November 30 - December 10, 2015
From sophisticated Santiago with its internationally praised vineyards to majestic ancient forests and soaring volcanoes, Chile is a jewel with a fascinating history, a diverse ecology and a modern, colorful culture. You'll see Chile from the peaks of the Andes, to the rugged, open spaces of Patagonia, to the moonscape vistas of the Atacama Desert.
You may never get to walk on the moon, but the Atacama Desert is the closest thing to it. This area is between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean in Chile and is considered the driest place on earth after the Antarctic. The scenery is like nothing you have ever seen and the colonial towns as pristine as any on South America.
Extend your Chile adventure to Easter Island! Long a destination of mystery, Easter Island offers a special, off-the-beaten-track adventure. You will explore the ancient moai (sculptures) that have fascinated and baffled history buffs for generations.
Day 1 Monday Nov 30 - Santiago - Arrival (D)
You will be met on arrival after clearing government formalities and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Tonight we meet for a welcome dinner in the hotel. Overnight at HOTEL DIRECTOR VITACURA.
Day 2 Tuesday Dec 1 - Santiago City Tour (BD)
Today, see the city's most outstanding attractions, including a walking tour downtown visiting the "Plaza de Armas", the Cathedral, Ahumada Boulevard and Government Palace "La Moneda"(outside). Then, we'll drive down the main avenues of old Santiago, crossing the bohemian neighborhood of Bellavista and up to San Cristobal Hill, for a magnificent panoramic view of the city and the Andes Mountain Range. The tour will then take us to the modern part of Santiago, including its chic neighborhoods, shopping and financial centers. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3 Wednesday Dec 2 - Santiago / Wine Country, Valparaiso & Viña Del Mar (BD)
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel. We depart this morning through the Casablanca and Curacavi valleys where you enjoy a delicious wine tasting. Upon arrival at the Pacific coast, visit Las Salinas and Reñaca beaches and then continue to Viña del Mar, known as the garden city for its beautiful parks. Visit the casino building and the avenues of this attractive town. In the afternoon, we visit Valparaíso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where stairways and old funicular lifts lead up to the hills on which the city is built. Dating back to the 16th century, the architecture of this quirky town is attractive and eclectic. Return to Santiago. Overnight at the hotel. Dinner tonight in a local restaurant near the hotel.
Day 4 Thursday Dec 3 - Santiago / Punta Arenas and drive to Torres del Paine National Park (BD)
Early this morning, transfer to the airport for our flight to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival, we will transfer to Torres del Paine National Park. Overnight at LAS TORRES LODGE.
Day 5 Friday Dec 4 -Torres del Paine National Park (BLD)
The lodge's goal is that you enjoy everything that the national park offers, so the all-inclusive program includes tours with guides and baqueanos, who will make you feel like you are at home.
Full day excursion to Torres del Paine Lake Grey (approx. 40 min. walk) or navigation via Lake Grey
Visit its most famous highlights while enjoying some beautiful walks where you will be surrounded by the flora and fauna facing the marvelous mountains that form part of the Paine Massif. After enjoying a lunch outdoors we will take you to Lago Grey where you will have the option to take a walk around the lakeshore or take the navigation and get close to the Grey Glacier. Overnight at the lodge.
Day 6 Saturday Dec 5 - Torres del Paine National Park (BLD)
Excursion to Salto Grande, Laguna Amarga, Laguna Azul (approx. 20 min. walk) and Paine River Waterfall
You will arrive at the Salto Grande area by vehicle, and after a short walk, you will find yourself surrounded by one of the most beautiful views of the Paine Massif. Salto Grande is the natural union of the lakes Nordenskjöld and Pehoé. This area is also known for its rich vegetation. This afternoon we drive west towards the peaks of Torres del Paine as we approach the stunning deep blue waters of Laguna Azul, framed by the Towers themselves. We will ride through native forests and grassy flower filled meadows, as we follow the route round this beautiful lake with its stunning mountain backdrop. We then head south, crossing the area known as Cañadon Macho with vega nañdu normally inhabited by large breeding groups of both guanaco and rhea. This is a great area for spotting and photographing wildlife. Continue your drive to the south before stopping and walking out to the beautiful Cascada Paine, a stunning waterfall where glacial water thunders over the rocks on its journey through the park. We will drive past the Estancia Laguna Amarga and the salt encrusted shores of Laguna Amarga (Bitter Lake), with its emerald green waters acting as a mirror to the surrounding mountains, which reflect in its surface.
Day 7 Sunday Dec 6 - Punta Arenas / Santiago (BD)
Transfer to Punta Arenas airport (approx. 6 hours drive) for your flight to Santiago. Reception and check-in at the hotel. Overnight at the airport HOLIDAY INN AIRPORT HOTEL.
Day 8 Monday Dec 7 - Santiago / Calama / San Pedro de Atacama (BD)
We'll have breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport for our flight to Calama. We are met on arrival at Calama airport and transferred to San Pedro de Atacama. In the afternoon, visit the salty mountain range, the Mars valley (also called Death Valley) and Moon Valley to observe the spectacular sunset reflected on that wonderful landscape - nature's own light show. Return to the hotel. Overnight at ALTIPLANICO HOTEL.
Day 9 Tuesday Dec 8 - San Pedro de Atacama (BLD)
Breakfast is served at the hotel. Today we visit the Atacama Salt Flat, Chile's largest salt flat and also one of the largest in the world. There we will find Chaxa Lagoon, where three different species of flamingoes live and breed. We will also have the chance to visit the picturesque village of Toconao with its Bell Tower constructed in the classical Atacamenian way. After this we will continue to the village of Socaire and the Altiplanic lagoons of Meñique and Miscanti, located at 14,715 feet above sea level. This area is part of the "Reserva Nacional Los Flamencos" (Flamingos National Reserve). The lagoons are surrounded by impressive volcanoes that were formed when the Andes Mountain Range rose from the sea through millions of years of evolution. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 10 Wednesday Dec 9 - San Pedro de Atacama (BLD)
We'll depart early this morning from the hotel (around 04:00 AM) for the Tatio geysers. We'll have a boxed breakfast at the geysers before we go on a gentle guided walk around the geothermal field, where we can observe the natural phenomenon of the steam columns, best viewed as the sun rises over the Andes Mountains. Return to San Pedro de Atacama with spectacular views of the Torcopuri y Sairecabur volcanoes. The rest of the day is at leisure. We suggest visiting the market in San Pedro de Atacama. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 11 Thursday Dec 10 - San Pedro de Atacama / Calama / Santiago / Depart Chile (B)
Breakfast is at the hotel. Transfer to Calama to board the flight to Santiago. Arrive and connect with your flight home or to your onward destination.
EXTENSION TO EASTER ISLAND
Day 11 Thursday Dec 10 - San Pedro de Atacama / Calama / Santiago / Easter Island (BD)
Breakfast is served at the hotel. Transfer to Calama to board the flight to Santiago with connection to Easter Island You will be met on arrival at Easter Island and transferred to the IORANA HOTEL.
Day 12 Friday Dec 11 - Easter Island - Ana Kai Tangata, Rano Kau, Orongo, Ahu Akivi and Puna Pau (BD)
In the morning, we will visit the Ana Kai Tangat Cave which has many paintings made from mineral pigments found on the island. The painting depicts the Manutara bird. The arrival of this bird in spring would initiate the Tangata Manu competition. We continue to Ranu Kau, which was the second of the three main volcanoes to erupt about 2.5 million years ago. It has a height of 1,016 feet and a huge crater almost a mile in diameter with a fresh water lagoon 36 feet deep. Next, we travel to the volcano that is the ancient ceremonial city of Orongo, where the greatest concentration of petroglyphs exists. There are pictures of the Tangata manu birdman, the creator god.
This afternoon we will visit Ahu Akivi & Puna Pau. Ahu Akivi is the archaeological centre of the Roihi sector and was the first site to be properly restored in the 1960's. It is a ceremonial site, which is particularly interesting not only because of its location (in the centre of the island) but also because of the legends that surround the Seven Moai which are situated on the platform or Ahu. The tour also includes Puna Pau, to the east of the town of Hanga Roa, which is situated in a small crater of red stone. This is where the "pukao" or hats (topknots) which crowned the moai were made. On the way it is possible to see the path where they were transported, including some examples of the pukao, which have fallen by the wayside. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 13 Saturday Dec 12 - Akahanga, Rano Raraku, Ahu Tongariki & Anakena Beach (BLD)
Full day Easter Island excursion to visit the ruins of the temple of Akahanga, where the hats of the moai are the outstanding feature. The hats are lying where they fell when the platform was destroyed. Continue to the volcano of Rano Raraku, where all the Moai on the island were carved out of the rock. Climb to the edge of the crater of the volcano to appreciate the small lake inside and the moai scattered about the inner slopes in various stages of construction. Continue to Ahu Tongariki, where many of the huge moai were toppled by a large "seaquake" in 1960. Finally the tour ends at Anakena beach with its two beautiful ahu. There is time for a bath in the sea before returning to Hanga Roa in the afternoon. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 14 Sunday Dec 13 - Easter Island - Santiago by flight/ Departure Santiago (B)
The day is at leisure until your transfer to the airport for your departing flight to Santiago. Arrive and connect with your flight to home or to your onward destination.
PRE TOUR: ARGENTINA - BUENOS AIRES
Day 1 Friday Nov 27 - Arrive Buenos Aires (D)
You will be met upon arrival at Ezeiza International Airport, Buenos Aires and escorted to your hotel. Our representative will assist you with check-in procedures. Tonight's dinner is at the hotel restaurant.
Overnight at INTERSUR RECOLETA BUENOS AIRES HOTEL
Day 2 Saturday Nov 28 - Buenos Aires City Tour (BD)
The tour will include attractions such as 9 de Julio Avenue, the Obelisk and Corrientes Street. The first stop will be in the Plaza de Mayo to visit the Cathedral and the Cabildo (Old City Hall). After that, the tour will continue towards the most traditional neighbourhood of Buenos Aires, San Telmo, which is characterized by its old colonial houses and the cobblestoned streets.
Later, we will head to La Boca, located in the south of the city. There will be a scheduled stop to look around the colorful zinc houses that make up this area of Buenos Aires, which used to be the refuge and home for the first immigrants and popular artists. We continue on to Puerto Madero - the old port of the city that was turned into one of the most exclusive gastronomic and residential areas in Buenos Aires. Next is Palermo, the largest barrio (neighbourhood) in the city. The Palermo Woods are the city's largest green area, with more than 700 acres of gardens and artificial ponds surrounded by elegant buildings. Finally, the last point in the tour is Recoleta, considered by many as the most affluent neighborhood. The bars, cafes and restaurants that are worth a visit! This will be our last stop with a walk to the Recoleta Cemetery area and its surroundings.
Dinner Tango Show
In the very heart of San Telmo, this historic restored tenement (known as "conventillo") is a classic example of the culture of the old city of Buenos Aires. The premises of La Ventana take you back in time. The interior creates the ideal setting for a unique experience, which includes 32 performers, two tango orchestras, an Argentine folk music group, dancers and singers. The menu consists of national and international cuisine and an exquisite selection of Argentine wines. Departure Time: 8.00 pm. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3 Sunday Nov 29 - Buenos Aires (B)
The day at leisure. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 4 Monday Nov 30 - Buenos Aires - Santiago (B)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Santiago.