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'Chile Odyssey'

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.

Adobe in the Desert

Adobe in the Desert

San Pedro de Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama is the main base for all your activities in the Atacama region. A few years ago the little town was just a few adobe houses, but it now bustles with visitors heading into the desert.

Lunar landscapes of Atacama

Lunar landscapes of Atacama

Moon Valley & Death Valley

The moon and death valleys in Atacama are particularly impressive at sunset, when changing light and shadow plays on the stark landscapes. The otherworldly scenery has been gradually eroded over time leaving a jagged lunar surface.

Salt Flats and Lagoons

Salt Flats and Lagoons

Salar de Atacama and Altiplanic Lagoons

10km south of San Pedro de Atacama lies this 3000 km2 area of salt pans. The plains are formed by streams from the high Andes that are unable to escape and evaporate leaving just these mineral deposits. On the Salar you will find lagoons that are home to dozens of flamingos that are attracted to the colourful waters.

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.

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.

Granite towers of Patagonia

Granite towers of Patagonia

Torres del Paine

Torres del Paine is one of South America's most dramatic national parks. Its focus is a colossal massif thrown up from deep in the earth beside the Andes and the Southern Ice Field. The tall towers of Las Torres are set in a complex of other dramatic peaks and glaciers, ringed by lakes, low hills and steppe. It is a great destination for dramatic scenery, stunning walks, and Patagonian wildlife.

Poetic port-town

Poetic port-town

Valparaiso

Chile's unique second city of Valparaiso is now an UNESCO world heritage site made famous by its colourful hilltop neighbourhoods and rickety funicular railway elevators still in active use. The town's most famous resident and Nobel literature prize winner Pablo Neruda, was hugely influenced by the town. His former home 'La Sebastiana' has been preserved much as it was: a worthy pilgrimage for those new to his poetry and those who have made it part of their lives.

Itinerary map for Chile 'Chile Odyssey' holiday

Itinerary

  • Day      Overnight
  • 1 Santiago
  • 2 Santiago
  • 3 Santiago
  • 4 San Pedro de Atacama
  • 5 San Pedro de Atacama
  • 6 San Pedro de Atacama
  • 7 Puerto Varas
  • 8 Puerto Varas
  • 9 Puerto Varas
  • 10 Torres del Paine
  • 11 Torres del Paine
  • 12 Torres del Paine
  • 13 Torres del Paine
  • 14 Punta Arenas
  • 15 Santiago
  • International flights from Chile to the UK usually fly overnight, so you would arrive in the UK on the morning of Day 16.
  • For the detail of each day click the ‘Day-by-day’ tab above.

Designer's notes

Day-by-day itinerary for 'Chile Odyssey'

DAY 1

Santiago and the Central Valley

Flying to Chile on your chosen airline, you are met at the airport and driven to the hotel in Santiago. Those arriving in the morning can join a casual afternoon stroll with a local guide in the leafy streets and parks of the stylish Lastarria neighbourhood.

DAY 2
BL

With everyone now assembled, our local guide takes us for a tour of the main sights of Santiago. We ride a funicular railway up San Cristobal Hill for views of the city against the backdrop of the snowy Andes. We visit the Plaza de Armas with the city’s key public buildings: Cathedral, City Hall, National Historical Museum, and Central Post Office. We visit the Mercado Central, with lots of options for a light lunch below its vaulted iron and glass. In the afternoon we drive to a vineyard close to the city where we are shown the stages of cultivating vines, harvesting the grapes and making wine. We are invited to a tasting of red and white wines. We return to Santiago for the evening.

DAY 3
B

Valparaiso

Driving through the Casablanca wine valley to the Pacific, we arrive in Valparaíso Chile’s, characterful second city–a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We see its main sights, ride funicular elevators, explore lanes of bright-painted houses, and call in at the grand Palacio Baburizza art gallery looking out to the bay. Later we visit Neruda’s ‘La Sebastiana’ (see box on p12) and return to Santiago.

DAY 4
BD

Atacama Desert

We fly north with spectacular views along the Andes to the dusty mining town of Calama in the Atacama Desert, where we are driven across a dry barren landscape to the village of San Pedro de Atacama for 3 nights. After settling in at our lodge, we visit the Moon and the Death Valleys in the late afternoon, and watch the sun set over the Cordillera de Sal from Kari viewpoint. After an early dinner together we dress warmly to visit the SPACE astronomy centre to join others for an evening travelling around the night sky with powerful telescopes to see moon craters, planets, double stars, star clouds, and distant galaxies.

DAY 5
BD

Salt flats and flamingos

This morning we travel into an Atacama desertscape to walk in canyons of coloured rock to a site where ancient cultures left carvings and petroglyphs. We return to our hotel then in the mid-afternoon we drive to Toconao’s village square with its simple church and cactus-wood bell-tower dating from 1750. We continue onto the wide expanse of the Atacama Salt Flat to a lagoon where flamingos feed while we enjoy the sunset.

DAY 6
B

Geysers

A pre-dawn start to travel into the high altiplano to Tatio Geysers, spurting steam into the cold morning air. We stop beside streams and wetlands busy with birds and call at the village of Machuca on our way back. The afternoon is free for a stroll, a bike ride to the Pukara de Quitor fort, or time in San Pedro.

DAY 7
B

Chilean Lake District and Chiloé Island

Returning to Santiago we fly on to Puerto Montt in Chile’s Lake District where we are driven to the pretty lake town of Puerto Varas for 3 nights. We settle in, with views across Lake Llanquihue.

DAY 8
BL

A gorgeous day, pausing at beautiful Petrohué Falls, a succession of cascades over volcanic rock, before we board a comfortable modern boat for the cruise across Lake Todos los Santos to Peulla, an eco-village in stunning countryside. We lunch here and later return across the lake with the snow-capped Osorno and Tronador volcanoes in front of us.

DAY 9
BL

We catch a public ferry across a narrow strait to Chiloé (stay on deck to see seabirds, with the chance of dolphins too). Chiloé is an island of farming and fishing traditions, full of myths and legends. We visit Dalcahue, renowned for crafts in wool and wood, Castro with its palafito houses on stilts, and a beautiful example of Chiloé’s wooden churches at Nercón.

DAY 10
BL

The Far South: Puerto Natales & Torres del Paine

We fly from Puerto Montt direct to Punta Arenas beside the Strait of Magellan in the far south of Chile. Driven north across the Patagonian steppe we reach the small town of Puerto Natales by the shore of Last Hope Sound with views of mountains and glaciers into the far distance. There is free time to look around this friendly outdoorsy town, our base for 4 nights.

DAY 11
BL

Balmaceda Glacier and Patagonian Estancia

At nearby Puerto Bories we join a cruise along Last Hope Sound, a very scenic journey through Patagonian landscapes. If the weather is kind, we have long views of mountain sierras, waterfalls, and forests that give way to sheep farming estancias. Along the shore we should see black-necked swans and colonies of cormorants. We reach a point below Balmaceda Glacier, which descends from the Southern Ice Field and calves small icebergs in startling blues into the Sound. At little Puerto Toro we disembark for a walk of about an hour through native coigue woods to reach a stunning viewpoint near the snout of Serrano Glacier, creaking and cracking in the remote silence. The boat continues to a small estancia for a traditional asado al palo, ‘lamb on the cross’, roasted by an open fire. We can experience life on a sheep farm, and walk or ride horses on its lakeside steppe.

DAY 12
BLD

to Torres del Paine National Park - for scenic views of iconic Towers of Paine mountains

This morning we drive into Torres del Paine NP, undoubtedly one of the world’s most beautiful national parks with its forbidding granite towers, jagged peaks, dramatic glaciers and lakes. We pause on the way to explore the Milodon Cave, a huge cavern where the remains of giant sloth were discovered, then enter the western side of the park. We visit Lago Grey and walk across a sturdy hanging bridge and along a shingle shore to a wooded promontory of lenga trees with long views of Grey Glacier. We tour the centre of the park–Salto Chico, Lake Pehoé, Salto Grande, Lake Nordenskjöld and Lake Sarmiento–with changing views of the towering mountains. A spectacular day.

DAY 13
BLD

Second day in Torres del Paine

We plan an active day in Torres del Paine today choosing a walking route to suit the group, perhaps in the east of the park. Keen walkers can arrange with us in advance to try the famous strong trek to the base of the Towers with their own guide, at an extra cost. Those who prefer a more gentle day can travel with the group but avoid the walk itself, or be based at the hotel.

DAY 14
B

Punta Arenas

We drive back to Punta Arenas for a short walking tour in this intriguing city. We pass the house of Bruce Chatwin’s uncle Charlie Milward, and end at Shackleton’s Bar, patronised by the heroic explorer during his quest for a ship to rescue his men trapped in the Antarctic ice. Overnight in Punta Arenas.

DAY 15
B

return to Santiago

We continue our tour of Punta Arenas at the Salesian Museum which documents the lives of indigenous Fuegian people, the Selk’nam and Yámana. In start contrast we visit the lavish European-style palace of Sara Braun, completed in 1905 by the first woman boss of major sheep estancias. Saying a fond farewell to Patagonia we catch the afternoon flight to Santiago.

DAY 16
B

Depart Chile

Free time in Santiago until we are each taken to the airport for our night flights home.

DAY 17

Arrive back in the UK

Departure dates and prices

tour code starts ends price per person single supplement
CLO18/02 27-Nov-18 12-Dec-18 £4,250 £785
CLO19/01 01-Oct-19 16-Oct-19 £4,595 £840
CLO19/02 26-Nov-19 11-Dec-19 £4,595 £840
Prices are per person and include:
  • all accommodation
  • all travel within Chile, including domestic flights
  • meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • all excursions described
  • all transport within Chile (by land and by air)
  • all accommodation
  • meals as indicated (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
  • all excursions described
  • experienced English-speaking local guide throughout
  • entry fees and national park fees for the excursions described
Prices do not include:
  • transatlantic flights
  • travel insurance
  • airport and departure taxes
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc
  • international flights
  • travel insurance
  • airport and departure taxes if these are not included in the flight ticket
  • items of a personal nature such as drinks, tips, laundry, etc

Customer reviews for 'Chile Odyssey'

Average

Seasonal information for 'Chile Odyssey'

Along this route in January

Day Location Max °C Monthly rainfall
1 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm
2 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm
3 Santiago 30°C rainfall 1mm
4 San Pedro de Atacama 24°C rainfall 22mm
5 San Pedro de Atacama 24°C rainfall 22mm
6 San Pedro de Atacama 24°C rainfall 22mm
7 Puerto Varas 20°C rainfall 76mm
8 Puerto Varas 20°C rainfall 76mm
9 Puerto Varas 20°C rainfall 76mm
10 Torres del Paine 10°C rainfall 117mm
11 Torres del Paine 10°C rainfall 117mm
12 Torres del Paine 10°C rainfall 117mm
13 Torres del Paine 10°C rainfall 117mm
14 Punta Arenas 15°C rainfall 36mm
15 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 'Chile Odyssey'

Days 1 - 3

Torremayor Providencia

Providencia

Torremayor Providencia
Days 4 - 6

Altiplanico

San Pedro de Atacama

On the edge of town, this adobe-built hotel has been built in the local traditional style. Each of the 29 rooms consisting of twin/doubles, triples and family rooms are individually styled and are based on separate houses. Each have Wi-Fi, en-suite facilities and their own individual terraces, whilst some of the rooms also have outside showers. There is an area where meals are served and an outdoor swimming pool. Because of the hotel's location just outside of town it is just a short walk into the lively San Pedro if you want to eat out in the evenings. We would though recommend that you carry a torch at night if you do walk into town as the path is not very well lit.

Altiplanico
Double Room
Days 7 - 9

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
Days 10 - 13

Altiplanico Patagonia

Puerto Natales

Altiplanico Patagonia
Day 14

Isla Rey Jorge

Punta Arenas

Located near the main square, this colonial building features 22 rooms (including one junior suite) with amenities such as cable TV, telephone, hair-dryer and safety box. The hotel also has a bar which serves food, a games room and internet access.

Isla Rey Jorge
Front of the hotel
Day 15

Solace Santiago

Providencia

Solace Santiago is a modern hotel located in the Providencia district of Santiago. The hotel has 108 rooms ranging from suites to superior rooms. Rooms are in a clean contemporary style. Guests can enjoy the 'Zafferano' restaurant located on the ground floor, a bar with roof-top terrace and a gym and outdoor pool. There is free access to wifi in the rooms.

Solace Santiago
Rooftop bar