Santiago will be the starting point of a fascinating 11-day journey in one of the world's most unique countries. Chile is a land of contrasts and striking beauty that offers an enviable combination of natural wonders, excellent services, and security, making for a splendid travel experience. A land of extremes, in terms of both its geography and its climate, with the heat of the deserts in the north and the cold of the glaciers in the south, earning Chile the reputation as a Land of Fire and Ice.
Day 1 - Santiago
Upon arrival in Chile’s capital, you are met by a local representative for transfer to the hotel.
Adventurers looking to discover Santiago's urban environment from a different perspective will love this cultural immersion. Cycle over old streets lined with stately palm trees and admire the impressive architecture of the Central Market and Estación Mapocho, both interesting exponents of the iron design of the 19th and early 20th century. Feel the pulse of the city and the simple life of a normal Santiaguino in some of the most interesting and non-turistical barrios of Santiago like Cumming, Brasil, Barrio Yungay and Concha y Toro. Enjoy light snack and refreshments before paddling to La Moneda presidential headquarters, the seat of the Chilean government and one of the most interesting buildings of colonial times. Return to your hotel for a welcome dinner at the superb restaurant Arkarana.
Lastarria Boutique hotel (Early check-in not included)
With style, design and warmth in every room, Lastaria Boutique Hotel has 14 bedrooms and private areas for all tastes. Your room includes comfortable beds, wi-fi and a digital safe.
Lastarria hotel - Junior suite room (D)
Day 2 - Santiago
Today you are picked up from your hotel in the morning for a full day tour of the winelands. Just south of Santiago lies important vineyards whose soil and climate produce wine of the highest quality, the most well-known being Concha y Toro. Vast fields of grapes of the purest French ancestry reside here because Chile was one of the very few countries not affected by the global plague of philoxera in 1863. This along with ideal weather and significant investment over the last two decades has made Chilean wine some of the best wines in the world.
Viña Concha y Toro was founded in 1883 at Pirque in the Maipo Valley by the Spanish nobleman Don Melchor de Concha y Toro. Your visit begins in the Plaza Don Melchor square where you will be welcomed by an expert guide who will lead you to the balcony for a spectacular panoramic view of the Pirque vineyard. Glass of Casillero del Diablo white wine in hand, you can immerse yourself in the aromas and flavors of the centennial setting. Stroll through the dense parkland and gardens that have been maintained as they were in the days of Don Melchor. We then visit the old casona, the former residence of the Concha y Toro family. It was here that over a hundred years ago the biggest wine making company in Chile was born.
Continue on to Viña Santa Rita to enjoy a traditional lunch at the restaurant Doña Paula. Afterwards, tour around the vineyard. Santa Rita is one of the main wineries in the Maipo Valley, located in the town of Alto Jahuel at the foothills of the Andes Mountains. The Mediterranean climate with warm, dry summers and an average rainfall of 330 mm per year has given the region recognition as one of the best grape growing areas in the world, especially for Cabernet Sauvignon. Return to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Lastarria hotel - Junior suite room (B, L)
Day 3 - Santiago – Temuco - Villarrica
In the morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Temuco. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, the excellent Villarrica Park Lake.
On the way will be a visit to the Hueche Ruka community for fascinating insight into the traditions of the Mapuche people of Chile’s south. These natives were here long before the conquistador Pedro de Valdivia discovered the region in the mid 1500's. There will be a demonstration of the principal arts and crafts and gastronomes. Continue to Villarrica which lies in the shadow of the beautiful Villarrica Volcano on the eastern side of Lake Villarrica.
Villarrica Park Lake Hotel
Set on the shore of Villarrica Lake, the hotel offers a combination of local charm with European flair and unassuming luxury. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, there are spectacular panoramic views from each room. The spacious public areas emphasize elegance and quality and assure a quiet and relaxed atmosphere throughout the year. The Villarrica area is world famous for its truly unique natural environment, characterized by snow-capped volcanoes, crystal clear lakes and rivers, thermal baths and national parks. The "Aquarius" spa is not to be missed, with its tepidarium Sauna, Finnish sauna, steam bath, gym, heated in-door swimming pool, open-air swimming pool, and beautiful center with solarium and wellness treatments.
Villarrica Park Lake hotel - Superior room (B)
Day 4 - Pucón
Today is your first full day in Chile’s Lake District. 700 miles south of Santiago the crystal waters, lush green forests, rapids and waterfalls, snow-capped volcanoes, and azure blue skies make this one of the world’s scenic gems.
The city of Villarrica was founded by Geronimo de Alderete in 1552. Located at the edge of the lake, it is surrounded by the cone of the active Villarrica Volcano (2,700 meters). Pucón is Villarrica’s more modern neighbor, a lively town that is known as Chile’s adventure capital.
The morning visit includes a trip to Pucón and the volcanic caves of Villarrica. One of only two volcanic caves open to visitors in the world, there will be a descent of 300 meters in order to observe their geological constitution.
Set upon the volcano’s hillside at 2,847 meters above sea level (8,540 feet) is the most important ski area in the region, offering a wonderful view of the valley and lakes. The remainder of the day is at leisure to relax and enjoy the numerous facilities inside the hotel.
Villarrica Park Lake hotel - Superior room (B)
Day 5 - Pucón
We get an early start this morning to visit the Huerquehue National Park, a mountainous 12,500 hectare (30,900 acre) nature reserve a short drive from Villarrica.
The park offers a wide variety of hikes that traverse dense beech forests containing native vegetation such as coigües, lingues and araucarias. Araucarias are unique old-growth trees that live for more than a thousand years. It is known as the Tree of the Mapuches because its Pehuén seed has sustained the people for generations.
The hiking paths lead to pleasant waterfalls and gurgling brooks or to splendid vistas of the Andes and Volcano Villarrica. Enjoy the evening at leisure to relax.
Villarrica Park Lake hotel - Superior room (B, box lunch)
Day 6 - Villarrica - Temuco - Santiago - Calama - Atacama
After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Temuco to board your return flight to Santiago. Upon arrival you will be met by a local representative, who will assist you with your connecting flight to Calama.
At an altitude of 7,900 feet in the very heart of the Atacama, Calama is the gateway to the geological and archaeological wonders of the central desert. Upon arrival in this oasis town, you will be transferred overland. This is the world's driest landscape, cut off from storm systems by high-pressure air currents and Chile's twin mountain ranges. No precipitation has been recorded since the days of Spanish colonization over four hundred years ago.
Upon arrival in Calama, you will be transferred to San Pedro de Atacama (1½ hour, shared with other hotel guests). Dinner will be served at the hotel. During the evening, the guides will suggest optional activities available the following day.
Alto Atacama Lodge
Alto Atacama is a village Hotel near the ancient ruins of Pukara de Quitor, three kilometers from the famous oasis of San Pedro de Atacama.It enjoys a unique location at the base of the breathtaking Salt mountains in the beautiful and fertile katarpe valley. Combining raw nature with comfort and convenience, Alto Atacama offers the perfect refuge to rejuvenate the body and soul.
Alto Atacama Lodge Hotel - Catarpe Double room (B, D)
Days 7 / 8 / 9 San Pedro de Atacama
You have three full days to enjoy the hotel activities and facilities. Alto Atacama has created a program so you can enjoy as much of the local area as you want, in any way you want. There is something for everyone, from visiting museums to volcano climbing.
The excursions are designed for people who love nature and extraordinary landscapes, but the vast majority do not require any special physical training or abilities. All are classified by type (on foot, vehicle or bicycle), length (half or full day) and difficulty.
Easy: Trips on flat or gently undulating ground, much of which is covered by van. These require no acclimatization to the altitude of the Atacama Desert.
Medium: Some rocky or sandy terrain, short climbs of moderate steepness and/or long treks. Some excursions require a few days of acclimatization to the altitude.
Difficult: Tough terrain, long and/or steep climbs up to 4000 meters above sea level. These excursions are physically demanding and require time to acclimate.
Each night, guests will meet with their guides in the bar to discuss options for the following day. There are eight choices per day out of 23 total outings.
Alto Atacama Lodge - double Catarpe room (B, L, D)
Day 10 - San Pedro de Atacama - Calama – Santiago
After breakfast, transfer to Calama Airport for your flight to Santiago.Upon arrival you will be brought to your hotel.
Lastarria Hotel - Junior suite room (B, L)
Day 11 - Santiago
Transfer from the hotel to the airport for your flight back home. (Late check out is not included). Bon Voyage!
*** THIS IS A PROPOSAL ONLY AND IS SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY AT THE TIME OF CONFIRMATION. WE ARE NOT HOLDING ANY SPACES FOR THIS ITINERARY AT THIS TIME. ***
Depart any day! Contact an iExplore Adventure Consultant for details.
May 1 – October 1, 2012
Domestic flights cost approx $1,040 (taxes included). These are in economy class and will be booked by the local operator for you. SCL-ZCO-SCL-CJC-SCL.
- Transportation by private vehicle with local English-speaking guide
- Hotel accommodation in rooms with private bath
- Excursions and transfers at Alto Atacama shared with other hotel guests
- Meals as per itinerary, B= breakfast, L=lunch, D= dinner
- Entrance fees for scheduled sightseeing
- Baggage handling: 2 pieces per person – Maximum weight allowed on domestic flights is 20 kg
- Air transportation and/or airport taxes, unless specified
- Tips for guides, drivers and hotel staff
- Extras at hotels (laundry, telephone calls, tips)
- Any services of a personal nature
All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.
Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.