- Desert, lakes, Patagonian mountain peaks: the grandiose and varied landscapes of Chile
- Riding freely through the Atacama Desert; hiking on the trails of Torres del Paine Park
- Private tours to Santiago, Valparaiso and Castro: the country's cultural sites
- Lounge access at the airports, Concierge service, local mobile: Our bonuses
Contact one of our Chile specialists 020 3958 6120
FREEDOM FROM NORTH TO SOUTH
Of course, for those who want a more supervised trip, there is the option, for all or part of the journey, to swap the rental car for transfers in private vehicles with a driver, and to opt for accommodation with full board and activities included. Bespoke Chile.
The Atacama DesertRobots for exploring Mars were tested in the Atacama Desert. In other words, this region of northern Chile is about as otherworldly as it gets without leaving Earth. The salt from the lagoons has been harvested there for many centuries, but this sparse natural environment did not prevent the indigenous peoples here from successfully working the land in the past. There are many Andean, Chilean and James's flamingos to be found hunting for meagre fare in brackish lagoons. While the telescopes are trained on the stars (there's zero light pollution here), volcanoes and geysers are the sign that something major is going on below ground.
PatagoniaThe Torres del Paine National Park, with its variety of forms and protected ecosystems, is the jewel of Patagonia in the Chilean Andes. This is one of the most intense natural landscapes on Earth. In the coastal part of this region, especially to the south, there is an austere grandeur to the vast labyrinth of stone and water. At these latitudes, the Pacific plays rough. But the sheep are tenacious and cling grimly on.
Flight to Santiago
Overnight flight, arriving the next day.
Early check-in. Private transfer and accommodation for two nights in a hotel in the fashionable Bellavista district, in the heart of Santiago. This is a charming hotel set in a building that has historic heritage status in the city. A 1929 family residence, now restored to a boutique hotel
Includes a private tour of Santiago, with a private 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. The next day, head for the Pacific (75 miles away) for a private tour of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso. A famous seaside resort with a very contemporary look before continuing on to Valparaiso. This large horseshoe-shaped bay, dominated by broad hills that descend to the sea, has been the most important harbour on the Pacific coast since the 19th century. Prior to the Panama Canal, all boats stopped there after making the arduous journey around Cape Horn. Its 15 rumbling funiculars still scale the countless hills that dominate the Pacific Ocean.
Santiago - Atacama Desert
Transfer to the airport and flight to Calama, pick up the hire car and then drive to San Pedro de Atacama. Three-night stay in the heart of the village of San Pedro de Atacama, in a simple and friendly place with a country feel, a facade of adobe bricks, the terracotta hallmark of the desert habitat.
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 bricks, is one of the oldest in the country, dating from the 17th century. During these three days, you will visit the Museo Arqueologico R.P. Gustavo Le Paige, which documents in detail the ingenious civilisation of the Atacama Indians. The pre-Columbian sites of Quitor and Tulor are the perfect complement to the museum. The salt flats lagoons, which feed large colonies of flamingos, should also be explored. The salt concentration of the Laguna Cejar produces the same effects on the body as the Dead Sea. Early in the morning, the geothermal site ofEl Tatio, with its steam columns, is an impressive site.
San Pedro de Atacama - Chiloe Island
Heading south. Transfer to Calama Airport and flight to Puerto Montt via Santiago. Collect the rental vehicle and make for Chiloe Island. Spend two nights in a hotel on stilts. This part of southern Chile has a majestic beauty. Its rivers are simply made for fishing or rafting. Chiloe Island is home to a wonderful architectural treasure of wooden houses and 200 Jesuit churches (and at least as many bars). Ancud, the port town of Chiloe and gateway to the southern archipelagos, is extremely isolated, enabling it to hold on to its customs.
In the Itinerary - Private tour of Castro with a guide.
CHILOE ISLAND - PUERTO VARAS
Road to Puerto Varas. A church with a red roof set against the blue waters of Lake Llanquihue, and a backdrop of the snow-covered outline of the Osorno Volcano with the perfect cone: this is the scene that surrounds the small town of Puerto Varas, located at the northern end of the Patagonian canals. One-night stay in a traditional house beside the lake.
TORRES DEL PAINE - PUERTO NATALES
It's sixty miles or so along a well-maintained gravel track from Torres del Paine National Park to the small town of Puerto Natales. Turn your back on the iconic granite peaks to press on into an increasingly open landscape of wide windswept plains, the playground of the guanaco. Finally, arrive in Puerto Natales after a good two hours' drive offering beautiful views of Ultima Speranza Sound.
PUERTO NATALES - PUNTA ARENAS - SANTIAGO
Drive to Punta Arenas airport, return the car and flight to Santiago. Overnight stay in the hotel used on arrival
A la carte
Santiago - The Matetic Vineyards
The Matetic winery has more than 300 acres of vineyards within an area of 22,000 acres farmed organically. The tour begins with the wine cellar and an explanation of the secrets of winemaking and organic farming followed of course by tasting.
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 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.
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