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Atacama to Paine tour
Puerto Varas Santiago Atacama to Paine Trip
Trekking & Expeditions Hiking Atacama to Paine package
Hiking & Walking Trekking Atacama to Paine package

Atacama to Paine

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4.6 . Excellent
93%
Travel Style: For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
13 days
From: $ 4,550 $ 350 / day
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Overview

Highlights

  • Santiago de Chile - Scenic capital in the shadow of the Andes
  • San Pedro - Walk in the Valle de la Luna and the Salar de Atacama; optional visit to El Tatio Geysers
  • Puerto Varas - Hike around the Osorno Volcano
  • Torres del Paine National Park - Walk among the glacial lakes and mountain ranges of one of the most stunning locations on earth

Short Description

Chile is often known as the 'thin country ', being 4,270km long and only 177km wide, thus making it a land of extremes, from glaciers in the south to deserts in the north. Join us as we discover the arid Atacama Desert; a barren landscape peppered with hot springs and spouting geysers. In Torres del Paine National Park we explore arguably one of the world's most beautiful national parks. Along the way we tour the capital Santiago and visit the pretty Lake District region.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City N/A
End City Santiago De Chile

Destinations

Chile

Activities

Hiking Trekking

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Join tour Santiago de Chile; afternoon city tour

Description

Joining the tour in Santiago today, our intention this afternoon is to take an orientation tour of the city by bus and metro. One of the most scenic cities in South America, Santiago lies in the shadow of the Andes and the old part of the city, around the Alameda, contains a number of fine buildings, statues and gardens, including the impressive Presidential Palace and the monastery of San Francisco. The city is filled with museums to its colonial and pre-Columbian past and in the Bellavista district we can find the unusual house of the famous Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda.

Included Meals : None

Day 2 - Free day in Santiago, optional Valparaiso trip

Description

Today has been left free to explore some more of the city, to wander its streets and parks, and perhaps visit the vineyards that lie on the outskirts of the city. The Maipo Valley is considered by many to be the best wine-growing region in the country. Certainly the oldest, it is renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignon and a tour of the vineyards, lying in the shadow of the magnificent Andes, is the perfect combination of sensory delights. Alternatively there is the option of a trip to the nearby city of Valparaiso, Chile’s culture
capital. Once a colonial port linking trade with neighbouring Peru, the city suffered numerous raids at the hands of pirates, including Sir Francis Drake. Reaching the height of its prosperity during the 19th century it finally fell into decline with the onset of the steam age and the opening of the Panama Canal. Much of its colonial past has been destroyed by a number of powerful earthquakes over the years, but the city still retains some of the grandeur of its past. Today it is a major port and the surrounding hills, a natural amphitheatre covered in colourful houses and mansions, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 3 - Fly to Calama, drive to San Pedro de Atacama; walk in Valle de la Luna

Description

Flying to Calama this morning we transfer by private bus to the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, set high among the spectacular volcanoes of Los Andes Cordillera and our gateway to the dramatic landscapes of the Atacama Desert. On arrival there will be time to relax, and depending on the flight time there may be the opportunity to take an optional visit to the impressive archaeological museum containing the collection of artefacts assembled by Padre Gustave Paige, a Belgian missionary who spent some 25 years here during the later years of the last century. This afternoon we will take a walk among the dunes of the nearby Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley), a nature reserve to the west of the town, where the surreal landscape has been formed by the erosion of the salt mountains. We intend to watch the setting sun cast its golden glow across the spectacular landscape, before returning by bus back to San Pedro.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 4 - In San Pedro, walk in the Atacama Desert

Description

San Pedro was once the centre of the Atacama culture, before the arrival of the Spanish, and its dusty streets and evocative setting still exude an air of times long past. Over the next two days we have the chance to explore in more depth this remarkable town and its fascinating cultural and natural diversity. Our first day sees us travelling out to Puritama to spend the day walking amongst the desert landscapes of the remarkable Atacama, one of the most barren and dramatic natural features in the entire country. We will walk through a terrain peppered with hot springs, with views back across to San Pedro and the vast expanse of the Salar de Atacama.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 5 - Free day; optional El Tatio Hot Springs or salt flats visit

Description

Our second day in San Pedro has been left free, affording the chance to do some exploring on your own. You may like to take an early morning trip out to the El Tatio Hot Springs, a geothermal field of spouting geysers and steaming fumaroles surrounded by a vista of volcanic mountains. Watching these active geysers erupting in the light of the rising sun is an impressive sight, and it will leave your afternoon free to visit the extensive salt flats of the Salar de Atacama, at 300,000 hectares the third largest area of salt flats on the planet. Rich in minerals the lake is home to flocks of pink flamingos during the winter months and the air is so dry that the views across the Salar have to be seen to be believed.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 6 - Fly to Puerto Montt and transfer to Puerto Varas; walk at Llanquihue Lake

Description

Today we fly to Puerto Montt, the most important port in the south of Chile and, in a very real sense, the spot where the developed or settled population of Chile comes to a full stop. This is the gateway to the wild and rugged regions to the south and from here we drive to Puerto Varas and our hotel, based beside the shores of Lake Llanquihue. With some free time to explore we’ll take a stroll on the lake shore, the second largest in Chile and one of the shimmering jewels of Chile’s Lake District. Set against the backdrop of snow-capped volcanoes, this is the third largest expanse of natural water on the South American continent and presents us with a quite breathtaking setting.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 7 - Walk around the Osorno Volcano

Description

Our first full day here sees us hiking around the area dominated by the classic volcanic cone of Osorno (2680m), an almost picture-perfect representation of a snowy volcanic peak. Our walk takes us through the lush landscapes of the Valdivian rainforest, the slopes of the mountain sprinkled with Andean birch, providing a haven for chingue (Patagonian skunk), culpeo (Patagonian fox), weasels and puma, whilst the bird populations boast hummingbirds, woodpeckers and kestrel.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 8 - Free day; optional visit to Chiloe Island

Description

Our second day has been left free for optional activities, perhaps try your hand at mountain biking, rafting, or maybe do some more trekking around the area. There is also the chance to take a full day excursion to Chiloe Island, the second largest in South America (after Tierra del Fuego) and a captivating place of verdant beauty and legend, whose people are among the friendliest anywhere in South America. The island's rich colonial heritage has seen its capital, Castro, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its vibrant mix of Catholic beliefs and native mythology, Jesuit churches and traditional stilted houses make it an absolute treasure to explore.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 9 - Fly to Punta Arenas, drive to Puerto Natales

Description

Before flying to Punta Arenas this afternoon, we spend a final morning in Puerto Varas. Depending on the flight schedules we have the option to visit the German style town of Frutillar, which was the location of the first German colonies in Chile over 150 years ago. This German heritage can still be found in the street names and the tea salons found in the town's cafes. In the afternoon we fly to Punta Arenas and take a public bus to our hotel in Puerto Natales. This is the gateway to the Torres del Paine national park, and from small beginnings as a tiny fishing port it has now blossomed to a hub of adventure, with an atmosphere of excitement as travellers pass through on their way to the mountains. From the edge of the town there are striking views out to the fjords, and looking back inland we see the mountains rising imposingly over us. We will arrive in the evening to Puerto Natales.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 10 - Drive to Torres del Paine National Park via Milodon Cave

Description

Leaving Puerto Natales this morning we travel via the Milodon Cave to Torres del Paine National Park, arguably one of the world's most beautiful national parks, described by Alberto de Agostini as 'one of the most spectacular sights that the human imagination can conceive'. We spend the full day in the park and drive around the circuit with plenty of stops to take in the wild and rugged scenery - this tour isn't a private trip, so we may be joined by other travellers. Torres del Paine is situated amidst a region of ice-capped peaks, silent blue glacial lakes and wild hill country. It is not unusual to see large numbers of guanacos here, as well as black-necked swans, upland geese, pink flamingos and the odd grey fox snooping around the human food areas looking for an easy meal. We may even be fortunate enough to spot condors. One of the highlights of our time here will be the views of the Torres, imposing pinnacles of sharp granite that are surrounded by glacial lakes and craggy ranges, formed millions of years ago. Reaching over 2600 metres these towers are just part of an impressive range, the highest of which is the Cerro Paine Grande, presenting us with one of the most breathtaking mountain vistas on the planet. This is a place to keep an eye out for condors, rheas and guanacos. The itinerary here is kept flexible so we can make the best choices depending on weather conditions as some walks and stops may not be possible due to high winds.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 11 - Optional walks in Torres del Paine National Park

Description

Today we have the day free to explore this wilderness on one of many optional hikes. The most famous of the park's full day hikes is an 18km round trip up to the base of the Torres, with astounding views over the jagged granite peaks of these iconic mountains. There are also a series of easier walks within the parks, including the Mirador Cuernos, which is a 6km easy hike that passes the waters of the 'Salto Grande' (Big Waterfall); another 6km walk to the magnificent icebergs of the glacier-fed Lago Grey; or a 3 hour, mid-level 8km wildlife walk on the Hunters Trail, a hike that crosses the natural habitats of guanaco colonies, with the chance to spot birds like the Condor and Black Chested Buzzard Eagle. Depending on the winds and the weather some of the trails may be closed, but whichever walk you choose, the wild scenery of the national park is magnificent throughout.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 12 - Return to Puerto Natales

Description

Driving away from the park, we arrive back in Puerto Natales early this afternoon, and have the rest of the day free to relax or perhaps eat out at one of the town's many restaurants.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 13 - Return to Punta Arenas, fly to Santiago

Description

This morning we transfer to Punta Arenas, from where we fly back this afternoon to Santiago. On arrival we will transfer to our hotel for the final evening of our journey through this remarkable country.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 14 - Tour ends in Santiago

Description

The tour ends in Santiago after breakfast.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Availability

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Price From $ 4,550
Price Per Day: $ 350 per day
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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

30 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

93%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 24
Great 3
Average 1
Disappointing 1
Terrible 1
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.5
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.5

Atacama to Paine

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Company Reviews

Trip of a lifetime seeing the Arctic in a week

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I travelled as a solo traveller and was relieved to find that about half the boat was also solo travellers. It was a great adventure - on a ferry board for a week with the most amazing panoramic views around us every day. We were regularly out on smaller boats to see the bird cliffs up close, or to go onto land to walk around. We saw lots of amazing wildlife including walrus, blue whales, beluga whales, endless species of birds, and of course Polar Bears! The week went by too quickly. It was a great mix of wildlife and landscapes. Each day there was a different guide giving a presentation of everything from the biology of a polar bear, to the fauna found in the arctic circle. You could join in for as little or as much as you wanted. Definitely recommended.
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Super good tour guide, but the itinerary was rushed

5.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Junk on Halong Bay, Homestay in Mekong Delta. Hoi An Our tour guide, Long, was excellent and did a super job of mixing history and political context with what we were seeing. He went out of his way to add to the tour, actually taking us to favorite restaurant on his night off. The children loved him and we enjoyed his professionalism and his personal narrative of Vietnam. I felt that the itinerary was very rushed for a family tour. I understand the non family tour is longer and actually that would have been better for the family too. In particular a very busy day in Hue followed a mostly sleepless night on the train. We could have done with more time in Hue, or different activities. Hue was a bad day as the kite making was dull, crowded, and hot, then we didn't get to fly kites as we had not made them. In the end we had little time at the Citadel as we had to transfer into a small bus to navigate the streets.
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Excellent

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Mohammed was excellent!

Enjoy the trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The highlight of this trip was seeing Machu Picchu, which I loved it.

Great Tour Leader will come back in 2017

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A great tour leader - friendly, personable, approachable, knowledgeable of the local area, sights and people. We plan to come back and cycle with Andrew again in 2017.
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Pleasant surprise experience

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation4.0
Meals5.0
It is hard to say because each outing was a pleasant surprise. The best experience was a workshop on feltmaking in Kazbegi town Georgia) where, as a group, we made the felt from scratch and created our own design. A great opportunity to discover a local craft. It is also an excellent example how this diverse group got along like a house on fire. In Armenia my fqvourite outing was the walk along the Garni river gorge with a local guide. The scenery was breathtaking.
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Details

Optional Activities

Optional Excursions

Santiago - Valparaiso US$100 (1-3pers), US$80 (4-7pers) US$75 (8 pers +) San Pedro - El Tatio Geysers US$92 Torres Del Paine - Full day base Torres US$170 Zodiac return to Puerto Natales - Approx US$200 including lunch, snacks and observation stops

Guides

An Explore Leader is an integral part of any Explore trip and your trip will be led by one of our experienced Explore Leaders who have been handpicked and expertly trained. We believe that our Explore Leaders are the key to the success of our trips; they are passionate travellers who are bursting with first-hand local knowledge which they love to share. Your Explore Leader will also take care of all the planning and organisation throughout your journey. Their passionate approach will make this trip fun and inspiring, bringing the destination to life whether you're travelling alone or with others.

Tour Staff

Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s), Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s)

Additional Information:

Tour Features

Extend your trip With a four day Easter Island Extension. Trip code: TDPE

Trip ID#:

explore-TDP

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