Wild Chile: Off The Beaten Track

19 Days from £5998 per adult. Prices based on flight fares at the time of costing & may vary. Please ask for a definitive quote
19 Days
Tailor-Made Tour
Off The Beaten Track

Our comprehensive off-the-beaten-track itinerary offers a diverse mix of activity and wildlife in three of Chile’s most dramatic regions: the Atacama Desert, the Lake District and southern Patagonia. After a day’s trek out of Santiago to the spectacular El Morado Reserve, fly north to San Pedro de Atacama. Explore the vast desert landscape by van, foot, and bike, enjoying sunset scenes over Moon Valley and early morning light at the El Tatio geysers. The landscape changes dramatically in Chile’s lake district where you experience the depths of the temperate moist forest. Based at the quirky, unique Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve,  pursue an active programme of nature walks, horse riding, boat trips, kayaking and zip lining. The last few days are spent in the far south of Patagonia at spectacular Torres del Paine National Park, exploring the astonishing landscapes by kayak and on horseback, mountain bike and foot. This is an excellent all-round itinerary for those seeking an active journey to some of the southern hemisphere’s most extraordinary and beautiful wilderness locations.

Itinerary

Price from £5998 per adult. Based on sharing double / twin rooms

Day 1 - Depart UK

Evening departure from London and fly overnight to Santiago.

Includes In-flight Meals.

Day 2 - Santiago

Met on arrival and transfer to hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.

Staying at Hotel Orly. Includes Breakfast.

Day 3 - El Morado Reserve

After an early breakfast, head across the Maipo Valley towards the Andes. Drive up a dirt road to spectacular El Morado Reserve, nestled at the foot of a towering mountain. Set out on foot across rocky slopes dotted with wildflowers and follow an icy river up along mountainous paths. Look out for condors soaring overhead and sierra finch foraging on the ground. After about 2.5 hours of moderate trekking, arrive at the summit to be met by the spectacular sight of a large glacial lake. Enjoy a tasty packed lunch whilst feasting on the view of the hanging glacier and its lagoon full of floating ice, before beginning the descent to the waiting vehicle and your journey back to Santiago.

Staying at Hotel Orly. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 4 - San Pedro de Atacama

Transfer to Santiago Airport. Fly to Calama and transfer by road to San Pedro de Atacama at an altitude of 2440 metres. In the afternoon explore the strange stone and sand formations of Moon Valley and enjoy the vast, beautiful landscapes as the sun sets over the desert.

Staying at La Casa de Don Tomas. Includes Breakfast.

Day 5 - San Pedro de Atacama

Today will involve approximately 45km of cycling. Leave the village in the early morning and pedal to the Atacama Salt Flats. After 18km into the ride, stop to have a dip in the salt water at the pristine Cejas Lagoon. From there drive to Tambillo and the National Flamingo reserve, which also happens to be full of tamarugo trees whose seeds are a good source of nutrition for the Atacameño people. After lunch in Toconao, ride to a village in the Talabre Gorge located at 3,500m.a.s.l. and from there everything starts going downhill (in the best sense). Coast down to the edge of the Salar de Atacama and witness a spectacular sunset amongst pink flamingos before heading back to San Pedro.

Staying at La Casa de Don Tomas. Includes Breakfast.

Day 6 - San Pedro de Atacama

Before dawn head north to the famous El Tatio geysers situated high on the altiplano at 4,300 metres elevation. At dawn, observe steaming salt-encrusted ponds and powerful jets of steam that shoot up to 40 metres high from numerous blowholes. Return to San Pedro de Atacama in time for lunch, enjoying magnificent views of the Tocopurri and Sairecabur volcanoes en route. In the afternoon enjoy a bike ride across the immense, sparkling white Atacama salt flat to Laguna Cejar which has so much salt in its waters that a person can float with no effort, rather like the Dead Sea.

Staying at La Casa de Don Tomas. Includes Breakfast.

Day 7 - Santiago

Depart San Pedro early in the morning and drive to Death Valley, part of the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range) for astounding ancient rock formations. Receive instruction before enjoying some thrilling sandboarding down the immense dunes. Transfer to Calama airport and fly back to Santiago.

Staying at Holiday Inn Santiago - Airport Terminal. Includes Breakfast.

Day 8 - Lake District

Fly to Temuco in time for the shared transfer to Neltume in the Valdivian Ecoregion – 34 million hectares of temperate moist forest, one of only seven such reserves left in the world. Biologically important for its high levels of endemism, in 2007 UNESCO declared it a Biosphere Reserve. Within the 2,000,000 hectares of the Austral Andes Temperate Moist Forest Biosphere Reserve lies the 100,000-hectare private reserve of Huilo Huilo. Its eponymous waterfall, clear rivers and snow-capped mountains form a backdrop for exhilarating excursions and discovering the unique flora and fauna of the southern forest. One rare species found there is known as Darwin’s frog, the male of which incubates the tadpoles in his vocal sac and ejects them as fully formed frogs ready to fend for themselves.

Staying at Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 9 - Lake District

There are a large number of tours and excursions on offer at Huilo Huilo, some included, some optional. Enjoy guided nature walks through native forest to the spectacular waterfall; relax at the spa or by the pool; visit the micro-brewery and Mapuche tribal museum; ride horses along the valley; drive up to the snow-capped mountain for stunning views; cruise by ferry along forest-lined shores across Piriheuco Lake; try the exciting yet safe zip-lining tour (separate child and adult lines); go mountain biking and kayaking – there are so many activities to enjoy, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Staying at Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. Includes All Meals.

Day 10 - Lake District

Another day to enjoy the large number of tours and excursions on offer at Huilo Huilo.

Staying at Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. Includes All Meals.

Day 11 - Punta Arenas

Return to Temuco, fly to Santiago and connect with flight to Punta Arenas in the far south of Patagonian Chile. Met on arrival and transfer to hotel.

Staying at Hotel Cabo de Hornos. Includes Breakfast.

Day 12 - Torres del Paine National Park

After breakfast transfer north to Torres del Paine National Park. Stop en route in Puerto Natales for a hearty lunch, and at Cueva de Milodon, a large prehistoric cave where the remains of an extinct giant sloth were discovered in the 1890s. Arrive at your accommodation within the National Park in the late afternoon.

Torres del Paine National Park is home to 26 species of mammals including guanaco, puma, Chile’s largest carnivore, the endangered South Andean deer (the huemul, Chile’s national animal), two species of fox, and the Patagonian skunk. Bird species number 118 and include wading birds such as the Chilean flamingo which live in the numerous lakes and lagoons across the park, 15 species of birds of prey including the Andean condor, and South America’s largest bird, the flightless rhea, which lives on the Patagonian steppe.

Staying at EcoCamp Patagonia. Includes All Meals.

Day 13 - Torres del Paine National Park

After breakfast drive to Estancia Laguna Amarga where mountain bikes await, and pedal across the Patagonian plains for about 13 miles to Laguna Azul. Along the way stop to see the Paine waterfall and admire the stunning views, and look out for wildlife that includes guanacos, rheas, and perhaps even a puma. Enjoy a packed lunch and time to climb to a nearby viewpoint with a panoramic view of the lagoon and the Towers of Paine in the distance. The energetic can return to EcoCamp by bike, or alternatively return by van.

Staying at EcoCamp Patagonia. Includes All Meals.

Day 14 - Torres del Paine National Park

Head off to Grey Lake in the western sector of the park. Cross the glacial lake by boat and enjoy stunning views of the Paine massif, and the impressive glacier which forms part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Leave the boat, don kayaking gear, then paddle out onto the lake and head towards the eastern face of the glacier. Paddle on through icebergs close to the face of the glacier before returning to dry land to take the boat back to the dock, and the van back to EcoCamp.

Staying at EcoCamp Patagonia. Includes All Meals.

Day 15 - Torres del Paine National Park

Departing in the morning, ride through forests, ford streams and cross wide open grasslands where experienced riders are welcome to gallop. Lunch is served at the Seron campsite with spectacular views of parts of the Towers, Mount Admiral Nieto, Laguna Azul and the Paine River. Return to EcoCamp in the late afternoon.

Staying at EcoCamp Patagonia. Includes All Meals.

Day 16 - Torres del Paine National Park

After breakfast hike from EcoCamp towards Hostería Las Torres before ascending Ascencio Valley on the Towers’ eastern side. Mountain ridges, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic uphill walk through the valley. The final part of the hike is through a steep moraine, a huge mass of boulders which lead to a stunning, iconic view from the base of the Towers. The Towers are three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After a tough uphill climb, the Towers eventually come into full stunning view with the glacial lake visible below.

After enjoying a packed lunch, backtrack down through the Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp for a well-deserved rest.

Staying at EcoCamp Patagonia. Includes All Meals.

Day 17 - Santiago

Return to Punta Arenas and fly to Santiago. Met on arrival and transfer to hotel.

Staying at Hotel Orly. Includes Breakfast.

Day 18 - Santiago

Transfer to Santiago Airport and fly back to the UK.

Includes Breakfast.

Day 19 - Arrive UK

Includes No Meals.

Travel Info

Are Flights Included?
Yes

Flight Info:
From January 2017 British Airways will operate four direct flights per week from London Heathrow to Santiago. Other flight options from the UK to Santiago include Air France via Paris, Iberia via Madrid, LATAM via Madrid or Sao Paulo, and Avianca via Bogota.

Area Specialist

John Melton
specialist_john-melton

At Huilo Huilo look out for Darwin’s frog, a highly unusual species in that the male carries the tadpoles in a special pouch in his abdomen until they hatch. When the time is right they are expelled from his mouth one or two at a time in an act akin to giving birth.

If you have any queries about this tour please feel free to call me directly on +44 (0)1803 866965 or...

Chile

loading map - please wait...

Chile: -35.675147, -71.542969