9 Day: Discover Chile


    The perfect introduction to Chile - begin your exploration in the vibrant capital city of Santiago before visiting volcanoes, lakes and forests.

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    Highlights:
    Santiago, Temuco, Villarrica, Calama, Atacama.

     


    Day 1: Arrive Santiago

    Upon arrival in Chile’s capital city, you are met by your local representative for transfer to your hotel. Formerly Hyatt Regency Santiago, Hyatt’s flagship property in South America, Grand Hyatt Santiago brings a fresh and modern look to a city that has evolved into a major destination.

    This afternoon, enjoy a city tour beginning with a visit to the neo-classical 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 museums with exhibits of pre-Columbian cultures from Central America to the Andean region.

    Next, visit 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 remodelled 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 San Cristobal Hill with its impressive panorama of the city, nestled in a mountain valley. On its 1,145 foot crest stands the huge statue of the Virgin which is beautifully floodlit at night.

    Welcome dinner at the superb restaurant Puerto Fuy this evening.

    Overnight: Grand Hyatt Santiago

    Meal Plan: D



    Day 2: Santiago

    You are collected from your hotel this morning for a full day tour of the winelands.

    To the south of Santiago there are important vineyards whose soil and climate produce wine of the highest quality, the best known of which is Concha y Toro. Vast fields of grapevines of the purest French ancestry exist, because Chile was one of the very few countries not affected by the worldwide plague of philoxera in 1863. This along with an ideal climate and significant investment over the last two decades has made Chilean wine some of the best wines in the world today.

    Viña Concha y Toro was founded in 1883 at Pirque, in the Maipo Valley, by the Spanish nobleman Don Melchor de Concha y Toro. Your visit begins in the Plaza Don Melchor square where you will be welcomed by your expert guide who will lead you to a balcony for a spectacular panoramic view of the Pirque vineyard. Glass of Casillero del Diablo white wine in hand, you can immerse yourself in the aromas and flavours of this centennial setting. You can stroll through the dense parkland and gardens that have been maintained as they were in the days of Don Melchor. The old casona will also be visited, the former residence of the Concha y Toro family. It was here that, over a hundred years ago, the biggest wine making company in Chile was born.

    Continue to Viña Santa Rita to enjoy a traditional lunch at restaurant Doña Paula. After lunch, tour around the vineyard. Santa Rita is one of the main wineries in the Maipo Valley, located in the town of Alto Jahuel, at the Andes foothills. The Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and an average rainfall of 330 mm per year, has given this area recognition as being one of the best grape growing areas in the world, especially for Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Return to Santiago and your hotel. Evening at leisure.

    Overnight: Grand Hyatt Santiago

    Meal Plan: B,L



    Day 3: Santiago - Temuco - Villarrica

    Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Temuco. Upon arrival in Temuco, you are met and transferred to your hotel, the excellent Villarrica Park Lake.

    Included in the transfer to Villarrica will be a visit to the Hueche Ruka community, giving you a fascinating insight into the traditions of the Mapuche peoples of Chile’s south. These native people were here in the south of Chile long before the conquistador Pedro de Valdivia discovered the region in the mid 1500s. There will be a demonstration of the community’s principal artistic and creative activities, its gastronomy and handicrafts. Continue to Villarrica, which lies in the shadow of the beautiful Villarrica Volcano on the eastern side of Lake Villarrica.

    Dinner will be served at the hotel’s restaurant.

    Overnight: Villarrica Park Lake

    Meal Plan: B,D



    Day 4: Villarrica

    Your first full day in Chile’s Lake District. 700 miles south of Santiago the crystal waters, lush green forests, rapids and waterfalls, snow-capped volcanoes and azure blue skies of the Chilean Lake District make this one of the world’s scenic jewels.

    The city of Villarrica was founded by Geronimo de Alderete in 1552. Located at the edge of the lake Villarrica, it is surrounded by the snow-capped cone of the active Villarrica Volcano (2,700 metres above the lake). Pucón is Villarrica’s more modern neighbour. A lively town with many options for the visitor, it is now regarded as Chile’s active adventure capital.

    Morning visit to Pucón and surroundings, including the volcanic caves of the Villarrica Volcano. Discover the exciting sensation of entering one of only two volcanic caves open to visitors in the world. There will be a descent of 300 metres in order to observe their geological constitution. Set upon the volcano’s hillsides, at 2,847 metres above sea level (8,540 feet), is the most important ski centre in the region, offering a wonderful view of the valley and lakes during the sunny days. Return to Pucón and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

    Remainder of the day is at leisure to relax and enjoy the numerous facilities inside the hotel.

    Overnight: Villarrica Park Lake

    Meal Plan: B,L



    Day 5: Villarrica

    An early start this morning to visit the Huerquehue National Park, a mountainous 12,500 hectare (30,900 acre) natural reserve, located a short drive from Villarrica.

    The park offers a wide variety of hikes that traverse dense beech forests containing native vegetation such as coigües, lingues, and araucarias. Araucarias are unique old-growth trees that live for more than a thousand years. The araucaria is known as the Tree of the Mapuches because its Pehuén seed has sustained the Mapuche people for generations.

    The hiking paths in Huerquehue National Park lead to pleasant waterfalls and gurgling brooks, or to splendid vistas of the Andes and Volcano Villarrica. Enjoy the evening at leisure to relax and enjoy the numerous facilities inside the hotel.

    Overnight: Villarrica Park Lake

    Meal Plan: B,L



    Day 6: Villarrica - Temuco - Santiago - Calama - Atacama

    After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Temuco to board your return flight to Santiago. Upon arrival you will be met by your local representative, who will assist you with your connecting flight to Calama.

    At an altitude of 7,900 feet in the very heart of the Atacama, Calama is your gateway to the geological and archaeological wonders of the central desert. Upon arrival in this oasis town, you will be transferred overland to the desert in Atacama. This is the world's driest landscape, cut off from storm systems by high-pressure air currents and by Chile's twin mountain ranges. No precipitation has been recorded here since the days of Spanish colonisation, four hundred years ago. Upon arrival at the hotel, you will enjoy a welcome drink, and are then free to wander around the premises.

    Dinner at the hotel. During this evening, the guides will assist and suggest the options of activities available to do the following day.

    Overnight: Hotel Awasi

    Meal Plan: B,D



    Day 7: Atacama

    You have two full days to enjoy daily explorations accompanied by experienced guides in your private 4x4 vehicle. Your daily explorations through Atacama's natural environment and to the sites of pre-Columbian, colonial and contemporary cultures have been carefully selected and designed. Each evening your resident guides will explain in detail the activities you may choose from for 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.

    Overnight: Hotel Awasi

    Meal Plan: B,L,D



    Day 8: Atacama

    As above.

    Overnight: Hotel Awasi

    Meal Plan: B,L,D



    Day 9: Atacama - Calama - Depart Santiago

    Transfer to Calama Airport for your flight to Santiago. Upon arrival at Santiago Airport, you will be met by your local representative and assisted with your international connecting flight.



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