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Atacama & Patagonia Reverse

Chile's beautiful extremes | View photos »

Walk amongst crackling rocks and lunar landscapes before you tackle turquoise lakes and creaking glaciers. This is our flagship Chile holiday, a tailor made holiday including time with our own guides to help you unlock the beauty of Chile.

13 day trip described, guide price £3,985pp i

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Sample itinerary

Arrive in Chile

Fly overnight to Chile to land in Santiago early the next day. Please note: international flights are quoted separately for this holiday. Land in the Chilean capital, Santiago, this morning. You are collected for the transfer to your comfortable hotel to relax and freshen up. If it’s clear, and you’re looking to stretch your legs, head up Cerro San Cristobal near your hotel for lovely views over the city and surrounding mountains.

Walk in the Salt Mountains

Transfer back to the airport for your early morning flight north to the Atacama Desert. Meet your private Pura Aventura guide who will be with you throughout your time here in the north. The town is on a plateau at just over 2,400m. A few kilometers outside the town, the Andes rise steeply to peaks of up to 6,000m. In the late afternoon walk down a huge sand dune, across a small salt flat and through a narrow gorge in the salt mountains.

Walk on Inca paths

Start today’s walk in small village 4,000m above sea level. You are likely to feel the effects of the altitude here but you almost immediately start to walk downhill. The first stretch of the walk is along a wide green Andean valley rich in bird life and llamas. As you come out of the Andes and into the pre-Andes the landscape becomes much more arid: dominated by giant cactus plants. At this point you are walking on old Inca roads passing distinctive terraces in the hillsides.

Tatio geysers and hot springs

It’s an early start today as you visit the world’s highest geothermal field – the Tatio Geysers. At first light the geysers come to life in a spectacular display of steam. This afternoon set off directly from the hotel on a gently paced bike ride across the compacted surface of the salt flats to a series of lagoons, home to a family of flamingos. Once you get there you enjoy a cool drink and perhaps a swim in the buoyant waters of the lagoon.

Walk to the peak of a volcano

After several days of being active at altitude, today’s walk takes you as high as many of us will ever stand. From the high trailhead, it is a slow steady 2 hour walk to the summit of Toco Volcano at 5,600m. As well as the Atacama spread out beneath your feet, you can also see into Bolivia and Argentina. It is stunning.

Time to relax before flying south

You will have time this morning for a final hike or excursions in the beautiful Atacama Desert. Transfer to the airport later today for the evening flight down to Santiago, where you overnight. To save transferring into and out of the city, stay tonight in the comfortable airport hotel.

Travel to Patagonia

This is a long though beautiful travel day. Fly south along the spectacular spine of the Andes, over the massive Patagonian ice fields. When you arrive meet your lodge based guide who stays with you for your time in Patagonia. The three-hour drive across the open plains of Patagonia takes you to the seafront town of Puerto Natales and on to the edge of the Torres del Paine National Park.

Head out for your first day in Torres del Paine

Each day you have a choice of excursions, each led by a member of the on-site guiding team. When you first arrive, you will sit with one of the guides to design your perfect stay, combining walks on the private land belonging to the lodge with hikes inside the nearby national park. Please note that the itinerary described below is typical of the options available, though choices depend on which day you arrive, and may be subject to change depending on local conditions. A good start to your time in Torres del Paine might be to walk up to the Mirador Ferrier with its dramatic views up to the Southern Patagonian Icefield and the dark peaks of the Cuernos del Paine.

Walk a path in the south of Torres del Paine

The Sierra del Toro is one of the lesser visited areas of the park so particularly enjoyable in season when the heart of the park can be busy. From the wonderfully blue waters of Lago Pehoé, walk up into the foothills to reach a viewpoint of the central mountains and the waters of Lago Nordenskjold. This afternoon, take time to relax back at camp or head out to watch the native fauna, most obviously the herds of guanaco down on the ground but up in the air, the birdlife is extraordinary.

Walk from the camp to a waterfall

Patagonia Camp is privileged to be set inside its own beautiful forest. A guided trail across the whole estate allows you to see wonderful vistas of the Paine mountains as well as to fully enjoy the native flora and fauna surrounding you as you walk along the peninsula of the Lago Toro towards the Camp.

Challenge yourself with the Torres

The day starts off on an uphill path into the Asencio Valley, eventually leading through a pretty beech forest. Once you emerge from the forest you find yourself at the foot of the glacial moraine beneath the Torres of Torres del Paine. It is a steep walk to get through this maze of huge boulders but you emerge on the edge of a small lake at the base of the towers. The views are unforgettable.

Back to Santiago

Fly back up to Santiago for your last night in Chile. Today is another long travel day although the views are always a treat. Dress comfortably, relax and enjoy. Drive to Punta Arenas to fly north to Santiago where your guide collects you to take you to your first class hotel for your last night in the city. You should try and get out to enjoy one of the city’s great restaurants.

Say goodbye to Chile

Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Again, please note that international flights are quoted separately for this trip.

About this trip

Summary

Walk amongst crackling rocks and lunar landscapes before you tackle turquoise lakes and creaking glaciers. This is our flagship Chile holiday, a tailor made holiday including time with our own guides to help you unlock the beauty of Chile.

How adventurous?

Activity
1 2 3 4 5
Comfort
1 2 3 4 5
Culture
1 2 3 4 5

Best time to go i

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Level of activity

This is a tailor made holiday so can be tailored to suit you. However, to make the most of your journey, you should like the idea of being out and about in the great outdoors most days. Normally guests on this trip are aged in their 40s-60s. To enjoy this trip fully, you should be fit enough to look forward to full day walks in moderately hilly terrain.

For the first part of the trip, in the Atacama Desert, you stay in the town of San Pedro at about 2,000m above sea level. Each day you head out on excursions from this base, getting gradually higher as each day passes until you go to the very high altitudes of Toco Volcano on the last day. Being 'return to base' there is always the possibility of opting out of a particular walk or activity.

Down in Patagonia, you stay in a lodge with its own team of guides on hand to lead a range of excursions and walks each day. They will help you curate your time here.

Level of comfort

This trip is based around very comfortable accommodation. Full details of the accommodation we use are on our detailed itinerary. Call for a copy.

In the Atacama stay in a lovely 3-4* hotel with lots of character and charm in a great location on the edge of town. In Patagonia you stay in Patagonia Camp, a boutique lodge made up of private yurts - each with en suite bathroom and amazing views. This is a wonderfully comfortable means of staying closely connected to nature.

Level of culture

The focus of this holiday is undoubtedly the landscapes and exploring those landscapes on foot, however, there is much more to Chile than just the great outdoors. We want you to leave Chile feeling like you know the country and more than anything, that means its people.

In order to give you the best possible insights and connections, you are looked after by one guide up in the Atacama and another down in Patagonia. Physically these two destinations couldn't be more different and similarly their cultures could hardly be more distinct. The Atacama was at the southern edge of the Inca empire, the villages, the traditions are from the Aymara people - the high Andean communities so much associated with southern Peru and Bolivia. Thatched roofed adobe houses and grazing vicuna stand out against the saturated blue skies.

Patagonia by contrast, is one of the most recently populated parts of our planet - 20,000 years is about the extent of human intervention here. The harsh landscapes were tamed by ranchers who cleared the land. To this day it is a place of gauchos, cowboys, who live solitary lives riding across vast estancias. And yet, hospitality runs deep and sipping mate whilst sitting round an open fire is one of the great memories of southern Chile.

Practicalities

There is a detailed itinerary for this trip, please get in touch and we can email that to you. As a tailor made holiday we can adjust this trip to suit you in almost any way.

The holiday includes accommodation in twin/double rooms throughout. Breakfasts throughout, all meals in Patagonia. Internal flights, transfers, transport, activities, entrances and excursions as listed on the detailed itinerary. Naturally, on each and every one of our holidays, we include Pura’s expertise, local contacts, support and advice throughout, along with the reassurance of our financial protection and safety auditing.

International flights are quoted separately for this holiday. You need to fly in and out of Santiago (airport code: SCL).

Departs

This is a tailor made trip leaving any day between late September and early April each year.

Next steps...

Contact us today to start planning your own personal adventure

01273 676712

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The described itinerary is just a taster of what this trip could involve. We would work with you to tailor your personal trip.

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Looking out over Lago Pehoe, Torres del Paine Looking out from Cerro Santa Lucia in Chile's capital, Santiago Standing on the edge of the Atacama desert Old Inca pathways lead down through the mountains to Rio Granda Dawn steam at the Tatio Geysers Standing high on top of Toco Volcano in the Atacama Desert Walking across the lagoons of the Atacama Salt Flats Looking out over Lago Toro from Patagonia Camp Late afternoon at Lago Pehoe, Torres del Paine Guanaco grazing in front of the Torres del Paine massif The glacial Toro waterfall near Patagonia Camp A perfect sunrise over the Torres The old pier in Puerto Natales Traditional cueca dance of Chile, performed on the streets of Santiago