Santiago & Torres del Paine 8-Day Tour
Week-long journey taking in Chile's capital city and potted highlights of Patagonia.
Monthly set departures keep costs down.
2018 prices from £695 / $969 based on 2 people sharing a room (NB. flights not included)
Can be combined nicely with our Titicaca, La Paz & Uyuni tour.
Guaranteed 2018 Departure Dates:
November 6 - 13
November 20 - 27
December 4 - 11
December 18 - 25
Day 01: Tuesday: Santiago
Upon arrival at Santiago Airport, we transfer you to your hotel in Santiago downtown.
Overnight at hotel in Santiago de Chile. You can choose (subject to availability) from the modern, eco-friendly Novapark Hotel, which is situated in Santiago's commercial and political centre, close to Santa Lucia park; or the swanky Plaza El Bosque Hotel, located in the upmarket district of Las Condes (at additional cost).
Day 02: Wednesday: Santiago: City Tour & Concha y Toro Optional (Breakfast)
Half-day Santiago City Tour, including Santa Lucia Hill
Santiago is a cosmopolitan city that blends tradition with modernity. So, this morning, we will show you its origins, at landmarks such as the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral, the Post Office and Santiago City Hall. The tour will continue past the Government Palace and we walk through traditional streets and neighborhoods.
We then head eastwards, to a more modern part of Santiago, which is in stark contrast to what we have seen earlier.
In the afternoon, you have the option of a half-day tour of the famous Concha y Toro Winery (NB. this has an additional cost).
Leaving Santiago, we drive to the picturesque Pirque Valley, where Melchor Concha y Toro established a vineyard, in 1883, using vines brought from the Bordeaux region in France. Today, this vineyard produces some of the best-known wine brands in the world, such as Casillero Del Diablo and Don Melchor.
We visit the distinguished main house and the beautiful, landscaped gardens that surround it, as well as having the wine-making process explained to us ... with the opportunity to taste and buy some of the produce at the end!
We then return to our hotel in Santiago, for our overnight.
Day 03: Thursday: Santiago: Viña del Mar & Valparaiso Optional (Breakfast)
Today, we have the option (at additional cost) to spend the day at the interesting and contrasting coastal cities of Viña del Mar, Chile's main seaside town, known as the 'Garden City'; and Valparaiso, a port city founded in the 16th Century and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Located just 120 km (75 miles) from Santiago, the drive there takes us through the fertile Curacavi and Casablanca Valleys, with beautiful vineyards, fruit farms, and forest reserves.
On arrival at the Pacific Ocean, we start by visiting Valparaiso's highlights, including the National Congress Building, O'Higgins Park, Italia Park, Plaza de la Victoria, Plaza Sotomayor and the port area.
We then visit the Museum dedicated to the famous Chilean poet, writer and 1971 Nobel Prize for Literature winner (1971), Pablo Neruda, located in his former holiday retreat, La Sebastiana House.
Another feature of Valparaiso are the ascensores - funicular railways built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, to connect the hills of the city to the lower, seaside areas. As well as being historically significant, they offer great views of the city.
We continue to Viña del Mar, which abuts the Port of Valparaiso and is the country's best-known beach resort, with a good selection of restaurants, cafes, shops ... and a casino. Here, our visit El Reloj de Flores, a large clock with its numbers made of flowering plants; Quinta Vergara, a stately home set in large gardens; and Muelle Vergara, a historic pier that has now been refurbished. We then drive along the coast to Reñaca Beach.
Overnight in Santiago.
Day 4: Friday: Santiago - Punta Arenas - Puerto Natales (Breakfast)
At the appropriate time, you will be transferred to Santiago Airport, for your flight to Punta Arenas.
Suggested flight LA297 SCL/PUQ Departure 1317 – Arrival 16:42 (not included).
On arrival in Punta Arenas, we are welcomed at the airport, and make the trip in a regular bus to Puerto Natales.
On arrival in Puerto Natales, we drive you to your hotel. Here you have the choice of Hotel Vendaval, a boutique hotel in the heart of the city; or Costaustralis, located on the shores of the Fjord of Last Hope, and with architecture inspired by a French chateau (at additional cost).
Day 5: Saturday: Puerto Natales: Torres del Paine (Breakfast & Lunch)
We depart early this morning, for a full day in the famous Torres del Paine National Park. As we drive towards the park, we pass dozens of lagoons, filled with aquatic birds and mountainsides where guanacos (camelid relatives of the llama) graze.
Stops during the morning include: Nordenskjold Lake whose waters are emerald green; Salto Grande (Big Waterfall) where we can admire the falls, as the water from Nordenskjold cascades into Lake Pehoe; Los Cuernos Viewpoint, where you can see the iconic Paine 'horns' - the three peaks that are symbolic of the area, Valle del Frances (Frenchman's Valley) and Paine Grande Mountain.
We then drive over and beside Grey River to its source: Grey Lake, which is in turn fed by Grey Glacier, at its northern end. As a result, its blue waters are littered with icebergs that have broken off the glacier. Here we go on foot for an hour, across Pingo River and along a well-marked track, enjoying the unbeatable landscape of lakes, glaciers and forests in the Paine Mountains.
We return to Puerto Natales, where we spend the night in our chosen hotel.
Day 6: Sunday: Puerto Natales - Punta Arenas - Santiago (Breakfast)
This morning, we have the option (at additional cost) of visiting Bulnes Fort, located 58 km (36 miles) south of Punta Arenas. Built in 1843, on a rocky outcrop into the Strait of Magellan, the fort was designed to defend the Strait from the claims of other nations. It was only in use for six years, before the inhabitants moved to the more agreeable Punta Arenas, but the original fort served its purpose, and has been reconstructed to include the church, prison, chaplain's room, water wells, gunpowder room, post office ... and even the cowshed! It gives a vivid insight into the life of the first colonizers of Chile's southern region.
As well as the historical interest of the fort, the journey there, a drive of about an hour beside the Strait of Magellan, is spectacular, allowing us to spot much of the flora and fauna of the region. Marine birds such as sheldgeese, black-faced ibis and cormorants, are prevalent around the water. And near the Fort, long-tailed meadowlark and southern crested caracara, among others, can be seen.
We return to our hotel at the end of the visit.
At the appropriate time, we transfer out from hotel to Puerto Natales bus station. From here, we take a regular bus to Punta Arenas in order to catch a flight back to Santiago.
Suggested flight LA284 PUQ/SCL Departure 1938 – Arrival 2258 (not included).
On arrival at Santiago Airport, we meet you and transfer to your chosen hotel in Santiago.
Day 7: Monday: Santiago: Maipo Valley Optional (Breakfast)
Today, we have the choice of a free day to explore Santiago, or the option (with additional cost) of going to the Maipo Valley, south of the capital, which is a heartland of wine production.
The first visit is to the Perez Cruz Vineyard, which specialises in good quality red wines.
After a delicious lunch at La Calma de Rita restaurant, we go to Haras de Pirque Vineyard, which grows a number of grape varieties, both red and white, as well as breeding horses.
At both wineries, we see the production process and have a chance to taste some of their best wines.
Overnight at chosen Santiago hotel.
Day 08: Tuesday: Santiago (Breakfast)
At the appropriate time, you will be transferred to Santiago Airport to take your onward flight.
End of services.