Chile offers diverse scenery and landscapes begging to be explored. It stretches across 4,290km with some of the highlights being the Atacama Desert, the bustling metropolis of Santiago and the towering mountains. This sample itinerary includes these regions and some wonderful properties and a Patagonia cruise. If you would like to create your own tailor made itinerary please contact us to discuss what options you are most interested in. You may also like to include some additional stops Chile as well as neighboring countries: Argentina, Peru or Bolivia which we can certainly do. Contact us to start creating your own tailor made itinerary in South America.
|Day 1-4||Atacama Desert||San Pedro de Atacama, Atacama Desert|
|Day 5-6||Santiago||Santiago city tour, Valparaiso day tour, Winery tour|
|Day 7-10||Patagonia||Excursions to Torres del Paine National Park|
|Day 11||Punta Arenas||
Embark on Patagonia cruise
|Day 12||Patagonia Cruise||Ainsworth Bay and Tucker Islets|
|Day 13||Patagonia Cruise||Pia Glacier and Glacier Alley|
|Day 14||Patagonia Cruise||Wulaia Bay and Cape Horn|
|Day 15||Patagonia Cruise||Disembark in Ushuaia|
Arrive in San Pedro de Atacama. Set in the heart of the Atacama Desert, this small oasis town is well situated for daily adventures into the surrounding desert region and to the Salar de Atacama.
Choose from a variety of guided half and full-day explorations and activities to explore Atacama – cultural and archaeological tours, easy walks and more challenging treks, mountain-biking, visits to salt flats and thermal geysers, wildlife and bird-watching.
The Alto Atacama is built in the style of a traditional adobe settlement, complete with llamas and native crops, Alto lies in a spectacular setting at the base of the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountains), only 3km from San Pedro de Atacama town. The hotel occupies 3½ hectares of beautiful desert and its gardens are filled with native plants and locally crafted artworks.
The spacious rooms display a ‘modern-minimalist’ style and each has a private terrace. Delicious cuisine is served in the main restaurant or one of two outdoor patios, and the six outdoor pools and a top-class spa make this a perfect base for your explorations.
Fly to Santiago and enjoy a guided tour visiting the city’s main landmarks. Drive to San Cristobal Hill for great views of the city and the Andes mountains. Contrast the old and new parts of the city as you continue to the residential areas of Vitacura Las Condes and Providencia.
The following morning depart from your hotel for a full day tour including Valparaiso. Travel to Curacaví which is renowned for its fruit production and especially its own regional ‘chicha’ made from the fermented juice; here you will stop at a ‘chicheria’ to taste this special alcoholic fruit drink. Continue heading west to the Casablanca Valley, well known for some of the best white wines in the country, and visit the organic Emiliana Vineyard where you will be shown around and learn about the wine production before enjoying a tasting of the finished product. Drive on through the Casablanca Valley to arrive on the Pacific coast at Valparaíso, Chile’s oldest and most important seaport, bustling with activity. With its improvised urban design and unique architecture clinging to the hillsides, Valparaiso is a labyrinth of winding narrow streets, cobblestone alleyways and colourful hillside neighbourhoods. Continue a short distance north around the bay to Viña del Mar, the most famous and visited seaside city of the area. Its many parks with huge trees and palms have led it to being known as the “Garden City”. Also visit the beaches and the 1930s-era Casino, and learn about its history. In the late afternoon, again pass through the agricultural valleys of Curacaví and Casablanca, en route back to Santiago.
The Singular Santiago, newly emerged in the city’s historic Lastarria neighbourhood, has been designed to embrace the area’s cultural and artistic heritage while adding a cutting-edge modernity. It maintains an old-world feeling with 19th century French influences, while incorporating a contemporary elegance and high level amenities. Accommodation ranges from small Patio rooms and Asian-styled Classic rooms to the top Singular room category with larger bathrooms and small balconies. All are traditional in styling, with a timeless décor that mixes limited edition prints, hand-crafted furniture and polished parquet floors. The hotel’s restaurant combines European and Chilean cuisines, with a French twist on local dishes, while the lobby bar has the feel of a private members club with its brass lamps, leather armchairs and marble bar. Meanwhile, The Singular’s rooftop bar and terrace, with a plunge pool, offers superb views over the city.
Fly to Puerto Natales a small town in the heart of Patagonia and continue onto the Singular Patagonia, located at Puerto Bories. From here your days will be filled with excursions to the surrounding parks including Torres Del Paine National Park. The exceptional guides arrange excursions to suit your tastes and fitness levels to ensure you make the most of your time in this incredible part of the world.
Participate in an assortment of excursions in Torres del Paine national Park as well as the surrounding areas. Perhaps you would like to spend the morning on a horse ride through the rugged landscape, or spend some time hiking through the wilderness discovering hidden lakes, glaciers and incredible views. Visit nearby estancias (farm houses) for authentic cuisine. You may like to explore the small town of Puerto Natales on a bicycle visiting local museums and stores. You may enjoy taking a kayak to explore various fjords in the area giving you a different perspective of the landscape or perhaps give fly fishing a try.
Each exceptionally spacious guestroom features a 6m-wide panoramic window overlooking the Patagonian fjords – the suites, with an additional large living room, have two such windows – and all are furnished with mahogany writing desks, brass lamps and sepia prints of the original construction. The spectacular restaurant is deservedly renowned for its gourmet cuisine, while the expansive sitting area with an imposing open fireplace is very hard to leave.
Transfer from the Singular Patagonia to Punta Arenas where in the afternoon you will board your Patagonia cruise onboard the Stella Australis or Stella Ventus. Enjoy a welcome cocktail as the ship departs to explore one of the most remote regions on the planet. During the night the ship will cross the Strait of Magellan and enter the labrinth of channels that define the southern extreme of Patagonia.
The Ventus Australis is a brand new state-of-the-art ship which took her maiden voyage in January 2018 and was purpose built for the Patagonian fjord system. Guests enjoy a comfortable and relaxed stay, with excellent viewing of the fjords from the decks, spacious common areas and comfortable cabins with large windows. Indulge in first class travel onboard the Ventus Australis with exceptional cuisine, onboard entertainment, passionate expert guides and interesting excursions for all fitness levels. The ship consists of 100 cabins which can accommodate 210 guests.
The Stella Australis, built in 2010 offers guests a relaxed and comfortable stay, while providing excellent viewing of the fjords from the decks, spacious common areas and comfortable cabins with large windows. Indulge in first class travel onboard the Stella Australis with exceptional cuisine, onboard entertainment, passionate expert guides and interesting excursions for all fitness levels. This ship was constructed in 2010 and consists of 100 cabins which can accommodate 210 guests.
By morning the ship will be sailing up Admiralty Sound (Seno Almirantazgo), an impressive offshoot of the Strait of Magellan that stretches nearly halfway across Tierra del Fuego. The snow-capped peaks of Karukinka Natural Park stretch along the north side of the sound, while the south shore is characterised by deep fjords and broad bays of Alberto de Agostini National Park. You are able to go ashore at Ainsworth Bay, which is home to an abundance of bird life and a colony of southern elephant seals which can sometimes be spotted from the Zodiacs. Two guided excursions are available for you to participate in: one is along the edge of a stream, peat bog and beaver habitat to a waterfall and moss covered rock face tucked deep inside a pristine sub-polar forest; the other is a more strenuous hike along the crest of a glacial moraine. Both offer views of Marinelli Glacier and the Darwin Mountains.
Leaving Ainsworth Bay behind, the ship will sail west along the sound to the Tucker Islets. After lunch, board the Zodiacs again for a close-up view of the Magellan penguins that inhabit the tiny islands. More than 4,000 penguins use Tucker as a place to nest, give birth and nurture their chicks. Many other bird species also frequent the area including king cormorants, oystercatchers, Chilean skuas, kelp geese, dolphin gulls, eagles and even the occasional Andean condor.
Overnight the ship will sail around the western end of Tierra del Fuego via the very narrow Gabrial Channel, Magdalena Channel and Cockburn Channel. After rounding the remote Brecknock Peninsula, the ship tacks eastward and enters the Beagle Channel again. By morning you will be entering Pia Fjord and boarding the Zodiacs for a shore excursion to Pia Glacier. After disembarking take a short hike to gain a panoramic view of the spectacular glacier, which extends from the mountaintops down to the sea or a longer much more difficult walk up a lateral moraine of the old Pia Glacier.
No one knows for certain how the hulking mass of snow and ice got its feminine name, but one theory says it was named for Princess Maria Pia of Savoy (1847-1911), daughter of the Italian king.
Back onboard the ship, continue east along the Beagle Channel through an area called Glacier Alley. Living up to its name, the passage features a number of impressive tidewater glaciers flowing down from the Darwin Mountains and Darwin Ice Sheet on the north shore. Most of them named after European countries; Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain and France.
During the early morning the ship will navigate the narrow Murray Channel between Navarino and Hoste islands and drop anchor at historic Wulaia Bay, one of the few places in the archipelago where the human history is just as compelling as the natural environment. Originally the site of one of the region’s largest Yámana aboriginal settlements, the bay was described by Charles Darwin and sketched by Captain FitzRoy in the 1830s during their voyages on the HMS Beagle. This area is also renowned for its enchanting beauty and dramatic geography. After a visit to the Australis-sponsored museum in the old radio station, passengers have a choice of three hikes (of increasing degrees of difficulty) that ascend the mountain behind the bay. On all of these you will be strolling through the charming Magellan forest of lengas, coigües, canelos, ferns, and other endemic fauna to reach a lookout overlooking the bay. Before leaving Wulaia Bay, you will have the opportunity to drop a letter into the wooden mail barrel inside the museum – letters or postcards meant to be hand delivered by future travellers – an ancient mariner.
In the afternoon cruise across Nassau Bay into the remote archipelago that includes Cape Horn National Park. Weather and sea conditions permitting, you may go ashore on the windswept island that harbors legendary Cape Horn (Cabo de Hornos). Discovered in 1616 by a Dutch maritime expedition, and named after the town of Hoorn in West Friesland, Cape Horn is a sheer 425m high rocky promontory overlooking the turbulent waters of the Drake Passage. For many years it was the only navigation route between the Pacific and Atlantic, and was often referred to as the “End of the Earth.” The park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005. The Chilean navy maintains a permanent lighthouse on the island, staffed by a light keeper and his family, as well as the tiny Stella Maris Chapel and modern Cape Horn Monument.
Arrive very early into the Argentine port of Ushuaia, the main city in Tierra del Fuego. Located on the banks of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by mountains, many of its houses are built entirely of wood, giving it a picturesque appearance. Here you will farewell your fellow travellers and crew and disembark the ship. This small city is located next to Tierra del Fuego National Park and if you would like to spend a few days there there activities that you may enjoy. Take a look here.
This itinerary is a sample of what you might like to do in Chile. Please contact our expert travel consultants to create your own personalised itinerary of South America. Call 1300 784 794 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.