- A journey in three stages and three different worlds to see the best of the northern part of the country
- Santiago, Valparaiso & Vina del Mar with expert private guides, it's all part of the plan!
- In Atacama, a car for cruising around in, a host of options for getting to grips with the desert and the region
- Direct flights, Concierge services, all our usual additional services: Chile our way
Contact one of our Chile specialists 020 3958 6120
NORTHERN CHILE TRIP
Second stage: take a flight to Calama, the gateway to the Atacama Desert, and
Last stage, back to the centre. Another stunning feature is Valparaiso, located 75 miles west of Santiago. When the sailors from the Iroise Sea cast off to face the wrath of the southern seas, they stiffened their resolve by imagining the inland port that awaited them after Cape Horn. They aren't the only ones to have sung the praises of this bay and its 42 amphitheatre-style cerros (hills) looking over the Pacific and dotted with colourful houses. A world of quiet little neighbourhoods, sea skippers' houses and funiculars scaling the slopes. The memory of Pablo Neruda remains etched in every cobblestone of the alleyways running down towards the harbour and its bars..
AS THE JOURNEY CONTINUES, smart planning helps make the trip: direct international flights, domestic flights to tackle the long distances, guaranteed private transfers, Concierge on call - tour of Santiago, accompanied by an expert private guide, to cover all the essentials - discover the excellent New World wines in the wine-growing valleys surrounding Santiago - encounter the mythical expanses of the Atacama Desert, a traveller's dream - day after day, explore the desert with experienced guides, experts in their region, for a relaxing end to the day: watch the moon rising while sipping a pisco sour - look up at the stars and the incomparably bright Milky Way - (a stargazing session is already planned) - taste chorillana, the local food of Valparaiso consisting of beef, fried onion, egg and fries - the magic experience of meeting the locals: drink a mate (hot caffeine drink) in a local's house, go to a random barbecue at a hacienda, have a look round a local village...
Flight to Santiago
Overnight flight, arriving the next day.
Private transfer and accommodation for two nights in the bohemian district of Lastarria, home to many artists and designers. The building combines the Chilean style of the early 20th century with French neoclassical influences. Inside, the rooms blend modern comfort with classic style, with a touch of character that exudes the charm of the past. On the ninth floor, the roof-top bar, with a large terrace and swimming pool, offers stunning views of the city.
Take a private tour of Santiago with a guide. The city has quite modern tones with its classical and Gothic architecture and hints of Art Nouveau; past earthquakes have spared few colonial buildings. Take a stroll on the delightful Santa Lucia Hill or in the Parque Quinta Normal, visit the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art and La Moneda, the presidential palace, Plaza de la Ciudadania... Do a tour of the pisco bars.
Santiago - Atacama Desert
Transfer to the airport and flight to Calama, pick up the hire car and then drive to San Pedro de Atacama. Four-night stay at the Hotel Terrantai. Nestling in the heart of San Pedro de Atacama, next to the old church. The pebble and adobe walls evoke a contemporary feel that is perfectly suited to the natural environment. The predominantly wood decor is simple and warm. With its terrace and swimming pool, living the good life comes easily. Especially as the restaurant offers up healthy and delicious Andean cuisine.
The Atacama Desert is one of the driest deserts in the world, and because of the dry air, the skies are exceptionally clear. San Pedro is an oasis. The church, made of adobe brick, is one of the oldest in the country (17th century). During these three days, be sure to visit the Museo Arqueologico R.P. Gustavo Le Paige, which documents in detail the ingenious civilisation of the Atacama Indians. Then visit the pre-Columbian sites of Quitor and Tulor too. It would also be a great idea to explore the salt flat lagoons, which harbour large colonies of flamingos. The salt concentration of the Laguna Cejar has the same effect on the body as the Dead Sea. Early in the morning, the geothermal site of El Tatio, with its steam columns, is an impressive site.
b]Private tour of the town and stargazing session in the Atacama Desert, with a guide.
Atacama Desert - Valparaiso
Transfer to Calama airport and flight to Santiago. New transfer to Valparaiso, where we stop for two nights in an old Hispanic mansion now converted into a charming hotel, with views out over the ocean. Like the mansion, the area is dotted with the fine houses of wealthy merchants, from the time when the Strait of Magellan was a necessary passage for sailing from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Here, among the cascading gardens and the pool overlooking the sea, there is a certain feel of the Mediterranean. And when it comes to other delights, the restaurant offers sumptuous dishes fresh from the ocean.
Private tour of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, with a guide. This famous seaside resort with a very contemporary feel offers the chance to visit Avenue de la Libertad, take the coastal road up to Renaca, Avenue San Martin, the Casino and Flower Clock. Continue with a visit to Valparaiso. The great Chilean port has been a legendary destination since the great days of sailing ships. Valpo is one of those places people tend not to know the exact location of (about a hundred miles from Santiago) because it is so universal. The flat part (El Plan) has a regular urban layout and a rich administrative and commercial architecture (19th-early 20th century); on the slopes of the hills (Cerros) which form a beautiful natural amphitheatre, the small colorful dwellings covered in corrugated iron seem to be stacked on top of each other. There is a certain picturesque chaos to their erratic layout along steep alleyways... Go up into the hills taking the historic lifts, the funiculars, the first of which was built in 1883 in Cerro Concepcion.
Valparaiso - Santiago - Return flight
Transfer back to Santiago and return flight home. Overnight flight, arriving the next day.
A la carte
Private tour of Quitor and Tulor
The ruins of Tulor, located a few miles south of San Pedro de Atacama, are the remains of a village that dates back to 800 BC. Until 1982, the ruins that you see today were buried under the sand, which allowed them to survive for nearly 3,000 years. Two houses have been reconstructed to show how this village would have originally looked. With a private expert guide.
Private trip to the Valley of the Moon
Six miles west of San Pedro de Atacama, the Valley of the Moon is a beautiful valley with a lunar appearance, nestling in the hollow of the magnificent Sal Cordillera, with geological formations carved by the wind. With private guide.
Private tour of El Tatio Geysers and Machuca Village
El Tatio, 60 miles from San Pedro de Atacama, is one of the world's largest geothermal zones. More than a hundred hot springs and a few mud volcanoes put on a magnificent show, especially at sunrise, when the differences in temperature are at their greatest. Stop at the thermal baths and visit Machuca, a picturesque and sparsely populated village of shepherds and a natural landscape of rare beauty. With private guide.
A few extra days is time enough to take in Chiloe Island & the Chilean Lake District
This part of southern Chile provides stunning beauty. Its rivers are simply made for fishing or rafting. Puerto Varas, nicknamed the 'City of Roses', is located on the shores of Chile's largest lake, Lake Llanquihue, dominated by the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. We sail on Lake Llanquihue, as far as 'The Emerald Lake', its name coming from the magnificent blue-green of the water. And then there is Chiloe Island and its architectural gem of wooden houses and 200 Jesuit churches (and at least as many bars). Ancud, the port town of Chiloe Island and gateway to the southern archipelagos, reveals an extreme isolation that has enabled it to hold on to its traditions.
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