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The land of Fire and Ice in 10 Days

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Description

With the heat of the deserts in the north and the cold of the glaciers in the south, Chile is known as the Land of Fire and Ice. Santiago is the starting point for a fascinating journey in this land of extremes with visits to Punta Arenas, Torres del Paine, Calama and San Pedro de Atacama.

We can modify this itinerary to suit your holiday length and specific interests. Should you have a few more days of vacation, a wonderful extension would be the mysterious Easter Island, a Polynesian island which is a special territory of Chile. Famous for its monumental statues, moai, this is the most isolated place on the planet.

Day 1 - Arrive SantiagoDay 2 - Santiago - Punta Arenas - Torres del PaineDay 3, 4 & 5 - Torres del Paine National ParkDay 6 - Torres del Paine - Punta Arenas - SantiagoDay 7 - Santiago - Calama - San Pedro de AtacamaDay 8 & 9 - San Pedro de AtacamaDay 10 - Atacama - Calama - Depart Santiago
Upon arrival to Chile’s capital city, you will be met by your local representative for your transfer to the hotel.

In the afternoon you will be taken on an introductory tour of Santiago. This comprehensive tour begins with a visit to the neoclassical La Moneda Palace, home of Chilean presidents until 1958 and today the seat of the government. Also visit the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, one of South America’s finest museuma with exhibits of pre-Columbian cultures from Central America to the Andean region.

Stop for a comprehensive visit of one of the most complete collections of ceramics, ancient textiles and relics of the American culture. After this interesting visit, walk with your guide to the heart of Santiago and to the recently remodeled Plaza de Armas, from here view the Cathedral (finished in 1789) and the buildings housing the Central Post Office and City Hall, both national monuments of colonial vintage. Also visit the conical San Cristobal Hill with an impressive panorama of the city, nestled in its mountain valley. On its 1145 foot crest stands the huge statue of the Virgin, beautifully floodlit at night.

Welcome dinner will be at a charming local restaurant.

Overnight: Ritz-Carlton Santiago
Meal Plan: D

Santiago

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning transfer to the airport in Santiago to board flight to Punta Arenas. Upon arrival in Punta Arenas, you will be met by a local representative who will assist you to your Explora Van, which will drive across windswept plains to the spectacular Torres del Paine National Park, a drive of about five-and-a half-hours.

One of South America’s newest nature reserves, the Paine was created in 1959, with the last addition to its acreage in the early 1970s. Famous for its glaciers, lakes and forests, this rugged region is also home to a wide variety of animal species, including guanaco (a relative of the llama), condors and flamingos. You will stay at the beautiful Explora Lodge, located in the park itself. Settle in and prepare to explore this spectacular landscape on foot, by boat, on horseback or in vans: the choice is yours. All excursions are accompanied by experienced Explora guides.

Overnight: Explora Lodge
Meal Plan: B,L,D

© Haroldo Horta

© Haroldo Horta

 

The next three days are yours to explore the Torres del Paine in any way you wish.

Perhaps you’ll start one morning with a drive to Lago Grey, where a short walk along Lagoon Beach offers an opportunity to photograph icebergs from shore, followed by a boat excursion for a closer examination at these “cathedrals of ice” and the glaciers that share their landscape. Or perhaps you would prefer a day on the hiking trails, one of the best ways to become acquainted with the snowy peaks, turquoise lakes and flowery slopes of this rich landscape. Head for the hills and a panoramic view of waterfalls and forests. Cross the river by rowboat to hike the French Valley framed by snow-capped glaciers. Or throw a leg over a mountain bike for a trip along the Blue Lagoon.

Consult with your guides to decide how best to spend your days in this remote and exhilarating wilderness; whatever your choice, the experience will be unforgettable.

Overnight: Explora Lodge
Meal Plan: B,L,D

© Haroldo Horta

© Haroldo Horta

 

 

 

 

 

After breakfast the Explora van (carrying a maximum of ten passengers) will drive you to Puerto Natales and across the Patagonian plains to Punta Arenas Airport to board your flight to Santiago.

Arrival at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Time to relax and prepare for the second part of the itinerary, the north of the country and the driest desert in the world.

Overnight: Ritz-Carlton Santiago
Meal Plan: B,L

 

 

 

 

 

 

Morning transfer to the airport in Santiago to board flight to Calama. At an altitude of 7,900 feet in the very heart of the Atacama, this is your gateway to the geological and archaeological wonders of the central desert.

Upon arrival in Calama, proceed to San Pedro de Atacama which is the main centre of the old Atacamenian culture. There will be an afternoon tour around the village, visiting the 16th century church, an ancient Inca house, and the internationally renowned Padre Gustavo Le Paige Archaeological Museum, which contains more than 300,000 exhibits from the pre-Columbian period. It provides an insight into more than ten millennia of local history, with a wealth of artifacts and mummies, some of which are in incredibly good condition.

Overnight: Hotel Explora Atacama
Meal Plan: B,L,D

You have two full days to enjoy daily explorations in Atacama’s natural environment and to the sites of pre-Columbian, colonial and contemporary cultures are offered in groups of no more than 10 passengers. Each evening your resident guides will explain in detail the activities you may choose from the next day.

There are hiking and climbing excursions, as well as opportunities for bicycling and horseback riding. Expand your knowledge by attending a lecture at the hotel on the history, geography and cultural aspects of Atacama. Guided tours are available to Museo le Paige and various archaeological sites according to your interests. There will be visits to the Tatio Geysers, and others to the salt flats and Aymara villages near the town.

Overnight: Hotel Explora Atacama
Meal Plan: B,L,D

Atacama; Valle de la Muerte

Atacama; Valle de la Luna

 

 

 

 

 

Morning departure to Calama to board your flight to Santiago. Upon arrival in Santiago, you are assisted to connect with your international flight home.

OPTIONAL
You may want to take advantage of an optional excursion to the land Known locally as “Rapa Nui”, Easter Island the world’s largest outdoor museum. At one point the most isolated population on Earth, the island has a clear Polynesian influence despite falling under Chilean rule. Rapa Nui has become best known for the massive Moai statues, hundreds of which dominate the volcanic landscape throughout much of the island reaching heights of over 20 metres (65 ft). Due to the island’s long isolation from external influences, the culture is entirely unique to the islands and the story of its development and downfall remain in large part a mystery. Thankfully however, the local people are extremely proud of their history and in maintaining a number of key traditions. The island is accessed by a five hour flight from Santiago.

Easter Island; Moai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pacific Destination Center South America Specialists are here to help personalize your holiday for the Most Memorable Experience – Just give us a call at 800-227-5317, or email us at info@pacific-destinations.com with your desired destinations and focused activity wish list, or special occasion celebration and we will get started on your personalized dream holiday.

 

Phone one of our South America Specialists at 1-800-227-5317 to start planning your Chile Holiday now!

CST #2023415-40

 

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