DESTINATION COVERED : Santiago – San Pedro De Atacama – Santiago – Torres Del Paine National Park – Punta Arenas
SPECIES SPOTTED : Guanacos – Andean Foxes -Pumas – Chilean Huemul – Andean Condor – Black-Chested Buzzard-Eagle – Rufous-Tailed Hawk – Chimango Caracara – Magellanic Horned Owl – Austral Pygmy-Owl – North American Beavers – Muskrats – Kelp Geese – Torrent Ducks – Austral Parakeets – Andean Condors – Blackish Oystercatchers – Magellanic Oystercatchers – Flamingos – Taguas – Andean Coots
Arrive at Santiago Airport and be transferred to your hotel. After lunch, go on a half-day sightseeing tour of the capital city. Trips to San Cristóbal Hill to enjoy a panoramic view of Santiago. Then head west to Plaza de Armas and take a guided tour of Santiago Cathedral. The tour continues on to Plaza de la Constitución. Explore the square and see Palacio de La Moneda – the seat of the President of the Republic of Chile. Next, head to Plaza Concha y Toro where you will see an ‘Esquinazo’ (part of the national dance, ‘cueca’). Visit the la Alameda, where you can see Teatro Carrera, (theatre built in 1926) Palácio Errázuriz (mansion built in 1911), Palacio Ariztía (French Neoclassical style architecture), Palácio Iñiguez (ornate building from 1908), and other specimens of exquisite architecture. On your way back, you will go past the south side of La Moneda, Universidad de Chile, Biblioteca Nacional, Plaza Italia, and other spots.
A guide will then show you around Cerro Santa Lucia. This hill is adorned with ornate facades, stairways, fountains and an excellent viewpoint. Visit FABA, a handicraft shop that specializes in lapis lazuli jewelry (a stone found only in Chile and Afghanistan).
DAY 02 : SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
Fly from Santiago to Calama Airport and transfer to your hotel in San Pedro. After lunch at the hotel, visit the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) renowned for salt sculptures made by wind erosion, known as Tres Marías. These sculptures make this area look like the lunar surface, hence the name ‘Moon Valley’. Visit old salt deposits and their caves to appreciate gem salt (petrified salt) and minerals that look like quartz. Experience a beautiful sunset here. Then head back to the hotel for dinner.
( Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 03 : SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
Visit Los Flamencos National Reserve and Chaxa Lagoon and see flocks of flamingos. Cross the Tropic of Capricorn as you pass through the village of Socaire (3,500m) that features a beautiful church made of volcanic stone.
Move on to the altiplanic lagoons of Miscanti and Miñique (4,000m). The blue waters in these lagoons flow from the top of volcanoes of the same names. The altiplanic plant ‘coirón’ that surrounds Miñique, is used for handicrafts and roofs, while Miscanti is a nesting place for ‘taguas,’ a small Punta Arenas which is in brownish black color. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
Then head to the Toconao village and visit San Lucas, a church with a beautiful bell tower made of adobe and cacti wood. Return to your hotel in San Pedro for dinner.
DAY 04 : SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
Trips to Cejar Lagoon today. The Lagoon is filled with serene turquoise waters and surrounded by white shores of crystallized salt. Look out for flamingos and Andean coots that frequent this area. Then, visit Agua Piedra Lagoon that is equally beautiful. Swimming is allowed at both the lagoons.
Return to your hotel for lunch and head to the Puritama Hot Springs. You will have to walk for two hours from Guatín to arrive at these beautiful springs. Spend time here and then head back to the hotel for dinner.
DAY 05 : SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA
Leave before dawn and Trips to the Tatio Geysers, a geothermal centre with geysers that can only be seen very early in the morning. Some of the steam columns here easily reach up to 10 meters of height. After seeing this entertaining spectacle, have breakfast and enjoy the thermal pool, rich in sulphur with an average temperature of 36ºC.
Head to Machuca, an Atacamenian village dedicated to herding and agriculture. Visit a swamp (bofedal) where flamingos, ducks, and seagulls nest.
After lunch at the hotel, the evening is at leisure.
( Lunch, Dinner)
DAY 06 : SAN PEDRO DE ATACAMA – SANTIAGO
Drive to Tulor village, particularly attractive because of its labyrinth-like construction, in which each circle was either a house or a meeting place. It is more than 2,000 years old and is the oldest construction of the Atacamenian culture that still stands.
Visit Pukará de Quitor, dating from the 12th century. It is a pre-Columbian archaeological site. This stone fortress is located 3 km northwest of the town of San Pedro de Atacama, overlooking the valley of the river San Pedro. It was designated a national monument in 1982.
Return to the hotel for lunch. Then, you’ll be transferred to the airport in Calama. Fly to Santiago and be transferred to your hotel.
DAY 07 : SANTIAGO
Head to the Pacific coast, crossing the Coastal Mountain Range, the Casablanca and Curacaví Valleys.
Arrive at Valparaíso, a city where the main commercial port and the Congress of Chile are located. Take a tour to see the multi-colored houses on the hills, parks, diverse historic monuments, traditional bars and restaurants. Visit La Sebastiana, (closed on Mondays) one of the houses of the Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda that has been converted into a museum. Have lunch at a restaurant that specializes in seafood.
Then, visit Viña del Mar, also known as the Garden City because of its many parks and nice gardens. Visit Reñaca, one of the most exclusive beaches of the central coast of Chile.
Return to Santiago in the afternoon. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
DAY 08 : TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Punta Arenas. Then you’ll be driven to Hotel Las Torres, your home for the next few days. The hotel is conveniently located close to Torres del Paine National Park. Spend the next few days indulging in outdoor activities around this area.
Please note that most parts of the Torres del Paine National Park are accessible only by foot, some parts maybe explored on horseback. Thus, you are required to be reasonably fit as the tour involves long walks and outdoor activities.
DAY 09 : TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK
Over the next few days, you can choose from a wide variety of activities. There are 25 outdoor excursions at your disposal here. Enjoy the hotel spa, agrotourism, and organic products. There are many different trekking excursions to choose from based on your preference of trek duration and difficulty. Luxury camping programmes can also be arranged upon prior request.
DAY 10 : TORRES DEL PAINE NATIONAL PARK
Torres del Paine National Park features mountains, a glacier, a lake, and river-rich areas. Guanacos, foxes, and pumas are found in the Park. It is also home to the endangered Chilean huemul. Punta Arenasing enthusiasts can spot the Andean condor, black-chested buzzard-eagle, Rufous-tailed hawk, chimango caracara, Magellanic horned owl, and Austral pygmy-owl. Hikers are rewarded with splendid views of pristine valleys, towering mountains, and silent glaciers.
DAY 11 : DEPART PUNTA ARENAS
Transfer to Punta Arenas Airport for your flight back.
QUICK INFORMATION :
Chile is a country of extraordinary contrasts and extreme beauty, with attractions ranging from the ancient forests of the Lake District to the volcanic peaks of the Andes. There are number of good parks here, and plenty of opportunities for Tripslers with a streak of adventure. Chile is famous for its Torres del Paine National Park, which is considered as the finest nature Trips destination in all of South America.
The north of Chile has a desert like landscape, which attracts visitors for its natural beauty and wildlife, protected by a series of national parks. The Lauca National Park is famous for its vicuñas, condors, vizcachas, guanacos, flamingos and herds of llamas and alpacas, which are kept by the Aymara shepherds. Southern Chile is one of the most attractive destinations for tourists because of its numerous lakes and lagoons, white-water rivers, fertile valleys and a chain of national parks crowned by the peaks of active volcanoes. Puerto Montt is the starting point for the Southern Road, which leads to Patagonia and the island of Chiloé. Patagonia, land of legends, ideal place for tourists who wish to have an unforgettable experience in an untouched environment. Tourists are rewarded with splendid views of pristine valleys, huge lakes, towering mountains, silent glaciers, evergreen forests and treeless plains under the clear sky of the southernmost tip of the world. The Torres del Paine National Park is an absolute must. Three islands in the Pacific Ocean are world renowned for their special features: Easter Island, for its gigantic moai sculptures, Robinson Crusoe Island, named after the protagonist of the popular novel about the man who was shipwrecked there, and Chiloé Island, a charming enclave in the South Pacific, known for its fascinating myths and wild nature.
Santiago, Chile’s capital city, is the centre of the political, economic and cultural life. It is situated in the country’s central valley region. Unique characteristics are the breathtaking valleys, where the famous Chilean wines originate, and the Mediterranean climate. Santiago is situated between the high peaks with winter sports centres and a coastline.
WILDLIFE HIGHLIGHTS :
- Torres del Paine National Park features mountains, a glacier, a lake, and river-rich areas. Guanacos, foxes, and pumas are found in the Park. It is also home to the endangered Chilean huemul. Punta Arenasing enthusiasts can spot the Andean condor, black-chested buzzard-eagle, Rufous-tailed hawk, chimango caracara, Magellanic horned owl, and Austral pygmy-owl.
- Tierra del Fuego National Park, which is the southernmost protected area in Argentina, and is the only National Park in the country with a maritime coast. The forest provides beautiful views over the Beagle Cannel and has a great variety of flora and fauna. The Park’s dramatic scenery comprises waterfalls, forests, mountains, and glaciers. Spot guanacos, Andean foxes, North American beavers, and muskrats. Almost 90 species of Punta Arenass can be seen here including Kelp geese, Torrent ducks, Austral parakeets, Andean condors, blackish oystercatchers, and Magellanic oystercatchers.
- Visit Cape Horn National Park and walk through a Magellanic forest of lengas, coihues, canelos, ferns, and other native vegetation.
- Visit Los Flamencos National Reserve and Chaxa Lagoon and see flocks of flamingos.
- Visit altiplanic lagoons of Miscanti and Miñique (4,000m). The blue waters in these lagoons flow from the top of volcanoes of the same names. The altiplanic plant ‘coirón’ that surrounds Miñique, is used for handicrafts and roofs, while Miscanti is a nesting place for ‘taguas,’ a small Punta Arenas which is in brownish black color.
- Trips to Cejar Lagoon. The Lagoon is filled with serene turquoise waters and surrounded by white shores of crystallized salt. Look out for flamingos and Andean coots that frequent this area.
BEST TIME TO VISIT :
Chile’s southern attractions, including Torres del Paine and the Lakes District, are best visited in summer (December to March). The spring months of November and December and fall months of March and April can be nearly as good.
Chile in the winter (June to September) can be ideal for skiers. Middle Chile is best visited in the spring season (September to November) or during the fall harvest (late February into April).
The Atacama Desert can be explored throughout the year, but summer days sizzle and nights are extremely cold at higher altitudes. In the northern altiplano, summer is the rainy season, which means an afternoon downpour. March is an ideal time to visit.
High season is December through March