Depart to Santiago via overnight flight.
Santiago, Atacama, Easter Island, and the Chilean Lake District
Discover the archaeological sites, salt lake lagoons, and geysers of the Atacama Desert. Explore the mysterious Moai statues on Easter Island and learn about who created them and how. Appreciate the natural beauty of the Lake District, with its emerald green lakes, pristine forests, and snow-capped volcanic peaks. You will also have a city tour of Santiago and visit a nearby winery. This is a great way to experience three of Chile’s most fascinating regions and its capital city.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 12 nights (3 nights in Santiago, 3 nights in Atacama, 3 nights in Easter Island, and 3 nights in Puerto Varas), and 15 meals (12 breakfasts and 3 lunches). 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations include 20 meals.
Best Time to Go: September-April.
Note: The itinerary below reflects our suggested excursions for the Atacama portion of the tour. The exact order of the tours may vary, depending upon your arrival date. Excursions in Atacama for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations are offered on an a la carte basis, meaning you can choose from a number of different alternatives.
After passing through immigration and customs, proceed to the reception area, where our inbound services representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. You will be greeted and then transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Santiago.
Note: Check-in time is 2:00 PM. We can request early check-in but cannot guarantee it.
In the morning, you will have a panoramic city tour of Santiago, which will include Parque O’Higgins, Plaza de Armas (the city’s historic center), Palacio de la Moneda, ex-National Congress, Mapocho Station Cultural Center, Santa Lucia Hill, the place of Santiago’s founding in 1541,and the Bohemian district of Bellavista.
In the afternoon, you will visit your choice of one of the following vineyards around Santiago (included in price): Concha y Torro, Cousino Macul, and Undurraga. Overnight in Santiago. (B)
Morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Calama. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama. In the afternoon, you will have a half-day excursion to the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountains) which features magnificent geological formations and sediments of various colors. You will visit the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) and Valle de Marte (Mars Valley), and enjoy an amazing sunset. Overnight in San Pedro de Atacama. (B)
Today you will have a full day excursion to the Altiplanic Lagoons. One the way, you can see the impressive Licancabur Volcano, and will stop at the oasis town of Toconao, known for its Liparita (volcanic) stone houses, which are quarried nearby. The town also features the Church and bell tower of San Lucas, which dates to the mid-18th century. You will also visit the Atacama Salt Lake and Chaxa Lagoon. The Lake is an important nesting site for three species of flamingos, and contains 40% of the world’s lithium reserves. Box lunch.
After lunch, you will visit the small village of Socaire, and then continue on to Minique and Miscanti Lagoons, where you will have time to walk around and enjoy the surroundings. Overnight in San Pedro de Atacama. (B,L)
Early morning (4:00 AM) you will depart for an excursion to the Tatio Geysers, the world’s highest geyser field at 14,107 ft. above sea level. The steaming fumaroles, which reach a height of 160 ft., are a sight to behold, especially at sunrise, against the backdrop of the altiplano. On the way back, you will visit the Puritama Hot Springs, which will be much appreciated after an early rise and day of exploration. The mineral rich waters are 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Overnight in San Pedro de Atacama. (B)
Early morning transfer to Calama for the flight to Santiago and Easter Island. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Easter Island. (B)
Full day excursion visiting the archaeological site of Akahanga and the quarry at Rano Raraku volcano, where all of the moai on the island were carved. You will see over 300 statues in various stages of completion, and one giant moai, 21 meters (69 ft.) tall. You will also visit Ahu Tongariki, the largest ahu (burial site), whose moai were re-erected after a tsunami flattened the statues, Ahu Te Pito Kura, site of the largest moai moved from the quarry, and the ahu Nau Nau at Anakena Beach. Picnic lunch at Anakena Beach. Overnight in Easter Island. (B,L)
Morning visit to the Rano Kau extinct volcano crater (1.6 km in diameter), the ceremonial village of Orongo, which features the largest concentration of Petroglyphs on the island, with images of post-moai deity’s, such as Tangata Manu (birdman), Make Make (the creator), and Komari, and then to Ahu Vinapu. After lunch (not included), the tour continues on to Ahu Akivi, site of the seven moais overlooking the sea, the Caves of Ana Tepahu, among the largest on the island, and Pun-a-Pau quarry, the sole source of red scoria that was used to carve the pukao (topknots) of some of the moia. Overnight in Easter Island. (B)
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Santiago. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Santiago. (B)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Puert Montt. Upon arrival, you will have a panoramic city tour of Puerto Montt and Puerto Varas. Puerto Montt is the main transportation hub for travelers to Chiloe, Chilean Patagonia, and the Lake District. You will drive through the downtown area, passing the Plaza de Armas and the Cathedral, and then along Av Angelmo to the small fishing village and ferry port of Angelmo, where you can visit the fish and crafts markets.
The tour continues to the city of Puerto Varas, on the southern shore of Lake Llanquihue. Puerto Varas was founded by German immigrants, and has the feel of a European village. You will drive through the center of town, passing the Plaza de Armas, the Municipal Casino, and historic private residences. The tour finishes at Philippi Hill, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city, Lake Llanquihue, and Osorno Volcano, before being taken to your hotel. Overnight in Puerto Varas. (B)
Beginning in Puerto Varas, you will drive by bus along the southern shore of Lake Llanquihue with magnificent views of Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes, past Ensenada, to Petrohue River Falls. You’ll have an opportunity to walk around and take photos. The tour continues by bus to Petrohue on the western shore of All Saints Lake. At Petrohue, you will board a catamaran and ride across the breathtaking All Saints Lake to the village of Peulla. In Peulla, you will lunch at Hotel Natura, and can observe Tronador Volcano and walk around the village. Return by catamaran to Petrohue and by bus to Puerto Varas. Overnight in Puerto Varas. (B,L)
Depart to Puerto Montt for the ferry ride across the Chacao Channel to the Island of Chiloe. Chiloe is known for its unique architecture (wood-shingled churches and palafitos – houses built on stilts), mythological creatures (the mermaid La Pincoya, and the troll, El Trauco), and delicious seafood (especially curanto, a potato and seafood stew). You will visit Ancud, the Island’s largest city, which was founded by the Spaniards in 1767 to protect Chile’s coastline from foreign invaders. Stops include Fort San Antonio, a walk-through of the fish market, Museo Chiloté, which hosts the island’s history and mythology, and Huaiquen Hill for a panoramic view of the city, the channel, and the Island of Cochino. Overnight in Puerto Varas. (B)
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Santiago and your final destination. (B)
B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
- South American Vacations’ expert pre-departure planning services and documentation.
- Airport/hotel transfers including baggage handling.
- Hotel accommodations including taxes and service charges.
- Excursions as indicated on the itinerary including all applicable entrance fees.
- Meals as indicated on the itinerary.
- Local, English-speaking tour guides.
Price Does Not Include
- International airfare.
- Domestic airfare.
- Meals not indicated on the itinerary.
- Gratuities to tour guides, drivers, and hotel staff.
- Gifts and personal items.
- Travel insurance.
We will be happy to quote the cost of airfare and travel insurance and to make these arrangements for you.
Group Private: All airport transfers in Santiago are private, and the city tour and winery tour in Santiago are group tours for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodation levels. All services in Atacama are operated on a group basis, and all services in Easter Island are operated on a group basis for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and are private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations. The Petrohue River Falls and Peulla excursion is a group tour, and the Island of Chiloe excursion is a private tour.
Elevations: Santiago is 1,700 feet above sea level, Atacama is 8,005 feet, Socaire is 10,498 feet, Minique and Miscanti Lagoons are 13,615 feet, Tatio Geyser is 14,107 feet, and Petrohue is 810 feet.
Passport/Visa: U.S., Australian, Canadian, and EU citizens (except Greece) require a valid passport (for the duration of your visit) and return ticket for stays of up to 90 days. Greek citizens can stay for up to 60 days. Australian, and Canadian citizens are required to pay a reciprocity fee (considered a multiple entry visa) of $95 and $132 respectively upon arrival (subject to change without notice due to currency fluctuations or other reasons). Citizens of other countries are advised to contact the Chilean embassy in their country before traveling.
Travel Insurance: In order to protect your travel investment from unforeseen circumstances that may arise before or during your trip, we strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. We offer Allianz Global Assistance’s Classic Comprehensive and other plans. The Benefits and Coverage Limits are summarized on our Travel Insurance page. Call your travel counselor if you have any questions or to purchase a plan.
To Book This Trip: We require a non-refundable deposit of $800 per person plus the cost of the international and domestic airfare (if we arrange it for you). 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations require a more substantial non-refundable deposit. Ask your travel counselor for the details.