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Discover Chile

from $5,149.00

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

  • Reviews 10 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 12/12/2019
5/5

Excellent trip!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the flamingo lakes. I felt I was on another planet and could have stayed there all day.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Jaime Maynard was superb. I think everyone loved him. He was knowledgable, friendly, laid back and had a great sense of humour.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely pack for all weathers. We experienced temperatures from near freezing right up to 30 degrees.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take your binoculars. I forgot and regretted it.

Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

Not Relaxing but Packs a Lot in!

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me the Atacama had so many aspects to it - from the full moon rising at sunset next to the snowy peak of the Lincancabur volcano set ablaze with colours of the setting sun, to the extraordinary sight of the steamy Tatio geysers in the freezing cold of sunrise, followed by a dip in the thermal springs to complete the experience The silent beauty of the salt lagoons - stunning!
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Gaynor was outstanding - really organised but very calm. Her knowledge and passion for her country seemed limitless so I think we all came away with a greater appreciation of life in Chile. Gaynor was warm and compassionate, always with a smile - and had a laugh I shall never forget! Her timing was good so we managed to fit in a couple of extra walks. She really enhanced the enjoyment of the trip and was always willing to answer our many questions. A lovely person.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Would recommend taking a direct flight to Santiago Buy Pesos for your trip in the UK - don't bother with USD they are a nuisance to change and the rate is not good. Zodiac trip can be paid in local currency or on credit card Take waterproof walking shoes and poles if you like them for inclines like the Osorno Volcano walk. trainers are not adequate. Patagonia can be very wet and slippery under foot I took a travel kettle as I like to make hot drinks in the room - no hotel offers kettle in room.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do go to Chile - it is not over run by tourists. Even the busy attractions were sparsely attended It is so beautiful Try and speak a little Spanish The food was a little disappointing - I did get bored of having to make a cheese sandwich at breakfast to take for lunch on the road. Maybe I didn't experience the best restaurants but food was a bit overcooked and dry and lacking flavour, for my taste. Some lovely soups though

Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

An amazing trip

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the sun rise through the steaming geysers in the Atacama Desert and the frozen glaciers in Patagonia
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Gaynor our guide was excellent, well organised, calm and caring, she was always happy and smiling

Reviewed On 12/12/2019
5/5

A great introduction to Chile

  • What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tough question - among many great moments some that stand out are our first sight of the Andes as we flew into Santiago; the salt lakes of the Atacama; the Osorno volcano and the Lake District; Patagonia - the whole of Patagonia - particularly the Torres del Paine National Park. We did the Easter Island extension and that was amazing too.
  • What did you think of your group leader?

    Robert was friendly and efficient - making sure transport arrangements worked smoothly. He had a fund of information and stories about Chile which helped pass the time on some of the longer drives.
  • Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The optional Zodiac boat trip is worthwhile, you see a glacier close up and it's an enjoyable day. We were a little apprehensive beforehand but they provide long, warm waterproof jackets. We needed them primarily as a windproof layer as we didn't get wet at all. Also, you're only on small boats for a fairly short time before transferring to a larger boat. It felt safe and well organised. Take a sunhat and plenty of sunscreen. It's easy to underestimate the high UV factor in Patagonia due to the cool breeze. Pack/wear layers: it's cold at the El Tatio geysers before sunrise but then gets hot quickly. When packing think of it as the equivalent of travelling from the Sahara to summer in northern Norway. Take a water/wind proof jacket, fleece, gloves, warm hat and a sunhat. In Patagonia we went from wearing a woolly hat to a sunhat in a couple of hours. Heavy walking boots would be overkill for this trip. Good walking shoes are fine; there isn't a lot of walking and it's on good paths. Carry insect repellent with you: most of Chile was fine, although we encountered some mosquitoes in Patagonia (on the Zodiac trip), and there can be horse flies at Petrohue Lake (the name means place of the flies). Easter Island has mosquitoes too. Be aware of the altitude in the Atacama. San Pedro is fine, but both the Miscanti and Miniques lakes and the El Tatio geysers are higher (although you're only there for a fairly short time). We were a little disappointed with Chilean food; they're rather fond of cheese and ham. It's worth hunting out places to eat. Estaka in San Pedro was pricey but good (go through to the quieter area at the back); there's a decent pizzeria near the hotel in Santiago and the Liguria restaurant in the next street is good too. There's a good pizzeria on the square in Puerto Natales. Do the Easter Island extension! It's well worth it. You can get an Easter Island stamp in your passport if you ask at the post office in Hanga Roa. Our room at the O'Tai hotel was basic (with A/C), the hotel has lovely gardens and a pool, a very tranquil place and very, very well located (very helpful staff too.). If you're visiting Easter Island look out for James Grant-Peterkin's book, 'A Companion to Easter Island' it's very informative and portable.
  • Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip spends a short time in Santiago, consider going out a day or two before the trip stars to explore the city and see more of it. Similarly, the Easter Island extension is short, we wished we'd added another day or two to our Easter Island trip just to have more time to relax and enjoy it.

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

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