Tailor-Made Tours

Introduction to Chile

Chile is a fascinating and diverse country, stretching 4,290km from Peru to Patagonia. Highlights include the extraordinary Atacama Desert, the high ski fields of the Andes, renowned Chilean wineries, the picture-postcard Lakes District, and the magnificent glaciers and national parks of Patagonia. Hike through the world-renowned Torres Del Paine National Park, journey to Easter Island to get up close and personal to the Islands enigmatic stone-carved figures or stand in awe looking out over the many Chilean fjords. Our team of specialists are able to tailor-make your journey through Chile one that is perfectly suited to you and maximise what you can take away from this captivating country.


Chile is a perfect example of the changing face of South America with many fully inclusive luxury lodge experiences that offer guests the best of all worlds; excellent local cuisine and wines, boutique lodges, set in some jaw-dropping landscapes, with private guides and an experience tailored to your specific interests. South America Travel Centre will personalise your holiday to Chile with extreme attention to detail and unparalleled service.

Map of Chile



Separated by the continental ice fields, two regions comprise Chilean Patagonia – the northern regions of Aysén and the Carretera Austral, and the southern regions of Magallanes, Tierra del Fuego (shared with Argentina) and the famous Torres del Paine National Park. Make a journey into this wilderness and you will be amazed by its incredible mountain peaks, coloured lakes, glaciers and forests. This wonderland is so remote and unspoiled that a walk within its landscape is sure to change your view of the world.


The Lakes District bus-and-boat route across the Andes between Chile and Argentina is a scenic sensation. Cruise across Lake Todos los Santos, considered the most beautiful lake in southern Chile with emerald waters surrounded by thick forests and views of snow-capped volcanoes, including the perfect cone of Osorno (2,652m). An overnight stop midway in the remote settlement of Peulla allows time to really absorb the region’s beauty before continuing once more by bus and cruise to the Swiss-style town of Bariloche and a chance to explore the surrounding countryside.

The Lakes District towns are:

Puerto Montt

The capital of the Chilean Lakes Region, this small and bustling lakeside town is located 1,100km south of Santiago

Puerto Varas

Located on the shores of Lake Llanquihue with spectacular views to Osorno Volcano, it is also named the “City of Roses” because of its beautiful streets that are lined with roses


A tiny village that is a midway stop in the lakes’ crossing

Bariloche (Argentina)

A Swiss-style town located on the southern shore of Lake Nahuel Huapi


Easter Island (Rapa Nui) is a remote volcanic speck in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,800km west of the coast of Chile. The origins of the island’s past inhabitants are still an enigma and all that remains of their culture is the extraordinary spectacle of giant stone statues (moai) scattered across the slopes of the quarry site on Rano Raraku Volcano. Curiously, the mysterious ancient stonework at the many different sites includes a wall that is strikingly similar to those built by the Incas in Peru. Easter Island will provide a truly memorable stopover on your way to or from Santiago.


The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is the driest non-polar desert on earth, a virtually rainless plateau, with starkly beautiful landscapes of sand dunes, salt pans, lava flows and soaring volcanoes. The Valley of the Moon near San Pedro de Atacama is an area of dramatic land formations in fascinating colours and shapes. Visit the turquoise blue salt lakes 4,500m above sea level and the typical Atacama Indian village of Socaire. A dawn excursion to the El Tatio Geysers, high in the altiplano, is an amazing experience.

In addition to dramatic landscapes the region is also home to a great variety of wildlife including; vicunas, guanacos, viscachas (which looks like a long tailed rabbit and is actually a rodent/chinchilla), andean geese and Andean gulls to name a few.


Founded in 1541, Santiago has been the capital city of Chile since colonial times. The Andes Mountains can be seen from most points in the city. The city outskirts are surrounded by vineyards and Santiago is within a few hours of both the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The city is now home to a growing theatre and restaurant scene, a rising skyline, including the tallest building in Latin America, the Gran Torre Santiago. Santiago is the cultural, political and financial centre of Chile.

Like many other countries in South America, Santiago is now home to several fine restaurants. Boragó was recently voted the world’s 8th best, and with two tasting menus
wrought from the finest produce the country has to offer. Boragó offers a sumptuous, ‘edge of the world’ dining experience for those seeking creative, unhurried cooking.


Chile has long been renowned for fine wines and a great
number of wineries can be found throughout the valleys
between 1-3 hours drive south and west of Santiago – among
them Maipo, Colchagua and Casablanca Valleys. The wine growing climate has been described as midway between that of California and France. The most common grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Carmenère. The many wonderful ‘viñas’ are worth a visit, perhaps just to enjoy lunch in their excellent restaurants, or to learn about the wine-making and taste a drop of the vintage, maybe paired with local cheeses.  Or if time allows spend a night or two in the stunning surrounds. Some traditional wineries date back to the mid-19th century with beautiful colonial houses set amid lush gardens, while others offer the latest architect designed modernity, with chic and stylish accommodation. Among our recommendations for somewhere to visit or stay is La Casona Matetic, once a family home set within the vineyards, and Viña Casa Silva, a typical Chilean farmhouse of the 1920s, exquisitely restored and still owned today by the same family.


A range of voyages cruising south from Puerto Montt all the way to Ushuaia in Argentina.  Sail through channels and archipelagos and pass tiny fishing villages, see snow-capped mountains and emerge amongst the icebergs and ice floes of the many glaciers flowing down from the Andes. Small zodiac boats afford a closer look to many of the glacial walls as well as landings to allow exploration on foot.

There are a number of quality vessels we know and have experience of please talk to us so we can find the best voyage and ship for you.


Chiloé Island

Chiloé Island (in Chile) is situated around 1,000km south of Santiago and can be accessed by a road-and-ferry trip from Puerto Montt or via Chiloé’s new airport at Castro, the largest town on the island. Chiloé is the second largest island in Chile (after Isla Grande Tierra Del Fuego) and until recently was visited only by a few more ‘adventurous’ travellers. The island is famous for its many UNESCO-protected churches although, while they are very interesting, it is the almost unchanged way of life, along with the island’s natural beauty, that are highlights.

Until recently accommodation options were quite limited, now we have the beautiful Tierra Chiloé hotel, a luxurious 24 room lodge located on the banks of the Rilán Peninsula, providing and excellent base from which to explore the many wonders of Chiloe. There is also the rustic and traditional Ocio Territorial hotel, which provides privileged views of the Castro Fjord and is spread across 49 acres.

Tapati Rapa Nui – Easter Island, Chile – February

Each summer, during the first two weeks of February, the people of Easter Island stage a festival that is a celebration of the Rapa Nui culture, involving music, dance and traditional sports, a time of revelry and feasts, and of honouring the past. Unlike some festivals, Tapati Rapa Nui is organised entirely for their own enjoyment and not merely as a commercial show put on for tourists – although fortunately visitors are welcomed as word has got out and the island attracts more tourists during this time than the entire rest of the year. Tapati began in 1969 as a simple summer festival that celebrated Polynesian culture. It is now structured as a contest between two teams, or two halves of the town of Hanga Roa. Each team is led by a queen candidate, a young woman who competes with another would-be-queen from the rival side for the Queen of Tapati crown, a symbolic title that the winner will carry for one year. The candidates prepare all year for Tapati, practicing their dancing, creating costumes, and working with their teams.

Most of the sports events are men only, and among the popular activities is the traditional triathlon – scantily-clad (and very fit) competitors must paddle reed rafts across a volcanic crater lagoon, run around the lake while balancing 25kg bunches of bananas on their shoulders, do another lap unburdened, and finish with a swim back across the water, all with huge crowds cheering them on. Other breathtaking highlights include a bareback horse race along Vaihu Beach, and the (frequently injurious) ‘Haka Pei’ in which reckless athletes, naked but for a loincloth, lie on two lashed banana trunks and launch feet-first down the steep slopes of 300m-high Maunga Pu’i Hill, their top speeds reaching up to 80km/h!

Of course, no Polynesian celebration is complete without traditional dancing, and the after-dark singing and dancing contests continue throughout the night until the judges declare the winning team, usually around daybreak, and the Queen of Tapati is crowned.



Singular Santiago

The Singular Santiago

Santiago, Chile

Top class design and the finest facilities. Usually located in a spectacular setting it may be an exclusive hotel in a meticulously restored historic building, or recognised as the leading property of an international chain.


Tierra Patagonia

Tierra Patagonia

Torres del Paine Patagonia, Chile

A perfect alternative to the big brand hotels:
exclusive and independently-owned properties with a smaller number of rooms and highly personalised services.

First Class

Explora Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

High quality with an excellent room standard, a full range of facilities and first-rate service; may be a new property or regularly refurbished with attention to ongoing maintenance.


&Beyond Hotel Vira Vira

Near Pucon, Northern Patgonia, Chile

Haciendas ‘estates’ are found across much of South America and may have been plantations or farms.  These beautiful properties, set in extensive gardens or on wide farmland, often retain their original style and ambiance, with high beamed ceilings, open fireplaces, and spacious rooms filled with antique furnishings. More recently built Haciendas offer luxury accommodation home grown produce and excellent wine.


Cascada Eco Camp

Torres del Paine, Chile

Patagonia has a range of eco-lodges – from a luxury retreat, to a complex of thatched yurts in a National Park, to remote and rustic cottages offering a truly authentic experience. All lodges are eco-conscious and dedicated to conservation management and preservation of their environment.

Cruise Boats

Stella Australis

Patagonian Fjords, Chile

The best way to observe the dramatic scenery or experience the wonders in a world of amazing landscapes and fauna of the Patagonian Fjords is by boat. And if you are looking for a voyage that will also offer the comfort of excellent facilities, there are several exclusive and sophisticated vessels that will fulfill your wish.

Tourist-superior and tourist class accommodation is also available. For more information on the accommodation we offer, call 1300 784 794 or email

Planning Your Trip

The Booking Process

South America Travel Centre can look after all aspects of your holiday, including flights and travel insurance.

We start by asking you what your interests are and where you are interested in, when, for how long, what standard and style of accommodation (it can be a combination – for example you may wish to celebrate a special occasion while you’re away by staying in a very special property or place). Once we have a good understanding of just what you’re looking for, we can begin to create a holiday to meet your time and budget requirements and, most importantly, that will deliver interest and enjoyment in an experience to exceed your expectations.

Please book early. Many of the hotels, lodges and cruise vessels we recommend are relatively small. For example, Awasi Lodge (San Pedro de Atacama) offers only 8 rooms. This exclusivity combined with high demand means they can be booked out up to 6-8 months in advance.

If you’re thinking of travelling during any major holidays like Christmas, New Year and Easter, or during any festivals, our advice is simply to book as early as you can, even 12 months or more, and we can add flights as soon as they become available.

Visa and Health Information

Australian citizens currently require a visa to enter Chile. You will need to hold a valid passport and have a return ticket when you arrival.

Vaccinations are advised for common diseases like Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid as well as Influenza. There are no compulsory vaccinations.

We advise you to consult a Travel Doctor specialist prior to departure to assess any health risks in relation to your medical history and travel plans.

Flight Information

We have access to a wide range of airfares and have excellent relationships with our key airline partners. Our two main airline partners in Latin America are LATAM Airlines & QANTAS Airlines . We can also arrange internal flights for you within Latin America.

Irrespective of whether you book directly with us or with your preferred travel agent, we’ll request the details of all of your fights to ensure if there are any changes your transfers and other arrangements are adjusted accordingly.

The Best Time to Go

Atacama Desert: Good year-round – winter (Jun-Aug) has a pleasant daytime average of 22°C but dropping to 4°C or lower overnight; in summer (Jan-Mar) 25°+C during the day and down to 16°C at night
Lakes District: Year-round – best time October to April. Very cold in winter – June to August

Patagonia Cruises: Best time – November to March (no operations in winter – May to Aug/Sep)

Patagonia: Best time – November to March


Client Reviews

We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.
We will tailor the perfect holiday to suit your needs.