI could never get sick of the view of Torres del Paine from outside my room nin Patagonia.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Ignacio was both competent and very pleasant.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Be prepared to spend a considerable time on planes (5 off internal flights) nand the associated waiting time in airports, also early get ups (2 before n5am) and a late finish (11pm). Flight schedules can change at short notice nbut none of ours were seriously affected.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • Overall the hotels were average with the one in San Pedro (Don Raul) being nvery disappointing (my room (42) looked nothing like the images on nTripadvisor) but the hotel in Patagonia was exceptional in the views that it nhad.nnChile is a long distance from the UK and the tour could have benefited from nan extra two days, one more possibly in the Lake District and one to explore nthe Magellan Strait near Punta Arenas.nnAlthough our tour was not in the absolute high season nowhere we visited was never considered to be crowded, I suppose the busiest area (excepting nSantiago) was San Pedro.nnIt was disappointing to be in the Atacama during the full moon, therefore our nstargazing tour (provided via Exodus) was not available.

Amazing!

I overused the word amazing on this trip which far exceeded my expectations nbecause of the spectacular nature of the country.nIt really is an excellent way to see so many totally different parts of the ncountry in a short space of time.nThe variation in climate from the Atacama Desert down through the Lake nDistrict and to Patagonia was huge and, hence, the spectacular scenery and nwildlife. Go for it!

Rating 5
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • So hard to pick but I think it has to be Patagonia. I highly recommend nexiting via the optional zodiac trip!nIn reality, the inspiration to visit Chile on this trip comes from the ndiversity that you experience. I have a myriad of colourful images and nexperiences in my head that will last with me for a very long time.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Ignacio was friendly with everyone and imparted a wealth of knowledge about nhis beloved Chile. He knew people all around the country which helped and he nhelped individuals in the group with any issues such as money, health, eating netc.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • Pack with layers. You need sun protection everywhere....I used long sleeved nshirts and light trousers, sunhat and trainers in the desert. But, also, it nwas minus 10 at the start of the geyser day so you start with fleece hat, nwarm jacket, etc.nPatagonia was actually warmer than I expected and you don't need full on nEnglish winter walking gear but still go with the layers. I managed it all nin about 16kg but it's worth planning what you take. Waterproof trousers add nan extra layer of warmth and wind proofing but can be removed later in the nday.nWe took anti mossie spray but didn't need it much...so, have some but it's nnot a great problem at this time of year. Take paracetamol.....helps to ward noff altitude sickness in the desert....but, mainly, follow the advice of the nguide to breathe deeply and go slow! Only 1 of our party was affected and it ndidn't last long.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • GO!nnIf in doubt....and you are looking for a trip that shows you Chile in a short nspace of time, this is the one!nnAlso, I was so pleased with the variety and numbers of local wildlife and nflora that we saw which I hadn't picked up from the trip notes. Brilliant!

Indescribable!

I say indescribable because I struggle to find words to capture just how namazing and stunning Chile is. The beauty of this trip is that you are given nthe opportunity to visit a diversity of landscapes, flora and fauna. The nrange of climate between regions varies spectacularly from being hot in the nnorth to wrapping up in the south. I can't recommend this trip highly nenough.

Rating 4
Q&A
  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?
  • Hard to pick just one, so from each region I would pick Valparaiso, to the ngeysers in the Atcama Desert, the waterfalls of Lake District, the 'towers' nand seeing icebergs in Torres del Paine to visiting the statues on Easter nIsland.

  • What did you think of your group leader?
  • Ignacio (nacho) was a very good tour leader. Always thinking of the group's nbest interests and how to get the best out of each day by adapting the nitinerary to the weather conditions etc. He was very engaging, witty and ndefinitely felt like he was part of our group. It was interesting to hear nhis stories from personal experience of living and working in Chile.

  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?
  • For this trip, pack for all seasons and all weather. I didn't need to pack nall the footwear I did as I mainly wore my walking shoes and occasionally on nEaster island my sliders.nnFor those that suffer from altitude sickness, be prepared when visiting nAtacama Dessert and Osorne Volcano. I personally didn't suffer but a fellow ntraveller did and was quite poorly.

  • Is there anything else you would like to add?
  • I would recommend adding the Easter Island extension. Whilst it's relatively nexpensive, it's well worth it and rounds the holiday off nicely.

Accommodation

Hotels and B&Bs

You will spend 12 nights in hotels or locally owned B&B’s. All rooms are en suite and average a 3 star rating. Please note that due to the limited amount of accommodation within Torres del Paine National Park, it may be necessary to sleep outside the park on some or all of the nights that we are there.

Single accommodation (available on request).

Essential Info

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts are included.

All areas offer good quality local and international meals. Beef is very popular in Chile, especially steak, and the majority of dishes tend to be quite meaty. In Patagonia, lamb takes over as the most popular meat. There is also delicious, freshly-caught fish and seafood in the areas closer to the coast. Service can be slow in restaurants so do not expect European standards.

Vegetarian food is available in many of the restaurants but options may be limited, especially in Patagonia. Please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.  

Is this trip for you?

This is a busy itinerary that visits the main highlights of Chile. We travel by private minibus and take five internal flights to allow you to experience as much as possible of this beautiful and diverse county in a short space of time. You should be aware that there are some long travelling days on this trip.

Full Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Land Only

Start Santiago; city tour.

Clients on the group flight will usually arrive in the morning. A walking tour of the city tour is organised today (approx. 4 hours), visiting the squares and streets of the colonial centre and the Presidential Palace. We also visit San Cristobal Hill, on which a statue of the Virgin Mary stands. The summit of Cerro San Cristobal offers a birds-eye view of Santiago, the Andean Mountains and the Maipo-Valley. Without a doubt the best viewpoint in the city! If there is time we will also see the wealthy suburbs of the ‘Barrio Alto’, an area of elegant shops and first class restaurants. Please note that due to the arrival times of the group flights, the city tour will usually start around 2pm or 2:30pm.  Land Only clients wishing to join the city tour would be advised to be at the hotel around 2pm in order to be collected. *Hotel Providencia or similar*

Day 2

Full Day excursion to the enigmatic port city of Valparaiso.

The historic World Heritage city of Valparaíso, or Valpo for short, is Chile’s oldest port and home to the country’s National Congress since democracy was re-established in 1989. The Pacific coast is just a short 1.5 hour drive from Santiago and today’s excursion will give us an interesting insight into Chilean culture. The city’s many hills are covered in a glorious sprawl of multi-coloured houses covering every nook and cranny, creating a spectacular panorama which can be enjoyed from a number of vantage points. Strolling through the streets of Valparaíso is a fascinating experience which enables us to soak up the quirky and bohemian atmosphere, something different to anywhere else in Chile. We’ll visit the UNESCO recognised historic city centre, in addition to the parliamentary building, and the War of the Pacific memorial. Due to the steep terrain in some parts of the city, it is home to numerous funicular lifts which transport residents straight up and down the hillsides rather than them having to zigzag through the maze of buildings. Many of these lifts have fallen into disrepair and sit suspended in time and hidden amid the labyrinth. However, there is a drive to restore as many as possible and we’ll be able to use one of the most iconic functioning lifts on our way to a viewpoint. In the afternoon we will return to our hotel in Santiago. *Hotel Providencia or similar*

Meals Included : breakfast

Day 3

Fly to Calama; to San Pedro de Atacama.

In the morning we fly to Calama near the Atacama Desert where we transfer to our hotel in the town of San Pedro de Atacama. Once we have checked in. the leader will offer a short orientation tour of the town for anyone who wants to join. At dusk we set out to the Valley of the Moon. This bizarre lunar landscape is set ablaze with colour at sunset, the strange rock formations framed by the Lincancabur Volcano. We’ll stay until the sun goes down to enjoy the array of colours before returning to San Pedro. *Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar*

Meals Included : breakfast

Day 4

Visit Salar de Atacama & Altiplano lagoons.

Departing our hotel in San Pedro, we will set off towards the Altiplano Lagoons (Lagunas Altiplanicas) and stop en route at the village of Socaire, set at 3218m/10,558ft. The village is noteworthy for its peculiar architecture using rough stonework and the inhabitants here still live by the age-old methods of planting terraced fields with corn, wheat and potatoes. Afterwards, we continue for about another 30km/19miles, climbing an additional 1000m/3,281ft in altitude to reach the highland lagoons of Miscanti and Miñiques. The two volcanoes of the same name are visible in the background (almost 6000m/19,686ft high). The twin lagoons are a deep blue, each framed by a white salt crust, which creates a memorable contrast to the yellow highland grass all around. It is completely silent here. Even the duck species that breed here, the foxes, and the grazing vicuñas (a type of camelid), respect the majestic silence. Continue to visit the Salar de Atacama. A salt lake of huge proportions (3000 sq km/1,158 sq miles), its surface is covered by a thick layer of snow-white salt crystals as far as the eye can see, caused by the evaporation of the lake’s water. The world’s largest lithium deposits are found here, but the salt pan is also home to several flamingo species, including the Andean, Chilean and James flamingo, who feed on the micro-organisms found in the saline lagoons. These beautiful birds and other species can be observed in their natural habitat at the Salar de Atacama’s Chaxa Lagoon, which is part of the Reserva Nacional de los Flamencos. After the excursion we will return to San Pedro. *Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar*

Meals Included : breakfast

Day 5

Excursion to El Tatio geysers; optional night-time astronomy tour.

To experience the El Tatio Geysers we’ll have to get up very early in order to arrive at the geyser field (located over 4300m/14,108ft above sea level) in time for sunrise! The fountains that shoot up to 10m/33ft high occur when the morning sun melts the nightly ice caps that form over the hot springs. The sun’s first rays reflect an array of colours as they mix with boiling jets coming from the geysers to create strong contrasts of steam and light. At around midday we’ll head back to San Pedro for some free time. There is an optional astronomy tour tonight that can be paid for locally but should be booked in advance of departure as availability is limited (Please note that this tour doesn’t operate on full moon days). *Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar*

Meals Included : breakfast

Day 6

Fly to Puerto Montt; to Puerto Varas on the shore of Lago Llanquihue.

Today we transfer to Calama airport and fly to Santiago and then Puerto Montt, the capital of the Lake District. This is a long travelling day that will likely require an early start depending on the flight schedules. On arrival in the Lake District region we drive for 30 minutes to Puerto Varas on the shores of Lago Llanquihue. Depending on flight arrival time, we can enjoy a brief tour of the ‘City of the Roses’ as it has come to be called because of the tremendous variety of roses all over town. If we arrive on a later flight unfortunately this will not be possible.  If scheduled to arrive on a later flight, we also recommend buying some food at the airport as you may not have any options on arrival at your hotel.  *Hotel Park Inn by Radisson or similar*

Meals Included : breakfast

Day 7

Lago Todos Los Santos boat trip; walk near Osorno Volcano.

We set out this morning for a full day inside the Lake District. We drive along the shore of Lago Llanquihue and enjoy breathtaking views of the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. Our first real stop will be at the Saltos de Petrohue where cooling lava from the Osorno Volcano formed a series of rapids and waterfalls. Together they form an impressive sculpture of extruded volcanic rock shaped by thousands of years of river flow. At Petrohue we board a boat for a short cruise of Lago Todos los Santos (All Saints Lake). The lake is surrounded by high mountains and the lower slopes are thickly forested. As we pull away from the landing and the source of the river Petrohue the view is quickly stolen away by the tremendous size and proximity of snow-capped Osorno Volcano behind us. After our boat tour, we return to Petrohue and take a hike in the lower lava fields of the volcano. We also visit the Green Lagoon (Laguna Verde) before we return towards Puerto Varas in the afternoon. Please note that the order of the itinerary today may change depending on the weather conditions. *Hotel Park Inn by Radisson or similar*

Meals Included : breakfast

Day 8

Fly to Punta Arenas; transfer to Puerto Natales.

After breakfast we transfer to the capital of the Lake District, Puerto Montt, and take a sightseeing tour of the city. Puerto Montt was founded in 1853 by German colonists on the site of an indigenous Mapuche community. Downtown we take time to walk about the main squares and historical monuments. Afterwards we visit the port, where there is a large handicraft market full of artisan goods. Please note that depending on the flight times, this tour might be moved to the previous day instead. We then transfer to the airport to board a flight to Punta Arenas, Patagonia – the southernmost city in Chile. From here we transfer to Puerto Natales where we spend the night. *Hostal Francis Drake or similar*

Meals Included : breakfast

Day 9

Full day excursion to see some of the highlights of Torres del Paine N.P.

This morning we drive into Torres del Paine National Park for a day of excursions within a spectacular environment. This is a busy day of travelling and walking including unforgettable views of the Towers and the Torres Massif from the ‘Cuernos’ viewpoint and ‘Salto Grande’ waterfall. In addition to being introduced to the flora and fauna of the region, today we will also visit ‘Laguna Azul’ for more breath-taking views. *Hotel del Paine or similar*

Meals Included : breakfast

Day 10

Walking at Lago Grey; free time in Torres del Paine N.P.

Another day in Torres del Paine National Park, this time to explore the Western highlights including Lake Grey. This deep lake, fed by the glacier of the same name, is filled with icebergs which have splashed down from the massive ice flow. From the hotel, we’ll drive to a spot to the south of the lake, then start a short hike by crossing a suspension bridge over the Pingo River. From here the path leads through a Legna forest typical to the area, and continues onward to the tip of the narrow peninsula at the lake’s southern end. This viewpoint offers a spectacular view of the lake with its icebergs, the tongue of Grey Glacier at the far northern end, and the snow-covered mountain peaks soaring above. On the way back a stop is made at the Park Visitors Centre to see an exposition of the origin and history of the park. This afternoon is free to relax at the hotel or enjoy some optional excursions in the area. *Hotel del Paine or similar*

Meals Included : breakfast

Day 11

Optional zodiac excursion to Balmaceda Glacier; to Puerto Natales.

For those that would like to, there is the possibility (optional) of returning to Puerto Natales by zodiac. This excursion involves boarding zodiacs to travel down Rio Serrano. The river ends at the Fjord Ultima Esperanza where we must change to a boat to approach the spectacular Balmaceda Glacier flowing out from the eastern side of Bernardo O’Higgins National Park. For anyone not wanting to take the optional river route, the leader will accompany you on visits to other areas of Torres del Paine including a visit to Milodon Cave (entrance fee not included and payee locally approx. US$ 8 per person). Everyone will meet up in the evening at the end of the tour in Puerto Natales and transfer together to the hotel, arriving around 5.30pm. *Hostal Francis Drake or similar*

Meals Included : breakfast

Day 12

To Punta Arenas; fly to Santiago.

Transfer through the barren Pampa of Patagonia, an impressive road trip as we journey to Punta Arenas airport. We fly back to Santiago (flight times can vary) and enjoy our final evening in Chile. *Hotel Providencia or similar*

Meals Included : breakfast

Day 13

End Santiago.

There is a transfer back to the airport for those on group flights. Those on land only arrangements will leave us in Santiago this morning. **

Meals Included : breakfast

Map