Destinations

Chile

The Land of Extremes, Chile is thin but tall, stretching from the driest and oldest desert on earth in the north to its vast glacial fields and mountain ranges in the south. A wide variety of terrains landscape its immense length: ancient dunes, lively geysers, fertile valleys, gorgeous volcanoes, ancient forests, massive glaciers, heavenly fjords and almost 6,000 kilometres of coastline. It is also more developed and has a first-world feel compared to all of its Latin neighbours. Whether you are an adventurous or luxury traveller or both, Chile will definitely impress.

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes Mountains to the east, Chile is one of the longest countries in the world, but also one of the narrowest. From the lunar landscapes of the Atacama Desert in the far north to the dramatic, windswept scenery of Southern Patagonia, Chile is astoundingly diverse and with excellent domestic flights, it is easy to explore much of what this wonderful country has to offer.

Santiago, the capital, is more of less right in the centre of the country and acts as a springboard for exploring all there is to do and see. The city itself is one of the most cosmopolitan in Latin America, home to excellent hotels and restaurants. The city scape is an eclectic mix of traditional colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers, set against the dramatic Andes mountain backdrop. To the east of the city, world-renowned hotels can be found in the well-heeled neighbourhoods of Providencia and Las Condes. Whilst the bohemian Bellavista and recently renovated Lastarria districts offer charming boutique properties and a burgeoning culinary scene, closer to the city centre.

Heading out into the surrounding countryside surrounding the capital, you will find yourself in the heart of Chile's winelands. Mediterranean temperatures and fertile soils have been used to grow wine grapes, originally brought from Europe during the colonial period. 
This beautiful region, not far from the city, is a must for those seeking a little relaxation before, during or after their trip. Experts and sommeliers are on hand at most local wineries to guide you through the world class rounds.

An hour’s drive north of Santiago lies the charmingly chaotic, colourful city of Valparaiso, Chile’s main port. Whilst most of Chile’s cities follow neat grid systems, Valpo as it is known, is a wonderfully messy, urban sprawl, set across seven hills and linked by sixteen funicular railways. It is not hard to see why the vibrant city has churned out many of the country’s leading writers and artists. A steep maze of crumbling mansions, hidden alleys and some of the most spectacular street art in Latin America, this faded coastal beauty exudes attitude. 

The north is mostly barren due to the presence of the vast Atacama Desert which receives virtually no rainfall throughout the year. This high, dry and unpolluted region offers some of the clearest skies on earth which allows for the ultimate stargazing experience and has led several top-level observatories to set up home in the area. In the far north of the country, bordering Peru and Bolivia, the lesser visited Lauca National Park lies at the heart of the Chilean altiplano where wildlife includes llamas, alpacas, vicuñas, vizcachas (chincilla family), and over a hundred bird species. Further south, the popular small oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama is within easy reach of many of the dramatic desert highlights - salt flats, geysers, sand dunes, lagoons and snow-capped mountains are just some of the spectacular sites you can visit, either on horseback, by bike or on foot. The area is also rich in culture with some fascinating archaeological sites and museums nearby.

As you venture further south in Chile the landscape becomes greener, entering the extensive Lake District, snow-capped mountains are reflected in deep blue lakes, active volcanoes rumble and dense temperature forests carpet mountain slopes. In the north of the region the small town of Pucón, set on the stunning Lake Villarica in the smouldering eye of its namesake volcano, is the adventure capital of Chile and a popular summer spot for rafting, canyoning and hiking. Continuing south, the spectacular Lake Crossing into Argentina is possible year-round, though best done under the clear skies of summer months. The busy port town of Puerto Montt and the picturesque, Germanic Puerto Varas are the best bases for exploring the southern part of the region. From here it is a short ferry ride to the mist-shrouded archipelago of Chiloé. This wild, windswept spot is home to a local seafaring population who are fiercely independent and celebrated for their rich mythology, colourful stilted homes and atmospheric wooden churches. 

Construction of Chile’s iconic southern highway, the Carretera Austral began in the seventies; partially paved, some sections remain dirt road today. Before this time there was no main road linking the small settlements dotted throughout the wild, southern section of Chile. The highway paves the way for one of South America’s most adventurous and scenic road trips through Patagonia’s towering mountains, virgin forests, hanging glaciers and villages trapped in time. Highlights of the northern stretch include, the privately-owned Pumalín Park, created by American billionaire Douglas Tompkins; the tumbling Futaleufú river; Queulat National Park with its hanging glacier; and the picturesque Simpson Valley. Further south, past Balmaceda, the wilderness the road snakes through is the very definition of remote until reaching the impassable barrier of the South American icefield where a diversion into Argentina is necessary to continue overland.

Southern Patagonia, home to fjords, rivers, lakes and glaciers offers some of the most dramatic scenery in the entire Southern hemisphere. For many, the jewel in Patagonia’s crown is the magnificent Torres del Paine National Park, a land of sheer granite peaks, azure lakes and seas of ice.  As well as the spectacular scenery all around, the wildlife in the region is also excellent – guanacos graze the steppe as condors circle overhead, the cat that rules the park is the elusive puma. Whilst far from guaranteed, chances of sighting these tawny coloured cats, Patagonia’s largest and most dangerous predator, in the wild are at their highest in Torres del Paine. The national park offers a network of well-marked trails and despite being such a remote region, the accommodation in and around the park is some of the finest in the country. 

Last but not least, lying thousands of miles to the west of mainland Chile, just south of the Tropic of Capricorn is Chile’s unique and utterly remote outpost, Easter Island. Rapa Nui, as it is known to locals is a mystical land of white sand beaches, volcanoes, crater lakes and the 900 logic-defying moai, stone statues, each up to nine metres in height. Explore the savage beauty of the most remote inhabited island on earth with expert local guides who can offer authentic insight into the Rapanui culture. Far from just an open-air museum, the white sand beaches of the island beckon water sports enthusiasts from all over the world for excellent snorkelling, diving and surfing.

DID YOU KNOW?

Peru has over 1600 species of orchid, almost a third of which can be found close to Machu Picchu. Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo, one of the area’s top luxury hotels, has South America’s largest privately owned collection of the flower, with almost 400 varieties on display.

Sample Itineraries
Chile

Our Chile
11 Nights / 12 Days • From US$ 6,100 per person
From the arid Atacama Desert of the north to the dramatic glaciers of southern Patagonia, experience the diversity of Chile in just twelve days. Start with a couple of days in the cosmopolitan capital and break your wilderness adventures in the extremities of the country with a stop in the vibrant Valparaíso.
Honeymoon Chile
13 Nights / 14 Days • From US$ 10,300 per person
Few countries strike such a perfect honeymoon balance between the adventurous and the luxury as Chile. Hide away in some of Chile’s utterly remote, luxurious spots, cocooned in stylish properties where service and guiding are second to none and top-notch cuisine is washed down with world-class wines.

Sample Itinerary for Chile

Our Chile
From the arid Atacama Desert of the north to the dramatic glaciers of southern Patagonia, experience the diversity of Chile in just twelve days. Start with a couple of days in the cosmopolitan capital and break your wilderness adventures in the extremities of the country with a stop in the vibrant Valparaíso.
11 Nights / 12 Days • From US$ 6,100 per person
Days 1 & 2: Santiago

You will be met on arrival in Santiago and transferred to the Lastarria District, a charming neighbourhood of winding cobbled streets, on the edge of downtown. The belle-epoque style architecture and café culture lend it an almost European atmosphere. The following day you will take a tour of the city with your local specialist guide, taking in the classic historical sites of downtown alongside lesser known barrios. End at Mercado Central, one of Chiles largest seafood markets to sample some of the bountiful delights found fresh off Chile’s shores.

 

Days 3, 4 & 5: Atacama Desert

Fly north to the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world and one of Chile’s main attractions. The scenery is spectacular and there is an enormous amount to do and see in the region, from geysers and Altiplano lagoons to hidden villages and ancient archaeological sites. Staying at a lodge on the outskirts of San Pedro de Atacama, excursions to the nearby beauty spots, shared in small groups, are all included in your stay. Activities include hiking, biking, and scenic voyages to Moon Valley, the Salar de Atacama, and the Tatio Geysers.

 

Days 6 & 7: The Casablanca Wine Valley and Valparaíso

Fly back to Santiago and head north-west to the coastal city of Valparaíso. Stay in a stylish boutique hotel on of Cerro Alegre (Happy Hill) overlooking Valparaiso’s bustling port. Guided by a local expert you will explore the city - century-old hillside ascensores (elevators) will transport you up into the city’s steep hills, where a labyrinth of streets reveals brightly coloured buildings, bohemian cafés and elegant restaurants. You will also explore the nearby Casablanca Valley, renowned for innovative wineries which are producing Chile’s top white wines and cool-climate reds with, of course, a chance for tasting!

Days 8 to 12: Patagonia Camp and Torres del Paine

You will be driven back to Santiago and fly south to Patagonia. Your base for the following four nights will be at a comfortable yurt camp on the shore of Lake del Toro, just south of Torres del Paine national park. A full range of all-inclusive excursions are offered, both in and outside the park, from full-day walking tours to the Base of the Towers to kayaking on the lake, mountain biking, fishing and horse riding with gauchos. At the end of you stay you will fly back from Patagonia and connect onto your international flight home.

Recommended Extension: Los Glaciares National Park

There is also the option to transfer across the border into Argentine Patagonia and continue your travels. Los Glaciares National Park is in the Austral Andes of southwest Argentina. Its many glaciers include Perito Moreno, best known for the dramatic icefalls from its front wall into Lake Argentino. In the north, Mount Fitz Roy’s jagged peak rises above the mountain town of El Chaltén and Lake Viedma. The park is home to many birds, such as condors and black-chested buzzard eagles.

Honeymoon Chile
Few countries strike such a perfect honeymoon balance between the adventurous and the luxury as Chile. Hide away in some of Chile’s utterly remote, luxurious spots, cocooned in stylish properties where service and guiding are second to none and top-notch cuisine is washed down with world-class wines.
13 Nights / 14 Days • From US$ 10,300 per person
Days 1 to 4: The Atacama Desert

Upon arrival in Santiago connect straight through to Calama and start your Chilean adventure in the Atacama Desert. The world’s driest desert, provides a fittingly dramatic natural backdrop for the first four nights of your romantic getaway. Stay in a rustic-luxe retreat of thatched cabanas forged from local stone, adobe and wood. At the most exclusive property in town, expect world-class lodging, delicious food and fantastic excursions. The outings, which include off-road safaris, river hikes and visits to natural geysers, are tailor-made and led by your personal expert guide in your own four-wheel drive.

Days 5 & 6: Santiago

Fly back from Patagonia to Santiago and spend two nights in the Lastarria District, this charming neighbourhood of winding cobbled streets, sits on the edge of downtown. Experience the authentic Santiago from this superbly located and recently gentrified regal neighbourhood. You will take a tour of the city with your local specialist guide, taking in the classic historical sites of downtown alongside lesser known barrios. End at Mercado Central, one of Chiles largest seafood markets to sample some of the bountiful delights found fresh off Chile’s shores.

Days 7 to 10: Southern Patagonia

Travel to the far south of Chile to the wilderness of Patagonia. Stay at the most exclusive and romantic lodge of the region, set on a private reserve close to Torres del Paine national park.  Discover the region with your private guide who will arrange trips at your own pace and to suit your interests. On foot, by bike, on horseback or by car, journey through the breathtakingly beautiful Torres del Paine National Park and surrounding areas. With valleys, lake, waterfalls and mountains, the photographic opportunities here are fantastic and there is plenty to do whatever you level of adventure.

Days 11 to 14: Puro VIK and Millahue Valley

Fly back to Santiago and transfer out to the lush Millahue Valley to end your honeymoon in style, with a toast (or several) to this land of extremes. Spend three nights at a remote modernist outpost, where art and nature abound, the world-class vineyard next door is just the icing on the cake! Included activities include biking, bird watching and astronomy tours, or simply kick back and unwind by the gorgeous infinity pool whilst sipping on the sensational house wine. At the end of the trip you will be transferred back to Santiago for your international flight home.

Recommended Extension: Easter Island

From Santiago, take a five hour flight to Isla de Pascua (Rapa Nui or Easter Island). Enjoy relaxing or active hikes, bicycle explorations, snorkeling and diving activities. Get to know Rapa Nui’s history, culture and landscapes, visiting both its most iconic and off the beaten track sites. The island has more than 300 megalithic platforms, each of which might have been made by a separate community. When and why these people left their native land remains a mystery. But what is clear is that they made a small, uninhabited island with rolling hills and a lush carpet of palm trees their new home, eventually naming their 63 square miles of paradise Rapa Nui—now popularly known as Easter Island.

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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.