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Discover Chile

Resort:Discover Chile
Operator: Exodus
Destination: Chile, Latin America
Price From: £4599.00

Overview


Visit four distinct regions to see deserts, glaciers, volcanoes and lakes

Chiles narrow coastal strip stretches for 4300km and is dominated by the
towering peaks of the Andes. Covering over half the length of South America,
Chile has an unparalleled range of environments; from the worlds driest
desert, the hostile Atacama, with its geysers and salt flats, to the fertile
valleys and vineyards of central Chile. To the south lies the Lake District
with dramatic, snow-capped volcanoes, deep blue lakes and gushing waterfalls.
Further still, we reach Patagonia, a land of ice fields, mountains, glaciers
and immense solitude; the ‘uttermost part of the earth’.

Highlights

* Visit the unique and colourful Pacific Coast city of Valparaiso
* Excursions to Atacama salt flats, altiplano lagoons, El Tatio geysers
* Sunset over the Valley of the Moon in the Atacama Desert
* City tours in cosmopolitan Santiago, German influenced Puerto Varas, and
the fish market of Puerto Montt
* See the Petrohue Falls, enjoy a boat cruise on Lago Lago Todos los Santos,
and walk at Osorno Volcano
* Patagonia and the famous granite towers of Torres del Paine National Park
* Internal flights included, reducing driving distances so that we can visit
four distinct regions of Chile

Itinerary

Day 1
Depart London.

Depart London.

Day 2
Arrive Santiago; city tour

Clients on the group flight will usually arrive in the morning. A walking
tour of the city tour is organised today (approx. 4 hours), visiting the
squares and streets of the colonial centre and the Presidential Palace. We
also visit San Cristobal Hill, on which a statue of the Virgin Mary stands.
The summit of Cerro San Cristobal offers a birds-eye view of Santiago, the
Andean Mountains and the Maipo-Valley. Without a doubt the best viewpoint in
the city! If there is time we will also see the wealthy suburbs of the
Barrio Alto, an area of elegant shops and first class restaurants.
Please note that due to the arrival times of the group flights, the city tour
will usually start around 2pm or 2:30pm. Land Only clients wishing to join
the city tour would be advised to be at the hotel around 2pm in order to be
collected.

*Accommodation: Hotel Providencia (or similar)*

Day 3
Full Day excursion to the enigmatic port city of Valparaiso

The historic World Heritage city of Valparaso, or Valpo for short, is
Chiles oldest port and home to the countrys National Congress since
democracy was re-established in 1989. The Pacific coast is just a short 1.5
hour drive from Santiago and todays excursion will give us an interesting
insight into Chilean culture.
The citys many hills are covered in a glorious sprawl of multi-coloured
houses covering every nook and cranny, creating a spectacular panorama which
can be enjoyed from a number of vantage points. Strolling through the streets
of Valparaso is a fascinating experience which enables us to soak up the
quirky and bohemian atmosphere, something different to anywhere else in
Chile. Well visit the UNESCO recognised historic city centre, in addition
to the parliamentary building, and the War of the Pacific memorial.
Due to the steep terrain in some parts of the city, it is home to numerous
funicular lifts which transport residents straight up and down the hillsides
rather than them having to zigzag through the maze of buildings. Many of
these lifts have fallen into disrepair and sit suspended in time and hidden
amid the labyrinth. However, there is a drive to restore as many as possible
and well be able to use one of the most iconic functioning lifts on our
way to a viewpoint. In the afternoon we will return to our hotel in Santiago.

*Accommodation: Hotel Providencia (or similar)*

Day 4
Fly to Calama; to San Pedro de Atacama

In the morning we fly to Calama near the Atacama Desert where we transfer to
our hotel in the town of San Pedro de Atacama. Once we have checked in. the
leader will offer a short orientation tour of the town for anyone who wants
to join. At dusk we set out to the Valley of the Moon. This bizarre lunar
landscape is set ablaze with colour at sunset, the strange rock formations
framed by the Lincancabur Volcano. We’ll stay until the sun goes down to
enjoy the array of colours before returning to San Pedro.

*Accommodation: Hotel Diego de Almagro (or similar)*

Day 5
Visit Salar de Atacama & Altiplano lagoons

Departing our hotel in San Pedro, we will set off towards the Altiplano
Lagoons (Lagunas Altiplanicas) and stop en route at the village of Socaire,
set at 3218m/10,558ft. The village is noteworthy for its peculiar
architecture using rough stonework and the inhabitants here still live by the
age-old methods of planting terraced fields with corn, wheat and potatoes.

Afterwards, we continue for about another 30km/19miles, climbing an
additional 1000m/3,281ft in altitude to reach the highland lagoons of
Miscanti and Miiques. The two volcanoes of the same name are visible in the
background (almost 6000m/19,686ft high). The twin lagoons are a deep blue,
each framed by a white salt crust, which creates a memorable contrast to the
yellow highland grass all around. It is completely silent here. Even the duck
species that breed here, the foxes, and the grazing vicuas (a type of
camelid), respect the majestic silence.

We continue on and visit the Salar de Atacama. A salt lake of huge
proportions (3000 sq km/1,158 sq miles), its surface is covered by a thick
layer of snow-white salt crystals as far as the eye can see, caused by the
evaporation of the lakes water. The worlds largest lithium deposits are
found here, but the salt pan is also home to several flamingo species,
including the Andean, Chilean and James flamingo, who feed on the
micro-organisms found in the saline lagoons. These beautiful birds and other
species can be observed in their natural habitat at the Salar de Atacamas
Chaxa Lagoon, which is part of the Reserva Nacional de los Flamencos. After
the excursion we will return to San Pedro.

*Accommodation: Hotel Diego de Almagro (or similar)*

Day 6
Excursion to El Tatio geysers; optional night-time astronomy tour

To experience the El Tatio Geysers well have to get up very early in order
to arrive at the geyser field (located over 4300m/14,108ft above sea level)
in time for sunrise! The fountains that shoot up to 10m/33ft high occur when
the morning sun melts the nightly ice caps that form over the hot springs.
The suns first rays reflect an array of colours as they mix with boiling
jets coming from the geysers to create strong contrasts of steam and light.

At around midday well head back to San Pedro for some free time. There is
an optional astronomy tour tonight that can be paid for locally but should be
booked in advance of departure as availability is limited (Please note that
this tour doesn’t operate on full moon days and is not recommended 3 days
before or after the full moon).

*Accommodation: Hotel Diego de Almagro (or similar)*

Day 7
Fly to Puerto Montt; to Puerto Varas on the shore of Lago Llanquihue

Today we transfer to Calama airport and fly to Santiago and then Puerto
Montt, the capital of the Lake District. This is a long travelling day that
will likely require an early start depending on the flight schedules. On
arrival in the Lake District region we drive for 30 minutes to Puerto Varas
on the shores of Lago Llanquihue. Depending on flight arrival time, we can
enjoy a brief tour of the ‘City of the Roses’ as it has come to be called
because of the tremendous variety of roses all over town. If we arrive on a
later flight unfortunately this will not be possible. If scheduled to
arrive on a later flight, we also recommend buying some food at the airport
as you may not have any options on arrival at your hotel.

*Accommodation: Hotel Park Inn by Radisson (or similar)*

Day 8
Lago Todos Los Santos boat trip; walk near Osorno Volcano

We set out this morning for a full day inside the Lake District. We drive
along the shore of Lago Llanquihue and enjoy breathtaking views of the Osorno
and Calbuco volcanoes. Our first real stop will be at the Saltos de Petrohue
where cooling lava from the Osorno Volcano formed a series of rapids and
waterfalls. Together they form an impressive sculpture of extruded volcanic
rock shaped by thousands of years of river flow. At Petrohue we board a boat
for a short cruise of Lago Todos los Santos (All Saints Lake). The lake is
surrounded by high mountains and the lower slopes are thickly forested. As we
pull away from the landing and the source of the river Petrohue the view is
quickly stolen away by the tremendous size and proximity of snow-capped
Osorno Volcano behind us. After our boat tour, we return to Petrohue and take
a hike in the lower lava fields of the volcano. We also visit the Green
Lagoon (Laguna Verde) before we return towards Puerto Varas in the afternoon.
Please note that the order of the itinerary today may change depending on the
weather conditions.

*Accommodation: Hotel Park Inn by Radisson (or similar)*

Day 9
Fly to Punta Arenas; transfer to Puerto Natales

After breakfast we transfer to the capital of the Lake District, Puerto
Montt, and take a sightseeing tour of the city. Puerto Montt was founded in
1853 by German colonists on the site of an indigenous Mapuche community.
Downtown we take time to walk about the main squares and historical
monuments. Afterwards we visit the port, where there is a large handicraft
market full of artisan goods. Please note that depending on the flight times,
this tour might be moved to the previous day instead. We then transfer to the
airport to board a flight to Punta Arenas, Patagonia – the southernmost city
in Chile. From here we transfer to Puerto Natales where we spend the night.

*Accommodation: Hostal Francis Drake (or similar)*

Day 10
Full day excursion to see some of the highlights of Torres del Paine N.P.

This morning we drive into Torres del Paine National Park for a day of
excursions within a spectacular environment. This is a busy day of travelling
and walking including unforgettable views of the Towers and the Torres Massif
from the ‘Cuernos’ viewpoint and ‘Salto Grande’ waterfall. In addition to
being introduced to the flora and fauna of the region, today we will also
visit ‘Laguna Azul’ for more breath-taking views.

*Accommodation: Hotel del Paine (or similar)*

Day 11
Walking at Lago Grey; free time in Torres del Paine N.P.

Another day in Torres del Paine National Park, this time to explore the
Western highlights including Lake Grey. This deep lake, fed by the glacier of
the same name, is filled with icebergs which have splashed down from the
massive ice flow. From the hotel, we’ll drive to a spot to the south of the
lake, then start a short hike by crossing a suspension bridge over the Pingo
River. From here the path leads through a Legna forest typical to the area,
and continues onward to the tip of the narrow peninsula at the lakes
southern end. This viewpoint offers a spectacular view of the lake with its
icebergs, the tongue of Grey Glacier at the far northern end, and the
snow-covered mountain peaks soaring above. On the way back a stop is made at
the Park Visitors Centre to see an exposition of the origin and history of
the park. This afternoon is free to relax at the hotel or enjoy some optional
excursions in the area.

*Accommodation: Hotel del Paine (or similar)*

Day 12
Optional Grey Glacier navigation; to Puerto Natales

This morning we have somefree time or take part in an optional boat
excursion which takes you to the Grey Glacier.For anyone not wanting to
take the optional excursion, the leader will accompany you on visits to other
areas of Torres del Paine. Afterwards we will regroup and visit the Milodon
Cave (entrance fee not included and payee locally approx. US$ 8 per person).
Today we will end in Puerto Natales and transfer together to the hotel,
arriving around 5.30pm.

*Accommodation: Hostal Francis Drake (or similar)*

Day 13
To Punta Arenas; fly to Santiago

Transfer through the barren Pampa of Patagonia, an impressive road trip as we
journey to Punta Arenas airport. We fly back to Santiago (flight times can
vary) and enjoy our final evening in Chile.

*Accommodation: Hotel Providencia (or similar)*

Day 14
Depart Santiago

There is a transfer back to the airport for those on group flights. Those on
land only arrangements will leave us in Santiago this morning.

Day 15
Arrive London

Arrive London