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'Life in Chile'

What makes this trip special?

City life beside the Andes

City life beside the Andes

Santiago

Set against the backdrop of a long line of Andean peaks, Santiago is a colonial city, turned republican capital, turned modern metropolis. There's a lot to do, with good art galleries, unmissable museums, lovely parks, and a great range of shops, restaurants and hotels. Step outside the city and you are in some of Chile's most notable wine valleys.

Mapuche Culture

Mapuche Culture

Chile's Araucania region

The city of Temuco is the the heartland of the indigenous Mapuche people, whose culture is long threatened though 13% of the nation identifies as Mapuche.

'Monkey Puzzle' Conifers

'Monkey Puzzle' Conifers

Araucania’s Araucarias

These evergreen ‘monkey puzzle’ conifers with their umbrella-like, reptilian foliage have lived here since the Jurassic. They became endangered due to logging but are now protected in a cluster of national reserves near Villarrica and Pucón.

Volcanoes and lakes

Volcanoes and lakes

Puerto Varas & the Chilean Lake District

Puerto Varas is a small town on the shores of Lake Llanquihue with stunning views across the lake to the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. It is a good base for exploring the southern part of the Lake District, touring around the lakes or sailing across them, active hiking, biking, kayaking and rafting, walking and birding in ancient forests, or just relaxing in wonderful scenery.

The Oldest Trees on Earth

The Oldest Trees on Earth

Alerce Andino National Park

This national park south of Puerto Varas takes its name from its many tall 'alerce' conifers (Fitzroya cypress). These are among the earth's oldest trees - the record for the species is 3,622. Very slow-growing, some extremely tall individual trees in this park are thought to be 1,500-2,000 years old. The park has excellent walking trails and good birds; its other wildlife includes puma (rarely seen), tiny pudu deer and the quique mustelid.

Seafood and stilts

Seafood and stilts

Chiloé Island

Chiloé's isolation from mainland Chile has preserved its long standing air of mystery and tradition. The island has some of the country's best seafood, and perhaps its most unique architecture in the form of its wooden churches and stilted houses on the sea front. There are large colonies of Humboldt and Magellanic penguins towards the beaches of Puñihuil, and this is the only known place in the world where both species exisit toegther.

Itinerary map for Chile 'Life in Chile' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Santiago
  • 2 Santiago
  • 3 Temuco
  • 4 Pucón
  • 5 Pucón
  • 6 Puerto Varas
  • 7 Puerto Varas
  • 8 Chiloé Island
  • 9 Castro
  • 10 Tepuheico
  • 11 Castro
  • 12 Santiago
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Life in Chile'

DAY 1

Santiago

You are met on the arrival of your international flight and transferred to your hotel.

DAY 2
B

A free day for sightseeing, museums and galleries. Bearing in mind some of the places you visit on your trip we can thoroughly recommend the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino.

DAY 3
B

Temuco

This morning you are collected from your hotel for the short flight to the university city of Temuco, capital of Chile’s Araucania region and heartland of the indigenous Mapuche people, whose culture is long threatened though 13% of the nation identifies as Mapuche. With a guide, you hear something of Mapuche traditions, and you learn about their crafts, weaving, art, music, medicinal use of plants and games such as the exciting hockey-like palin. A few words of greeting in their Mapudungun language will be met with great delight. Pablo Neruda grew up in Temuco. His father worked on the railways, and Neruda’s abiding love of trains is celebrated in the Museo Nacional Ferroviario Pablo Neruda de Temuco which you visit (unless today is a Monday). It has a great collection of 12 steam locos and 9 carriages that once played their part in Chilean life. Sadly the railway is no longer in use.

DAY 4
BL

Araucania’s Araucarias

This morning you are transferred to the resort town of Pucón on the shore of Lake Villarrica for 2 nights. In the afternoon your local guide takes you walking in the forests on the lower flank of Villarrica Volcano among many of Patagonia’s typical trees, the lenga, coigue, roble, nothofagus, alerce and others, with lovely birds and the chance of other wildlife.

DAY 5
BL

This morning your guide takes you towards Volcán Lanin to an area of thousand year old araucaria trees. These evergreen ‘monkey puzzle’ conifers with their umbrella-like, reptilian foliage have lived here since the Jurassic. They became endangered due to logging but are now protected in a cluster of national reserves near Villarrica and Pucón. You walk in the freshness of nature from an unimaginably ancient time.

DAY 6
BL

Southern Lake District

Travel south to Puerto Varas on the shore of Lake Llanquihue. Temperatures are cooler and the climate wetter in this southern section of the Lake District, notable for its Valdivian rainforest. Stop on the way for lunch at Puerto Octay and to visit the German-influenced town of Frutillar. We can try to book tickets for this evening at its busy lakeside concert hall, which opened in 2010 beside the lake with views across to the perfect cone of snow-capped Osorno volcano. Stay 2 nights in Puerto Varas. It is a 30 minute taxi ride to Frutillar if you are spending your evening at a concert there.

DAY 7
BL

You visit the Valdivian forest of the Alerce Andina reserve. Stretch your legs as much as you wish on its forest trails, some beneath mighty Fitzroya cupressoides which can live over 3000 years. The reserve is home to rarely-seen pumas, tiny pudu (the planet’s second smallest deer), and lesser grison or quique–a widespread mustelid. This is a good opportunity to look for endemic woodland birds. If birds are your thing (let us know) your guide might drive you to the Gulf of Reloncaví for coastal birds–and perhaps even Peale’s dolphin too.

DAY 8
BL

Chiloé Island

This morning you drive past Puerto Montt to take the ferry from Pargua across the narrow Chacao Channel to Chiloé Island where you stay for 4 nights. The crossing takes just 40min. Pods of black and white Commerson’s dolphin patrol the channel. You should see sea lion, and an array of sea birds–perhaps even the very rare Pincoya Storm-petrel. On Chiloé you will experience its unique way of life, its vivid folklore and myths, its cuisine sourced from the sea, and its special architecture–notable in wooden churches and palafito houses. Chiloé’s unusual habitats, some very pristine, support a very special fauna, such as Darwin’s fox, kodkod or güiña (a tiny spotted cat), the endangered Southern river otter and the rare marine otter. The birdlife is exceptional. You stop at Caulín Bay and mud flats where locals harvest oysters and seaweed on the mudflat . If you see a Red Knot here it will have migrated from northern Canada. You take a 30min boat ride around Punihuil Islet, home between October and March of the only known mixed colony of Humboldt and Magellanic penguins, and where the rare marine otter can be seen. Pygmy blue whales come together around Metalqui Island between December and March, and you could also join a 3-4h boat trip to see them at reasonable extra cost. Tonight you stay in the north of the island.

DAY 9
BL

Today you explore by boat along the peaceful Chepu River, an unusual tidal river created in 1960 by an earthquake which sank the land by 2m and created a sunken forest. It is home to Southern river otter which is adapted to life in salt or freshwater. Reaching the Pacific shore you walk along a remote, pristine beach–a world away from the world. You travel across Chiloé, stopping to see some of its wooden churches, to arrive in Castro on the Gulf of Ancud where you stay the night.

DAY 10
BLD

The western and southern parts of Chiloé are well covered in pristine forests with a thick understory of native quila bamboo, ferns, mosses, lianas and epiphytes. You visit the Tepuhueico reserve on the west coast where there are some beautiful walking trails and the best chance of seeing the endemic Darwin’s fox and perhaps the diminutive kodkod. Amid Magellanic fuchsia and evergreen hazel there is an enchanting stand of arrayan myrtles, their twisting trunks papered with peeling bark of reddish gold rising to the sky–a cathedral in the forest. You stay the night at Tepuhueico’s comfortable hotel. Birdwatchers will be kept especially busy here.

DAY 11
B

You are able to spend much of today with your naturalist guide exploring the wonderful Tepuhueico reserve. You return to Castro in the late afternoon for a final night on Chiloé.

DAY 12
B

Santiago

You are transferred to Chiloé’s airport for a flight to Santiago. If you have more time, you could join an expedition cruise from Puerto Montt through the Gulf of Ancud to the Glacier San Rafael, or fly to the far south of Patagonia to Torres del Paine or cruise through the Tierra del Fuego archipelago to Cape Horn.

Guide prices for 'Life in Chile'

options based on all year low season mid season high season peak season other season
Mid-range hotels, private tours 2 people sharing £4,495
Upper range hotels, private tours 2 people sharing £4,895
Prices are per person and include:
  • all travel in Chile
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • tours as indicated
Prices do not include:
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • airport and departure taxes
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • any optional excursions you may buy locally

Customer reviews for 'Life in Chile'

Recent reviews are shown here from holidays based on this initial design. In each case the itinerary may have been modified (a little or a lot) to suit the individual traveller.

Average

Seasonal information for 'Life in Chile'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm
2 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm
3 Temuco 25°C rainfall 38mm
4 Pucón 24°C rainfall 67mm
5 Pucón 24°C rainfall 67mm
6 Puerto Varas 20°C rainfall 76mm
7 Puerto Varas 20°C rainfall 76mm
8 Chiloé Island 17°C rainfall 80mm
9 Castro 17°C rainfall 74mm
10 Tepuheico 17°C rainfall 84mm
11 Castro 17°C rainfall 74mm
12 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm

Typical weather for January

rainchart

Max °C figures are the average daily maximum temperatures for the month. Rainfall is the average precipitation for the month.

Hotels for 'Life in Chile'

Days 1 - 2

Orly Hotel

Santiago
rating

Average rating 5.0 (1 ratings)

Located in the bustling district of Providencia, the Hotel Orly is a small characterful hotel. All 28 rooms have en-suite facilities and vary in size but single rooms are quite small and do not have a bathtub. Additional amenities include a desktop, a/c and heating units, safe, hair-dryer, cable TV and Wi-Fi. Some rooms overlook the back garden. There is a café at the front (also used by members of the public) and lounge areas as well as a craft shop.

Orly Hotel
Hotel exterior
Day 3

Hotel Temuco - Holiday Inn Express

Avenida Rudecindo Ortega

Hotel Temuco is located in a convenient area and is 10 minutes from downtown Temuco. Offers a complimentary breakfast buffet and an outdoor pool. The hotel is well equipped with an outdoor pool, terrace and gym.

Hotel Temuco - Holiday Inn Express
Days 4 - 5

Malalhue

Pucón

Hotel Malalhue is a mountain style hotel with 24 guestrooms. All have private bathrooms and WIFI whilst there is a bar and restaurant open all year round. The hotel is around 800m from the centre of town so ideal for those with a car. Guests also have use of the outdoor heated swimming pool.

Malalhue
hotel exterior
Days 6 - 7

Cabaña del Lago

Puerto Varas

Located 5 blocks from the centre of Puerto Varas this 157-room hotel has some of the most beautiful views in Puerto Varas. All rooms which are divided between Standard, Superior and Suites (some with park view and some with Lake view) have en-suite facilities, mini-bar, Cable TV and electronic safe. The hotel also features a Spa with heated swimming pool, 2 panoramic terraces, hot tub located on the hillside of the park of the hotel, gym, restaurant, bar and roof terrace with full bar.

Cabaña del Lago
Superior room
Day 8

Homestay in Chepu area

Chiloé Island

Homestay in Chepu area
Day 9

Palafito 1326

Castro

Palafito 1326 is a very sweet boutique B&B in a traditional stilted Chilote building on the seafront of Castro, Chiloé’s capital.

Rooms either have town or bay views. All are decorated with native woods, local textiles and feature large windows. Guests can enjoy the communal dining area with views across the bay, as well as a roof terrace area with views along the coastline. Only simple snacks are served.

Palafito 1326
Hotel exterior
Day 10

RAI Tepuhueico Eco Lodge

Parque Tepuhueico

Located in the Tepuhueico Park, RAI Eco Lodge is surrounded by nature and forests. Each of the 8 rooms has a panoramic view of Lake Tepuhueico, and 2 cabañas are also available. The hotel is built with a contemporary design and has cozy communal areas, as well as a restaurant, garden and terrace for the guests to enjoy. The lodge offers different excursions, such as kayaking down Rio Grande and horseback riding along the Pacific Coast of the park.

 

 

RAI Tepuhueico Eco Lodge
Day 11

Palafito 1326

Castro

Palafito 1326 is a very sweet boutique B&B in a traditional stilted Chilote building on the seafront of Castro, Chiloé’s capital.

Rooms either have town or bay views. All are decorated with native woods, local textiles and feature large windows. Guests can enjoy the communal dining area with views across the bay, as well as a roof terrace area with views along the coastline. Only simple snacks are served.

Palafito 1326
Hotel exterior