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Discover Chile

from $5,149.00

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

  • Reviews 9 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 26/07/2019
5/5

Exhilarating

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were many highlights on the tour but these are my top three: 3. Mt Osorno in the Lake District 2. Antiplano Lakes and Mountain Scenery in the Atacama 1. Torres del Paine Mountain Scenery in Patagonia I could never get sick of the view of Torres del Paine from outside my room in 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) and the associated waiting time in airports, also early get ups (2 before 5am) and a late finish (11pm). Flight schedules can change at short notice but 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 very disappointing (my room (42) looked nothing like the images on Tripadvisor) but the hotel in Patagonia was exceptional in the views that it had. Chile is a long distance from the UK and the tour could have benefited from an extra two days, one more possibly in the Lake District and one to explore the Magellan Strait near Punta Arenas. Although our tour was not in the absolute high season nowhere we visited was ever considered to be crowded, I suppose the busiest area (excepting Santiago) was San Pedro. It was disappointing to be in the Atacama during the full moon, therefore our stargazing tour (provided via Exodus) was not available.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

Amazing!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So hard to pick but I think it has to be Patagonia. I highly recommend exiting via the optional zodiac trip! In reality, the inspiration to visit Chile on this trip comes from the diversity that you experience. I have a myriad of colourful images and experiences 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 his beloved Chile. He knew people all around the country which helped and he helped individuals in the group with any issues such as money, health, eating etc.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack with layers. You need sun protection everywhere....I used long sleeved shirts and light trousers, sunhat and trainers in the desert. But, also, it was minus 10 at the start of the geyser day so you start with fleece hat, warm jacket, etc. Patagonia was actually warmer than I expected and you don't need full on English winter walking gear but still go with the layers. I managed it all in about 16kg but it's worth planning what you take. Waterproof trousers add an extra layer of warmth and wind proofing but can be removed later in the day. We took anti mossie spray but didn't need it much...so, have some but it's not a great problem at this time of year. Take paracetamol.....helps to ward off altitude sickness in the desert....but, mainly, follow the advice of the guide to breathe deeply and go slow! Only 1 of our party was affected and it didn't last long.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    GO! If in doubt....and you are looking for a trip that shows you Chile in a short space of time, this is the one! Also, I was so pleased with the variety and numbers of local wildlife and flora that we saw which I hadn't picked up from the trip notes. Brilliant!

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
4/5

Indescribable!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick just one, so from each region I would pick Valparaiso, to the geysers in the Atcama Desert, the waterfalls of Lake District, the 'towers' and seeing icebergs in Torres del Paine to visiting the statues on Easter Island.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Ignacio (nacho) was a very good tour leader. Always thinking of the group's best interests and how to get the best out of each day by adapting the itinerary to the weather conditions etc. He was very engaging, witty and definitely felt like he was part of our group. It was interesting to hear his 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 all the footwear I did as I mainly wore my walking shoes and occasionally on Easter island my sliders. For those that suffer from altitude sickness, be prepared when visiting Atacama Dessert and Osorne Volcano. I personally didn't suffer but a fellow traveller 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 expensive, it's well worth it and rounds the holiday off nicely.

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
5/5

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

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Volcanoes cone shaped and the tops covered in snow. The salt covered rocks of the canyons in the desert. Flamingos feeding in the lagoons. Watching the Condors circling overhead. The visit to Valparaiso, the UNESCO World Heritage Site. to view all the excellent wall art.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was Ignacio Hewstone and he was excellent. Meeting and greeting at the airport went well as did all the other travel travel arrangements he made. His extensive knowledge of Chile was shown to us and it was interspersed with anecdotes (mostly funny) from his youth. This helped to further bring the group together. He was always around should any of us require help , or to advise us on where to 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 for money as at some places money can't be exchanged. Comfortable shoes or boots for walking in the desert. Enjoy the Pisco Sour !! and don't forget to bring a bottle home.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    No

Reviewed On 26/07/2019
4/5

Fascinating country

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Patagonia is like nowhere else in the world and we were so fortunate to have great weather and see the Torres de Paine at their best. The flamingos in Atacama were equally memorable.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Robert was a terrific leader – hugely knowledgeable and very eager to ensure we had the best possible visit. He judged the group very well and tweaked our schedule to cater to our preferences. He is guaranteed to keep you entertained with stories and facts on all the bus journeys - like where the 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. Don’t fret about packing everything – all of the large towns in Chile had well stocked shops and pharmacies that will supply anything you might unexpectedly need.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus should reduce the time spent in Valparaiso and include a visit to a winery on the journey back to Santiago. They should also remove the morning spent in Puerto Montt where there is little to see and at the fish market you will be pestered by restaurant touts. Instead allow guests a free morning in the far nicer town of Puerto Varas. With these changes I would award the extra star.

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