Depart to Santiago via overnight flight.
Santiago and Atacama
This tour combines Santiago with San Pedro de Atacama in the Atacama Desert. Santiago is one of South America’s most modern cities, with excellent restaurants and a vibrant nightlife. It sits between the Andes and the coastal mountain range in the country’s central valley. San Pedro de Atacama is a small oasis village near the border with Bolivia. It offers an excellent base to view Chile’s archaeological sites and artifacts, and explore the natural wonders of the region.
Lodging and Meals: This tour includes accommodations for 5 nights (2 nights in Santiago, and 3 nights in San Pedro de Atacama), and 6 meals (5 breakfasts and 1 lunch). 4 Star, 5 Star and Deluxe accommodations include 11 meals.
Best Time to Go: October-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)
Transfer to Calama for the 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 are group tours for single passengers and 3 Star accommodations, and private for 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations. All services in Atacama are operated on a group basis.
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, and Tatio Geyser is 14,107 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 $500 per person plus the cost of the airfare (if we make the arrangements for you). 4 Star, 5 Star, and Deluxe accommodations require a more substantial non-refundable deposit. Ask your travel counselor for the details.