Its thousands of miles of length – in between the Andes Range and the Pacific Ocean – makes of Chile a country full of contrasts and landscapes, an everlasting source of remarkable places to visit. In the North, the Atacama Desert is one of them, with its salt lakes and geysers. In the South, Torres del Paine, one of the musts in Patagonia, is another pearl that stands superb at the sight of all who dare visit.
The Salt Fields, the Lagoons, the Geysers, and the different ecosystems that can be found in the desert, are an exceptional combination of natural beauties that can only be fully appreciated if you go there. In the night, due to the singular conditions of this region, the stars look brighter than in many other places of the world, with inspiring views as well. It’s going to be our pleasure to help you plan your trip!
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After breakfast, transfer to the airport in order to board the flight to Calama.
Arrival at the airport in Calama and transfer to the hotel in Atacama, where we will be able to experience and discover the zone in many different ways.
You will be able to choose from a wide range of activities, including biking, trekking, horseback riding, scenery excursions, high mountain, cultural excursions, or stargazing. The following itinerary is one of the suggested travel ideas.
The excursions for this itinerary are designed for enjoying the diversity of the local landscapes, without physical exertion. Routes that allow you to take in the immensity of the desert, the magic of the Atacama Salt Flat, and the majesty of the high plateau, as you marvel at the variety of landscapes.
FIRST DAY (ARRIVAL DAY): VALLE DE LA LUNA (MOON VALLEY)
Going across the Moon Valley by car to discover the most characteristic areas, stopping in the typical spots (Kari, Cuevas de sal, Duna Mayor, Crater Central, Tres Marías). With option of many short walks.
Type of Excursion: Half-day
Altitude: 2,400 meters above sea level.
Distance: 50 km Duration: Tree hours
Environment: Salt Mountain Range
Recomendations • Bring light clothing, a jacket. • Comfortable footwear. • Sunblock, sun-glasses. • A hat and a backpack. Includes: A cooler (water and refreshments), trail mix.
ALTERNATIVE: TOCONAO / LAGUNA CHAXA
We will visit the town of Toconao and tour its main square, church and bell tower, all of which have been declared national monuments. Depending on the season, we’ll also explore the orchards before continuing towards the salt flat until reaching Chaxa Lagoon. Here we can admire the flocks of flamingoes in their natural habitat, and enjoy the extraordinary scenic beauty.
Type of Excursion: Half-day van excursion
Altitude: 2,600 meters above sea level.
Distance: 70 km
Duration: Three hours and 30 minutes
Environment: Oasis of Toconao / Atacama Salt Flat.
The shuttle excursions can be subject to the weather conditions, most of all during the altip-lanic winter.
We leave at dawn, heading northeast along a dirt road. Upon arriving at the Tatio Geysers, one of the highest geothermal fields in the world, we watch the cauldrons of boiling water shoot blasts of water vapor high into the air. We will explore the area briefly on foot and then enjoy breakfast. On our way back, we will enjoy gorgeous views of the high plateau. Along the way, you can see large bogs featuring plenty of wildlife, and appreciate how the flora and fauna changes as we make our way down. We also stop in the town of Machuca, situated 4,000 meters above sea level.
Type of Excursion: Full-day van excursion
Altitude: 4,320 meters above sea level.
Distance: 90 km
Duration: Seven hours
Environment: High Plateau
Equipment: Binoculars and an oxygen bottle.
Includes: A cooler (water and refreshments), breakfast.
Heading towards the high plateau, we will see the flora and fauna gradually change as we ascend. We’ll pass the Tropic of Capricorn, which intersects with the Inca Trail. After making a stop in Socaire, we’ll continue toward Paso Sico, which marks the border with Argentina. We’ll stop at the Aguas Calientes Salt Flat and the Tuyajto Lagoon to admire the high plateau landscape and have lunch. On the way back, we’ll stop at the Los Flamencos National Reserve to explore its lovely Miscanti and Miñiques lagoons.
Type of Excursion: Full-day van excursion
Difficulty: Easy, but take the high altitude into consideration.
Altitude: 4,250 meters above sea level.
Distance: 360 km
Duration: Eight hours
Environment: High Plateau / Salt Flat / Lagoons
Recomendations • Wear very warm clothes. • Eat light and do not drink any alcohol the night before the excursion. • Drink plenty of water. • Bring sunblock, sunglasses and a backpack. Noi Equipment: Binoculars and an oxygen bottle. Includes: A cooler (water and refreshments), lunch.
Breakfast at the hotel and transfer to the airport in Calama, in order to board our flight back to Santiago. Arrival and transfer to the hotel.
Today, we will visit Viña del Mar & Valparaíso, where we will be able to enjoy a great circuit by the coastal shore of the Pacific Ocean.
We will visit Viña del Mar, the famous Chilean summer city with its fascinating natural beauty, gastronomy and lifestyle. We will go through the coastal road and explore its main attractions (Quinta Vergara, flower clock, among others).
We will visit also Valparaiso, declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Valparaíso has the shape of a natural amphitheater facing the sea, and almost the entire city is hanging on the hills. We will walk along the traditional Atkinson and Gervasoni strolls, full of history of the foreign immigrants that arrived to Valparaíso when this important Port was considered “The Jewel of The Pacific Ocean” (before Panamá Canal).
We will ride on a traditional elevator as well, reaching 21 de Mayo stroll -and its magnificent viewpoint of the city- in no more than a minute (this traditional elevator has 120 years).
Traditional elevator ticket and ticket to Francisco Fonck (or Pablo Neruda house) museum included.
Transfer back to the hotel in Santiago de Chile.
Breakast at the hotel, and transfer to the airport in order to board the flight to Punta Arenas.
Arrival at the airport in Punta Arenas and transfer to the hotel in Torres del Paine (around 4 hours), where we will be able to experience and discover the zone in many different ways.
You will be able to choose from a wide range of activities, including trekking, horseback riding, scenery excursions, sailing, bird watching, etc. The following itinerary is one of the suggested travel ideas.
The excursions for this itinerary have the perfect balance between an excursion by van and shorter easy walks. Ideal for those who enjoy photography and bird watching.
Rest of the day at leisure to enjoy and explore the area, or to take an excursion according to the arrival time.
This is a scenic trip which concentrates on the west side of the Torres del Paine National Park. It is the best option to see a large part of the park in just one day, with stops at various places for taking great photographs. The road ends at Lake Grey, where we embark on the Grey II, sailing towards the Grey glacier. We will see glaciers, ice floes and feathery nothofagus woods. If we are lucky, we could see a huemul, native deer in danger of extinction. The return journey to the hotel is on the road to the south of Lago del Toro.
Full day Excursion with 30 minutes of easy walk and 3 hours of sailing.
LAGUNA AZUL (Half Day excursion with 30 minutes of easy walk):
From the hotel we head north to the Laguna Azul area and enjoy spectacular views of the-North, Central and South towers, weather
permitting. Enjoy a short walk along the northshore of the lake and in springtime and summer see many birds in the lenga woods.We drive on to see the Paine Waterfall and Laguna Amarga, with beautiful views of the local areas.
SALTO GRANDE (Half Day excursion with 20 minutes of easy walk):
This journey offers a visit to some of the most classic areas of Torres Del Paine National Park. The Sarmiento viewpoint for magnificent views of the Parks largest lake, then on to Laguna Amarga who’s water is four times more salty than the sea. Continue to Nordenskjöld Lookout which is directly opposite the Paine Massif and finish with a short 10 minute walk to the Salto Grande. Return to the hotel by the same route.
Breakfast at the hotel. At an agreed-upon time, transfer back to Punta Arenas.
Upon arrival, we will go on a City Tour with a visit to Nao Victoria and one of the museums in town.
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the airport at an agreed-upon time.
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