"Torres del Paine, Valle de la Luna, Tatio Geysers...the list goes on! Have a look into these natural landmarks and this trip sells itself!"
Discover the best Chile has to offer, journeying through the world’s driest desert, a stunning lakes district and wild Patagonia on this comprehensive ten day tour. Starting in Santiago, Chile’s modern capital, you’ll visit both the new and old areas of the city, with highlights including the Plaza de Armas, the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Royal Court Palace. The Chess Club of Chile meets at the city’s central square most days, so you can enjoy watching the locals immersing themselves in battles of logic. You’ll then journey into the Atacama Desert, as featured in the James Bond film: ‘A Quantum of Solace’. Not only will you be shaken, but you’ll certainly be stirred.
Visit one of the world’s biggest salt lakes, with lagoons home to a variety of wildlife including flamingos, and watch as the Tatio Geysers spurt steam high into the sky. Travelling across the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range), you’ll arrive at the Valley of the Moon, one of the region’s most notable attractions. Sharp crested hills formed by the wind dominate this lunar landscape. And finally: famed for its fantastic scenery and adrenaline-pumping adventure activities, the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park is arguably Chile’s most famous tourist destination and the perfect climax for this tour.
Chimu Adventures aims to minimise its impact on the environment and support local communities in any way possible. The company strives to source guides, meals and transport from the communities it operates in rather than importing. Chimu Adventures prides itself on the fact that all operations for this tour are carried out by locally-owned companies, and they select locally-owned hotels which share their values in terms of social and environmental responsibility. The company's guides are highly experienced and qualified, and are paid above the minimum wage; since they are local, travellers are able to gain a more authentic insight into the communities and environments they visit.
Travellers are encouraged to minimise their carbon footprint whilst touring with Chimu Adventures, and are provided with information and advice on responsible waste disposal and how to offset carbon emissions. This ensures that guests are equipped with the knowledge necessary to help them protect the diverse ecosystems they visit. The company also practices what it preaches, with sustainability measures including carbon offsets for company/staff vehicles, and processes to help create paperless offices and reduce waste. Chimu’s ‘Pass it On’ programme empowers local people, providing funding to help Latin American communities develop their own infrastructure. Finally, Chimu Adventures also offers travellers the chance to make a positive impact by visiting community projects.
Upon your arrival in Chile, you’ll begin your adventure with a tour of charming Santiago. You’ll explore both the old and new areas of the city, including the Plaza de Armas. The city’s central square, this plaza is home to the stunning 18th century Metropolitan Cathedral as well as the Royal Court Palace that contains the National History Museum and Central Post Office. You’ll also pay a visit to Cerro Santa Lucia, the hill on which the city was founded in 1541. The site is now a park with stairs leading up to a fort providing fantastic panoramic views across the city. Finally, venture into Barrio Alto, the modern commercial area of the city.
Fly out of Santiago and check in to your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama. In the morning, visit one of the world’s biggest salt lakes – Salar de Atacama. This lake is also the world’s most important lithium reserve. Different species of flamingos and other wildlife make their homes in the lagoons here. On your way to the lake, you’ll stop off at the picturesque town of Toconao, famed for its skilled wool-knitting inhabitants and buildings made from white volcanic stone.
The Tatio Geysers, at an altitude of 4,300 metres above sea level, are said to be the world’s highest geothermal field. You’ll wake early to watch the spectacle of 100 geysers erupting water and letting off steam to heights of around 50 metres. As you journey back to town, you’ll descend through wonderful landscapes and have the chance to spot guanacos, vicuñas, flamingo-like birds and rodents. In the afternoon, journey across the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range) to the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), so-named for its lunar landscape.
Travel to the airport for an outward flight into Puerto Varas, before checking in to your hotel.
You’ll journey along Lake Llanquihue’s southern shore to the Petrohué National Park, where you’ll see the stunning Lago Todo los Santos (All Saints’ Lake). The lake is surrounded by lush forests in the foothills of the Andes, and you’ll be mesmerised by the beauty of its changing colours. As you cross the lake by boat, you’ll enjoy views of Mount Tronador, Mount Puntiagudo and the Osorno Volcano. Reaching your destination of Peulla, you’ll have some time to explore this small settlement before starting your return journey.
Take a flight out of Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas, and then transfer to Puerto Natales.
Torres del Paine National Park is world famous for its amazing scenery, incredible fauna and adrenaline-pumping adventure activities. You’ll have an early start, visiting the village of Castillo and the Milodon Cave before reaching the park. Once you’ve arrived, you’ll see the Salto Grande, a small but powerful waterfall fed by melting glaciers. You’ll then make your way to the Grey Lake and the Glacier Grey before returning to Puerto Natales. As you travel back enjoy stunning views of the Lakes Sarmiento, Nordenskjold, Pehoé and Amarga and the mountains of the Paine massif.
Transfer from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas. You’ll be met in Santiago before checking in to your hotel.
Head out of Santiago to Vina del Mar, a popular beach resort bursting with hotels, restaurants and parks that have a ‘French Riviera’ vibe. Continue towards the Pacific Ocean to Chile’s oldest port – Valparaiso. This city is renowned for its historical centre and interesting funicular elevators that were erected to connect the lower and upper parts of town. The Nobel Prize-winning poet and left-wing activist, Pablo Neruda, lived here and you’ll visit his former residence and studio as part of the tour. Finally, you’ll return to your hotel in Santiago.
Transfer to the airport for your onward flight from Santiago.