Wonders of Chile
If you want to discover the most important attractions of the centre, north and south of Chile, as well as exploring the incredible island landscapes just off the coast, then we recommend doing our 15 day tour. We will take within the continental shelf to experience the picturesque cityscape of our capital and two of our most important cities, Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. On leaving the city, you will begin to travel to the incredible natural landscapes of Torres del Paine National Park, visited every year by thousands of travelers from all over the world. You will go to the glaciers that are only accessible by sailing the Last Hope Fjord, name given in 1557 by the first explorers to the area, as it was deemed the “last hope” they had to find the Strait of Magellan. Take a climatic and geographical jump to enter the area of the Atacama Desert and enjoy the wonderful views of the Highland Lagoons, an oasis surrounded by desert volcanoes. You will bathe in temperatures of up to 30ºC in the Tatio Geysers and you will be transported to another planet when you visit the inimitable Valley of the Moon. Our tour also includes with a trip to Easter Island to meet the “Moai”, the mythical giant heads that watch over the island from the slopes of the volcanoes.
- Torres del Paine National Park
- Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers Navigation
- Rano Kau volcano
- Highland Lagoons
- Atacama Salt Flats
- Valley of the Moon
- Tatio Geysers
The first stop on your 15 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.
Today, after breakfast, we will bring you to the pier where you will board a boat to start your maritime excursion to the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers. Glaciers are possibly the most incredible thing about Patagonia, and if you have never seen one before, prepare to witness one of the world’s greatest natural spectacles. The boat trip lasts 4 hours, over which time you will sail through the Última Esperanza Sound – an incredible, expansive body of water owes its name to the “last hope” of finding the Strait of Magellan in 1557 by an expedition that been searching for it from as far away as the Pacific Ocean – until you arrive at the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, one of the largest protected areas in Chile and named after General Bernardo O’Higgins, Chile’s first ever head of state. Along the way you will see nature in all its vibrant glory by passing colonies of sea lions and cormorants, as well as various buildings belonging to the Bories company, one of the largest meat processing industries in Patagonia and a focal point of the local economy, as well as a large variety of flora. Nature’s spectacle truly is breathtaking, and you will see even more of its beauty as we continue sailing to Mount Balmaceda, which is crowned by the great glacier that bears its name and which, unfortunately, today is in a state of decline, a great sadness to all of us that love Chile and have the utmost respect for nature. The Balmaceda glacier can be seen from the deck of the ship, but to visit the Serrano glacier we will take a 20-minute walk along a path that borders the small glacial lake, created by the melting ice that is run-off of the glacier. The tour includes a tasty lunch at the lovely Estancia Perales. In the afternoon you will begin the return to the city of Puerto Natales and you will stay in the hotel you have chosen.
At the arranged time, we will collect you to bring you to the bus terminal where you will take a regular service to the city of Punta Arenas. Upon arrival you will be transferred to the airport to take your flight to Santiago de Chile where one of our representatives will be waiting for you to take you to the Holiday Inn Airport Hotel.
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).
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).
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.
– All transfers mentioned in the itinerary
– 14 night accommodation
– City Tour Santiago, Chile
– City Tour Valparaíso & Viña del mar
– Excursion to Torres del Paine National Park
– Navigation to the Balmaceda & Serrano glaciers
– Excursion to Orongo, Ahu Tahai & Ahu Akivi
– Excursion to Ahu Vaihu, Akahanga and Tongariki, Rano Raraku & Anakena
– Altiplanic lagoons & Salar de Atacama tour
– Excursion to Valle de la Luna
– Excursion to Geysers del Tatio
– Breakfast & Lunch mentioned in the itinerary
– International and / or Internal Flights
– National Parks, Reserves and Museum Tickets (except for exceptions mentioned in the itinerary)
– Optional excursions
– Medical or Cancellation Insurance