Chile is a long, thin country with a host of scenic landscapes, stunning natural beauty and bustling vibrant cities. The Essence of Chile takes in four essential highlights of this incredible country starting in the quirky and cultural capital of Santiago. The dazzling backdrop of the Andes frames a city full of restaurants, pubs, cafes, museums and shops with streets waiting to be explored especially in the vibrant, bohemian neighbourhood of Lastarria.
In the north of Chile visit the spectacular Atacama Desert. Travel through the barren desert to the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama where you can submerge yourself in the magic atmosphere of the area. Spend your days exploring the local area from the Moon Valley, which resembles a lunar landscape, to the El Tatio Geysers high in the Andes and best visited before sunrise. Another highlight is the tremendous star gazing due to the perfect combination of high altitude, dry atmosphere and lack of light pollution.
After two nights relaxing and enjoying the wines in the Matetic Winery near Santiago travel south to Punta Arenas, the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park. Filled with jaw dropping sights such as the dramatic granite pillars, spectacular lakes and rivers, clear blue glaciers and the wonderful Patagonian steppe this really is wilderness at its finest. Spend your days exploring by van, foot or horseback before retreating to your luxurious hotel.
Day 1 Depart the UK for your overnight direct flight to Santiago with British Airways.
Day 2 On arrival to Santiago in the morning, transfer to the lovely Lastarria hotel. This stylish boutique hotel is located in the Lastarria district, a bohemian area surrounded by museums, galleries, antique shops and theatres. Built in 1927 the hotel has been lovingly restored and features just 14 rooms, some with balconies. The upstairs terrace area and outdoor pool are ideal spaces for relaxation and the bar-lounge serves light meals.
Day 3 With your private local guide explore the city of Santiago. Spend time in the historic centre learning about the main places of interests such as the Government Palace (Palacio de la Moneda). At the Plaza de Armas visit the Natural History Museum, the Cathedral and central post office. Visit the bohemian area of Barrio Bellavista with its quirky cafes and restaurants en-route to San Cristobal Hill. The views are simply spectacular with the snow capped Andean mountains framing the city’s skyline.
Day 4 Early morning departure for your flight to Calama in the north of Chile. Your transfer to San Pedro de Atacama takes around 90 minutes through some of the most spectacular landscapes in the country. Tierra Atacama, a boutique lodge, is a gem of a hotel with comfortable and spacious rooms all furnished in a minimalist style using local sourced materials. With a lounge, bar, restaurant, pool and spa, everything you need for an enjoyable, relaxing stay is nearby. Included with your stay is a range of excursions enabling you to explore the highlights of the area.
Day 5 Enjoy two full days of exploration in the Atacama Desert. With the expertise of your local guide choose from a range of excursions which are included with your stay. In this dramatic region some of our favourites trips include Moon Valley, a surreal landscape ideal for walking or horseback riding, El Tatio Geysers, located at 4300m above sea level and particularly active in the morning, and the shimmering blue lake of Miscanti Lagoon in the high altiplano. There is also the option to enjoy the spectacular skies at the Ahlarkapin Observatory on a stargazing excursion.
Day 7 Take the short flight from Calama to Santiago and transfer to the Rosario Valley in the heart of Chile’s wine region. Your guesthouse for the next two nights is the Matetic Winery, a colonial building dating back over 100 years and recently renovated. With just seven rooms and beautiful surroundings this is the ideal spot to sample the local wines and enjoy a meal in the guesthouse’s intimate restaurant.
Day 8 Full day to enjoy the hotel and its beautiful surroundings. Visit the Matetic winery, with a full guided tour of the wine making process and the opportunity to taste the delicious locally produced wines. You may wish to venture further afield by bike and explore the native forest with its many viewpoints.
Day 9 Transfer to Santiago airport for your flight to Punta Arenas in the far south of Chile. Travel by road through the Patagonian steppe towards Torres del Paine National Park where you will spend the next three nights at the Tierra Patagonia located on the edge of this beautiful wilderness. All excursions are included with your stay so you can choose from a range of tours and day hikes in the park.
Day 10 Two full days exploring the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park. With your local guide you can choose from a selection of included excursions, designed to suit all levels of fitness. Choose from easy half day walks to scenic viewpoints or more challenging full day treks to the base of the towers. There is also a variety of horse riding excursions or scenic tours by van. After your action packed days, relax at the hotel and enjoy the wonderful Chilean food and wine.
Day 12 Scenic transfer by road to Punta Arenas for your return flight to Santiago. Spend you final night in Chile at the Lastarria. Relive the wonderful memories of your holiday in your favourite Santiago restaurant with delicious local specialities.
Day 13 Morning at leisure before transferring to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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