Arrive in Santiago
When you land in Santiago, a friendly face will be there to meet you. Our local representative will transfer you to your hotel in the upmarket area of the Las Condes. After checking in, you'll have a chance to freshen up before going on an afternoon guided city tour taking in the highlights of Santiago. As well as the traditional Plaza de Armas Square and the surrounding buildings, you'll be taken to Parque Forestal, the park runs parallel to the Mapocho River and is a verdant oasis in the city centre. A visit to Santiago's bohemian neighbourhood of Bellavista is followed by a drive up San Cristobal hill where you'll enjoy spectacular panoramic views over the city. You'll return to your hotel and the rest of the evening is at leisure. You can dine in the hotel or choose a nearby restaurant.
Fly To Calama in Atacama
After breakfast you'll be whisked back to the airport to catch a flight to Calama, then sit back and admire the landscape as you are transferred the 100km to San Pedro de Atacama. You'll spend the next three nights at Tierra Atacama. The hotel has a superb spa where you can indulge in massages and treatments. The spa also has a steam room, Jacuzzi and a Turkish bath. Explore your new surroundings and plan the activities you would like to enjoy while in the Atacama Desert.
You have a choice of full and half-day activities at Tierra Atacama. Choose the ones that suit your tastes and fitness levels, whether you prefer to explore on foot, bike, vehicle or even horseback. Together with your guide you can create a bespoke itinerary and find the best way for you to experience the Atacama Desert. Biking and hiking are popular ways to get the most out of the terrain, and there are trails to suit all levels of fitness. The scenery is quite something else, the lunar landscapes are captivating as seen from the Cordillera de la Sal, a contrast to the distinctive desert plant life seen at Valle de Gautin. Follow this up with a revitalising swim in the thermal pools at Puritama before returning to the hotel in time for dinner.
Another full day to spend in the Atacama Desert, and so much choice. After breakfast you could set off with your guide for a visit to Moon Valley and the spectacular landscapes. Or you might prefer to visit the Tara Salt Flats, a desolate but captivating spot. Return to the hotel for lunch and then venture out again later. This afternoon you could visit the El Tatio Geysers, Putana and Machuca - the wetlands are home to a variety of birds such as flamingos, Andean seagulls and crested ducks among others. In Machuca you should also see vicuñas and llamas. Perhaps finish off your day with some stargazing, the Atacama Desert is considered to be one of the best places to do this.
Fly to Chiloe Island
After breakfast, it's back to the airport for a flight via Santiago to Puerto Montt. From there it's a 4-hour road and ferry transfer to your hotel on Chiloe island. (Direct flights from Santiago to Chiloe are available on certain days in high season.) Settle into your new surroundings and meet with your guide to discuss how to get the most out of your stay on this beautiful island in northern Patagonia.
After breakfast you may want to embark on a tour of the historic sites of Castro. Take in the unique stilt houses, churches and craft markets. The shipyards and carpentry school are also part of the tour. Return to the hotel for lunch and then perhaps relax at the Uma Spa or take a wander around the gardens and orchards before dinner.
There are many smaller islands surrounding Chiloe containing cultural heritage, wildlife and stunning scenery. You can take a 45-minute voyage on the Williche (the hotel's boat), discover the Chauques archipelago and the maze of waterways before going ashore at Mechuque. A locally prepared lunch will be served and then you can enjoy kayaking through the calm canals of Chauques or if you prefer to stay on dry land, walk up to the Mechuque viewpoint before returning to Tierra Chiloe. An alternative full day excursion would be a hike along the shores of Lake Huillinco. A short drive to the starting point, then a gentle start to the walk then takes you through hilly terrain to dramatic cliffs and the 'Pier of Souls'. After a picnic lunch, the hike continues and eventually leads you back to the vehicle. Drive back to the hotel, stopping for a delicious empanada along the way.
Breakfast, picnic lunch, dinner
Fly to Punta Arenas in Patagonia
Leaving island life behind, you'll fly to Punta Arenas and then continue to Tierra Patagonia by road (4.5 hours). Enjoy the scenery as you make your way further south. Your Patagonian adventure has begun. On arrival at the hotel, freshen up and enjoy your new surroundings. Meet with your guide and plan an itinerary that works for you. If there is time, you can take a gentle stroll along the shores of Lake Sarmiento, next to the hotel. Soak up the mountain landscapes of Cordillera Paine and look for sightings of eagles, foxes, rheas and of course, condors. Later take a dip in the outdoor jacuzzi before enjoying dinner in the stylish restaurant.
After breakfast it's time to immerse yourself in Patagonia. Head out with your guide on the Hunter's Trail and see traces of Aonikenk culture in the cave paintings. These hunter-gatherers used rock paintings to communicate with each other. Throughout the walk, the Paine Massif dominates the landscape, it's both striking and fascinating. You may also spot some of the local wildlife; foxes, guanacos and if you're lucky you'll see condors swooping in the skies. Lunch is served back at the hotel, then if you're up for it, why not head back out on another excursion this afternoon or treat yourself to some pampering therapies in the Uma Spa.
Keen riders could enjoy a ride out with authentic Baqueanos (Patagonian cowboys). Whether you are a beginner or an experienced rider, it's a stunning way to experience Torres del Paine. Ride out at Estancia Lazo on the southern shores of Lake Sarmiento. More experienced riders can go off trail at Estancia Cerro Guido and set off towards Sierra del Toro with panoramic views of the Paine Massif stretching out before you.
If horse riding is not for you, there are plenty of hikes incorporating incredible breath-taking scenic spots. Choose from half or full day treks. Go off trail and walk along the escarpment, the 360-degree panoramic views are like no other. Discover the lesser-visited Pingo Valley together with your guide. The drive there offers up stunning views and then your hike will take you through lenga forest to Chorrillo Los Salmones. Rest by the waterfall before leaving the valley for the drive back to the hotel.
Day 11 & 12
There is no shortage of adventures to be had at Tierra Patagonia. Today might be an opportunity to take to two wheels and join a bike excursion starting at Laguna Azul. The first part is downhill through guanaco filled landscapes and the Three Towers in the background. Cycle all the way back to the hotel or jump on the support vehicle when you've had enough. Another excursion takes you to the north east of Torres del Paine, through lenga and nirre woodlands home to native animals and birds. At the end of the ride, you are rewarded with incredible views of the Paine Massif including Torres del Paine. You'll be driven back to the hotel from Laguna Azul.
Take a scenic tour by road to some of the park's best viewing points. You'll get an incredible perspective of Patagonia and the Paine Massif, with photographic opportunities galore.
Fly to Santiago
Before you leave, you might want to take a final walk in the hotel's grounds by Lake Sarmiento. It's not strenuous and it's a great opportunity to soak up those magnificent vistas one last time and perhaps see some of the resident wildlife too. Board the vehicle for the scenic drive back to Punta Arenas where you will catch your flight to Santiago. You'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. Either eat in the hotel tonight or perhaps choose a local restaurant and maybe do some wine tasting.
Santiago and Valparaiso
You'll be collected from your hotel for an full day of sightseeing. It starts with a drive through Casablanca, home to fine vineyards, a stop here is a must with a vineyard tour and some wine tasting. On to the coast you'll visit Vina del Mar, the 'Garden City' with its manicured boulevards, historic palaces and beautiful beaches. A short drive will take you to Valparaiso, a colourful bohemian city overlooking the bay. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has a certain charm with winding alleys, historic mansions and the slight chaotic air of a port city. A visit to the Pablo Neruda Museum can be arranged before returning to Santiago for your last night in Chile.
Depart for home
After breakfast, you'll be collected and driven to the airport in good time to catch your flight home.
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