On this unique Chile Lakes and Volcanoes holiday explore the region in depth whilst experiencing some of Chile's wonderful hospitality, wine and cuisine. Stay in the bohemian neighbourhood of Lastarria in Santiago where you can mix with locals at the Lastarria flea market selling quirky collectables and antiques. Try Chile's famous steak, a plate of ceviche or a pile of Pacific oysters at one of the sophisticated pavement cafes. But the best of Chile is beyond the capital.
Nestled in the verdant wilderness along the shores of the Liucura River near Pucon and overlooked by the majestic Andes, relax into rural life at Hacienda Vira Vira. From gentle walks and horseback riding in the lleugue and cypress forests to white water rafting on the Trancura River there is plenty of adventure on hand. For more inspirational landscapes, travel along the backbone of the country to the town of Puerto Varas. Ideally situated for day trips by car you can visit the powerful rapids of Petrohue Falls or the famous Orsono volcano one of the most active in the Southern Andes.
Depart the mainland for the Chiloe archipelago. From the accent to the architecture, Chilote and its people have a distinct culture. It's a seafaring community and there are chances to explore the fjords and channels with local fisherman or try the best of local seafood dishes. Take in the magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean accompanied by fresh mussels and a chilled glass of Chilean chardonnay.
Day 1 Depart the UK for your overnight flight to Santiago.
Day 2 Located in downtown within the vibrant, cosmopolitan neighbourhood of Lastarria is the Singular Santiago. The early 20th century building has been lovingly restored to return the influence of neoclassical French architecture with an interior exuding modern touches and comfort. Head for the rooftop bar and enjoy the spectacular city views as you sip the local speciality, pisco sour. As the sun sets and the Andean backdrop changes colour, retreat to the nearby Boca y Nariz restaurant. An extensive wine cellar of almost 400 varieties means you can choose the Chilean wine to start your Chile holiday.
Day 3 Santiago’s small central core retains impressive colonial grandeur with its thoroughfares and plazas. Start your adventure at the Historical Plaza de Armas where the the Central Post Office, Natural History Museum and City Hall are perfect examples of imposing colonial architecture.. Visit St Lucia Hill with its pretty terraces and paths adorned with trees and flowers for postcard perfect views over the city skyscape on a clear day. For a characterful city experience and a glimpse into daily life, rub shoulders with locals as the haggle over shopping at the Mercado Central, the city’s premier seafood market.
Day 4 Temuco is the capital of Araucania region and gateway to the Northern Lake District town of Pucon. Stay at the remote Hacienda Vira Vira along the shores of the Liucura River and close to Villarrica Reserve. This peaceful location is the perfect base to explore the untouched virgin wilderness and clamber up the foothills of the Villarrica volcano. The owners are understandably proud of the cuisine at the hacienda which features a host of local produce from Angus beef to delicious fresh eggs from their Mapuche bred hens.
Day 5 Explore the Huerquehue National Park in the Andean foothills. Venture deeper into the lush countryside with its remote natural sanctuaries and little visited lagoons. Hitch a ride by horse to trot along towering ridges with condors soaring overhead and look for the local leopard like Kodkod beneath the greenery. Learn about the local Mapuche culture and how the traditions like indigenous art or woven crafts are maintained. Spend a day on the farm learning about local cheese making techniques or honey extraction from the farms beehives
Day 8 Travel by road southbound along the famous Pan American Highway on your way to Puerto Varas in the Chilean Lake District. Along the route you’ll find the Araucania region becomes wilder and less populated with remote Mapuche villages scattered in the lush forest. Drive past volcano peaks, often sprinkled with snow before the spectacular views which await you at Lake Llanquihue.
Day 9 A lush green land of adventure there are a host natural wonders in the Lake District. From the thunderous falls at Petrohue to the towering conical peak of Osorno Volcano framed by shimmering Lake Llanquihue. Nearby, Puerto Montt is a vast working port with an idyllic setting, sat between hills and lakes and a town centre crammed with quaint shingle and tin fronted buildings that give it a sense of Nordic charm. Visit the vibrant Puerto Montt waterfront promenade and plaza, along with the nearby Sacred Heart wooden church dating back to 1856, to gain a glimpse into times gone by.
Day 10 Escape the mainland and immerse yourself in the truly unique archipelago of Chiloe. Traditional, colourful houses on stilts, known locally as palafitos, are an iconic symbol of the island’s distinct heritage. The local Chilote people are fiercely patriotic, with many local customs passed through generations. Stay at the Tierra Chiloe, a great example of example of modern Chilean architecture. Nearby Castro town sits on a bluff above a sheltered estuary with spectacular views.
Day 11 Although a relatively small island, Chiloe offers a magical selection of destinations to explore by land or sea. Tierra Chiloe offers sea excursions in its own boat, Williche, allowing you to sail through the criss crossing channels and fjords. Get up close to nature and meet black necked swans, flamingos and different species of ducks or simply soak up rolling mountain scenery. Land options allow visits to the unique villages on the island such as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rilan and neighbouring Curahue, Quel-Quel, and Yutuy, steeped in culture and tradition .
Day 13 Leave the wilderness and beauty of the Lake District and Chiloe behind as you fly to Santiago. Relax in the relative tranquillity of the Lastarria neighbourhood amongst the hustle and bustle of the city buzz. With so many restaurants on your doorstop serving a selection of local Chilean cuisine to Italian, Japanese or just a simple local cafe there is a host of choice for everyone. Barrio Bellavista neighbourhood is just a short taxi ride away for a vibrant night out in the city.
Day 14 After a leisurely breakfast, depart for the airport for your return trip to the UK.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
Sign up to our weekly Trip Finder email and get a selection of the best trips to feed your Wanderlust