Chile by Nature

  • Explore sophisticated Santiago and the artistic neighborhood of Lastarria that encompasses a variety of the arts from classic to modern graffiti master works
  • Set out by boat from Puerto Tranquilo to experience the magnificent Marble Caves, beautiful vibrant blue caverns, partially submerged in the equally turquoise waters of Carrera Lake
  • Travel into Laguna San Rafael National Park for awesome views of the dramatic vertical walls of blue ice of the Northern Ice Field
  • On the southern border of Lake General Carrera, your lakeside lodge is perfect for taking in the southern region of the Carretera Austral and the glaciers of the Northern Ice Field
  • Trek the remote and once impenetrable natural paradise in Northern Patagonia on a variety of exclusive hiking trails through this bountiful region of lakes, mountains, forests and waterfalls
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Enrichment Series

COUNTRIES VISITED

Chile

STARTING AT..

Price starts at $600 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.

TOUR LENGTH

11

Tour Highlights/Full Description

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  • Explore sophisticated Santiago and the artistic neighborhood of Lastarria that encompasses a variety of the arts from classic to modern graffiti master works
  • Set out by boat from Puerto Tranquilo to experience the magnificent Marble Caves, beautiful vibrant blue caverns, partially submerged in the equally turquoise waters of Carrera Lake
  • Travel into Laguna San Rafael National Park for awesome views of the dramatic vertical walls of blue ice of the Northern Ice Field
  • On the southern border of Lake General Carrera, your lakeside lodge is perfect for taking in the southern region of the Carretera Austral and the glaciers of the Northern Ice Field
  • Trek the remote and once impenetrable natural paradise in Northern Patagonia on a variety of exclusive hiking trails through this bountiful region of lakes, mountains, forests and waterfalls

Day 1: Santiago, Chile
Welcome to Chile! Upon arrival, proceed through immigration and customs. Once you have cleared customs and immigration, collect your bags and exit the airport. A Big Five representative will welcome you and privately transferred to your hotel. Built to blend seamlessly into the neighborhood of Lastarria, The Singular Santiago combines the style of early 20th century buildings with neoclassical French architectural influences. The result is a striking addition to the Santiago cityscape. The hotel’s design embraces the artistic heritage of the neighborhood, while adding cutting-edge modernity, and encompasses an indulgent spa, the Singular Restaurant, and dazzling views from the hotel’s roof top bar.

Lastarria is the epicenter of the arts in Santiago. Walk just a few minutes, and you can discover some of the finest visual and performance art Chile has to offer at The Museum of Fine Arts, The Museum of Visual Arts and the Gabriela Mistral Center. This afternoon you meet with a special Urban Art guide, who takes you to explore Barrio Bellavista. This is designed to introduce you to the fascinating subculture of street art and graffiti. Discover the roots of muralism and graffiti in Chile as well as the techniques used in South America compared with North America and Europe.

The next stop is San Cristobal Hill, with its panoramic views of the city. It rises 880 meters/2,625 feet above sea level, and about 300 meters/984 feet above the rest of Santiago. The peak is the second highest point in the city. The visit would begin by reaching its high point and looking at the whole city of Santiago. Visit the handicraft village of Los Dominicos, which showcases an impressive variety of handicrafts including works by indigenous groups from across the country. The beautiful Colonial-style architecture of the center and its picturesque Andean backdrop make this rewarding stop. You will also have an opportunity to watch the craftsmen as they work with pottery, copper, stone, wood, wool and glass products. After this tour, your driver will take you back to your hotel. The Singular Santiago Hotel

Day 2: Santiago / Balmaceda / Puerto Guadual
Puerto Guadual This early morning, you will be transferred to the airport to board your flight to Balmaceda. Upon arrival, you are met by a representative and transferred on a five-hour drive along the Carretera Austral (Southern Highway). The scenic Patagonia route is one of a kind with more than 1,000 kilometers/621 miles of natural beauty await you at the southernmost tip of the world. The Carretera Austral captures the hearts of intrepid drivers and cyclists with its pristine landscapes and possibly the freshest air in the world. Situated in one of Patagonia’s most beautiful locations on the shores of the great lake “Lago General Carrera,” the lodge is open all year with comfortable cabins and cozy rooms catering for all types of guests. Mythical names such as the Baker River, San Rafael Lagoon, the Northern Icecap and Mount San Valentin are the scenery for the most diverse excursions and expeditions which start every day from the lodge. Terra Luna Lodge – Tree House (B,D)

Day 3: Puerto Gadual
This morning, be prepared for a great navigation to Marble Chapel, starting rom Puerto Guadal, you cross Lake General Carrrera. The boat trip aboard the 12-person Flipper helps you discover these beautiful vibrant blue caverns that are partially submerged in the equally stunning turquoise waters of the lake. the lake sits on the border of Argentina and Chile, with the caves on the Chilean side. Three main caverns: the Chapel (La Capilla), the Cathedral (El Catedral), and the Cave (La Cueva) make up the majority of the system, which can be explored by small boat or kayak. Terra Luna Lodge – Tree House (B,D)

Day 4: Puerto Guadual
Today you will visit the Patagonia National Park. Vast valleys sculpted by the Chacabuco River form a natural corridor that, since ancient times, has been used for travel both by nomadic peoples and a large diversity of fauna. Once the site of big cattle ranches, today the grasslands have begun to recover after a century of overgrazing and are now home to one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the Aysén region. This is Patagonian steppe in all its splendor––mountain ranges, Lenga and Ñirre forests that burst with red in fall, active wildlife, and dozens of spectacular lagoons and lakes, such as Cochrane and Jeinimeni, which nourish these landscapes of overwhelming beauty. All this helps to tell the story of one of the most important ecosystem restoration projects in the country. Terra Luna Lodge – Tree House (B,D)

Day 5: Puerto Guadual
Relax in this idyllic surrounding today or enjoy the activities offered by the hotel such as horseback riding to Maqui Waterfalls, trek through ancient Lenga forests, or try a Yin Yoga session with spectacular views of Patagonia around you. You can also go jet boating to the Leones Glaciers. Terra Luna Lodge – Tree House (B,D)

Day 6: Puerto Guadual / Puerto Rio Tranquilo
This morning, you will be picked up and will have your great experience at Laguna San Rafael National Park, a must-see. The foremost attraction in the Aysén region, it draws thousands of visitors each year to see the tremendous vertical walls of blue ice that flow 45 kilometers/28 miles from the Northern Ice Field and stretch 4 kilometers/2.5 miles across the Laguna San Rafael. It’s the closest sea-level ice field to the Equator. Around these walls, thousands of aquamarine icebergs float in soupy water, forming jagged sculptures. The glacier is actually receding, and quite quickly. It may well stop dropping ice into the lagoon within only a few years, but in the meantime, you will likely see heavy chunks of ice plunging into the deep water. The first explorers here in 1800 described the glacier as having filled three-quarters of the lagoon. You can appreciate how much has disappeared and the speed at which it is shrinking is unsettling. Laguna San Rafael National Park is a staggering 1.7 million hectares (four million acres). Most of the park is inaccessible except by ship. Visitors slowly cruise through narrow canals choked with thick vegetation. Like Torres del Paine, Laguna San Rafael is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Then, you will be transferred to Puerto Rio Tranquilo for check in at your hotel. El Puesto Hostal (B)

Day 7: Puerto Guadual / Puerto Montt / Futangue
Today you will be transferred to Balmaceda airport to board your flight to Puerto Montt. Upon your arrival, enjoy a relaxing, scenic three-hour drive through breathtaking natural landscapes covered by vast expanses of pristine native forests and majestic mountains. Venture among beautiful lakes, turquoise waterfalls and spectacular lava fields. This remote and once impenetrable land now hosts a network of exclusive hiking trails, allowing visitors to enjoy nature at first-hand more than anywhere else. The perfect place to relax, hidden away in a little corner of paradise in Northern Patagonia, Futangue Hotel & Spa stands out for its native wood interiors and incredible views across to mountain ranges and waterfalls. This is an ideal place to explore the wilderness of the Patagonian Andes. Futangue Hotel & Spa (B,L,D)

Days 8/10: Futangue
You can attach snowshoes to your feet and walk through snow-covered forests during winter, photograph colorful Lenga trees during autumn, enjoy the art of fly fishing in spring or set out on excursions through the Valdivian forest and the highest summits of the park during the summer.

Activities offered by the hotel include trekking to a lagoon in an amphitheater of mountains and waterfalls. The excursion with a guide starts with a trip through extensive green meadows, offering beautiful southern scenery. The trail continues through a gentle path along Riñinahue River. To reach the ending point you will enter the native forest and continue until you finally arrive at the lagoon. You can stop here or continue exploring on a new trail from this point to Pichi Volcano or the lava fields. With a bit of luck, you may come across the small Darwin frogs found in conservation area of vulnerable species. After the female lays her eggs, the male places them in his mouth and stores them inside his cheek. Once the tadpoles have finished growing, the male releases his offspring into the outside world.

Other treks include hikes to El Vado area and up to Pitreño Lagoon. En route, you explore forests of Lengas, Coigues and Mañios. At the end of the trail, you enjoy 360-degree vistas of the Futangue Valley and Lake Ranco. This trail is demanding but also offers scenic rewards. You can return using the ski trail for a different view. The Sky Trail connects the highest viewing point in the park, called Altas Cumbres, to the Pitreño Lagoon. The path crosses stunning native forests, offering incredible views of Lake Ranco, Cordón del Caulle and the volcanoes of northern Patagonia. This area is also home to animals such as the puma, the vizcacha and the pudú. The most adventurous will find this trek a stimulating challenge.

Another track follows a steep slope that climbs up the mountain, all the way to a stunning glacial lake. Located at an altitude of more than 1,000 meters/3,281 feet, this path marks the starting point of the Altas Cumbres excursion. During this trekking excursion is possible to walk around the lagoon and explore the lookout points along the way, including spectacular views of Lake Ranco and the Cerro Mayo.

Discover the unique terrain of the lava fields, the impressive vestiges of a gigantic volcanic eruption which happened in the Cordón del Caulle in 1922. It begins in Pichi Lagoon where you walk eight kilometers/5 miles until you reach Piedras Quemadas, crossing a spectacular Valdivian forest with incredible views of mountains and waterfalls.

Many other trekking, kayaking and horseback riding options encompass dramatic mountains, glacial lakes, waterfalls, forests and volcanoes. This region is truly a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. You can retreat to the spa after a day of adventure. Futangue Hotel & Spa (B,L,D)

Day 11: Futangue / Osorno / Santiago / Depart
Transfer to Osorno Airport, about an hour and a half drive, to connect with your flight to Santiago, where you catch your onward flight. (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$600 per person per day

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