Patagonia, Southern Ice Fields & Northern Chile

Diverse environments offer adventures from ice fields to deserts, to one of the world's highest lakes.

Country Information

Chile

Patagonia, Southern Ice Fields & Northern Chile Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

Chile


(Interest Type(s))

Sustainable Travel

,

Adventure Travel


(Tour Length)

13 Days


Tour Highlights

Starting at: $7,295
  • Get to know Chile’s charming capital from its mural-adorned subway to its sophisticated, European-style modern districts to its Spanish colonial churches
  • Encounter the drama and wonder of Chile’s Southern Ice Fields on a three-night cruise aboard the MV Skorpios III
  • Explore the Patagonia’s amazing landscapes on foot, on horseback or by bicycle
  • Travel into northernmost Chile for glimpses of Andean culture and ancient geoglyphs, including a remote archaeological site dating back to the 12th century
  • Discover the beauty found in Lauca National Park, a Global Biosphere Reserve, and its astonishing Lake Chungará, one of the highest lakes in the world

Day 1:  Arrive Santiago
Welcome to Chile.  Upon arrival, you are met by your Big Five Chile representative and transferred to your hotel.  Santiago, the capital of Chile, is a focal point of Latin American commerce.  The city is clean and modern and sits in a basin between the Coast Range to the west and the Andes to the east.  World-class ski areas in the central Andes lie only 45 minutes away, up steep switchbacks that climb over 7500 feet in twenty-six miles.  Distinguished vineyards surround the capital, and along with hot springs and heritage cities in the Coast Range, make easy day trips.  At night, visitors may choose from a variety of restaurants serving all types of regional and ethnic cuisines.  Arrive at your stunning residence.  Built in 1927 in the heart of what is today Santiago´s most bohemian borough, Lastarria has been renovated and converted into a superb boutique Hotel with unrivalled personal service to ensure guests stay in a genuine home away from home.  Lastarria Boutique Hotel

Day 2:  Santiago
Enjoy an out of the ordinary half-day guided walking tour of Santiago.  Explore the cities subways for a true sense of the city.  You see murals created by some of Chile’s most important contemporary artists.  Visit La Bolsa Street facing the Stock Exchange building; La Moneda Presidential Palace, which has a changing of the guard ceremony every 48 hours, and an art exhibition in its Cultural Center.  Absorb the flavor of the old district with its provincial atmosphere; the sophisticated, European-style modern districts of Vitacura, Las Condes and Providencia; the Spanish colonial churches, gardens and government palaces off the Plaza de Armas.  See the elegant racetrack, university, and gracious estates dating from the 17th century.  Rising above the streets of the capital, Cristoval Hill has panoramic views; Santa Lucia, site of Santiago’s founding in 1541, and the crumbling ruins of the 16th-century fort.  You also explore the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, which houses a collection to rival any in the world.  The balance of the day is at leisure.  Lastarria Boutique Hotel (B)

Day 3:  Santiago / Puerto Natales / Southern Ice Fields
This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Punta Arenas.  On arrival, you are met and transferred to Puerto Natales, arriving at the Skorpios terminal where you board the MV Skorpios III, your home for the next three nights.  MV Skorpios III (B,L,D)

Days 4/5:  Southern Ice Fields
For the next two days, you explore the world of towering glaciers and water from your comfortable ship, specially equipped for these waters.  Your first glacier encounter is the Amalia Glacier.  Panoramic views reveal themselves as your sail on towards El Brujo Glacier, where, if weather conditions allows, you can disembark on a rock to observe the glacier.  Then it’s on to Calvo Fjord, a big natural amphitheater formed of glaciers that are located in the center of the Southern Ice Field.  Here, excursions will be done in a special motor boat that visits Fernando, Capitan Constantino and Alipio Glaciers, among others.  Back on the ship, you sail to the Montañas Fjord.  Five glaciers in this fjord slide down from the Sarmiento Mountains into the sea.  At Bernal Glacier, you can take a soft hiking trek to the base of the glacier.  Then  you have the opportunity to sail on Herman Glacier’s bay to admire the staggering beauty of the area and its multicolored icebergs (depend on tides).  Set out to Alsina and Paredes glaciers before beginning the last leg of your cruise from the Montañas Fjord across Kirke Narrowness.  This evening, enjoy a farewell party, dinner and dance.  MV Skorpios III (B,L,D)

Day 6:  Southern Ice Fields / Patagonia
Disembark this morning.  You are met by a representative from Remota who escorts you the short distance to your unique accommodations.  The hotel is ecological and sustainable, and is noted for its award-winning architecture.  Breathtaking views can be glimpsed out of every window.  It offers you a luxury experience by its very location.  It was crafted to be at home with the landscape, not apart from it.  Set in the center of everything, from here you can explore the many attractions the vast Chilean Patagonia has to offer.   Remota (B,L,D)

Days 7/8:  Patagonia
Today you will have the opportunity to discover Patagonia and its history.  See the legacy born out of the dedication of the first inhabitants.  Through a choice of expeditions, you experience the authentic Patagonia, meeting with the people and learning about their customs.  Visit ranches and industrial premises where these pioneers worked, and sail the fjords where the first canoeists traveled.  Admire the incredible landscapes.  Discovered in 1520 by Hernando de Magallanes, who found the maritime path between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean, Patagonia has enthralled travelers with its beauty.  Life in this region, however, has never been easy, but stories of effort, inventiveness and dedication are still found in the descendants today, who continue outlining their destiny and strengthening its development.  Remota (B,L,D)

Day 9:  Patagonia / Punta Arenas / Santiago
Return to Punta Arenas where you board your flight to Santiago.  On arrival you are transferred to your hotel.  Lastarria Boutique Hotel (B)

Day 10:  Santiago / Putre
Return to the airport for your flight to Chacalluata.  On arrival, you are met by a representative to begin your journey towards Putre.  During your ascent, you have the chance to enjoy a wide variety of landscapes, flora, and fauna.  A true highlight of this area is the untouched Andean culture.  Pass by geoglyphs on the yellow slopes that flank the route, some depicting figures of llamas and humans.  Other highlights along the way include the village of Poconchile in the Lluta Valley.  Here you visit the Church of San Geronimo, where the first parish of the town of Arica was founded in 1605.  Continue on to Cardones Canyon before reaching Pukara de Copaquilla, a remote archaeological site dating back to the 12th century.  Continue on to the village of Socoroma, with its blend of Andean and colonial architectural farm terraces.  In Putre, you will savor lunch in a typical restaurant and have time to enjoy a leisurely stroll around the village.  Putre (“murmuring of waters” in the Aymara language) is the starting point for the Parinacota province, and its Lauca National Park, declared by UNESCO as a Natural Patrimony of Humanity and Biosphere Reserve.  Terrace Lodge (B,L)

Day 11: Putre / Arica
Set out for Lauca National Park and Chungará Lake.  During the ascent you can see Andean bogs, with their abundant flora such as the llareta, and the paja brava (straw), a wild spinifex-like grass, abundant in areas above 4,000 meters/13,123  feet.  The park is a Global Biosphere Reserve that covers the pre-Andean mountain chain and the high plateau in the northeast section of Tarapacá.  It has a dry climate and is well-known for its wealth of flora and fauna, its highly interesting culture and history, and sites of uncultivated beauty.  The park is host to more than 130 different bird species.  A major attraction of the park is the stunning Lake Chungará, one of the highest lakes in the world, located at the foot of the Payachata twin volcanoes.  Venture into the village of Parinacota with its 17-century church, where you will have the chance to meet some of the traditional Aymaras people.  You take a detour to the village of Caquena, a small pre-Columbian village that is now used for local celebrations, particularly the Santa Rosa Festival that takes place every year on August 30th.  The town’s church on the main square dates back to the 16th century, making it is one of the oldest churches in the area.  It was restored in 1891.  Diego de Almagro Arica (B,L)

Day 12:  Arica / Santiago
Visit a fascinating city with a colorful past seen through its architecture and national monuments such as St. Mark's Cathedral and the former customs building, both designed and pre-fabricated by Gustave Eiffel.  Enter at the Azapa Valley, visiting the site of Cerro Sombrero, pre-Hispanic settlement, and its panels of geoglyphs, which highlight a herd of camelids, which includes llama, alpaca, guanaco and vicuna.  Cerro Sagrado (Sacred Hill) illustrates local ancestral beliefs through its geoglyphs.  Visit the Archaeological Museum, part of the University of Tarapacá, to see the complete evolution of the area from its most ancient inhabitants up until the arrival of the Spanish, covering about 10.000 years of history including examples of the most ancient mummified remains in the world.  Visit the Artisans Village to appreciate local art and handicrafts.  A steep hill, the Morro of Arica, was once the last defense for Peruvian troops during the War of the Pacific (1879–1883).  From the top, you may see the coastline up to Peru.  This afternoon board a flight back to Santiago.  On arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel.  Lastarria Boutique Hotel  (B)

Day 13:  Santiago / Depart
Transfer to the airport this morning for your flight home.  (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy:  Starting from $7,295

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