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Close to people's heart

4500km of nature: Chile North to South

Chile - Discovery – Self-guided tour – 21 days / 20 nights
4500km
 Highlights…:

• Hiking in the National Park Torres del Paine ;
• Myths and legends of the Island of Chiloé ;
• Lakes and volcanoes of central Chile ;
• The fauna of the Los Flamencos National Reserve ;
• Tatio geysers and sunset over the Moon Valley ;

Nature : box black box black box black box black box withe -  Culture : box black box black box black box withe box withe

Encounters : box black box black box black box withe box withe

 

Starting from $3759 USD*

 

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A country of geographical extremes, Chile’s diversity is reflected both in its landscape and its people. This is a trip to experience Chile’s many wonders, moving first south and ending in the North of the country. Explore the Chilean Patagonia, a region typified by the southernmost glaciers, fractured fjords, placid lakes and lush forests. Drive through the mysterious and mythical island of Chiloe on your own vehicle and explore the virgin forest along the wild Pacific coast. Reach the Lake District, a beautiful patchwork of lakes and volcanoes. Your trip will end with San Pedro de Atacama, a small oasis village in the middle of the lunar-like Atacama Desert, with amazing starry-filled skies.

 

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ITINERARY…

Day 1 – SANTIAGO
Arrival by international flight

Arrive in Santiago by international flight. You are met at the airport by our driver and transferred to your hotel. Wander around the capital city with a member of our team, soaking up the atmosphere and visiting some interesting sites: Bellavista, a bohemian neighbourhood, Plaza de Armas with its colonial architecture and Cerro Santa Lucia with its scenic view over the city and the Andes.

  • Transport : private transfer 45min
  • Accommodation: aparthotel
  • Included meals : none

Day 2 – PATAGONIA….
Flight Santiago de Chile > Punta Arenas

Our driver will pick you up in the morning to take you to the airport. Arrive in Punta Arenas by midday. A driver will take you directly to your hotel in Puerto Natales. This is a small town facing the Andes on the shores of Seno Ultima Esperanza, at the southern end of the Chilean Fjords. The rest of the day is yours to explore of the city.

  • Transport : private transfer 45min
  • Accommodation: hotel
  • Included meals : none

Day 3 – DAY IN ESTANCIA
Departure for Estancia Mercedes. A full day in the countryside; estancias are excellent places for all types of outdoor activities, including horseback riding. It is an opportunity to experience the unique "huaso" culture in a beautiful setting. A chance to see huasos as they go about their daily activities, such as shearing sheep or marking of animals. Enjoy a wonderful "asado" in the evening. Return to Puerto Natales at the end of the day.

  • Transport : van 1h30
  • Accommodation : hotel
  • Included meals : breakfast and dinner

Day 4 –TOREES DEL PAINE – LAKE GREY
Early departure for Torres Del Paine National Park. Along the way, you get to appreciate ñandus and guanacos in their natural environment. Arrive at the pier on Lake Grey at 11am. During the crossing, you will be able to appreciate icebergs floating on the lake. The final destination is the Grey glacier, an extensive natural ice construction of unique beauty. In the afternoon, a short hike along Lake Grey to reach your refuge.

  • Transport : private transfer 2h + Boat 1h
  • Accommodation : refuge
  • Included meals : breakfast and dinner
  • Trekking : 4 - 5 hours easy hike

Day 5 – LAGO PEHOE – TORRE REFUGE
Embark on a catamaran for some spectacular views of the calm waters of Lake Pehoé in the morning.  Hike to Salto Grande (waterfall), with the eye-catching view of the huge Horns of Torres del Paine. Salto Grande is an impressive waterfall where the water drops more than 10 meters from the blue waters of Lake Nordenskjold into what eventually turns into Lake Pehoé. From the Salto Grande waterfall the trail continues to the picture-perfect Nordenskjöld Lake.

  • Transport : catamaran 30min +  bus 1h
  • Accommodation : refuge
  • Included meals : breakfast, cold lunch and dinner

Day 6 – TORRES DEL PAINE – PUNTA ARENAS
Very early departure for Torres Del Paine National Park. Take an impressive trail winding its way towards the famous vertical granite face towering more than 1.000 meters, overlooking a small glacier mounted on a glacial lake. Return to your vehicle by mid-afternoon to make your way back to Punta Arenas where you will arrive in the late afternoon.  

  • Transport : private transfer 4h
  • Accommodation : hotel
  • Included meals : breakfast and cold lunch
  • Trekking : 7 - 8 h ; 900m change in altitude

Day 7 – PUNTA ARENAS -  PUERTO MONTT -  ANCUD -  CASTRO
Flight Punta Arenas > Puerto Montt
Rental car

Fly from Punta Arenas to Puerto Montt where you pick up your rental car. Drive to the city of Ancud, through the Pacific coast to appreciate some marine life. By mid-afternoon, the fishermen of Puñihuil will guide you through some local marine life including penguins, sea lions, dolphins, sea otters, pelicans and a variety of other seabirds. These fishermen, aware of the negative impact of fishing on biodiversity have created an association for the protection and development of natural heritage through tourism as a new source of income. Join the Oyarzo family near the town of Castro in the afternoon. Small scale farmers they live of livestock and the sea.  

  • Transport : rental car – 194 km 3h30
  • Accommodation : host family (basic comfort)
  • Included meals : breakfast and dinner

Day 8 – CHILOE NATIONAL PARK 
Rental car
Head for Chiloé National Park in the morning, discover the virgin forest along the wild Pacific coast. You may have a chance to meet the miners who settled on the coast during the gold mining days. You will spend the night at the Hotel Palafitos de Cucao.

  • Transportation: rental car – 50km 1h
  • Accommodation: hotel
  • Included meals: breakfast

Day 9 – CUCAO TO CASTRO
Rental car
 
A free day for you in Castro. We will recommend some artisans and associations so you can immerse yourself in the local culture.  Maria Elena will welcome you in the evening with a good dinner.  

  • Transportation: rental car – 50km 1h
  • Accommodation: host family (basic comfort)
  • Included meals: breakfast and dinner

Day 10 – CASTRO – PUERTO MONTT – PUERTO VARAS – PETREHUE – P. VARAS
Rental car

Enjoy a hearty farmer breakfast before heading to Puerto Montt. Later, take a free afternoon in Puerto Varas. We highly recommend the spectacular waterfalls Saltos of Petrohue, at the foot of the imposing Volcano Osorno in the Andes Precordillera .Overnight in Puerto Varas.  

  • Transport : rental car – 191km 4h
  • Accommodation : hotel
  • Included meals : breakfast

Day 11 – PUERTO VARAS – HUILO HUILO
Rental car

Travel to Huilo Huilo, a biological reserve in the middle of the Patagonian rainforest of Chile.  A unique experience in harmony with nature. You can enjoy the park’s facilities, go horse riding or visit the spa.

  • Transport : rental car – 350km 4h30
  • Accommodation : hotel
  • Included meals : breakfast and dinner
  • Activities are not included

Day 12 – HUILO HUILO - GEOMÉTRICAS HOT SPRINGS
Rental car

On your way to Pucon, pass by the Geométricas Hot Springs, the result of an ambitious project by an architect in harmony with nature; a good choice for some fabulous relaxing time. By late afternoon you will reach Pucon, a beautiful little village nestled at the base of a volcano along the shores of Lake Villarrica.

  • Transport : rental car 164km 3h
  • Accommodation : hotel
  • Included meals : breakfast 
  • Entrance to the Hot Springs not included

Day 13 – HUERQUEHUE NATIONAL PARK
Rental car

We recommend you to visit the National Park of Huerquehue, located near the town of Pucon. Soak up the special atmosphere of an ancient Araucaria forest; appreciate these stunning trees commonly known as “monkey puzzle” and three splendid lagoons. The hike is not very difficult but it takes between 2 to 3 hour climbing before reaching the lagoons. Araucarias are sacred trees to the Mapuche who harvest and use its "piñones" or seeds in the preparation of various traditional dishes.

  • Transportation: rental car 50km 1h20
  • Accommodation: lodge
  • Included meals: breakfast
  • Trekking: 4 - 5 hour easy hike, 400m change in altitude

Day 14 – VILLARRICA NATIONAL PARK  – ASCENT OF THE VOLCANO
Rental car

Option 1: Depart by van to climb Villarrica volcano, a perfect cone covered with snow, overlooking Lake Villarrica. This climb offers you an amazing view on the entire chain of the region’s volcanoes. The climb will take 6 to 7hours, an easy hike to reach the summit at 2847 m. You will climb down in 2 hours by the same path.
Option 2: Paddle through the white water rapids with an amazing scenery (Trancura River Rafting) or cycle through the surrounding area.

  • Transportation: van 40min to the volcano 
  • Accommodation: lodge
  • Included meals: breakfast
  • Trekking: 8 - 9 hour easy hike, 1300m change in altitude

Day 15 – VILLARRICA – TEMUCO – CALAMA – SAN PEDRO
Flight Temuco > Santiago de Chile > Calama
Rental car

Depart early in the morning for Villarica’s airport where you return your rental car. You will fly north to south so watch out for the change in temperature. Once in Calama, you will be in the heart of the driest desert in the world, the Atacama Desert. On arrival a van will be waiting to take you directly to your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama where you will arrive at the end of the day.

  • Transport : rental car 130km 1h45 + van 2h
  • Accommodation: hotel
  • Included meals : breakfast

Day 16 – MOON VALLEY (2400M high)
Free morning to visit the town of San Pedro de Atacama. Discover the Ayllus village area, composed of several communities (or oasis) around San Pedro de Atacama. We recommend you to visit the museum Le Paige, an opportunity to learn about the culture of the Atacama people. In the afternoon venture in the Valley of the Moon to admire some amazing natural formations result of the intense erosion. Hike to the salt caves Las Tres Marias: these formations, composed of gravel, clay, salt, gems and quarts, are estimated to be approximately one million years old. Sunset on the salt mountain range before heading back to your hotel.

  • Transport : van 1h30 
  • Accommodation: hotel
  • Included meals : breakfast

Day 17 – TATIO GEYSERS (4320 m high) 
Very early departure to reach the Tatio Geysers before sunrise. An impressive show will then gradually unfold, the temperature of the air will fall, and the water vapour will start spurting out several meters above the ground. Return to San Pedro de Atacama and pass through the small village of Machuca where you can appreciate the traditional architecture of a high altitude village, together with its fauna and flora. Return to San Pedro de Atacama in the afternoon.

  • Transport : van 4h30
  • Accommodation: hotel
  • Included meals : breakfast

Day 18 – ALTIPLANIC LAGOONS (2400M high)
Explore the beautiful lagoons of Miscanti and Miñiques, part of the Los Flamencos National Reserve. Located at an elevation of 4200 m above sea level, these lagoons sit at the base of the two volcanos and were separated from each other by a lava flow from an eruption. Enjoy the stunning views of this breeding ground for flamingos!

  • Transport : van 5h
  • Accommodation: hotel
  • Included meals : breakfast

Day 19 – SAN PEDRO TO VALPARAISO
Flight Calama > Santiago de Chile

Free morning in San Pedro de Atacama then around midday a van will take you from your hotel directly to Calama’s airport. Arrive in Santiago by late afternoon and drive to Valparaiso by private transfer.

  • Transport : private transfer1h45
  • Accommodation: bed & breakfast
  • Included meals : breakfast

Day 20 – VALPARAISO
Free day in Valparaiso. This is a harbour open to the ocean and surrounded by twelve hills upon which many colourful houses have flourished. You will visit the Cerro Alegre area, acknowledged World Heritage Site (UNESCO). This open sky museum will take you to discover narrow streets filled with frescoes painted by the artists of the city.

  • Transport : private transfer 1h45
  • Accommodation: bed & breakfast
  • Included meals : breakfast
  • Entrance to the sites and museums not included

Day 21 – FINAL DAY IN CHILE
Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and take you to the airport 3 hours before departure of your flight.

  • Transportation: private transfer 45m
  • Included meals: breakfast

End of the adventure in Chile……

This program is only given as an indication. It can be changed during your journey. Transhumans reserves the right, directly or through its local partners, to substitute transportation, accommodation, a route for another, as well as dates and departure times, without the participants being able to claim any compensation.

Dates and Prices

PRICE 2016 ( USD$ per person)

N° of participants  2 to 3   4 to 5  6 to 7  8 or more
 Price per person ($)  4399  3999  3898 3790

The price includes:

  • Domestic flights : Santiago > Punta Arenas ; Punta Arenas > Puerto Montt; Temuco > Santiago > Calama; Calama > Santiago;
  • Ground transfers as mentioned in the program;
  • 13 nights in hotel, 2 nights in refuge, 1 night in estancia, 2 nights in bed & breakfast, 2 nights host family - double room (not available in refuge and host family);
  • 1 day in estancia ;
  • Lake Grey navigation;
  • 1 rental car for 9 days ;
  • Hike to Villarrica Volcano ;
  • Excursion to Tatio Geysers ;
  • Excursion to Altiplanic Lagoons ;
  • Excursion to Moon Valley ;
  • All the meals mentioned in the programme ;
  • A road book with all the information necessary for the smooth running of your stay ;
  • A mobile phone to be in contact with us 24/7 . 

The price does not include:

  • International flights ;
  • Entrance to the parks, natural reserves and museums ;
  • Single occupancy supplement : $ 325 ( no single room available in the refuge and host family) ;
  • Drinks and personal expenses ;
  • The comprehensive insurance and repatriation assistance.

... and more generally all that is not mentioned in the « the price includes » section.

Some important facts

  • National flights are included ;
  • Transfers to/ from airport/hotel/airport are included ;
  • Accommodation is included and selected based on quality and hygiene ;
  • Local partners are fairly compensated  ;
  • 3% of the price of your trip goes directly to support a local educational project for cultural and environmental development .

Practical Information

PRACTICAL INFORMATION

Accompanying English and Spanish speaking guides
The day of your arrival, you will be received by an English speaking member of our staff. He/she will hand you a road book and a mobile phone, allowing you to be in contact with us 24/7 if needed. If specified in your program, he/she will also accompany you around the capital, giving you the basic practical information about the country or countries you are visiting.

During excursions to Villarica and Sollipulli Volcanos, you will be accompanied by a certified Spanish and English speaking high mountain guide.

When to travel to South of Chile 
The South of Chile (the door to Patagonia) has a temperate rainy climate, with the southern area being the wettest. The best season for visiting this part of Chile is from November to late April (summer and springtime in the southern hemisphere). Temperatures are pleasant and rainfall less abundant, making this period ideal for trekking and other outdoor activities. The climate can be capricious in Patagonia, with fierce winds, rain and clouds scurrying across the sky at a fast pace, constantly displaying the extraordinary scenery in a new light. It is not uncommon to have sunshine, wind, rain and even snow on a single day, even during summertime. The key is to layer for cold weather, take off layers when the day gets warmer and wear waterproof clothing. 
NOTE : TransHumans offers the option of booking your international tickets; we will search and book for you the best deals. Price may vary depending on the time of purchase but cost normally between $ 1000 and $1600. 

Local Transportation 
Travelling by bus is the most popular and cheapest way to discover the country. Classes range from Semi-Cama to Cama Suite with wider seats reclining to a horizontal position almost like being in bed. Distances are long and it takes nearly 22 hours bus ride from Calama to Santiago. Bus lines connect major cities together. Buses run at an average speed of 80 km/h. For long distances, the plane remains the most convenient mean of transportation.

Formalities
PASSPORT & VISA: A valid passport is sufficient for most European and US citizens; a tourist visa will be issued at entry to the territory. If the stay exceeds the three months, it will be necessary to apply for a visa at the Embassy in your country. Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
REMINDER: Make copies of all your important documents (passport, flight tickets, insurance, and credit card). Leave one copy of each at home and pack one with you.


EQUIPEMENT

GOOD GEAR WILL ALLOW YOU TO BETTER ENJOY YOUR TRIP…

Clothing : 
This trip takes you from South to North of Chile, meaning you need to pack both warm and light clothes. Given the relatively wet weather prevailing in the southern region, it is essential to have waterproof trousers and jacket with you in your bag. Also, bring warm clothes since evenings and nights are often chilly even in the North. We highly recommend lightweight, quick-drying technical clothing. Avoid rain capes as they easily get stuck to branches with the wind. Remember to take with you a hat, gloves, waterproof hiking shoes, cap and sunglasses!

Miscellaneous
-Toiletry bag (biodegradable products are preferred)
-Small quick-drying towel
-Sunscreen lotion
-Insect repellent DEET (+ 40% for good protection). Also useful against fleas which can be a nuisance for people with sensitive skin.
-Head torch (with spare batteries and bulbs)
-Bottle and/or camel bag
-Pocket knife (checked luggage)
-Money belt or pouch to safely store your passport, currency, credit cards, personal papers, insurance papers.
-A copy of your passport.
-Power sockets in Chile are those commonly find in Europe type C and Italy type L; Voltage: 220 V.

Medical Kit :
-Antidiarrheal medication (i.e.smecta and imodium)
-Antihistamine
-Plasters, sterile dressings and antiseptics
-Medicine for pain or fever (such as acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen)
-Elastic adhesive bandage
-Anti-inflammatory ointment or cream
-Water purification tablets
NOTE : Most of these products are also available in local pharmacies.

Luggage : Please arrange your belongings in two bags :
-Small backpack (capacity 25/40 litres).This is your hand luggage you will take with you on the plane as well as every day during hikes, excursions and transfers.
-Large waterproof backpack to check-in (capacity 60 to 90 litres).
-Large plastic bag to protect your belongings from moisture.

HEALTH

Vaccinations
No vaccine is mandatory for Chile, but some are recommended:
-Tetanus-diphtheria
-Polio
-Pertussis
-Hepatitis B

For children and those born before 1980: measles, mumps - rubella. The country does not present any health risks, and the water is potable almost everywhere.

Other health risks
Try to avoid contact with insects. Fleas tend to be a nuisance for sensitive skin. Regular insect repellent is also effective against fleas.
Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness is due to a rapid ascent to higher altitudes and the decreasing level of oxygen available at those altitudes. The symptoms include shortness of breath, irritating dry cough, severe headache, nausea and exhaustion. The first solution is to descend to a lower altitude (at least 500 m).
Proper acclimatization of the body to increasing altitudes is the best way to prevent altitude sickness. Once above 3000 meters it is wise not to increase the altitude at which you sleep by more than 500 meters. Stop a day if the altitude increases by 1000 meters in a day, keep hydrated and avoid drinking alcohol and smoking.
The best way to acclimatize to the altitude is to climb gradually. Given enough time, your body will adapt to the decrease in oxygen at a specific altitude.

Medical Assistance
Medical care is excellent in most tourist areas in Chile. For more remote areas, in case of urgent medical assistance, contact your Embassy in Santiago de Chile. We highly recommend you to contact your insurance as soon as possible.

LOCAL CUSTOMS

The Mapuche (People of the land) – Lake District – Chile
Reputed as fierce warriors, the Mapuche opposed the Inca and resisted the Spaniards for over 350 years. The conquistadores managed to eventually subordinate these hunters and gatherers by weakening the traditional social organization of their community. The Mapuche are a strong fighting people. Warlike but certainly not unfriendly, they love to receive and talk about their culture, their ceremonies, their gastronomy, Machi healers and their cosmology. "Indigeno" is not derogatory to the Mapuche, quite the contrary; while "Indio" is, so do not use this term when speaking to people of the altiplano or when referring to them.

The Atacama People (Atacameños). Atacama Desert - Chile
They are descendants of the early settlers of this region. Heavily influenced by the Aymara and Quechua cultures (southern Andean altiplano), they render tribute to the Pachamama (Mother Earth), they celebrate every year during the month of August with offerings and religious ceremonies. Cultural exchange can generally be difficult at first, since the Atacameños can be suspicious. Yet, gradually, they will gain confidence. At least this is our experience. Opening to them, patience and humility are key for successful exchanges with them. "Indigeno" is not derogatory to the Mapuche, quite the contrary; while "Indio" is, so do not use it when speaking to people of the altiplano or when referring to them.

Responsible Tourism

RESPONSIBLE TOURISM

Our Vision & Commitment

Cultural awareness is very important to us. Sensible to the local cultural traditions and beliefs, the beauty of the landscapes and the biodiversity of the ecosystems, we choose to limit the negative impact of our activities on the local environment. In addition to designing trips that aim at preserving the natural, cultural and social resources of the territories in the long term, we also include the concept of “Territorial Compensation”. The idea of Territorial Compensation is to help local people protect and conserve their ecosystem, enhance their cultural heritage and develop sustainable projects for their territory.

Based on this concept of Territorial Compensation, TransHumans donates 3% of the total price of each trip to this cause. The money goes directly into a solidarity fund that finances our ERECA program (Education Relative à l'Environnement et aux Cultures Aborigènes), an environmental and cultural program. Since 2007, we have supported various projects aimed at training and awareness-raising for the local communities.

If you want to know more about this+ : http://www.transhumans.fr/en/solidarity-project-transhumans