Your journey begins:
DAY 01: ARRIVE SANTIAGO, CHILE
Welcome at Santiago airport and transfer to the hotel. Encounter Santiago, Chile’s capital, nestled in the central valley, right below the imposing Andes. This city mixes the “Mapuche” legacy- (the natives that inhabited this land during the Pre-Columbian era), our Spanish colonial past and the modernity of any thriving city of the world. Walk its streets, visit its museums, engage with its architecture and become a part of it. Historical and contemporary features combined in the heart of Chile. Rest of the day is at leisure.
DAY 02: SANTIAGO CITY TOUR
Begin our journey towards the city center, where we will get to know its main attractions. First, we will visit the Santa Lucia Hill, where the city of Santiago was founded in 1541. Continue to the Plaza de Armas, to see the Cathedral of Santiago, the Municipality, the Post Office Building and National History Museum. Later visit the Cerro San Cristobal, where we can enjoy a panoramic view of Santiago. The experience continues with a panoramic tour through the Providencia neighborhood and finally, along the Costanera Highway until reaching the elegant Vitacura neighborhood and the Alonso de Córdova Avenue. Rest of the afternoon is free to explore the city and the sights or to shop on own.
DAY 03: TOUR OF VALPARAISO & WINERIES
After Breakfast travel along the Pacific coast, crossing the Coastal Mountain Range and the Casablanca and Curacaví Valleys. Our first stop will be Viña del Mar, known as the Garden City; because of its great number of parks and nice gardens. We will visit the Quinta Vergara, Palacio Carrasco, and see an original Moai from Easter Island. Then, we continue along the bay, forming part of the most important central coastline, and get to know the city’s famous flower clock. Next, we arrive at the city of Valparaíso, World Heritage Site and main commercial port and home to the Congress of Chile. During the tour, visitors are greeted by the multi-colored houses on the hills, parks and diverse historic monuments, traditional bars and restaurants. Lunch at a typical seafood restaurant and get to know the Plaza Sotomayor, the most important civic square of the city, located on the shore. Finally we will sail across the bay, in order to appreciate the best views of Valparaíso. Return back our hotel in Santiago.
DAY 04: SANTIAGO – LA SERENA
Breakfast in the hotel and fly to La Serena, the second oldest city in Chile. After settling in at the Hotel tour the city. Our first stop is near the 28 m (91 ft) high La Serena lighthouse, where you get the opportunity to photograph the area´s sweeping views. We then visit La Serena´s main plaza, site of the city´s founding in 1544, and walk three blocks through the high street area to visit the archaeological museum. This museum houses a genuine Moai statue from Easter Island and a complete collection of artifacts from pre-Hispanic cultures including the Diaguita and Molle people. Located one block away is La Recova Market, which offers an abundance of interesting shopping opportunities including handicrafts like lapis lazuli (Chile’s famous semi-precious blue stone), pottery and ceramics with Diaguita motifs, and alpaca wool.
DAY 05: TOUR OF ISLA DAMAS
Breakfast at the hotel. This fascinating full day excursion is an invitation to nature lovers and adventurers alike. The tour starts in the morning from La Serena driving north along the Pan-American Highway through the “Norte Chico,” a semi-desert area with scarce vegetation dominated by cacti. The route continues over long curving hill roads and low accesses that allow you numerous perspectives of the rocky coast. Arriving in the small fishing village of Caleta Punta Choros, which is 122 kilometers from La Serena, from here the Gaviota, Choros and Damas Islands can be seen: they form part of the Humboldt Penguin Natural Reservation and are administered by the National Forestry Corporation (CONAF). From Caleta Punta Choros the tour departs in a small-motorized fishing boat, with life jackets supplied, the wearing of which is compulsory. The boat navigates around the three islands in safe waters depending on weather conditions. There is the opportunity to admire the marine life of this area. In the waters surrounding Choros Island lives a colony of bottlenose dolphins, unique in that this is one of only three colonies in the world. Usually they can be seen often performing jumps and pirouettes, but they do occasionally migrate to the surroundings. In the rocky shoreline of Choros Island are handsome sea lions and a large variety of seabirds, often penguins can be spotted The tour disembarks at Isla Damas with time to enjoy its beaches of white sand and surroundings before returning by boat to the Caleta Punta Choros. In the village on the coast lunch is provided in a typical fish and shellfish restaurant in the simple fishing village. The tour returns back to La Serena during the evening with hopes for a spectacular sunset.
Day 06: ELQUI VALLE EXCURSION
Elqui valley is tinged with an esoteric air and many insist that it is the “energy center” of the world. This place is a geographic configuration, which is unique in the world. It is a narrow, but fertile strip of land where vegetables, papayas, lucuma, cherimoya trees (custard apple), and grapes grow alongside the hillsides, covered with cacti, of the semi arid desert. Travel along Route 41 towards Vicuña going alongside the banks of the river Elqui that provides irrigation for this fertile valley. The newly constructed Puclaro dam will eventually hold 200 million cubic meters of water, which will be used to provide water for irrigation. On the mountaintop the white domes of the Tololo Observatory can be spotted, it is located in this place because of the clearest atmosphere in the world. No less surprising are the vineyards, with different varieties of Moscatel and Torontel grapes which are used to make one of the most characteristic liquors of Chile, “Pisco” The short tour of the pisco distillery enables one to see the processes involved in the distillation of wine into this clear liquor. Vicuña is the main town of the valley, is also noted for being the birthplace of Gabriela Mistral, the Nobel Prize winner for literature. There will be time to see the Bauer Tower (old city hall), Vicuña’s church and the main square. Leaving Vicuña behind the valley narrows and the mountains become higher and steep sided with the contrasting green vineyards occupying the valley floor. Here the vines are grown for the early exportation of table grapes from the Port of Coquimbo. Next visit the Cochiguaz Valley. stopping at the tomb of Gabriela Mistral in the village of Montegrande and a visit to the old schoolhouse where she spent her childhood and is now a small museum. Return back to La Serena in the evening.
DAY 07: LA SERENA – SANTIAGO- ATACAMA
Breakfast at the Hotel. Time free until transfer to the airport to board flight to Santiago and further connection to Calama. Upon arrival in Calama drive into the Atacama Desert arriving at San Pedro de Atacama.
DAY 08: ATACAMA DESERT
After Breakfast travel on the international highway towards the Atacama Salt Flat, one of the largest in the world. Within the Salt Flat, in the area known as Soncor and the Chaxa Lagoon, where you may see the three species of native pink flamingos. Continue and travel further within the Altiplano, reaching 4,300 meters above sea level. Arrive at the Miñique and Miscanti lagoons, at the foothill of the Miñique and Miscanti volcanoes, with fantastic scenery of bluish waters arising from the background of volcanoes. Return to Socaire for lunch. Our final stop is the village of Toconao visiting the main square, the bell tower built in 1750 made of cactus wood, mud and straw, and the church of San Lucas, both have been declared National Monument since 1951. Return to the hotel for Dinner and overnight.
DAY 9: ATACAMA DESERT
Rise early this morning to visit the Tatio Geysers; the geothermal centre of the Atacama Desert. Witness its impressive natural spectacle of steam combined with volcanic magma; it’s a visual performance that is waiting to surprise you. After watching this delightful spectacle, it is time to enjoy a delicious breakfast to later spend time at the natural hot pool and whose average temperature of 36° C (97 F). Visit the village of Machuca, where local families dedicate their life to grazing and agriculture. There is a good chance to observe a flock of flamingos, ducks and gulls in the nearby wetlands. Return back to San Pedro de Atacama for lunch.
Tour this afternoon to the Moon Valley. The Valley of the Moon, declared a Natural sanctuary and monument, is formed by a depression surrounded by small hills with stunning sharp ridges. This unique place is famous for its natural mineral sculptures, one of them being “Las Tres Marías” (The three Mary’s) formed by the wind erosion, resembling a lunar setting. Finally, end your trip with a magical sunset (subject to weather) at the Kari Viewpoint, one of the highest points of the “Cordillera de la Sal” (Salt Mountain Range); before returning to hotel.
Optional Stargazing tour: The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is world-renowned for the driest place on earth. Atacama’s unique landscape also makes it one of the best stargazing locations in the world. The harsh climate has discouraged people from settling in the desert, meaning there’s little threat of light pollution. The desert’s elevation and its location in the rain shadow of not 1, but 2 mountain chains mean it doesn’t even have clouds on most nights, leaving the sky clear and bright. Add in the fact that the Atacama is located in the southern hemisphere and you have a winning combination that draws astronomers from around the world. Hot drinks (non alcoholic) and light snacks are served during stargazing tour.
DAY 10: ATACAMA /SANTIAGO
Breakfast at the hotel. Time free to explore the town on your own until transfer and flight to Santiago. Overnight stay at Hotel near airport.
DAY 11: SANTIAGO / EASTER ISLAND
Morning, fly to Easter Island, which was declared by UNESCO in 1996 as `Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad’, home to old culture of Rapa Nui. Meeting assistance and transfer to the hotel. Afternoon visit Ahu Akivi (7 Moai), the Ana Tepahu caves and Puna Pau.
Day 12: RANO KAU-ORONGO/VINAPU
After breakfast, travel to Rano Kao volcano bordering the coast. The route ascends its slopes to the summit, where we will observe the impressive crater 1.6 kilometers across and more than 200 meters deep. Along the crater is Orongo, a magnificent ceremonial city with a major concentration of enigmatic petro-glyphs depicting ancient deities of Easter Island’s culture. We will learn about Makemake, the namesake god of one of the dwarf planets comparable to Pluto. Overview of the 3 islets: Motu Nui, Motu Iti and Motu Kao kao and sea birds. Next visit Vinapu, noted for its stone carvings, extraordinary resemblance with those found in the American Andean cultures.
Our afternoon is free to explore Easter Island on our own or to take an optional tour:
Scuba Diving (could be for beginners or expert – PADI)
Navigation to Motus (small islands)
Trekking to Poike or Terevaka Hill
Horseback riding to Terevaka Hill
Day 13: FULL DAY TOUR RANO RARAKU / TONGARIKI / ANAKENA BEACH
Visit the ruins of Vaihu Temple; it is preserved just as it was left after the ancient wars. The highlights are the red hats of the Moais, which were thrown to the sea. Continue to the abandoned quarry of the Rano Raraku Volcano, construction site for all the Moais on the island. Next, visit the recently restored Ahu Tongariki including the largest group of Moais destroyed by tsunami in 1960.
Day 14: EASTER ISLAND/SANTIAGO/DEPART
Time free to explore the beach or town on own. Fly to Santiago in the afternoon and connect with your international flight.
Day 01: Santiago/ Punta Arenas – Puerto Natales.
Reception at the Punta Arenas Airport (we recommend you take the first flight to Punta Arenas, arriving before 12:00 pm) Transfer to the city, time at leisure (lunch on behalf of passengers). At 04:00 pm city tour and visit to a museum, after that, transfer to the local terminal to take the regular bus heading the city of Puerto Natales. Length: 03:15 hrs. Arrive in the city. Transfer from terminal to hotel, accommodation.
Day 2: Puerto Natales – Torres del Paine National Park.
After breakfast, start the full-day excursion that will drive us to the stunning Milodon Cave Natural Monument and later to the Torres del Paine National Park, with overwhelming views of its mountains and lakes such as Sarmiento, Nordenskjold, and Pehoé. Its rich fauna will be present through “guanacos” and “foxes”, among others, including several birds we will easily be able to watch during the trip. A short trek will take us to the Salto Grande, a great waterfall flowing from the rivers of the park. Then, returning to the main road, we will access the administrative headquarters of CONAF to continue to the Grey Lake where after a 30-minute walk through a thousand-years forest, we will get to its beach a place to admire big pieces of icebergs coming from the glacier. A box lunch is included in the service. At 07:30 pm we will return to the hotel in Puerto Natales. Lodging.
Day 3: Puerto Natales – Balmaceda and Serrano Glacier – Punta Arenas. (21 de Mayo Embarkation)
Breakfast. Departure from the hotel to a local pier in order to start our sailing to the Balmaceda Glacier and Serrano Glacier. This sailing lasts about 4 hours to the Bernardo O´Higgins National Park. During the trip, we will be able to watch the first local cattle ranches, cormorants and sea lions colonies, beech forests, waterfalls and cliffs, the perfect home for the majestic condor. Later, we will approach land on “Puerto Toro” docking area, from where we will start a short trek to the Serrano Glacier, crossing a native forest and the lake’s shore. Lunch in Estancia Perales or box lunch. Return to Puerto Natales and transfer to Punta Arenas hotel.
Day 4: Punta Arenas./ Santiago
Time free until transfer to the Punta Arenas Airport. .