See natural wonders on the grandest of scales, visit colourful outposts and explore thriving, cultured cities. Fascinating, intoxicating, awe-inspiring Chile has it all. From frozen glacial fields at the southern edge of the world to its driest desert. From pristine, azure lakes to towering Andean peaks that are home to soaring condors and llama-like guanacos. And from verdant, fertile valleys covered in ripening vineyards, to exciting, colourful cities teeming with exuberant life. This very special tour is the perfect introduction to this fascinating, ribbon-thin country that stretches half the length of South America.
The otherworldly Mars and Moon Valleys in the Atacama Desert
Punta Arenas, at South America’s southern tip
Discover the Milodón Cave and breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park
The Garden City of Viña del Mar and the wine-producing Casablanca Valley
Cruise to the majestic Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers
Explore Puerto Montt, in the shadow of a snow-capped volcano
The Petrohué River Falls, beneath conical Orsorno
The wooden churches and seafaring legends of Chiloé Island
The flamingo-filled lagoons of Chaxa, Miscanti and Meñiques
Take in the view from the Salt Mountains
Meet desert dwellers in Socaire and the volcanic town of Toconao
El Tatio’s fumaroles and spouting geysers
The colourful Chilean capital Santiago
Head across the Atlantic and over the towering Andes to the Chilean capital.
Upon arrival, meet your tour manager and make the short journey west to the shores of the Pacific Ocean, to picturesque, UNESCO-listed Valparaiso. Enjoy a short introductory tour of this town where the colourful houses cling to steep hillsides, often reached by funicular railways. See the colourful waterfront and the main Plaza Sotomayor, then transfer to your hotel. Here you'll have the chance to rest and relax before dinner is served.
On a relaxing day, you’ll visit beautiful Viña del Mar to see its stunning colourful houses and lovely beaches, and head into the wine-producing Casablanca Valley to visit a vineyard and taste some of the wine that has built Chile’s reputation across the globe. This evening you're free to relax and explore Valparaiso.
Travel back to Santiago, and fly south to the sprawling city of Punta Arenas at the foot of Southern Patagonia. This fascinating mix of the rugged, windswept and weather-beaten, and the ultra-modern, was forged from the spoils of fishing and sheep-farming. Catch a glimpse of this "edge of the world" outpost, with its penguins and wind-blown shores, before making the three-hour journey north to Puerto Natales. This colourful, welcoming place is breath-takingly set at the edge of the Ultima Esperenza (Last Hope) Sound, backed by distant mountains. One here, settle in to your hotel.
Be on the quayside early this morning to board a boat for the stunning three-hour cruise through the scenic Señoret Channel. This glorious inland fjord, at the head of which looms the great Balmaceda Glacier beneath its mountain peak is a great place to spot birds and sea lions. Disembark for a short hike to the foot of the pristine Serrano Glacier, before enjoying a traditional Patagonian lunch.
Cross the Patagonian Steppe towards one of South America’s most dramatic sights, the mountain paradise of the Torres del Paine National Park. Here the landscape of glaciers, rivers and pristine lakes is crowned by jagged peaks that are home to the giant condor. Herds of wild guanacos (a close relative of the llama) roam the foothills surrounding Grey Lake, beyond which the distant Grey Glacier hovers. En route, you’ll call at the extraordinary Milodón Cave, former refuge of the now-extinct giant sloth. And, after a spectacular day that includes lunch in the National Park, your return to Puerto Natales.
You've a very early start, today, first heading back to Punta Arenas, then taking a short flight over the Patagonian Icefield to Puerto Montt. This fast-growing centre of the salmon fishing industry on the edge of the Pacific is your gateway to Northern Patagonia’s stunning Lakes Region. Take a tour of the bustling city, and visit the nearby cove at Angelemó to explore its colourful fish market and tempting shore-side restaurants, before heading to Puerto Varas, the beautiful, pink-hued City of Roses, that sits on the shores of Lake Llanquihue. This afternoon, after checking in to your Puerto Varas hotel, journey around the shores of the lake to stunning Petrohué Falls, which tumble down across lava once spewed by Mount Orsono, whose cone dominates the lake.
Today is spent discovering South America’s fifth-largest island. This lush, windswept paradise of rolling, forested hills is dotted with remote outposts inhabited by a proud people with a rich nautical heritage, whose unique wooden churches (some UNESCO-listed) are constructed in the shape of ships. Cross the Chacao Channel that separates the island from the mainland, and enjoy a memorable day visiting some delightful places where houses are built on stilts above the water, and where colourful markets peddle hand-crafted wares. Lunch is included today, adding to the pleasure.
By way of complete contrast, today you'll fly north, via Santiago, to Calama, and travel on to San Pedro de Atacama, the dusty, sun-baked gateway to the wonders of the fabled Atacama Desert. Later, enjoy your first legendary Atacama sunset.
Explore the extraordinary landscape of what is, officially, the world’s driest corner, with its vast salt flats, red-rock outcrops, deep canyons and thermal lakes. Drive onto the high Andean plateau to the lagoons of Miscanti and Meñiques, meet locals as you enjoy lunch in remote village Socaire, and journey to Toconao, where houses and an array of artefacts are fashioned from volcanic rock by skilled craftsmen. Return to San Pedro and perhaps enjoy a sundowner in this spectacular setting.
Continue your Atacama exploration with an early morning journey to the extraordinary fumaroles and gushing geysers of El Tatio (the world’s highest, at 14,000ft). Stand amazed as jets of super-heated steam and water spout up into the air. There will also be an opportunity, today, to bath in the health-giving hot springs at Puritama before a visit to the barren, exquisite landscape of the Valley of the Moon at sunset brings the curtain down on your desert stay.
Leaving the desert behind, today you'll head back to the Chilean capital, where a guided introduction to this fascinating, cosmopolitan city will reveal the Barrio Centro, centred on Spanish colonial Plaza de Armas, and grand Avenida General O’Higgins (Chile’s 19th-century leader was of Irish descent). Enjoy discovering this walkabout grid of shopping streets, grand neo-classical architecture, bars and cafés. Head up to the statue of the Madonna on the lofty heights of Cerro San Cristobal, which offer a spectacular view of the city and the breath-taking Andes. Don’t miss Metropolitan Cathedral on Plaza de Armas, and perhaps enjoy lunch at the Central Market or in one of Bohemian Barrio Bellavista's pubs and restaurants.
After breakfast, bid farewell to your Chilean hosts and head to the airport to check in for your overnight transatlantic flight home.
Arrive home, this morning, at the end of a wonderful South American adventure.
11 nights' bed and breakfast accommodation at hotels in Valparaiso (2 nights), Puerto Natales (3), Puerto Varas (2), San Pedro de Atacama (3) and Santiago (1)
Four lunches and two dinners
A tour of Santiago
Return flights to Santiago
Internal flights from Santiago to Punta Arenas, Punta Arenas to Puerto Montt to Calama and Calama to Santiago
Comfortable, air-conditioned coach travel and transfers throughout
Escorted by friendly, experienced, expert local tour managers
You will have the option to book your own flights independently with the operator.
With more than 35 years’ tour-operating experience, Newmarket Holidays can provide escorted tours, river cruises, cruise holidays and resort-based stays that combine superb value for money and the highest standards of customer care. Having won Best Escorted Tours Holiday Company six years running at the British Travels Awards, the company has become one of the largest and most respected independently owned tour operators in the UK.
Newmarket Holidays offers a huge array of escorted tours, short breaks, long explorations and holiday experiences for just about every interest and activity level, with transfers, excursions, carefully chosen accommodation and many entrances included in the price. All holidays also include a friendly and knowledgeable tour manager to help you make the most of your trip and to ensure your holiday operates as smoothly as possible. And although much of your escorted tour is prearranged, you’ll still have plenty of free time to relax and the flexibility to do your own thing.
With Newmarket Holidays, there’s a whole world to explore, from the historic railways of the Isle of Man and the canals of Amsterdam to the exciting city of New York and the magical sight of the Taj Mahal in India. Alternatively, relax and unwind beside the blue waters of Lake Garda, enjoy a guided tour of Poland’s former royal capital or spend a few nights in the heart of Moscow in Russia. Newmarket Holidays has something special for all couples, groups, families and solo travellers, including romantic breaks in Paris, safari adventures in Kenya, Santa experience days in Lapland and rail journeys through the Italian countryside.
There’s also a choice of holiday types and themes, such as small group tours, rail holidays, UK and Ireland short breaks, Christmas markets and cultural experiences, as well as concerts and events. As a company that now focuses on UK, European and Worldwide air holidays, ocean cruises and river cruises, you can even choose how to travel to your chosen destinations. Not forgetting that Newmarket Holidays specialises in included and optional excursions to ensure your escorted tours are memorable from beginning to end.
When you choose an air holiday, you can either tour as many attractions and cultures as you can fit in or base yourself at a quiet resort and take your pick from a collection of excursions and day trips. This means that your holiday can be as adventurous or as relaxing as you wish. If a cruise is your ideal group tour, Newmarket Holidays has departures from nearly every major port in the UK and can take you to places in and around Europe, the Canary Islands, the Baltic Cities, Greenland, the Far East, Australia and Africa. You can also choose from a wide range of European and worldwide river cruises or select a Christmas and New Year river cruise along the Danube, the Rhine or the Seine River.
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Please note: After many years of operation, Newmarket Holidays has decided to discontinue the UK and European coach breaks and tours departing from local pick-ups in the UK (as of 2019) to concentrate on its range of UK, European and Worldwide air holidays, ocean cruises and river cruises.