The Atacama Desert, Chiloé Island, and Patagonia

Overview

From the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth, to mystical Chiloé Island and the soaring peaks of Torres del Paine National Park, Chile offers a phenomenal range of landscapes and thrilling adventures that we’ve combined on this exciting journey. We’ll hike among glittering salt flats and flocks of flamingoes in the Atacama, and explore the temperate forests of Chiloé Island. Way down south, we’ll enter Paine National Park by Zodiac to hike spectacular trails in this glacier-carved realm. Sharing a meal with an Atacameñan family, savoring a traditional curanto feast and rich Chilean wines—this is a journey into the extraordinary landscapes and the cultural heart of Chile.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-3
San Pedro de Atacama

Our hikes in the legendary Atacama Desert bring us through the Valle de la Luna for a sunset view of astonishing moonscapes, to a natural hot spring for a delightful soak, and to the Salar de Atacama to explore a flamingo reserve and the crystalline blue lagoons of the altiplano, with an option to hike amid stunning red rock formations in the Valle de La Muerte.

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Days 4-7
Lake District / Chiloé Island

Our walk through a forest of ancient alerce trees ends with by an asado (barbecue) at a local farm. On Chiloé Island, we’ll enjoy great birdwatching including two species of penguins, hike along golden beaches and through temperate rainforests, and tuck into a traditional curanto, a Chilean feast cooked in an earthen pit.

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Days 8-12
Patagonia / Torres del Paine National Park

In Puerto Natales, learn to prepare distinctive Chilean Patagonian cuisine, such as smoked trout ceviche—accompanied by a glass of Chilean wine, of course! Take in amazing views of the Balmaceda Glacier and the great Paine Massif as we head into Paine National Park by boat along the Río Serrano, stopping for a hike to the glacier. Our hikes here lead into stunning Valle Frances and to the foot of Cerro Paine Grande, the highest peak of the range, and to the giant granite monoliths of the Torres del Paine. Depart on Day 12 via Punta Arenas.

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Highlights

Highlights

Explore the evocative landscapes of the Atacama Desert
Enchanting Chiloé Island, with its lush rainforests and spiritual culture—voted Best Place to Visit by Travel + Leisure
Hike to the famed Torres del Paine, to the foot of Cerro Paine Grande, and alongside the French and Serrano glaciers
Cooking lesson in Patagonian cuisine, share a meal with a local family, dine on traditional feasts including an asado

Details

Length: 12 days
Cost From: $6895  
Arrive: San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Depart: Punta Arenas, Chile
Lodging: 11 nights hotels and lodges
Meals: All meals included except 3 dinners
Activity: Wildlife & Natural History, Hiking / Trekking, Culinary
Trip Level:

10 hiking days on moderate to steep trails, 2-5 hours a day, altitudes in the Atacama between 8,000-12,000 feet

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