DURATION
11 DAYS

DIFFICULTY LEVEL:
EASY

Hidden Chile

If you are on a tighter schedule but want to visit the central and northern regions of Chile, we recommend our 11 day circuit, on which we will take you to explore the best that both regions have to offer. You will start the journey by immersing yourself in the history and culture of Chile in two of our most important cities: Viña del Mar, the “Garden City”, and Valparaiso, declared World Heritage by UNESCO, where you can stroll through its colorful neighborhoods and enjoy the urban art. This region also includes the mythical Easter Island which you will also visit to see the famous “Moai”s, the stone giants that live on the slopes of the volcanoes, as well as discovering the traditions and customs of the Rapa Nui inhabitants. This circuit also includes a trip to the northern end of the country, where you will encounter the mysterious landscapes of the Atacama Desert. Many travelers come to this region, attracted by the famous extraterrestrial landscape of the Valley of the Moon, but we will also show you the Highland Lagoons, an oasis between volcanoes, and the Tatio Geysers, where you can bathe in their warm waters.

Highlights

  • Santiago de Chile

  • Viña del Mar
  • Highland Lagoons
  • Atacama Desert
  • Atacama Salt Flats
  • Valley of the Moon
  • Tatio Geysers
  • Easter Island
Help me plan my trip

Itinerary

Share:

Itinerary

The first stop on your 11 day adventure is the Andean metropolis of Santiago de Chile. Named after the biblical figure St. James, Santiago is situated in the country’s central valley and is surrounded by the awe-inspiring snow-capped peaks of the Andes. Upon your arrival, we will be waiting for you in the airport to transfer you to your chosen hotel. After settling into your hotel, in the evening you will meet your experienced guide and begin your tour of the city. Our guide will accompany you as you explore the immensity of Santiago, uncovering the stories of its diverse geography and impressive Neoclassical architecture in the old centre of town which dates back to colonial times. You will visit the city’s main square, Plaza de Armas, filled with charming fountains, palm trees and bordered by imposing buildings including the Cathedral, the post office and the Santiago municipal building, which your guide will tell you more about. Once you are familiar with the main square, you will continue your tour to the Government Palace and some of Santiago’s older neighbourhoods such as the Plaza Concha y Toro. Then, prepare to jump forward in time, as the tour will bring us towards the east from where you can see explore the modern part of the city and its contemporary architecture, such as the skyscrapers that contrast with the mountains behind. Then our guide will bring you back towards the hotel at the end of the tour. When night falls, we suggest that you visit one of the typical restaurants in the bohemian Bella Vista neighbourhood and enjoy a some of the delicious local Chilean cuisine on offer.

After breakfast you will begin your full day tour to our “Garden City”, Viña del Mar, where the architecture, the streets, the palaces and the “Quinta Vergara”, a huge circular amphitheatre set in the middle of a park, are sure to captivate you. Viña del Mar was founded as a fishing village but when the Spanish came, they divided the town into two big haciendas, and the city is full of greenery, which stands in contrast to the white beaches which border the sea. During the tour, you will see one of the famous stone carved heads, the Moais, from Easter Island, before making your way to the rugged Chilean coast road where the waves crash alongside the highway, that brings you to the picturesque city of Valparaíso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, whose origins date back to 1536. Valparaíso is certainly a magical city, with colourful neighbourhoods and lanes that lead up its famous hills, and which can be descended by the quaint mechanical funicular elevators dotted around the city. While Santiago is the municipal capital, Valparaíso is often thought to be the cultural capital, and you will see many murals and paintings on the walls of the city. You will end the day with a visit to Sotomayor Plaza and the port, where you can choose to sail along the coast (not included), and from where the beautiful views back towards the city and its hills can be best appreciated.

After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport to board your flight towards Calama. Upon your arrival, our local operator will be waiting for you to transfer to your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama. We feel it only appropriate to give you the rest of the day free to rest or, what we would recommend, to enjoy this typical Andean city, better known as “the door of the desert”. San Pedro de Atacama is an obligatory step on your journey, where you will stay before entering one of the largest and most arid deserts in the world, the Atacama desert, a highland plain in Northern Chile which is like no other place on other. We recommend you take a stroll along the town’s main street of “Caracoles”, or visit the artisans’ village where you can pick up some handicrafts and support local craftsmen!

On your first day in the incredible Atacama region you will leave early from your hotel to visit of the town of Toconao. There you can see the typical artisanal handicrafts of the Atacama region (llama wool, alpaca, cactus wood and volcanic stone) and the Tower of San Lucas, the town’s symbol, which is also listed as a national monument. You will continue on to visit the Atacama Salt Flats with the region’s famous undulating brown mountains, blue skies and fluffy white clouds in the background, and head on to the Los Flamencos National Reserve in the Chaxas Lagoon, where, depending on what time of day you visit, the light conditions can vary, creating atmospheric scenes that are a photographer’s dream. Then you will head towards the plateau to the Miscanti and Miñiques Lagoons, which sit at 4150 meters above sea level and appear as water-filled craters nestled in an eerily quiet and absolutely incredible landscape of mountains, desert and sky. Halfway along the route you will make a small stop in the town of Socaire (3200 mts.) to acclimatize to the altitude, and photograph the small church of San Bartolomé. At the end of this amazing day you will return to San Pedro and be transferred to your hotel.

Today you will have the morning free to visit the surroundings of San Pedro and let your imagination run wild with what is in store for you later on in the day, because in the afternoon you will embark on your trip to the world famous Valley of the Moon, definitely one of the highlights of the entire tour, and surely one of the most magical places on earth! It is an elevated desert, a geomorphological wonder carved over time by the force of wind and water, a land sculpted by the elements. Our ancestors called it the Salinas and today it is known world-wide as the Valley of the Moon, due to its resemblance to the lunar surface in terms of the colours present and the textured surfaces that are visible. In 1982 it was declared Nature Sanctuary and is part of Los Flamencos National Reserve where you can see the incredible geological spectacle under the different weather and light conditions as the shadows move and twist across the landscape and the colours of every physical surface change and mutate, especially during the sunrise and sunset. During your visit you will see: the Quebrada de Ckari, the Cavernas de Sal, the famous natural formation known by our ancestors as Los Tres Vigilantes today called Las Tres Marías, probably the largest dune you’ve ever seen – a majestic body of sand – and viewpoints such as the Quebrada Honda and The Coyote Stone. We promise you won’t be disappointed – the Valley of the Moon is one of the natural wonders of the world, an unforgettable experience!

Very early in the morning, you will get ready for your last excursion in Atacama that will take you to explore the incredible Tatio Geysers and the lost town of Machuca. The tour will begin at 05:00 am, so early that you won’t have a chance to think about missing this incredible place on earth before you set off on the next leg of your adventure! You will travel for two hours to reach the geothermal field located at 4320 meters above sea level at a temperature of approximately -15ºC, so make sure to bring warm clothes, and of course, your camera! Take a walk among the amazing geysers to see them come alive up close, and have a one of a kind breakfast in the geothermal field while watching the magnificent spectacle of their activity, bubbling up from underneath the earth’s crust, and sometimes even spurting out sprays of warm water. Then you will stop for about 45 minutes to bathe in some thermal springs whose temperatures are between 25ºC and 30ºC, a rare treat after getting the morning off to a chilly start with sub-zero temperatures! You will continue traveling through the Bofedal of Putana where you will see different migratory birds before finally arriving at Machuca, a small town with a picturesque church dating from 1933. There you will have a wide range of gastronomic offerings if you feel like trying some typical local food. Then continue along the route to San Pedro, arriving at noon. After saying goodbye to this special, special place, you will be transferred to Calama airport and fly to Santiago, where you will stay at the Holiday Inn Airport Hotel.

After breakfast you will fly to Easter Island, a mythical island in the Polynesian Triangle! Our local operator will welcome you at the airport and then take you to your selected accommodation. After that you will have the rest of the day free to explore this incredible island at your leisure.

On your first day on the island, you will begin your tour around 09:00 am from your hotel (to be reconfirmed with the local operator upon arrival) to Ana Kai Tangata, the cave of the cannibals! Easter Island is full of myths and lore, generated by the native peoples the Rapa Nui, and on this tour you will encounter more than one example of these legends. You will see some rock paintings depicting the “manutara” (the sea-swallow, whose egg was central to the mythical bird-man ritual) as you listen to the sound of waves crashing on the cliffs. Then you will visit Ahu Vinapu, a ritual site used by islanders since 1200 B.C., similar to the Incan ruins in Cuzco, Peru, where you can visit three ahu. The first one has six Moai that are now demolished and painted red, the second has a supposedly female Moai with two heads and in the third (the oldest), only some stones have been removed, so it is very intact. You will also be able to marvel at the Rano Kau volcano, where a lagoon dotted with small islands of totora and an abundant vegetation and micro fauna can also be seen. You will continue your journey to the mythical city of Orongo, an ancient and magnificent ceremonial settlement located on the western summit of the Rano kau volcano, composed of about 53 elliptical-shaped houses with slab walls and a small square entrance that faces the sea. The most important ceremony of the second historical period of the island was held here, that of the “bird man”, where Tangata Manu (counselor to the king) was elected, which happened about 150 years after the arrival of the first Christian missionaries. The Tangata Manu was not only an interesting character but also a curious one, as he appears in several engravings as having the shrunken body of a man with a large bird’s beak. After all this, you will make your way back to your hotel (total duration of the morning tour is 3.5hrs).

In the afternoon (at 3:00 pm, to be reconfirmed with the local operator upon arrival), you will make your way to the Puna Pau archaeological quarry to the east of Hanga Roa, located in a small crater of red scoria from which the Pukao Or headdresses that crowned the Moai were sourced. You will continue on to visit the Ahu Akivi, the first Ahu to be scientifically restored on the island, in 1960. The platform with seven Moai is characterized by being one of the few located in the center of the island whose statues stand facing the rising sun. According to legend, these seven Moai represented the seven young explorers sent to explore the island before the arrival of Hotu Matu’a. Our adventure then takes us to the cavern of Ana Te Pahu, a place that was used as housing and as a temporary refuge in times of conflict. Finally, we will reach the area of Puna Pau, a small crater of red slag in which the Pukao, a kind of stone cylinder that crowns the heads of many of the island’s Moais, were made. When we are ready, after a day full of wonders, you will begin the return to Hanga Roa (total duration of the afternoon tour is 3.5hrs).

Today you will head to the east coast of the island to visit the Ahu-Vaihu Temple located 10 km from Hanga Roa. It is composed of a well worked stone platform where we will find eight Moais and eight pukao scattered in the vicinity. Passing by Ahu Akahanga – also called the “platform of the king” – we will find four platforms, 12 Moai and eight Pukao. Inside this Ahu is one of the best preserved villages on the island. You will continue the tour by heading towards Rano Raraku, a volcanic crater formed by consolidated ash with a lagoon inside it. The volcano has a historical relevance for the island: the Moais were carved on its slopes, where currently 397 of these sculptures remain.

You will continue on towards Ahu Tongariki, the largest ahu of the island, where you will find an incredible 15 Moai! You will then make your way to Ahu Te Pito Kura, which has the highest standing statue of the island: Moai Paro (10 meters high and weighing 85 tons, with a Pukao of 11.5 tons). Next to this ceremonial temple you will find a large spherical stone called “the navel of the world” (Te Pito or Te Henua) that, according to legend, was brought to the island by Hotu Matua’a in his boat.

To finish off this adventure, you will go to the wonderful Anakena beach – whose name is derived from a small cave located in an adjacent ravine – that awaits you with its white, coral sands. You will hear the native tale that this idyllic beach, straight out of paradise, was chosen to receive to Ariki Hotu Matua’a, the island’s first king, and his sister, Avareipua, who would establish there the first real settlement there.

Finally, to end the day, you will return to the village of Hanga Roa (total duration of the tour: 6 hours).

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport to take the flight back to Santiago de Chile. On arrival you will stay at the Holiday Inn Airport Hotel.

After breakfast and at the necessary hour, you will go to the airport to take your flight home.

Include:

– All transfers mentioned in the itinerary
– 10 night accommodation
– City Tour Santiago, Chile
– City Tour Valparaíso & Viña del mar
– Altiplanic lagoons & Salar de Atacama tour
– Excursion to Valle de la Luna
– Excursion to Geysers del Tatio
– Excursion to Orongo, Ahu Tahai & Ahu Akivi
– Excursion to Ahu Vaihu, Akahanga and Tongariki, Rano Raraku & Anakena
– Breakfast & Lunch mentioned in the itinerary

Not include:

– International and / or Internal Flights
– National Parks, Reserves and Museum Tickets (except for exceptions mentioned in the itinerary)
– Optional excursions
– Tips
– Medical or Cancellation Insurance

Explore other trips

Portraits of Chile

Classic Trip

9 Days

View Trip

Treasures of Chile

Classic Trip

13 Days

View Trip

Wonders of Chile

Classic Trip

15 Days

View Trip

Highlights of Chile

Classic Trip

17 Days

View Trip