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Discover Chile

from $6,399.00

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

  • Reviews 29 Reviews
    5/5
  • Vacation Style Holiday Type
    Guided
  • Activity Level Leisurely / Moderate
  • Group Size Small Group
    5 - 16
All about the Discover Chile.

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’.

The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the cost of tour price.

* All breakfasts
* Internal flights
* All accommodation
* Tour leader throughout. Groups of normally 5 to 16, plus leader. Min age 16 yrs.
* Airport transfers (at designated times)

What is not included in this tour?
  • Flights
  • Single Accommodation (available on request, inquire for supplement)

Highlights

  • Visit the unique and colorful 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
  • 12 nights hotels, all en suite.
  • Travel by internal flights, bus/minibus and boat
  • Some long distances covered
  • Easter Island extension available
  1. Day 1 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*

  2. 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*

  3. 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*

  4. 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*

  5. 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 and is not recommended 3 days before or after the full moon).*Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar*

  6. 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*

  7. 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*

  8. 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*

  9. 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*

  10. 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*

  11. 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*

  12. 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*

  13. 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.**

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Where you stay

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).

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.

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.

Overall Rating
5/5
Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

Discover Chile 1st November 2015

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The extension to Easter Island - very good excursions, wonderful history. Local Agents in Easter Island & in Santiago & Hotelier, all very helpful regarding the delayed flight back to Santiago.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Miguel was a very knowledgeable guide. Fewer arranged group meals than expected. Also a bit more notice on some timings would have been helpful.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Enjoy the country, be prepared for all weathers, early starts & some long days. The food on the internal flights is very limited, you may want to eat at the airport.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The Park Inn in Puerto Varas had very poor restaurant service, our Guide sorted the issues the next morning (he did not eat with us that night). LAN looked after us well with regard to the cancelled flight from Easter Island, except for the transfer back to Santiago airport, where they did not send enough mini-buses & after waiting an hour the hotel paid for our taxi. IBERIA did not look after us very well on our delay from Madrid, they didn't even give us a cup of water though we were 3 hours late.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
4/5

A Wonderful Trip

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The beautiful view of the Torres Del Paine from the Rio Serrano hotel.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Miguel was an excellent leader.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    On the second day in Torres del Paine the mountains weren't visible and we were told this was more typical weather for the area. If so you could be very disappointed if your main reason for coming on this trip is to see these mountains and you couldn't see them. Similarly we were very lucky with the weather in Puerto Varas when we went to see the Osorno volcano.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Many of the places where we ate were unable to provide anything decent for vegetarians. This doesn't worry me too much but could upset some or at least stop them eating with the group.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

DISCOVER CHILE

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many! I think I can only generalise - I was amazed by the extremes of the country from the Atacama desert to snow capped volcanies to glaciers to penguins etc. etc.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was invaluable for all of the travelling involved and he eased us through the various local airports especialloy the more remote ones where only a little English was spoken.   His administration was first class.I do feel however that although he had lived in various parts of Chile he could have provided more 'tour' information, the information he did give was accurate and informative.On the whole he made a positive contribution and the trip was the better for his presence.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Chile was more expensive than I had believed it to be, it is a fairly prosperous society and most things were more expensive than the UK.  Almost everywhere would take US dollars and in the exchange bureaux I rarely saw an exchange rate for sterling.  Although a little more expensive generally everything was good value and some of the meals were huge!Easter Island was also expensive but as virtually everything is imported this is perfectly understandable. 
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Chile was superb but for me Easter Island was the highlight, it had always been a long held ambition to visit and it did not disappoint, our group was 'stranded' there for 14 hours as our plane which was due to arrive from Tahiti was unable to fly due to a typhoon - you could have left me there!!

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Excellent trip to see the best of Chile

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    To survive the Zodiac trip inside T del Paine as I carried a lot of cameras and I was afraid of water damage etc. I was well prepared and the operator was expert and the wind and temperature cooperated. No guarantee inside the Park as it can change on a dime! The elements are critical as high wind would make this much more challenging.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb, full marks
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring your own acetozolamide( Diamox ) for altitude sickness as you should take them in Atacama; anything over 10,000 feet or 3500 m would cause the problem. You don't want to feel sick or disabled while on holidays. To enjoy the place one needs to be feeling well and fit. Take no chances as nobody can escape altitudes sickness unless you are born in high altitudes. I have been to many places over 3500 m and this one is no different. I used the drug every time and it saved me from feeling unwell; I still feel short of breath on walking but it is manageable. I have seen others that were not prepared and how ill they felt. Take precautions so that you will not get sick!! I forgot to bring it but I was able to buy it in Santiago.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do some walking to prepare yourself for this trip. It is quite strenuous. There are many hikes and you have to keep up the pace. You have to climb up as well. If you have pain in your knees or hips on walking bring your own antiinflammatory drugs. You will need them. Prepare for at least a month to get fit.

Reviewed On 25/06/2020
5/5

Amazing Chile

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Too many to choose just one - Watching the sunrise over the Torres del Paine. Picnic at a beautiful turquoise lake at the base of the Torres on a clear and sunny day. The eerie dawn at El Tatio Geysers.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex was a charming and fun guide. He has a wealth of knowledge in a multitude of subjects from wildlife, geology, plants and history. He was really considerate and very sociable with the group and made what was an already wonderful trip, so much more special. He went the extra mile to give us the best possible experience of Chile.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This country will amaze you ! Don't be put off by all the flights - it is a small price to pay for seeing the diversity of Chile. Some of the short treks are actually tough going if you're not a walker. Be prepared for all weathers with lots of layers and a very warm jacket for the chilly mornings. Do as many of the activities as you can to make the most of the available time - there is so much to see. Don't underestimate how cold it will be in the morning at the Geysers ! When flying to and from Punta Arenas/ Puerto Montt try to sit on the side of the plane that overlooks the mountains as you will get an amazing view of the Ice fields and Glaciers.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This was an fantastic trip shared with a wonderful group of people and guide. I will definitely return to Patagonia to explore more of this stunningly beautiful place in the future. Book it now !

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