13 days from £7225pp plus international flights.
Patagonia attracts those of us with an adventurous spirit and a yearning to venture forth on journeys of discovery. The very southernmost tip of South America is not a place for the faint hearted. Snow covered mountain peaks, expanses of pampas plains, cobalt blue lakes, massive glaciers and Cape Horn at the 'End of the Earth'. Patagonia doesn't do things by halves!
On this holiday you have ample time to explore this amazing region, with a huge choice of tours all led by guides who are experts in their field. At EcoCamp, in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park, you hand-pick your excursions. These range from gentle walks to hardcore treks and have the option to explore on 2 wheels or by boat. You can have your lunch watching wild guanacos and enjoying views the likes of which you've never seen before. Your stay in your very own geodesic dome, a modern take on the dwellings of the first nomadic tribes who inhabited the region, which feels utterly fitting.
You then swap your dome suite for a comfy en-suite cabin with a full-length window aboard your stylish cruise ship for a voyage through the channels and fjords of Tierra del Fuego. Each day you set out in small zodiac boats for close-up encounters with wildlife and rides through iceberg-filled lakes. As for the glaciers, the sheer size cannot fail to impress. No matter how many you see, and you will see a lot on this trip, the sense of amazement remains. Add Cape Horn, known as the world's southernmost place, and you'll have a fund of traveller's tales that can't be topped!
If your excitement levels are rising, this is definitely the holiday for you. Come and discover Patagonia!
You fly into Santiago, Chile's capital, where you are met and driven to your hotel in the smart Providencia district of the city. Take time to freshen up and don a change of clothes, after which you are collected and driven to a nearby restaurant for your welcome dinner. Dinner
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel and then embark on a private guided tour of the city. You start at Mercado Central, the city's main fish market, where you mingle with locals and see the variety of fresh produce on display. The Plaza de Armas is nearby and is Santiago's main square, where you can see the metropolitan cathedral and grand central post office. From here you pass the impressive neo-classical facade of the supreme court and head towards the Alameda, the main street, getting a taste of city life en-route. Your next destination is the presidential palace, La Moneda, a beautiful 18th century building. Stretch your legs further with the climb to the top of Cerro Santa Lucia, rewarded by fine all-round views of the city from the park at the summit. From here you travel to the chic Lastarria district with its many cafes, bookshops, boutiques and theatres, to have lunch at a local restaurant. Later you are driven back to your hotel and can choose how to spend the afternoon. Breakfast, lunch
Patagonia beckons! After breakfast you are driven to the airport for the flight down to Punta Arenas, which takes about 3.5 hours. On arrival you are transferred to EcoCamp Patagonia. You stop at Puerto Natales along the way, on the shores of Ultima Esperanza Sound where you have lunch. The journey continues, with opportunities to admire the fine views, arriving at EcoCamp, where you can settle into your geodesic dome, your home for the next 5 nights! Tonight, you have dinner in camp, a good time to get to know the other guests. You might also like to ponder the many options for exploring the area on offer at EcoCamp, as you look forward to next few days. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Your first full day in Patagonia and you have so many activities to enjoy! EcoCamp offers a broad range of excursions, spanning all levels of fitness and encompassing walking, hiking and biking. A guide can help you choose according to your abilities and preferences. Today you might like a gentle introduction to the region with a drive to Laguna Azul, offering views of the famous Torres, the oft-photographed trio of jagged peaks, and the chance to spot guanacos on a short walk in the aptly named Pampa Guanaco. On reaching Laguna Azul you sit down to a special barbecue lunch while gazing across the lake towards the 3 mighty torres. There's a chance for a post-lunch walk to see more of the area's wildlife and take in the views, before the drive back to EcoCamp, arriving in time for cocktails. If you prefer you can cycle to the lake, returning either by bike or vehicle. Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner
You can up the pace today if you wish, by selecting one of the more active excursions, such as the western lakes and pingo trail hike. This starts with a drive to Lake Pehoe, with views of the black granite spires of Los Cuernos en-route. Alight at the lake for a walk to Salto Grande waterfalls and on to a lookout point for photo opportunities. You are then driven to photogenic Grey Lake with its huge icebergs from where you set off on the Pingo trail. This takes you through lush forest where you admire the varied flora and fauna culminating at a viewpoint. From here you return to Grey Lake, where the vehicle is waiting to carry you back to EcoCamp to enjoy a well-earned rest. Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner
If you feel like an easier day, join the trek to the twin lakes of Sarmiento and Sarmiento Chico. With few gradients this is an unchallenging walk offering plenty of chances to watch wildlife and learn about the geology of the area from your guide. The lakes are startlingly blue and provide yet another of the amazing sights of Torres del Paine National Park and are sure to have you reaching for your camera. Afterwards you are driven back to EcoCamp, where you can relax in one of the communal domes and chat to other guests. Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner
If you're feeling energetic you can tackle the trek to the base of Las Torres today. The route leads steadily uphill through varied terrain including forest, open areas and past rivers to the Ascencio Valley. Finally, you traverse a testing area of rock-strewn moraine to be rewarded with superb views of the Torres del Paine which give the park its name, with the glacial lake below. It's a definite photo opportunity. Better still, it's your lunch stop, so you have ample time to admire the views as you enjoy your picnic! Suitably replete and rested you set off on the return route through the valley and back to EcoCamp. Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner
After breakfast, with bags packed, you are driven to Punta Arenas overlooking the Magellan Strait. Sit back and enjoy the ride, which takes about 6 hours. On arrival you check in for your Australis cruise, with boarding commencing from 6pm. You are invited to a cocktail reception hosted by the captain and his crew to welcome you aboard. Afterwards the ship gets underway and you sit down to dinner as your cruise adventure begins. Overnight, as you rest, the vessel crosses the Magellan Strait and enters the channels in the southernmost region of Patagonia. Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner
Awaken to beautiful scenes of Admiralty Sound and the peaks of Karukinka Natural Park. It's not long before you can step ashore at Ainsworth Bay, with a choice of walking routes, both of which enable you to see Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains. You return to the ship for lunch and later, when the ship has reached the Tucker Islets, you head off in the zodiacs for some close-up views of the huge colony of Magellanic penguins that nest here. You are also likely to see cormorants, oystercatchers, skuas, gulls and eagles, and, if very lucky, a condor. In September and April, when the penguins have departed, this excursion is replaced by a walk to a glacier at Brookes Bay. Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner
By this morning the ship has rounded the Brecknock Peninsula and turned east into the Beagle Channel. By the time you've had breakfast she is in Pia Fjord and it's time to board the zodiacs to get views of Pia Glacier. You land nearby and walk to a viewpoint to take in the sight of this magnificent glacier. Back on board the ship you continue the voyage eastwards through the well-named Glacier Alley. Get yourself a window seat or wrap up warm and head to the panoramic deck, to view the succession of tidewater glaciers which flow down the mountains, many of them named after European countries. Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner
This morning, weather conditions permitting, you go ashore at Cape Horn, often called the End of the Earth. For many years this was the only way ships could pass between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and was notorious for its strong currents, large waves and icebergs. Get a feel for this harsh environment before returning to the welcome comfort of the ship. By the afternoon you are in Wulaia Bay, where there was once a large Yamana community. You can visit a museum to learn more about their culture and about the early European missionaries and might want to leave a postcard in the barrel, to be hand delivered by a future traveller, continuing a time-honoured tradition. There's time for a gentle walk or more energetic hike, as you wish, with a guide, before you return to the ship for the final night of your cruise. Breakfast, packed lunch, dinner
Enjoy breakfast on board the cruise ship for the final time. You are now in Argentina, and the ship docks at Ushuaia. Collect your bags and say your goodbyes to fellow passengers and the crew. A representative is waiting to meet you and drive you to short way to your hotel, Los Cauquenes. The remainder of the day is free. The hotel has a lovely spa with a swimming pool, outdoor terrace, exercise area, sauna and a whole host of treatments, just the way to unwind after your busy days exploring Patagonia. Afternoon tea is served daily from 4pm, complete with exquisite pastries, scones and cakes, and later you can enjoy a relaxed dinner at the restaurant. Breakfast
Following breakfast, you board a small boat for a cruise through the Beagle Channel to Les Eclaireurs lighthouse, which has been operating since 1920, and Isla de Lobos where you can observe a large colony of sea lions. After this cruise you are driven to the airport for your onward flight, not departing till after 3pm. Breakfast
Guide price from (pp sharing): £7225 (ex. international flights)
2020 to 2021 prices pp based on 2 sharing:
01 Jan - 30 Jun 2020 from £7225
2 nights in a standard room at Le Reve in Santiago, 5 nights in a dome suite at EcoCamp Patagonia, 4 nights in a AAA cabin on Australis cruise ship, 1 night at Los Cauquenes in Ushuaia, all based on twin share; return airport-hotel transfers in Santiago; private guided tour in Santiago; return shared transfers from Punta Arenas airport to EcoCamp; daily shared excursions at EcoCamp days 4-7; shared cruise excursions days 9-11; private transfer Ushuaia port to Los Cauqeuenes: morning Beagle Channel cruise; private transfer Los Cauquenes to Ushuaia airport; meals listed as included.
International and domestic flights and taxes; visas; vaccinations; travel insurance; meals not listed as included; drinks; optional excursions and activities; personal expenditure; tips
This holiday starts in Santiago, Chile and ends in Ushuaia, Argentina. We can book the return international flights for you along with the domestic flights needed to get from Santiago down to Punta Arenas and up from Ushuaia to Buenos Aires.
Board your Australis ship for a cruise at the very southern tip of Patagonia, enjoying daily guided excursions and creature comforts on board.
Stay in a geodesic dome in the heart of Torres del Paine, hiking, mixing biking and kayaking with relaxing among friends in camp
An elegant mansion in the attractive Providencia district of Santiago, combining style and comfort.
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Find the best time to visit Chile
Time: GMT -4 hours
Flight time: There are direct flights from London Heathrow to Santiago, which operate 4 times a week and take 14 hours 40 minutes. The Chilean airline, LATAM, flies via Madrid.
Language: The official language is Spanish. but other local languages are also spoken. English is spoken quite widely.
Visas: Visas are not currently required for British passport holders staying for up to 90 days, who are issued with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo-Tourist Card’ on arrival. You must retain this and present it to immigration on departure.
Health: Generally none is compulsory but we recommend the following: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, diphtheria, meningitis, tetanus, rabies and polio. There is no malaria in Chile. A yellow fever certificate is required if you are coming from an infected area.