From Atacama Desert to Patagonia Glaciers

Best of Chile
Trip Length: 13 Days
Group Size: 1-16
Difficulty
From: 2,961 USD
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Adventure is waiting for you! Travel the length of Chile and  discover a range of natural and cultural treasures.

Venture from the driest desert in the world, towering high-desert volcanoes and geysers to the watery fjords, icy glaciers, and deep ancient forests of Patagonia on this unparalleled adventure through Chile from north to south and everything in between!

Welcome Dome (1 of 1)

 

Highlights

Highlights

  • Explore the best of the city of Santiago and its surrounding areas, while sipping on premium Chilean wines.
  • Wander through the Atacama Desert, admiring its mesmerizing geyers, colorful lagoons and small altiplanic towns.
  • Hike on epic trails in Perez Rosales  and Torres del Paine National Parks.
  • Experience world-class rafting down Chile's raging rivers.
  • Enjoy active days in Patagonian nature and cozy nights EcoCamp Patagonia, the world's first geodesic dome hotel.

Itinerary

Day 1: Bienvenidos a Chile!

Santiago de Chile

Welcome to Chile, the beautiful country on the planet! After landing at the Santiago airport and clearing customs, you'll be met by a Cascada representative and driven to your cozy hotel in a private transfer. You'll have a little time to relax after checking in and before being picked up for a City Walking Tour.


When the tour begins, we'll catch the subway downtown to spot some famous landmarks like the central fish market, Plaza de Armas (Santiago’s main square) and Kilometer Zero (the point from which all distances in the country are measured). We'll also visit the "Alameda," the main street of the city center via busy pedestrian walkway "Paseo Ahumada," famous for its crowds, shops and diversity of people. After visiting Chile's presidential palace "La Moneda," a symbol of Chile’s political past and its famously turbulent history, we'll climb Cerro Santa Lucía, where Santiago was founded in 1541 by Pedro Valdivia. Finally, our tour finishes with a stop at the bohemian Lastarria neighborhood, lined with cafés, restaurants, small theaters, bookstores and boutique shops.

Overnight Meridiano Sur (3 star accommodation), Santiago

Day 2: Bike & Wine Adventure

Casablanca Wine Valley, Central Chile

We'll pick you up at 9:00 AM to start the journey to the beautiful Casablanca Valley, not far from Santiago. The meandering, tree-lined country roads of the enchanting Casablanca Valley are the backdrop for this easy, relaxing bike tour through one of Chile's premier wine-growing regions. We'll bike leisurely along tree-lined roads through some of central Chile's finest vineyards, stopping to learn about the fascinating history of wine in Chile and why the soil and climate here is perfect for production, sample some of the area's superb white wines and enjoy a delicious picnic lunch underneath the swaying eucalyptus trees.

Overnight Meridiano Sur (3 star accommodation), Santiago

Day 3: Arrival in Atacama

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
After a couple of days exploring Chile's central region, we'll make the journey up north! Today we'll check out of the hotel and drive to the airport in a private transfer. After a short scenic flight, we'll arrive in Calama and head to San Pedro de Atacama, in the middle of the desert, where we'll check into your hotel.
 
In the afternoon you'll have a time to acclimatize and explore the town.

Overnight La Casa de Don Tomás (3 star accommodation), San Pedro de Atacama

Day 4: Salt Flats in the Atacama

Atacama Desert, Chile
Today we'll make the drive to the great Salar de Atacama, a white endless salt flat with flamingos nesting alongside brightly-colored lagoons. Geological research studies suggest this salt flat is the most important lithium reserve in the world. 
 
We'll also visit a nearby village with ancient architecture and inviting locals who produce fine wool knit products and afterwards we'll stop by the Altiplano lagoons Miscanti and Meñique, located at 4,500 meters above sea level. Look out for unique desert flora and fauna along the way! We'll end our day by visiting the town of Socaire, where old Andean traditions still exist today.
 
Overnight La Casa de Don Tomás (3 star accommodation), San Pedro de Atacama

Day 5: Geysers El Tatio

Atacama Desert, Chile

Don't worry -- the  early wake-up call this morning  will be well worth it! Today we'll go to the amazing Tatio Geysers and see them in action. From almost 900 meters below the earth, boiling steam bursts up to 40 meters over the surface of these spectacular geysers. A scrumptious breakfast will be served upon arrival before we walk through the geothermal fields with the geysers erupting nearby. As we drive back, there is a magnificent view of the Tocopurri and Sairecabur Volcanoes. We'll arrive back in town in time to have lunch and the afternoon free to rest or continue exploring.

Overnight La Casa de Don Tomás (3 star accommodation), San Pedro de Atacama

Day 6: Arrival Lake District

Puerto Varas, Chile
Today we'll travel from one extreme to another as we head from the dusty Atacama Desert to Chile's luscious Lake District, lined with vast lakes and active volcanoes. But before leaving, we'll go to  Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), located 13 km/8 miles west of San Pedro in the Salt Mountain Range. The valley has beautifully strange lunar landscapes and is considered one of the driest places on the planet.
 
After this scenic stop, we'll drive to the Calama airport and board a flight to Puerto Montt, connecting in Santiago. Upon arrival in Puerto Montt, we'll drive to Puerto Varas, a beautiful town with a marked German architectural style located on the shore of Lake Llanquihue. Here we'll check into the welcoming hotel.
Overnight Hotel Casa Kalfu (3 star accommodation), Puerto Varas

Day 7: Rafting Petrohue River

Lake District, Chile

This morning it's time for a white water rafting adventure! We'll head to the Petrohue sector, in Perez Rosales National Park, located at the foot of Osorno Volcano next to the flowing turquoise waters of the Petrohue River. Once we arrive we'll meet our skilled guides who will equip us with the rafting gear needed (wet suit, helmet, paddle jacket and life jacket) and then talk us through safety instructions. We board the rafts and start paddling down this beautiful class III river, enjoying the rapids and the views. After finishing our adventure, we'll have a tasty snack on the river banks and then return to Puerto Varas to spend the afternoon.

Overnight Hotel Casa Kalfu (3 star accommodation), Puerto Varas

Day 8: Perez Rosales National Park - Trek thought desolation pass

Lake District, Chile

With Volcano Osorno as our backdrop, today we'll trek close to Chile's famous Todos Los Santos Lake. On the way, we'll stop to admire the region's rivers and waterfalls at Ensenada and Saltos de Petrohué, before starting your three-hour ascent. At the top, the prize is clear: one of the most exquisite views of the Andes mountain range, with three volcanos and the expansive blue of Todos Los Santos Lake, sprawled at your feet. What a treat!

Overnight Hotel Casa Kalfu (3 star accommodation), Puerto Varas

Day 9: Arrival Ecocamp Patagonia

Torres del Paine, Chile

Today you'll check out of your hotel and board a flight to Punta Arenas in the South of Chile. You are picked up from Punta Arenas airport in the morning and driven to EcoCamp Patagonia, located in the world-famous Torres del Paine National Park.


En route we'll stop by Puerto Natales, a small, lively town on the shores of "Seno de Ultima Esperanza," where we enjoy a hearty local lunch. The whole journey is very scenic, with plenty of wild birds and wonderful landscapes to be seen. The day ends with our arrival and overnight stay at EcoCamp Patagonia, nestled in the heart of the park with a picturesque view of the Towers. During summer the sun sets around 11 PM, so upon arrival there's plenty of light to admire the Patagonian steppe with its guanacos and snow-peaked mountain horizon.


For the next two days, we'll pick one of three excursion options, ranging from easy to challenging in level. EcoCamp Patagonia provides you with a chart of excursions provided each day of the week. The excursions vary depending on weather and the season.

Overnight EcoCamp Patagonia Standard Dome, Torres del Paine National Park.

*If possible we recommend taking a flight to Puerto Natales. If you fly in via Punta Arenas Airport please make sure your schedule allows you to take the regular Ecocamp transfer from the airport at the latest 3:00 PM.

Day 10: Western Lakes & Grey Glacier (Sample Activities)

Torres del Paine, Chile

EASY
Western Lakes and Grey Glacier*
We'll drive across the park, admiring the view of Paine Grande and its snowy peaks, along with Los Cuernos and its black, granite horn-like spires. Walking along the shores of the stunning Lake Pehoe, we'll see the furious Salto Grande waterfalls where the water from Lake Nordenskjold cascades down into Pehoe. The walk continues over the gentle Nordenskjold trail until we reach its spectacular lookout point. Later, back at Lake Pehoe, we are driven south to a beach along the shores of glacial Lake Grey. Here we'll enjoy a tasty box lunch by the lake before embarking on a boat ride across the icy waters to the towering blue walls of Glacier Grey. After this incredible sight of the glacier up close, we'll drive back to EcoCamp for the night.

*During Shoulder Season (October and April) the boat trip on Glacier Grey may be canceled as the boat requires a minimum of 10 passengers to sail. If this is the case we will plan an alternative excursion in the park.

ACTIVE
Western Lakes drive, Cerro Ferrier Hike
We'll begin the day by driving across the park, admiring the view of Paine Grande's snowy peaks and the black, granite, horn-like spires of Los Cuernos. As we walk along the shores of the stunning Lake Pehoe, we'll see the furious Salto Grande waterfalls where the water from Lake Nordenskjold cascades down into Pehoe. The van will drive us south to a beach along the shores of glacial Lake Grey. It is here where we will begin our hike to Cerro Ferrier, a fairly steep route taking us through a fairytale-like Magellanic forest where we might spot a huemul, the endangered South Andean deer. We'll go uphill for about an hour and a half to reach a breathtaking lookout that will offer us a unique perspective of the Paine Massive, Grey Glacier and some of the most famous lakes of the park. We'll then walk back to Grey Beach to meet our fellow travelers coming back from the boat ride. Together, we'll all head to EcoCamp to enjoy a relaxed evening with delicious food and even better company.

Overnight EcoCamp Patagonia Standard Dome, Torres del Paine National Park

Day 11: Fauna Trail or Towers Trek (Sample Activities)

Torres del Paine, Chile

EASY
Laguna Azul and Fauna Trail
We'll start the day driving to Laguna Azul on the north-eastern side of the park, stopping at various points en route to admire the local flora and fauna and the mighty Paine Waterfall. Once at Laguna Azul we'll hike to a sightseeing point with a panoramic view of both the lagoon and granite Towers. We'll then drive down to the shores of Sarmiento Lake, home to many limestone formations and herds of guanacos, and walk northwards along the Fauna Trail past the small Goic Lagoon and various types of fauna. After around 5 km we reach the Laguna Amarga ranger station from where we'll drive back to EcoCamp to relax and enjoy the evening meal.

ACTIVE
Trek Towers Base
We'll walk from Ecocamp towards Hostería Las Torres and join the uphill path to Ascencio Valley on the Tower's eastern face. Dry mountain spots, beech forests and small rivers line the scenic walk towards the valley. Our big challenge comes as we climb the steep moraine, a mass of boulders leading us towards one of the world's most famous views overlooking the Towers. The famous Torres del Paine (2,900 m/ 9,400 ft) consist of three gigantic granite monoliths, the remains of a great cirque sheared away by the forces of glacial ice. After an uphill slog, the Towers eventually come into full view, rising majestically before us, with the glacial lake visible below. What better place is there to have lunch? After feasting with a view, we backtrack along the same trail through Ascencio Valley and return to EcoCamp.

Overnight EcoCamp Patagonia Standard Dome, Torres del Paine National Park

Day 12: Return to Santiago

Santiago, Chile

It's now time to board an early morning vehicle, sit back, relax and enjoy a scenic ride back to Punta Arenas in time to catch the evening flight to Santiago. Once in Santiago, we'll go to a lovely hotel via private transfer and get some well-deserved sleep.

Overnight Meridiano Sur (3 star accommodation), Santiago

Day 13: Adiós Chile!

Santiago de Chile

After breakfast, we'll check out of the hotel and drive to the airport via private transfer, where we'll board our flight...Hasta la proxima Chile!

Accommodation


Some Nights at Meridiano Sur Petit Hotel (or similar) - A small, independent hotel set in the chic Providencia neighborhood. It's a great location within walking distance to trendy restaurants and shops. Every morning continental breakfast can be enjoyed outdoors at the terrace garden.

Some Nights at Hotel La Casa de Don Tomas (or similar) -  This hotel offers spacious rooms with private bathrooms, complemented by the best in service. Here the earthy colors of the world´s driest desert appear like a shimmering mosaic.

Some Nights at Hotel Casa Kalfu (or similar) - This cozy hotel in front of the lake is made out of native Patagonian wood (original or recycled), finding larch, canelo, mañío, tepa, ulmo, hualle and laurel. Breakfast is served every morning at the hotel.

Some Nights at Ecocamp Patagonia - Ecocamp Patagonia is located in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park in Chile with views of the majestic granite Paine Towers. It was the first geodesic dome hotel in the world, offering upscale camping in domes inspired by the region’s ancient nomadic inhabitants.
 
Choose from...

EcoCamp Patagonia Suite Dome
(Heating & Private bathroom, 28m²/300ft²)

Suite Dome EcoCamp Patagonia 1920x1281Suite domes were designed to further our goal of providing comfort in a natural setting with minimal environmental impact, and also maintain the hotel’s familiar and cozy vibe. The domes have comfortable double or twin beds, a wood stove and a private bathroom with a state-of-the-art composting toilet.

EcoCamp Patagonia Suite Dome Loft
(2 floors, Heating & Private bathroom, 37m²/398ft²)

Suite Loft  (4)Suite dome lofts are two-storey domes which fit up to four people and have comfortable double or twin beds both up and downstairs. These domes, ideal for families or groups of friends, come with a wood stove, a private terrace and a private bathroom with a state-of-the-art composting toilet.

EcoCamp Patagonia Superior Dome
(Heating & Private bathroom, 23m²/250ft²)

Superior Dome InteriorSpacious, comfortable and equipped with private bathrooms, Superior Domes are the optimum choice for trekkers wanting that bit more space and comfort at the end of a long day’s walk. Each Superior Dome has comfortable queen-size or twin beds, a propane heater, skylight windows and a private bathroom with a sophisticated composting toilet

EcoCamp Patagonia Standard Dome
(Shared bathroom, 10m²/108ft²)

Standard Dome TwinEcoCamp Standard domes were the world's first lodge accommodation in geodesic shape. They are resistant to the strong Patagonian winds, and come equipped with two single beds (doubles on request), cozy fleece blankets and feather quilts. There are windows in the ceiling for stargazing. Standard domes include shared bathrooms which are large, comfortable and gender divided.

Note: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we will not be involved in the Standard Dome sharing option this season. All standard domes will be reserved for individual travelers or travelers from the same reservation group.

Included

Included

  • 12 overnight stays in 3-star hotels
  • Excursions as detailed in the itinerary on a sit-in basis unless stated otherwise
  • Private transfers in Santiago
  • Private walking city tour Santiago
  • Semi-private services in EcoCamp Patagonia (small EcoCamp groups)
  • English speaking guides
  • Entrance fees to Torres del Paine National Park and sites included in the itinerary
  • Meals: 13 Breakfasts, 5 Lunch/Box Lunches and  3 Dinners

Not included

  • Flight tickets (please estimate an additional $1,000 (USD) per personal (approx) for 4 national one-way tickets: SCL/CJC, CJC/PMC, PMC/PUQ, PUQ/SCL
  • Insurance.(it’s mandatory you purchase appropriate insurance for this trip)
  • Voluntary tipping to guides and staff
  • Personal items

Facts

Departures

Every day on request.

Starting / Finishing Point

Your trip starts at Santiago's airport on day 1 and finishes back at Santiago's airport on day 13.

Physical Demands

This is the right trip for energetic people who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. It is important to be in good physical condition.

Weather

You name it, Chile’s got it! From the world’s driest desert in the north of the country to its Mediterranean middle, to the expansive ice fields of Patagonia in the south, Chilean territory even expands to the semi-tropical Easter Island. The country follows the southern hemisphere season pattern, so expect hotter days between November and March and colder days between June and September. If you’re traveling from the country’s tip to tail, at whatever time of year come, prepared for every type of weather!

What You Need to Bring

Be prepared for summer and winter all at once. Essential equipment includes a one day backpack (10 liters - to carry a camera, glasses, raincoat, etc), trekking or hiking boots, extra shoes for evenings or in case others get wet, waterproof jacket, two pairs of woolen socks, fleece jacket or sweater, shorts or comfortable loose pants, sun protection (glasses, hat, lip balm and screen) and optional Capilene underwear for the upper and lower body. US$ in cash for buying extra drinks/snacks or souvenirs in Torres del Paine National Park.

Itinerary modifications

We reserve the right to change the order of the itinerary at the sole discretion of the trip guide and based on operational considerations. The trip guide can also modify, change or eliminate part of the itinerary based on safety/weather considerations.

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We are a Chilean owned adventure tour operator, based in Santiago de Chile, operating adventure tours in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia. Our base prices are in Chilean Pesos (CLP), but we charge prices in USD based on the exchange rate valid on the day of payment.

Destinations | Chile

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