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Chile: 11 Nights
Chile is known as the thin country and stretches down the South American continent where, centuries ago, Native Americans settled in the fertile valleys between the Pacific coastline to the west and the Andes Mountains to the east. On this 12 day journey through Chile see landscapes as diverse as snow-capped mountains reflected in clear lakes, the geological sites of the desert of Atacama, the lush vineyards of the Wine Country and the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Torres del Paine National Park.
- Salt flats and red desert landscapes in the Atacama
- Boutique wine producers in the Colchagua Valley
- Towering granite peaks of the Torres del Paine National Park
Day 1 - London/Santiago
Depart London today on an overnight flight via Madrid to Santiago de Chile, set within the fertile plains of the Central Valley between the snow-capped Andes mountains in the east and the sun-soaked Pacific Coastline to the west.
Day 2 - Santiago
After checking in at your hotel you can begin your exploration of this cosmopolitan city, founded by the Spanish conquistadors in 1541. You will take a fascinating city tour starting with the historic buildings clustered around the central Plaza de Armas, and taking in the full city panorama with stunning views from Cerro San Cristobel, the famous hill inside the city's largest urban park.
Day 3 - Santiago / Atacama
A flight this morning takes you to Calama, the gateway to the geological and archaeological wonders of the central Atacama Desert. Your eco-friendly hotel is nestled in the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama where you will spend the next three nights marveling at the beauty and relaxing soul of the place.
Day 4-5 - Atacama
Discover this dramatic region on two full days of adventure with your experienced guides. Explore archaeological sites, volcanoes, vivid mineral lakes and dramatic lunar landscapes by four wheel drive or on foot. You may like to spend a day relaxing in the hot springs or by the salt lagoons - pick and choose your tours at this truly spectacular destination, and make sure you save your energy for star gazing at night - some of the best stars in the world.
Day 6 - Atacama / Wine Country
Fly back from Calama to Santiago today to head out of the city to the vineyards of the Colchagua Valley, Chile's undisputed wine capital. Enjoy a 2 night stay at a delightful property in Santa Cruz.
Day 7 - Wine country/Santiago
You will have a day to explore the most exclusive vineyards of the valley today. After your first morning visit you will have lunch at a delightfully local restaurant followed by another visit to a smaller vineyard where you will learn about the winemaking process and of course have a tasting or two! At the end of the day you will be driven back to Santiago for an evening at leisure.
Day 8 -Santiago / Torres del Paine
This morning you will be driven to Santiago airport where you will board your flight to Punta Arenas in the far south of Chile, on the southern Strait of Magellan from where a few hours' drive north will bring you to the edge of the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park. Set amid dramatic Patagonian wilderness, Tierra Patagonia is the perfect base from which to explore the parks towering mountains, turquoise lakes, glaciers, ice fields and steppes.
Day 9-10 - Torres del Paine
You have two days to experience the dramatic sights and sounds of Torres del Paine National Park and its surroundings: its valleys and vibrant lakes, sheer granite mountains carved by glaciers and sculpted by wind and fascinating native rock art. Group activities in and around the park are included either on foot or by boat, horseback, mountain bike or kayak.
Day 11 - Torres del Paine / Santiago
Return to Punta Arenas for an afternoon flight to Santiago, where you will return to overnight in your city hotel. You may like to spend the last few hours of your time in Chile with a classic jazz concert in the hip Bellavista quarter or a delicious seafood dinner at one of Santiago's fine restaurants.
Day 12 - Santiago / London
Depart Chile today as you return to London on an overnight flight via Madrid. Alternatively you may like to extend your Chilean adventure with a tour of the Lakes District or head out to remote and mysterious Easter Island, 2000 miles off the Chilean coast and famous for its figures sculpted from volcanic rock.
With A&K all journeys are individually tailored to suit your needs and timescale. As a guide, this 12 day suggested journey in Chile will cost from £4,995 per person based on two adults sharing with flights from the UK and subject to availability
Best time to be there
As the climate varies hugely from north to south, different places are best at different times, although spring (September to December) is universally good. Atacama can be visited year-round, central Chile enjoys a Mediterranean climate with good weather throughout. Patagonia is best for hiking in Spring or Summer.
LAN Chile daily via Madrid
GMT -4 hours
Not required for UK passport holders
Yellow fever certificate required if arriving from an infected area
The Hotels you (Charlie Lockwood) selected were superb in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, what a pleasure it has been to stay in the Orient Express Hotels, everyone was so helpful, the exception being the Four Seasons Hotel in Buenos Aires equally superb.
- TW, London