Day 1 UK to Santiago
Today, make your own way to the airport for your flight to Santiago, Chile's capital city.
Day 2 Santiago
On arrival in Santiago, which boasts a stunning setting beneath the majestic Andes, we'll transfer to our hotel. This afternoon we'll walk through Santiago's historic centre, ticking off sightseeing highlights such as Santa Lucia Hill, the Moneda Palace (Government Palace) and the Plaza de Armas, where the cathedral and National History Museum are located, as we go. Get to know your travelling companions this evening over a welcome drink and dinner.
Day 3 San Pedro de Atacama
We'll fly to Calama today, transferring on arrival to the village of San Pedro de Atacama, set amidst the other-worldly landscape of the arid Atacama Desert. During an afternoon of sightseeing we'll visit the Salt Mountains, Death Valley and the Valley of the Moon to see exceptional rock sculptures formed by the elements. As the sun sets we'll experience a wonderful natural light show as the rays are reflected on the mineral-rich rocks.Meals included: B
Day 4 San Pedro de Atacama
We'll explore this incredible destination further today, starting at the picturesque village of Toconao and the salt-crusted Chaxa Lagoon – part of the Los Flamencos National Reserve – where three varieties of this pink-hued wading bird breed. Next, we'll visit the village of Socaire, which overlooks the Atacama Salt Flats. This is our gateway to the intensely blue lagoons of Miscanti and Meñiques, surrounded by impressive volcanoes formed when the Andes rose from the sea. After a simple lunch in Socaire, we'll return to our hotel.Meals included: B,L
Day 5 SantiagoThere's a very early start today but it's sure to be worth it when you see the Geysers del Tatio – a field of more than 80 active geysers. As we eat our boxed breakfast we'll enjoy the breathtaking sight of steam rising from the ground as the sun comes up over the Andes.
En route back to San Pedro de Atacama we'll stop at the picturesque village of Machuca, and in the afternoon we'll fly back to Santiago for an overnight stay.Meals included: B
Day 6 Puerto Varas
Today we're heading to Puerto Varas, a charming town on the shores of Lake Llanquihue founded by Swiss and German settlers in the 19th century. Known as the 'city of roses' thanks to its flower-lined streets, you'll also see unmistakable German-style architecture during an included tour. We'll ascend Calvario Hill for marvellous views of the lake and the Osorno Volcano. We'll also visit Puerto Montt, the capital of the region, and the beach resorts of Pelluco and Chinquihue, before enjoying an included dinner in a local restaurant.Meals included: B,D
Day 7 Puerto Varas
Take in more exceptional views of the lake and surrounding volcanoes today, but this time it will be from the water on a boat trip to Peulla. This ecological village is located within Vincente Pérez National Park, where we'll have lunch after viewing the emerald-green waters of the Petrohué Falls and sailing on the Todos los Santos Lake (subject to weather conditions).Meals included: B,L
Day 8 Chiloé Island
Today's destination is Chiloé Island, just off the coast of Chile. After a ferry crossing we'll step ashore to admire evergreen forests, more than 150 wooden churches, timber houses perched on stilts over the water and the 560-metre-long hanging bridge which connects the island to the Aucar islet. In the fishing village of Tenaún we'll visit the farmers' fair and meet local people, who'll invite us into their homes and share lunch with us.Meals included: B,L
Day 9 Punta Arenas
Our tour continues as we fly to Punta Arenas. Chile's southernmost city is where your exploration of Patagonia begins.Meals included: B
Day 10 Puerto Natales
We'll start the day early with a visit to Magdalena Island. Our journey by boat takes us along the Strait of Magellan, following the same route as famous explorers including Sir Francis Drake, Charles Darwin and Hernando de Magallanes. On arrival at this designated national nature reserve, we'll be greeted by a large and curious colony of Magellanic penguins – the population here is estimated at 60,000 pairs. This afternoon, we'll travel by road to Puerto Natales.Meals included: B
Day 11 Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine National Park is an area of spectacular natural beauty, home to granite peaks, sparkling lakes and glistening icebergs. On our full-day visit we'll travel through Patagonia's rugged steppe, home to many species of mammal including foxes, llama and even the rarely seen puma, with the Salto Grande waterfall and Pehoé and Grey Lakes among the scenic highlights. Our day ends with a visit to the Milodón Cave, where pre-historic animal remains were discovered in the 19th century.Meals included: B,L
Day 12 Balmaceda & Serrano glaciers
An included excursion today takes us on a thrilling cruise on the Última Esperanza Sound. We'll sail through exceptional scenery to view the 1,000-year-old Balmaceda glacier, where we might spot cormorants and sea lions. We'll disembark for a short walk to the foot of the Serrano glacier, which is a remarkable sight, surrounded by snow-capped peaks and thick walls of ice. Lunch at a cattle ranch rounds off our trip.Meals included: B,L
Day 13 Santiago
After breakfast we'll transfer to the airport and fly back to Santiago.Meals included: B
Day 14 Valparaiso
A full day of exploration begins with a visit to a former home of the Chilean Nobel Prize – winning poet Pablo Neruda and now a museum. Next we head to Vina del Mar – the "Garden City" where we will enjoy lunch. After lunch our tour includes sights such as the unique Flower Clock, the Municipal Casino and pretty Wulff Castle, which juts out to the sea from a rocky outcrop. Finally we head to the coastal city of Valparaiso to explore .Meals included: B,L
Day 15 Santiago to Easter Island
Today you'll take a flight to Easter Island where you will meet your guide and transfer to your hotel for a 3 night stay.
Easter Island is an intriguing destination covering roughly 64 square miles in the South Pacific Ocean.Meals included: B
Day 16 Easter Island
Today we will visit Ana Kai Tangata, a cave that has many paintings made from mineral pigments found on the island depicting the Manutara bird. The arrival of the bird in spring would initiate the "Tangata Manu" competition. Next, continue to Rano Kau, the second of the three main volcanoes to erupt about 2.5 million years ago, next to the volcano is the ancient ceremonial city of Orongo where the greatest concentration of prehistoric rock carvings exist.
This afternoon we visit Ahu Huri, one of the last altars to be restored by Dr. William Mulloy, the American anthropologist known for his work and studies into Polynesian prehistory. Next we will visit Ahu Akivi, an archaeological site that was the first scientifically restored site during the 60's. It is a ceremonial place, particularly interesting not only for its location (centre of the island) but also by the legends that are known as the seven moai. A particular feature of the seven identical moai statues is that they exactly face sunset during the Spring Equinox and their backs to the sunrise during the Autumn Equinox. Such an astronomically precise feature is seen only at this location on the island.
Finally we will visit Puna Pau, a small crater or cinder cone on the outskirts of Hanga Roa in the south west of Easter Island. Puna Pau was the sole source of the red scoria that the Rapa Nui people used to carve the Pukao (topknots) that they put on the heads of some of their iconic moai statues.Meals included: B
Day 17 Easter Island
Today we head towards Anakena beach through the centre of the island. Anakena has 4 ahu sites, 2 of which have been reconstructed and 2 others which attest to the weathering of time. The first ahu is called Ature Huki which was restored in 1955 and the other is called Ahu NauNau which was restored by the same archaeologist Sergio Rapu. The trip continues towards Ahu Te Pito Kura: this site has only a moai, however it measures 10m and weighs up to 90 tons making it the largest moai to be raised on a platform. Next we arrive at Rano Raraku, one of the most interesting archaeological sites with 396 moai in the quarry. Some of the statues are still encrusted in the rock of the quarry never to be moved, others are in the process of getting finalized and some are in the staging area waiting for the moving crew to bring the moai to its destined ahu. We continue to Ahu Tongariki, one of the most visually stunning sites on the island which shows how the ancient people were part of a true megalithic culture. This site has 15 moai that were restored in the 80's after a huge tsunami came ashore in 1960. Finally we head to Ahu Akahanga where it is believed the grave of the first king of the island, Hotu Matu'a can be found.Meals included: B,L
Day 18 Easter Island to Santiago
This morning is free before you transfer to the airport for your flight back to Santiago where you will spend the night.Meals included: B
Day 19 Santiago to UK
Late morning departure for a culinary tour of the city's Central Market in the company of a chef. Here we'll purchase all the ingredients we need to rustle up some traditional dishes, which we'll learn how to prepare during a cookery class. We'll then eat what we've prepared for lunch before transferring to the airport for your return flight to the UK.Meals included: B,L
Day 20 UK
Arrive back in the UK.