Chile from Top to Bottom!

The Atacama Desert, Chiloé Island, and Patagonia

Trip Level

This trip is Level 3, Moderate. The hiking can be physically demanding at times, both in the Atacama Desert (due to the higher altitudes) and in Paine National Park, where the approaches and descents can be steep and the trail conditions rocky or muddy. The hikes on Chiloé are not rugged or difficult and take place along fairly level trails. There are also some long driving days, and everyone should be prepared for bumpy, dusty road conditions. Please note that your leader may make adjustments to the itinerary and hiking routes, depending on local weather and trail conditions.

We recommend you make a special effort to get in good physical condition for this trip. The better condition you are in, the more you will enjoy your experience. We suggest you begin training several months before departure. Start gradually by doing hikes, running, using a Stairmaster, or riding bikes. The object is to improve your overall aerobic capacity and get your hiking muscles limbered up. Even a brisk 30-45 minute walk every other day over moderately steep terrain can do wonders for your conditioning.

We stay in a variety of well-located hotels and lodges. Rooms in these places are not always of uniform or international size. However, our leaders try their best to assign rooms in a fair way so that all participants experience an equal advantage throughout the trip as a whole. Single rooms in Patagonian lodges tend to come in small sizes in exchange for the privacy they afford. In addition, please note that many hotels and lodges in Patagonia have twin-bedded rooms. Very few have “matrimonial” rooms (rooms with a double bed). While we can request a double-bedded room for you if you ask us well in advance, we cannot guarantee it.


The weather on this trip will vary from dry sunny days in the Atacama Desert, with daytime temperatures in the mid-70s, to the more mercurial climate of Patagonia. During Patagonia’s “summer months” (November through March in the Southern Hemisphere), the thermometer rarely drops below 40°F and will usually reach into the high 60s and even low 70s during the day. Nevertheless, the weather is radically changeable. Rain, sleet, and snow can occur at any time—perhaps just a few hours before or after sunny skies and 70° temperatures—and strong winds are almost inevitable, occasionally gusting up to 100 miles per hour, quickly “cooling down” an otherwise pleasant day. You should be prepared for this by wearing layered clothing and always having a rain and/or wind suit handy.

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.


We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

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