London - Santiago
Your journey begins with an overnight flight from London to Santiago, the country’s capital and bustling heart. You will be met upon arrival at the airport, and driven to your accommodation where you can take the time to rest and recharge after your flight. The following day you can head out and explore this exciting metropolis on a self-guided tour.
Stay: One night in a standard room at Ismael 312 Hotel – bed & breakfast
Today you will fly to Punta Arenas where a vehicle will be waiting to take you to your hotel on the outskirts of Torres del Paine National Park. Celebrated for its unique wildlife (which includes pumas, guanacos and black-necked swans) and dramatic landscapes – featuring towering granite massifs, glaciers and emerald lakes – Torres del Paine is not only one of the country’s natural treasures but a designated World Biosphere Reserve.
The next few days will be spent exploring the region via a multitude of exciting excursions offered by the hotel, from hiking and horse riding to visits to famous lookout points.
Stay: Three nights in a Garden view room at Las Torres – full board
This morning you will make the quick hop back to Santiago, where you can either relax at the hotel or enjoy a night out in the city.
Stay: One night in a double room at Ismael 312 Hotel – bed & breakfast
Casablanca Valley – Viña del Mar – Valparaíso
On day seven you will make your way through the agricultural valley of Curacaví, a region known best for its delicious fruits and wonderful eateries, to reach the Casablanca Valley. Chile’s most important grape growing region for the production of fine white wines, you’ll stop for a tour and tasting session at one of the valleys’ numerous wineries.
Next comes the pretty coastal city of Viña del Mar, where you’ll be welcomed by beautifully manicured gardens, and then onto Valparaíso. Before checking into your hotel, you’ll have time to explore the city’s delightful cobbled streets and soak up the history of what was once the Pacific Coast’s most important maritime destination.
Stay: One night in a double room at Thomas Somerscales – half board
From the urban attractions of Valparaíso comes the rugged drama of Chile’s northern territory and the world’s driest desert. After flying into Calama, you will be transferred to the colourful town of San Pedro de Atacama which sits in the middle of a lush green oasis. In the afternoon you will head out on a tour of the famous Death and Moon Valleys, and stay to watch the sunset over the dramatic stone and sand formations.
The following morning you will make the short drive to the 3,000-year-old pre-Columbian village of Tulor where you’ll find the oldest archaeological evidence of human settlement in the valley. Next comes the Pukara de Quitor fortress, and in the afternoon the spectacular Atacama Salt Lake – formed millions of years ago and dominated by impressive rock formations and sweeping salt flats.
Early on day ten you will visit the highest geothermal field on the planet – El Tatio – at 4,300 metres above sea level. At dawn you’ll be witness to spurts of stream escaping from the geyser blowholes, plus steaming ponds encrusted with dazzling salt crystals. Before returning to San Pedro, you will make a visit to the village of Machuca, a pit stop for llama caravans travelling along the Inca Highway.
Stay: Three nights in a double room at Altiplanico San Pedro – bed & breakfast
Santiago - London
Your Chilean adventure comes to an end. Today you will be transferred to Santiago’s International Airport in time to catch your overnight flight back to London.
Gina was outstanding, she really knew her subject and dealt with everything in the most efficient and friendly way.- CT, Canada, 2014