Arrive In Santiago
Your flight lands at Santiago airport and, having collected your luggage, you are transferred to your hotel in the city. Nothing has been planned for the remainder of the day, leaving you free to relax after your flight. You might like to unwind with a swim in the pool and enjoy refreshments at the bar. Later you can decide whether to dine in or head out into the local neighbourhood.
Santiago City Tour
After breakfast you meet up with your guide for a half day tour of Santiago, a good opportunity to see some of the main sites and get your bearings. This includes a walking tour of the city centre to see the main square, the Plaza de Armas, and its impressive buildings: the cathedral, royal palace and central post office. The walk continues along Ahumada Boulevard, one of the main shopping streets, and on to view the grand facade of La Moneda, former royal mint and now seat of the Chilean government. Then, travelling by car, you enter the artistic Bellavista district, and head up to San Cristobal Hill with its impressive Virgin Mary statue and magnificent views over the city towards the Andes Mountains. From here you are driven through the financial and shopping districts and fashionable neighbourhoods, before arriving back at your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Fly To Calama For Atacama
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before departing for the airport for the two-hour flight north to Calama in the Atacama Desert. A driver is waiting for you and you set out for the hotel, passing through the Domekyo and Sal mountain ranges, giving you your first glimpse of the unique Atacama scenery. Settle in to your hotel, and in the afternoon, you travel out into the descriptively-named Mars Valley and Moon Valley. These areas really do have an other-worldly feel and it should come as no surprise that it's been used as a film location and by NASA to test vehicles. Your visit is timed to coincide with the sunset, when the play of light and shadows renders it especially atmospheric.
Atacama High Plateau
A full day in the Atacama Desert! You drive into the altiplano, or high plateau, and first visit Chaxa Lagoon in the Atacama Salt Flats, where you should be able to spot three different species of flamingos, the Andean, Chilean and James. In the town of Toconao you can see the 18th century adobe bell tower, witness local life in the village of Socaire and spend time in the Flamingos National Reserve among the picturesque lagoons backed by volcanoes. You'll definitely want your camera to capture the stunning scenery.
El Tatio Geysers And Machuca
You are woken early, setting out at dawn on the journey to El Tatio Geysers, enjoying a packed breakfast on the way. On arrival you have a guided walking tour through the geothermal fields where jets of steam shoot into the air, a reminder of the power of nature. The geysers are at their best in the morning, making your early start worthwhile. On the journey back, you should get good views of Putama Volcano and the Tocorpuri Mountains and may spot llamas and alpacas. You can stop at Machuca, a small village, to see a typical terrace farming system, traditional mud and straw houses and an attractive church.
Fly To Puerto Montt For The Lake District
You have breakfast at the hotel before setting out for the airport and the flight, via Santiago, to Puerto Montt in the Lake District. From here it's just a 20km drive to the lovely lakeside town of Puerto Varas and your next hotel. Enjoy some free time as you rest after the journey. The bar and restaurant both overlook Llanquihue Lake and there's a heated indoor pool and outdoor jacuzzi. Make yourself at home!
Petrohue Falls And Peulla
A lovely day is planned, showcasing the beautiful landscapes of the Lake District. You drive around the lake to the Petrohue Falls in Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. The sight and sound of the torrential water cannot fail to impress. From here it's a short drive to the jetty where you board the catamaran for the ride across the lake to the small town of Peulla. Sit back and enjoy views of Orsorno Volcano and the surrounding mountains. On reaching Peulla you are treated to lunch and have the chance to join a guided tour. Later you re-board the catamaran for the voyage back to Puerto Varas and your hotel.
Another full day out, this time travelling to Chiloe Island, with its distinctive architecture, culture and seafaring heritage. The ferry crossing takes around half an hour. Visit the village of Dalcahue, where you have time to stroll around the main square and church, a UNESCO Heritage Site. From here you travel to Castro, site of the much-photographed stilt houses, locally known as palafitos, built over the water and painted in different colours. You get a good view of these from the viewpoint at Gamboa. In the town of Ancud you have time to explore the main square, municipal market, regional museum and the 18th century San Antonio Fort, and take in sweeping views over the coast from Huaihuen Hill. On the completion of the island tour you return to the mainland and your hotel at Puerto Varas.
Fly To Punta Arenas For Patagonia
After breakfast in the lovely lakeside restaurant it's time for a change of scene. You are transferred to the airport at Puerto Montt, about a 30-minute drive, for the flight down to Punta Arenas. Flying time is a little over two hours. On arrival you are welcomed to Patagonia, scene of the next stage of your holiday. Your hotel, Altiplanico Sur, is a sister property to the hotel in Atacama, and is in Puerto Natales about three hours by road from the airport. Take in superb views over Last Hope Sound as you relax at the hotel.
Balmaceda And Serrano Glaciers
It's an early start this morning, as you depart the hotel for a three-hour cruise along Last Hope Sound, a picturesque fjord. Take it easy as you travel in comfort though the wonderful Patagonian scenery, finally arriving at the spectacular Balmaceda Glacier, on the west face of Mount Balmaceda. In this area you are also likely to spot cormorants and sea lions. The cruise continues to the far end of the fjord where you alight for the one kilometre walk through the forest to the Serrano Glacier, which sweeps down the mountainside towards the fjord. It's a privilege to get so close to a vast glacier. Return to the boat and enjoy more of the wonderful scenery, before stopping for lunch, and arriving back in Puerto Natales in the late afternoon.
Torres Del Paine National Park
Today you explore Torres del Paine National Park. The drive from the hotel passes through the Patagonian steppe (desert) and scrub, where you can expect to see herds of sheep. It continues into the national park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve containing several ecosystems and diverse landscapes, providing you with plenty of photo opportunities. Your tour includes the Salto Grande waterfall with its blue water, views of the rugged Torres del Paine massif, the azure Lake Pehoe, the deep waters of Grey Lake and Grey Glacier, the largest glacier in the park. There's a stop for lunch, before you begin the journey back to Puerto Natales, stopping off to view Milodon Cave, where in the late 19th century, the remains of several prehistoric creatures were discovered, as well as evidence of the presence of early man in the form of tools, firepits and human remains. From here you are driven back to the hotel, arriving in the early evening.
Fly To Santiago
After breakfast you pack your bags ready for the transfer to the airport in Punta Arenas and the flight to Santiago. You are met on arrival and driven to your city hotel. Head up to your room to drop off your bags after your travels. You might want to eat at the hotel restaurant tonight or explore the local eateries.
Following breakfast, you are driven back to the airport in time to check in for your homebound flight.
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