Highlights Of Chile - Atacama Desert, Lakes & Torres Del Paine

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Run by: Rainbow Tours

Reference number: ITN-CHL001

From: £4595.00

This holiday through Chile's main highlights travels the length of the country, from the high Andean Atacama Desert in the north to the rugged peaks of Patagonia in the south. On the way you visit the bustling, cosmopolitan city of Santiago and the snowcapped volcano strewn landscapes of the Lake District. The suggested accommodation and excursions are carefully chosen by our specialists and can be tailored to you should you have any specific interests or preferences to best showcase what Chile has to offer.  

Watch the sunrise over the altiplano near San Pedro de Atacama at the highest geyser field in the world, as huge funnels of natural steam from bubbling geothermal pools are dotted across the horizon. Spectacular sunsets at Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley) fill the evening sky with a kaleidoscope of colour. At Laguna Chaxa, flamingos take flight as the cold night chill takes over.

Admire the Germanic influenced architecture in the Lake District overlooked by towering volcanoes. Venture to remote areas, choose to climb the gentle slopes of Osorno volcano and listen to the thunder of the powerful Petrohué Falls. Further south Torres del Paine National Park with towering jagged peaks and dramatic landscapes makes for a picture perfect end to your Chile holiday. Indulge in the remoteness of the area as the sun reflects from glistening glaciers and Patagonian lamb chars on the asado barbecue. 

Itinerary

Day 1 Depart today on an overnight flight from the UK.

Day 2 Arrive into Santiago this morning, a city overlooked by the towering peaks of the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. You will be met and driven to your hotel and have the rest of the day at leisure. Please enquire if you would like an afternoon tour to a nearby winery.

Day 3 This morning you are collected from your hotel and taken on a city tour taking in the main highlights of this cosmopolitan capital. The traditional Plaza de Armas is home to the Government Palace, the Metropolitan Cathedral, National Museum of History and Central Post Office. Travel through the bohemian neighbourhood of Barrio Bellavista to San Cristobal Hill for an impressive panoramic vista of the valley with the backdrop of the snow topped Andean mountains. You return to your hotel for an afternoon at leisure.

Day 4 After an early breakfast, transfer to the airport to fly north to Calama, the gateway to the Atacama Desert. Spend the next 3 nights in the small adobe town of San Pedro de Atacama. In the late afternoon, visit the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) and the Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley); famous for their otherworldly rock formations and lunar landscapes. Admire the spectacular scenery and changing colour of the rocks as the sun dips below the horizon.

Day 5 Today visit the Atacama’s famous Salt Lake and the picturesque village of Toconao with its bell tower designed in the classic Atacamenian style. The town's main square is quaint and picturesque, with the centrepiece San Lucas church dating back to 1750. Take in the Atacama’s incredible landscapes of towering volcanoes, colourful lagoons, wind sculpted canyons and inky black skies dotted with spectacular constellations.

Day 6 El Tatio Geysers are best experienced at sunrise so prepare for a chilly early morning start. From San Pedro de Atacama drive high into the Altiplano to witness the world's highest geyser field and the magnificent sight of natural steam spurting from bubbling geothermal pools. As the sun rises and starts to warm the Altiplano, you take a short walk around the field before enjoying a warming soak in the thermal waters. You return to you hotel in Atacama later on today, and have the afternoon at leisure.

Day 7 Depart the Atacama Desert today and fly to Puerto Montt in the Chilean Lake District. Spend the next two nights in the attractive lakeside town of Puerto Varas. This is one of the most beautiful regions in the country, boasting snow-capped volcanoes, pristine lakes, waterfalls and virgin forests. The small town of Puerto Varas overlooking Lake Llanquihue sits in the shadow of the Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes, and this charming German-influenced town is the ideal base for exploring the area.

Day 8 Today explore the majestic Osorno Volcano and bubbling Petrohué Falls. Ascend the perfect conical volcano for spectacular panoramic views of the Llanquihue Lake and Vicente Perez Rosales National park below. Next you continue on to the Petrohué Falls set between the Llanquihue and Todos los Santos lakes, and traversing boardwalks allow for beautiful views of the river's turquoise blue waters as well as the large masses of crystallised lava, formed by volcanic eruptions.

Day 9 Today you depart the Lake District for one of Patagonia's most iconic highlights – the Torres del Paine National Park. Spend the next 3 nights here based in a lodge within the boundaries of the Park and choose from a variety of excursions to explore this world renowned area. You first drive back from Puerto Varas to Puerto Montt airport before then taking a flight south to Chile's most southern city, Punta Arenas. From here drive across windswept Patagonian plains for around 3 hours to the small town of Puerto Natales before you continue for around 90 minutes towards the looming peaks of the Torres del Paine Park.

Day 10 With a dramatic landscape of mountain peaks, roaring rivers, sparkling blue lakes and rich emerald forests; Torres del Paine remains the one of the main highlights of Chile. The views here are spectacular from every corner of the Park, and visitors never fail to be impressed by their first glimpse of the “Los Cuernos” or the “Horns” – Three granite pillars soaring more than 2000m above the Patagonian Steppe. The next two full days are at leisure to choose from the menu of excursions operated by your lodge, with options to explore the area on foot, horseback, by vehicle or on scenic boat trips.

Day 11 Today you have a second full day to choose from the excursions on offer around the quintissential highlight of Chilean Patagonia. You may opt for a wildlife focused excursion in search of large herds of guanacos and a variety of native fauna, or perhaps a more strenuous hike to one of the many viewpoints through the Reserve.

Day 12 Today you will be driven back towards the region's main transport hub of Punta Arenas for your flight back north to Santiago. Spend your final evening in the capital.

Day 13 This morning you are at leisure before transferring to the airport for your flight home. Please enquire for details if you wish to extend your tour and visit the Chilean winelands and Valparaiso or alternatively combine Chile with Argentina.

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

** If you see this next to a price, a specific price in your currency has not been provided, this is an estimated-only price based on a currency conversion, the price you pay may be different to that shown

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