This tour takes you through Chile’s incredibly varied landscapes; from the Atacama Desert’s vast and other-worldly landscapes to Santiago’s urban metropolis. Western & Oriental have hand-picked a selection of Chile’s most vibrant and exciting experiences.
On this holiday you will experience spectacular sunrises and sunsets over beautiful Chilean landscapes. Natural wonders abound here, from volcanoes to waterfalls, and as you move across this country of extremes. Stretching across such a long expanse of South America, Chile includes barren desert, vertiginous mountains and lush rainforests. Experience all of these wonders on this exciting trip that gives the perfect introduction to this fascinating country.
Day 1 - UK to Chile
Take your overnight flight from London to Chile’s capital, Santiago.
Day 2 - Santiago
Santiago is the ideal place to adjust to Chile, and here you will spend a few days exploring the city. Check into the Luciano K hotel, in the lovely Lastarria neighbourhood; a choice of Santiago’s best galleries, museums and restaurants can be found close by. Opposite the verdant Parque Forestal, the hotel has a charming rooftop bar which is the perfect place to enjoy the spectacular views and watch the sunset.
Today you will be exploring the city in full. The main square, Plaza de Armas, is a great place to start – this is where you’ll find the city’s important buildings like the Government Palace and Cathedral. To find some of the best views, head to the Barrio Bellavista district where you can gaze over the snow-topped Andes. Back in the centre of town, browse alongside locals at the Mercado Central before enjoying some fantastic seafood at El Galeon restaurant.
Today you’ll depart Santiago and head towards the Atacama Desert. First, you’ll visit San Pedro de Atacama, a traditional adobe town. In the afternoon you’ll stop in Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), a stunning area with rock formations that resemble the moon’s surface. Then, move on to the Valle de la Muerte (Death Valley).Your accommodation for your stay in the Atacama is the Altiplanico San Pedro de Atacama.
This morning, visit the charming village of Toconao, which features traditional Atacamenian architecture. Built around a lovely main square, admire the Bell Tower and San Lucas church, which was built in 1750. Tonight watch the sunset at the Los Flamencos National Reserve, where you will be able to watch flamingos in the lagoon. This is truly one of the most stunning vistas you’ll encounter.
Today, dress prepared for a chilly morning, as you head for the El Tatio Geysers to witness another exceptional sunrise. At over 4,000 metres above sea level, this is a fantastic sight, as the geysers shoot bright white steam into the air.
Back in San Pedro de Atacama, visit the Iglesia de Santiago church in the small village of Machuca. Here you can learn more about the local way of life, and take in some more superb views.
Day 7 - San Pedro de Atacama - Puerto Varas, Lake District
Picture-perfect Puerto Varas is located north of Chilean Patagonia and commands a spectacular view of Lake Llanquihue. The town is flanked by Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes, and its rich Germanic history is reflected by local architecture; nowhere more so than at the Iglesia de Sagrado Corazon, which is based on the Marienkirche of the Black Forest.
Day 8 - Lake District - Petrohue Falls & Osorno Volcano
Today you will take part in a fascinating volcano walking tour, which starts in the village of Ensenada. This is a picturesque tour with lots of beautiful scenery, so don’t forget your camera! The boardwalk at Saltos del Río Petrohué is a beautiful opportunity to admire the imposing waterfalls and crystalline waters. Continue your ascent until you reach the Ski y Montaña Volcan Osorno Centre. Complete the tour at Todos los Santos.
Today you will be exploring Chiloe Island, which takes around 45 minutes to reach by ferry across the Charco Channel. Stop by Dalcahue, a picturesque village with the 1849 Nuestra Senora de Los Dolores church. Next, visit Ancud city, where you will tour the central square and museum before browsing at the market. Complete your day at the major hub of Castro, where you can admire the traditional architecture of the area.
Puerto Natales, in southern Chilean Patagonia, benefits from amazing views over the Seno Ultima Esperanza (Last Hope Sound). Built on the wool, mutton and fishing industries, the town is now known as the entry way to Torres del Paine National Park. Your hotel for your stay in Chilean Patagonia is the Weskar, a cosy lodge with jaw-dropping views.
Day 11 - Puerto Natales - Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers
This morning, cruise around the Seno de Ultima Esperanza, keeping an eye out for dolphins and sea lions. The Balmaceda Glacier is a spectacular sight, particularly when chunks of ice calve off into the water. After a short trek you will reach the Serrano Glacier. Here enjoy a well-deserved reward of whisky iced with local ice cubes! Head towards the Eberhaard Fjord, before enjoying a sumptuous barbecue dinner.
The Torres del Paine National Park is a ‘must-see’ sight on any holiday to Chilean Patagonia. Pastoral beauty abounds here, with snow-capped mountains and grassy hills. Walking through the park you’ll come across a host of local wildlife, including sheep and herds of guanacos. Depending on the time, you may want to visit the sights of Salto Grande waterfall, Lake Pehoe and Lake Grey for a different perspective on your surroundings.
Today return to bustling Santiago. For a leisurely stroll taking in yet more delightful views, visit Cerro Santa Lucia and follow the well-mapped out trails. You’ll be spoilt for choice at meal times, with Barrio Bellavista bursting with top-quality eateries.