This diverse 10-day itinerary takes you on a journey from south to north as you visit three of Chile's most iconic regions. Start in remote Patagonia, where you'll explore the granite peaks, azure lakes, and rushing waterfalls of the famed Torres del Paine National Park. Sample the culture and cuisine of the capital in Santiago, then end your adventure in the far north—stargazing under desert skies and discovering the otherworldly landscapes of the Atacama.

Highlights

  • Explore the remote beauty of Patagonia in Torres del Paine National Park
  • Tour the vibrant neighborhoods & historic sites of Santiago de Chile
  • Stroll along the Pacific Ocean in the seaside towns of Valparaíso & Viña del Mar
  • Go stargazing under desert skies in San Pedro de Atacama

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive at Puerto Natales Puerto Natales
Day 2 Torres del Paine National Park Excursion Puerto Natales
Day 3 Free Day in Puerto Natales  Puerto Natales
Day 4 Fly to Santiago de Chile Santiago
Day 5 Santiago de Chile City Tour Santiago
Day 6 Free Day in Santiago - Optional Day Trip to Valparaíso & Viña del Mar Santiago
Day 7 Fly to San Pedro de Atacama - Desert Astronomy Tour San Pedro de Atacama
Day 8 Moon & Death Valley Excursion San Pedro de Atacama
Day 9 Free Day in San Pedro de Atacama - Optional Tatio Geysers Excursion San Pedro de Atacama
Day 10 Departure Day  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive at Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales, Chile
Welcome to Puerto Natales, Chile

Welcome to Chilean Patagonia! Upon arrival at Punta Arenas airport, you'll be transferred to the bus station for a 3-hour trip north to Puerto Natales. When you arrive, make the transfer to your hotel, and the rest of the evening is yours to relax and explore the town. This small port city is the main base for excursions into Torres del Paine National Park. It's far less touristic than many other Patagonian hubs, and thus, retains its small-town tranquility. Puerto Natales offers simple pleasures, like strolling its waterfront promenade, which sits on the Ultima Esperanza Sound. Facing north, spot the peaks of Cerro Benitez and Cerro Toro for a phenomenal sunset view.

Day 2: Torres del Paine National Park Excursion

See the thundering waterfalls of Salto Grande

Early this morning, you'll depart Puerto Natales for a tour of the Milodon Cave National Monument, which is located 15 miles (25 km) to the northwest. This is one of the oldest and most important archeological and paleontological sites in southern Patagonia, so much so that it was declared a historical monument in 1968. Evidence of a human presence dating back to 11,000 years BCE has been found in this network of caves, as have the remains of prehistoric animals like the mylodon, a bear-like herbivore that went extinct about 5,000 years ago.

Then, continue to Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most beautiful protected areas on the planet. This 700-square-mile parcel of Patagonian beauty is more than just a UNESCO World Heritage Site—it's also a prime trekking destination. Greeting you at the entrance to the park are panoramic views of the famous Paine Massif: three impressive granite peaks that jut into the sky like giant fingers. 

On today's extensive, full-day tour, you'll visit some of the park's main attractions, such as the Amarga Lagoon. Nearby, find the iconic peaks of the Horns of Paine (part of the Cordillera Paine), the glacially-fed Grey Lake, and the thundering waterfalls of Salto Grande. At noon, enjoy lunch at a restaurant in the park before continuing towards the vast Grey Glacier. Along the way, you'll have the chance to observe the park's varied and unique wildlife, such as guanacos, rheas, and condors. 

At the end of the day, return to Puerto Natales.

Day 3: Free Day in Puerto Natales

Sunset over the Ultima Esperanza Sound

Today is free for you to explore the area at your own pace. Enjoy the tranquillity of Puerto Natales with a stroll along the Ultima Esperanza Sound, or meander among the brightly painted residential houses with their corrugated tin roofs. If you're looking for more adventure, join another excursion into Torres del Paine National Park.

Day 4: Fly to Santiago de Chile

Fly to the capital of Santiago de Chile

Bid Patagonia farewell this morning, as you transfer to the Puerto Natales bus station and make your way to the Punta Arenas airport. Here you'll catch a flight to the capital of Santiago de Chile. Upon arrival, a private transfer takes you to your hotel, leaving you with the rest of the afternoon to explore the city at your leisure. Nestled in the foothills of the Andes, Chile's capital of Santiago is a modern and bustling metropolis with pockets of historic ambiance scattered throughout its historic center. Stroll the cobblestones of Barrio Bellavista, visit the 16th century Plaza de Armas, or hike to the top of Cerro San Cristobal for magnificent views.

For dinner be sure to get out of the hotel and enjoy a culinary adventure in the city. In recent years Santiago has emerged as a global foodie destination. Chilean chefs are reinventing traditional dishes like empanadas, cazuelas (stews), and seafood with ingredients harvested from the northern deserts and southern Patagonian regions. You can find great restaurants and wine bars not only in the Bellavista neighborhood but also in the revitalized historic barrios of Yungay and Italia.

Day 5: Santiago de Chile City Tour

Santiago's historic Plaza de Armas

Today is devoted to discovering Santiago on foot, with a half-day guided tour of the city's iconic sights. Along the way, you'll explore characterful old neighborhoods like Republica and Concha y Toro, learn about the city's origins and modern growth at the La Moneda Government Palace, and tour the grand Plaza de Armas, located in Santiago's historic center. Discover the incredible history within the four corners of this expansive stone plaza, founded back in 1541. Nearby sits the impressive Catedral Metropolitana, a neoclassical church circa 1748, with towering twin bell towers dominating the north side of the plaza.

Later on, continue to the eastern parts of the city to admire the modern buildings that have shaped a new and modern Santiago. You'll end the tour in a traditional handicraft store, where you can admire masterpieces crafted from local lapis lazuli and toast the day with a pisco sour.  

Day 6: Free Day in Santiago - Optional Day Trip to Valparaíso & Viña del Mar

Tour the colorful waterfront of Valparaíso

Spend today at your leisure, exploring more of Santiago at your own pace or getting out of the city with an optional excursion to Chile's Pacific Coast and the seaside towns of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. Starting in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Valparaíso, explore this colorful metropolis known as the artistic and bohemian soul of the country. Filled with street art, music, and poetry, Valparaíso is a throwback to the turn of the 20th century, when electric trollies coasted along the waterfront and lurching funicular elevators carried passengers to the highest points in the city. No matter where you go, you can always find sweeping views looking out over the colorful houses to the Pacific Coast and the blanket of blue water running out to the horizon. 

After lunch, you'll continue to Viña del Mar, an upscale coastal resort city teeming with shopping complexes, commercial high-rises, boutiques, and well-manicured gardens. Its beaches and boulevards, surrounded by palm trees and beautiful parks, have earned it the name of 'Ciudad Jardin" (Garden City) and it remains a popular weekend and holiday destination for the people of Santiago.

As your day at the seaside draws to a close, you'll be transferred back to your hotel in Santiago for the evening.

Day 7: Fly to San Pedro de Atacama - Desert Astronomy Tour

Fly north to the Atacama Desert

A desert adventure awaits you today, as you transfer to the Santiago de Chile airport to catch a flight bound for Calama in the far north of the country. Upon arrival in Calama, you'll be transferred to your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama. Located in the Antofagasta region of the high Chile arid plateau, this small town sits at the edge of the driest desert in the world. Its little adobe houses and cozy restaurants serve as a comfortable base to explore one of Chile’s most spectacular and dramatic landscapes.

As evening falls, you'll head out into the desert to stargaze under some of the clearest night skies in the world. The combination of the high altitude, arid dryness, and lack of superficial light transform the Atacama into the perfect platform to observe stars, constellations, planets, and galaxies. After a quick presentation on astronomy, this excursion takes you outside to the open Altiplano, where the stars are more vivid than anything you've likely experienced before. Enjoy a hot drink under the heavens while viewing the constellations through high-powered telescopes and binoculars. 

After a memorable 90 minutes under the stars, a transfer takes you back to your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama.

Day 8: Moon & Death Valley Excursion

Discover the arid beauty of Moon Valley

Today you'll explore the Atacama's otherworldly landscapes with a guided excursion into the nearby Moon and Death Valleys. Venture into the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountain Range) to reach the Valle de la Muerte (Valley of Death), a mountainous and sandy landscape of striking beauty, scattered with natural salt formations that resemble sculptures and works of art. Continue to the Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley) to admire its sand dunes and distinctive rock formations that have been shaped by thousands of years of wind and salt erosion, creating a remarkable lunar setting. End the tour with a colorful sunset from La Gran Duna (the Great Dune) before returning to San Pedro for the evening.

Day 9: Free Day in San Pedro de Atacama - Optional Tatio Geysers Excursion

Sunrise over the Tatio Geysers

Spend today discovering San Pedro de Atacama at your own pace, or join an optional excursion to the magnificent Tatio Geysers. This tour has an early start, as you depart the hotel at 4 am for the 1.5-hour trip to one of the most important geothermal fields in the world. Getting a jump on the day will pay dividends as you're rewarded with the unforgettable sight of a sunrise over the Atacama Desert.

At an altitude of 4,320 meters (14,173 feet), the Tatio Geysers are the highest in the world, and the contrast between the cold outside temperatures and the boiling water of the geothermal field beneath the earth's surface causes the pillars of steam here to rise as high as 10 meters (30 feet).  Along the scenic return drive, you can enjoy beautiful landscapes as well as native plants and wildlife, such as Andean feather grass, the tolares (shrublands), and vicuñas.

Day 10: Departure Day

A colorful sunrise over the Atacama Desert

Your Chilean adventure draws to a close today, as you enjoy one last desert sunrise before being transferred to the Calama airport to catch your departing flight. ¡Buen viaje!

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