Day 1: Santiago, Chile
Welcome to Chile! Once you have cleared customs and immigration, collect your bags and exit the hall. A Big Five Representative will be waiting to welcome you and transfer you to your hotel. Chile is a long, narrow strip of land down the west side of the country, some 4,270 km/2,653 mi long, making it both the longest and narrowest country in the world. It is a tri-continental country with territory in the Americas, Antarctica and Oceania. The Singular Hotel Santiago
Day 2: Santiago
Join your guide for a visit to Chile’s largest farmer’s market, La Vega Central, housing 60,000 square meters of stalls that vibrate with the brilliance of the country's agricultural bounty: fat yellow onions stuffed in mesh sacks, comically gigantic ears of corn, squash in every shape and hue; persimmons, custard apples, and other fragrant fruits; wild potatoes from Chile's Chiloe Island ranging in color from pale yellow to saturated scarlet and a purple that verges on black. It is the best place in the country to get to know the universe of Chilean food—and a foodie’s paradise.
Continue to Barrio Brazil and Barrio Yungay, home to some of the most beautifully colored mansions and picturesque cobbled stoned streets. This was once home to the high-class members of Chilean society until the 1940’s when the aristocracy moved to the eastern part of the city. Barrio Brazil offers pictorial alleys and squares, such as Concha y Toro Street and the beautiful fountains at plazoleta. Stop for something sweet and a hot chocolate (or coffee/ tea) at La Peluqueria Francesa (the French Hairdresser) in Barrio Yungay. This restaurant is in a French barbershop / antique shop and where you can purchase a souvenir straight from the walls.
After enjoying your beverage, take a walk down Jose Miguel de la Barra Street in the heart of the Bellas Artes neighborhood. Continue your stroll towards the Lastarria neighborhood, walking along Merced Street. Here you will find designer shops and eclectic local stores, including a small book market. Your final stop is at El Emporio la Rosa, an artisanal ice cream shop that offers delicious and rarely found flavors of ice cream including rose, garlic, and pepper. It has been named one of the top 25 ice-cream shops in the world.
You will end at the Museum of Memory and Human, dedicated to the victims of human rights violations during the civic-military regime led by Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990. The museum pays tribute to the thousands of lives lost through photographs of victims, video coverage of protesters, a host of legal documents, letters, and artifacts from the late 20th century. After this, your driver will drop you off at your hotel. The Singular Hotel Santiago (B)
Day 3: Santiago / La Serena / Elqui Valley
You are met by your driver for a private transfer to the airport to for your one-hour flight to La Serena. Upon arrival, you are met and transferred to your hotel in Elqui Valley. The region 400 km/250 mi north of Santiago sits at the southern end of the Atacama Desert in the Coquimbo region. It is known for its outdoor adventures. Your luxury hotel rests in the middle of the Elqui Valley, just 25 minutes from La Serena Airport. It encompasses a spa, sauna, an outdoor swimming pool and stoves where you can gather. It also includes a nine-hole golf court next to a private lagoon where you can kayak. The night skies are so clear that star gazing is possible. Casa Molle Villa & Golf (B,D)
Days 4/5: Elqui Valley
Enjoy all that Elqui Valley has to offer. Here are Chile’s most important valleys where the production of wines like the Syrah and Carmenere stands out. See Vicuña, birthplace of the poet and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, Gabriela Mistral, and sample some of the region’s typical food in one of its sophisticated restaurants or quaint local eateries. The valley also offers horseback riding excursions, mountain bike paths and off-road 4x4 vehicle tours. This part of Chile is widely renowned as a place to relax and take advantage of healing practices including reiki, meditation and massages – are available. One of the valley’s most spectacular after-dark activities is star gazing. Elqui Valley is the world’s first International Dark Sky Sanctuary. Casa Molle Villa & Golf (B,L,D)
Day 6: Elqui Valley / La Serena / Puerto Montt / Chaiten / Futaleufu
Today you are transferred to the airport in La Serena for your flight to Santiago. Upon arrival to Santiago, you connect with your flight to Puerto Montt, where you catch your final flight of the day to Chaiten. From here you enjoy a two-hour drive to Futaleufu along the scenic road in a remote part of the Chilean Patagonia. Snow-peaked mountains, lakes, and rivers in every shade of blue imaginable and an abundance of glaciers for more than 1,000 km/3,281 ft. World class rafting, the highest mountain of Patagonia, trekking on a glacier and many more adventures await.
The Confluence Farm is one of the most beautiful fields in the region. Acquired 2007, the renowned environmentalist Douglas Tompkins was empowered with the construction of Uman Lodge making it the first farm in Patagonia with a luxury hotel on his property. The field borders the river for five kilometers/about three miles and the confluence of the Futaleufu and Espolón rivers. Some of the land is slated for agricultural tourism with a larger chunk destined for the conservation of the autochthonous forest. In addition to the sandy beaches on the banks of the rivers there are also two lagoons that complete the magnificent environment. UMAN Lodge – Master Suite (B,L,D)
Days 7/9: Futaleufu
Futaleufu River is one of the premier whitewater rivers in the world. The river is fed by glacial snow melt in the Andean lakes region of Argentina and Chile. The river gorge drops as low as 1,700 m/5,600 ft, below the surrounding glaciated peaks. In the shallow and calm sections, you can enjoy world-class fly fishing. This pristine wilderness in a little explored corner of Chile also offers incomparable hikes in the forests and mountains, mountain biking and even stand up paddling. UMAN Lodge – Master Suite (B,L,D)
Day 10: Futaleufu / Chaiten / Puerto Montt / Chiloe Island
Today you join a regular transfer from the hotel to Chaiten airport to board your flight to Puerto Montt where you will be transferred about three hours by road to Chiloe to check in at your hotel. Chiloe Island is the main island in the archipelago of the same name in southern Chile. Home to pastoral landscapes, the island is known for its iconic wooden churches built by Jesuit missionaries in the 18th and 19th centuries, such as the Church of Chonchi. Chiloe is a great destination to learn about Chilean culture with its heritage churches and the artisan markets. Chiloe has been described as “a distinct enclave, linked more to the sea than the continent, a fragile society with a strong sense of solidarity and a deep territorial attachment.” The island’s history began with the arrival of its first human inhabitants more than 7,000 years ago. Spread along the island coast are several middens - ancient dumps for domestic waste, containing mollusc shells, stone tools and bonfire remains. All of these remains indicate the presence of nomadic groups dedicated to the collection of marine animals, hunting and fishing.
On the northwestern region of Chiloe Island is Chiloe National Park, which has a great diversity of marine fauna, including blue whale, sei whale, Chilean dolphins and Peale's dolphins, sea lions, marine otters and Magellanic and Humboldt penguins. Nevertheless, this relatively undisturbed area faces different threats, like urban development, habitat degradation, land and marine pollution.
The Alfaguara project (blue whale project), conducted by the Cetacean Conservation Center, is based at Puñihuil on the northwest coast. The project combines long term research, educational and capacity building programs for marine conservation combined with the sustainable development of the local communities. The Islotes de Puñihuil Natural Monument is a group of three islets to the west and north of Puñihuil. The monument is the only known shared breeding site for Humboldt and Magellanic penguins. It is also a breeding area for other species, such as the red-legged cormorant and kelp gull. Ocio Territorial Hotel (B,L,D)
Days 11/12: Chiloe Island
Chiloe is derived from the Mapuche word chillwe, meaning "seagull place". Chill or chülle refers to the brown-hooded gull, and the ‘-we’ suffix means 'place'. Chiloe is widely known for its distinctive folklore, mythology, cuisine and unique architecture. The variety of potato, which is most widely grown throughout the world, is indigenous to the islands. Explore the island and its remarkable churches, which are a unique architectural phenomenon in the Americas, and one of the most prominent styles of Chilota architecture. Unlike classical Spanish colonial architecture, the churches are made entirely in native timber with extensive use of wood shingles. The churches were built to withstand the archipelago's humid and rainy climate. Built in the 18th and 19th centuries when this area was still part of the Spanish possessions, the churches are a fusion of Spanish Jesuit culture and native population's skill and traditions. The churches of Chiloe are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Take in the artisan markets of the island. The native fauna includes many birds, some of which are endemic to the archipelago. Among land mammals, the largest are Darwin's fox (named because Charles Darwin was the first to collect a specimen, on Isla San Pedro, Chiloe) and the pudu, a small deer. Marine mammals include Commerson's dolphins and South American sea lions, which form colonies at rock outcrops close to the sea. Several species of whale have been sighted around the island, notably blue whales and critically endangered southern right whales. Ocio Territorial Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 13: Chiloe / Puerto Montt / Santiago / Depart
Transfer to the airport to board your flight back home. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$700 per person per day.