Discover Chile

13 days
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£3,159
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Traveller ratings
4.6 / 5 from 29 reviews >
Trip code: 
AAE
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

The best of Chile: Atacama Desert, Lake District and Patagonia

Chile’s narrow coastal strip stretches for 4300km and is dominated by the towering peaks of the Andes. Covering over half the length of South America, Chile has an unparalleled range of environments; from the world’s driest desert, the hostile Atacama, with its geysers and salt flats, to the fertile valleys and vineyards of central Chile. To the south lies the Lake District with dramatic, snow-capped volcanoes, deep blue lakes and gushing waterfalls. Further still, we reach Patagonia, a land of ice fields, mountains, glaciers and immense solitude; the 'uttermost part of the earth'.

Highlights

  • Visit the unique and colourful Pacific Coast city of Valparaiso
  • Excursions to Atacama salt flats, altiplano lagoons, El Tatio geysers
  • Sunset over the Valley of the Moon in the Atacama Desert
  • City tours in cosmopolitan Santiago, German influenced Puerto Varas, and the fish market of Puerto Montt
  • See the Petrohue Falls, enjoy a boat cruise on Lago Lago Todos los Santos, and walk at Osorno Volcano
  • Patagonia and the famous granite towers of Torres del Paine National Park
  • Internal flights included, reducing driving distances so that we can visit four distinct regions of Chile

Key information

  • 12 nights hotels, all en suite.
  • Travel by internal flights, bus/minibus and boat
  • Some long distances covered
  • Easter Island extension available

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • Internal flights
  • All accommodation
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Santiago; city tour.

    Clients on the group flight will usually arrive in the morning. A walking tour of the city tour is organised today (approx. 4 hours), visiting the squares and streets of the colonial centre and the Presidential Palace. We also visit San Cristobal Hill, on which a statue of the Virgin Mary stands. The summit of Cerro San Cristobal offers a birds-eye view of Santiago, the Andean Mountains and the Maipo-Valley. Without a doubt the best viewpoint in the city! If there is time we will also see the wealthy suburbs of the ‘Barrio Alto’, an area of elegant shops and first class restaurants. Please note that due to the arrival times of the group flights, the city tour will usually start around 2pm or 2:30pm.  Land Only clients wishing to join the city tour would be advised to be at the hotel around 2pm in order to be collected.
    Hotel Providencia or similar

  • Day 2

    Full Day excursion to the enigmatic port city of Valparaiso.

    The historic World Heritage city of Valparaíso, or Valpo for short, is Chile’s oldest port and home to the country’s National Congress since democracy was re-established in 1989. The Pacific coast is just a short 1.5 hour drive from Santiago and today’s excursion will give us an interesting insight into Chilean culture.

    The city’s many hills are covered in a glorious sprawl of multi-coloured houses covering every nook and cranny, creating a spectacular panorama which can be enjoyed from a number of vantage points. Strolling through the streets of Valparaíso is a fascinating experience which enables us to soak up the quirky and bohemian atmosphere, something different to anywhere else in Chile. We’ll visit the UNESCO recognised historic city centre, in addition to the parliamentary building, and the War of the Pacific memorial.

    Due to the steep terrain in some parts of the city, it is home to numerous funicular lifts that transport residents straight up and down the hillsides rather than them having to zigzag through the maze of buildings. Many of these lifts have fallen into disrepair and sit suspended in time and hidden amid the labyrinth. However there is a drive to restore as many as possible and we’ll be able to use one of the most iconic functioning lifts on our way to a viewpoint. In the afternoon we will return to our hotel in Santiago.
    Hotel Providencia or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Fly to Calama; to San Pedro de Atacama.

    In the morning we fly to Calama near the Atacama Desert where we transfer to our hotel in the town of San Pedro de Atacama. Once we have checked in. the leader will offer a short orientation tour of the town for anyone who wants to join. At dusk we set out to the Valley of the Moon. This bizarre lunar landscape is set ablaze with colour at sunset, the strange rock formations framed by the Lincancabur Volcano. We'll stay until the sun goes down to enjoy the array of colours before returning to San Pedro.
    Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Visit Salar de Atacama & Altiplano lagoons.

    Departing our hotel in San Pedro, we will set off towards the Altiplano Lagoons (Lagunas Altiplanicas) and stop en route at the village of Socaire, set at 3218m/10,558ft. The village is noteworthy for its peculiar architecture using rough stonework and the inhabitants here still live by the age-old methods of planting terraced fields with corn, wheat and potatoes. Afterwards, we continue for about another 30km/19miles, climbing an additional 1000m/3,281ft in altitude to reach the highland lagoons of Miscanti and Miñiques. The two volcanoes of the same name are visible in the background (almost 6000m/19,686ft high). The twin lagoons are a deep blue, each framed by a white salt crust, which creates a memorable contrast to the yellow highland grass all around. It is completely silent here. Even the duck species that breed here, the foxes, and the grazing vicuñas (a type of camelid), respect the majestic silence. Continue to visit the Salar de Atacama. A salt lake of huge proportions (3000 sq km/1,158 sq miles), its surface is covered by a thick layer of snow-white salt crystals as far as the eye can see, caused by the evaporation of the lake’s water. The world’s largest lithium deposits are found here, but the salt pan is also home to several flamingo species, including the Andean, Chilean and James flamingo, who feed on the micro-organisms found in the saline lagoons. These beautiful birds and other species can be observed in their natural habitat at the Salar de Atacama’s Chaxa Lagoon, which is part of the Reserva Nacional de los Flamencos. Afterward the excursion we will return to San Pedro.
    Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Excursion to El Tatio geysers; optional night-time astronomy tour.

    In order to experience the El Tatio Geysers we’ll have to get up very early in order to arrival at the geyser field (located over 4300m/14,108ft above sea level) in time for sunrise! The fountains that shoot up to 10m/33ft high occur when the morning sun melts the nightly ice caps that form over the hot springs. The sun’s first rays reflect an array of colours as they mix with boiling jets coming from the geysers to create strong contrasts of steam and light. At around midday we’ll head back to San Pedro for some free time. There is an optional astronomy tour tonight that can be paid for locally but should be booked in advance of departure as availability is limited (Please note that this tour doesn't operate on full moon days).
    Hotel Diego de Almagro or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Fly to Puerto Montt; to Puerto Varas on the shore of Lago Llanquihue.

    We transfer to Calama airport and fly to Santiago and then Puerto Montt, the capital of the Lake District. This is a long travelling day, that will likely require an early start depending on the flight schedules. On arrival in the Lake District region we drive for 30 minutes to Puerto Varas on the shores of Lago Llanquihue. Depending on flight arrival time, we shall enjoy a brief tour of the 'City of the Roses' as it has come to be called because of the tremendous variety of roses all over town. If arriving on a late flight this will not be possible and we also recommend buying some food at the airport, as you may not have any options on arrival at your hotel. Afterwards, we shall go to our hotel where we can relax for the evening.
    Hotel Park Inn by Radisson or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Lago Todos Los Santos boat trip; walk near Osorno Volcano.

    In the morning we set out for a full day inside the Lake District. We drive along the shore of Lago Llanquihue and enjoy breathtaking views of the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. Our first real stop will be at the Saltos de Petrohue where cooling lava from the Osorno Volcano formed a series of rapids and waterfalls. Together they form an impressive sculpture of extruded volcanic rock shaped by thousands of years of river flow. Upon arriving at the landing at Petrohue we board a boat for a short cruise of Lago Todos los Santos (All Saints Lake). The lake is surrounded by high mountains and the lower slopes are thickly forested. As we pull away from the landing and the source of the river Petrohue, the view is quickly stolen away by the tremendous size and proximity of snow-capped Osorno Volcano behind us. We return to Petrohue and take a hike in the lower lava fields of the volcano. We also visit the Green Lagoon (Laguna Verde) before we return towards Puerto Varas in the afternoon. The order of the itinerary may change depending on the weather conditions.
    Hotel Park Inn by Radisson or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Fly to Punta Arenas; transfer to Puerto Natales.

    After breakfast we transfer to the capital of the Lake District, Puerto Montt, and take a sightseeing tour of the city. Puerto Montt was founded in 1853 by German colonists on the site of an indigenous Mapuche community. Downtown we take time to walk about the main squares and historical monuments. Afterwards we visit the port, where there is a large handicraft market full of artisan goods. Please note that depending on the flight times, this tour might be moved to the previous day instead. We then transfer to the airport to board a flight to Punta Arenas, Patagonia - the southernmost city in Chile. From here we transfer to Puerto Natales where we spend the night.
    Hostal Francis Drake or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Full day excursion to see some of the highlights of Torres del Paine N.P.

    This morning we drive into Torres del Paine National Park for a day of excursions within a spectacular environment. This is a busy day of travelling and walking including unforgettable views of the Towers and the Torres Massif from the 'Cuernos' viewpoint and 'Salto Grande' waterfall. In addition to being introduced to the flora and fauna of the region, today we will also visit 'Laguna Azul' for more breath taking views.
    Hotel del Paine or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Walking at Lago Grey; free time in Torres del Paine N.P.

    Another day in Torres del Paine National Park, this time to explore the Western highlights including Lake Grey. This deep lake, fed by the glacier of the same name, is filled with icebergs which have splashed down from the massive ice flow. From the hotel, we'll drive to a spot to the south of the lake, then start a short hike by crossing a suspension bridge over the Pingo River. From here the path leads through a Legna forest typical to the area, and continues onward to the tip of the narrow peninsula at the lake’s southern end. This viewpoint offers a spectacular view of the lake with its icebergs, the tongue of Grey Glacier at the far northern end, and the snow-covered mountain peaks soaring above. On the way back a stop is made at the Park Visitors Center to see an exposition of the origin and history of the park. Upon returning to the hotel, there will be some leisure time to relax at the hotel or do some optional excursions provided by the hotel.
     Hotel del Paine or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Optional zodiac excursion to Balmaceda Glacier; to Puerto Natales.

    For those that would like to, there is the possibility (optional) of returning to Puerto Natales by zodiac. This excursion involves boarding zodiacs to travel down Rio Serrano. The river ends at the Fjord Ultima Esperanza where we must change to a boat to approach the spectacular Balmaceda Glacier flowing out from the eastern side of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. We aim to arrive at our accommodation in Puerto Natales around 5:30pm. For anyone not wanting to take the optional river route, the leader will accompany you on visits to other areas of Torres del Paine including a visit to Milodon Cave (entrance fee not included and payee locally approx. US$ 8 per person). Everyone will meet up in the evening at the end of the tour in Puerto Natales and transfer together to the hotel.
    Hostal Francis Drake or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    To Punta Arenas; fly to Santiago.

    Transfer through the barren Pampa of Patagonia, an impressive road trip as we journey to Punta Arenas airport. We fly back to Santiago (flight times can vary) and enjoy our final evening in Chile.
    Hotel Providencia or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    End Santiago.

    There is a transfer back to the airport for those on group flights. Those on land only arrangements will leave us in Santiago this morning.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Post-trip Extensions

Easter Island (5 days / 4 nights)

Code: XAE

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 4,000km from the coast of Chile, is an island that still holds a very special magic and mystery. The Europeans discovered 'Rapa Nui', as the locals call it, on Easter Sunday and to this day it is simply referred to as Easter Island. But this island holds an intrigue far greater than one might imagine. So far from everything and everyone, isolated by the largest ocean in the world, it demonstrates a rich history, art, language and interestingly once even suffered a civil war ‐ all upon an island not 25 km across.

This 5 day extension will enable you to explore this triangular shaped island, with extinct volcanic cones in each of its three corners. Amidst an atmosphere of friendly Polynesian hospitality, the entire island is today an open‐air museum with approximately 900 Moai (statues), the tallest of which is 21m high. There is also the Orongo Village and many traditional cave dwellings open to view.

Please call for details (flight prices will be quoted separately to the price of the extension). Click here for the full webpage and access to the trip notes for this extension.

Essential Info

Visas

Chile

British, most European and most other nationalities, including Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, do not require visas. All other nationalities should contact the nearest Chilean Embassy if in doubt. Citizens of Australia pay a fee on first entry into Chile by air (cash US Dollars only, no credit cards or cheques) $95 - valid for only 90 days). There is no fee for other nationalities at the time of writing. The one-time charge is valid for the life of your passport so keep the stub stapled in.

Vaccinations

Chile

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Tetanus, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts are included.

All areas offer good quality local and international meals. Beef is very popular in Chile, especially steak, and the majority of dishes tend to be quite meaty. In Patagonia, lamb takes over as the most popular meat. There is also delicious, freshly-caught fish and seafood in the areas closer to the coast. Service can be slow in restaurants so do not expect European standards.

Vegetarian food is available in many of the restaurants but options may be limited, especially in Patagonia. Please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.  

Weather

Punta Arenas

Is this trip for you?

This is a busy itinerary that visits the main highlights of Chile. We travel by private minibus and take five internal flights to allow you to experience as much as possible of this beautiful and diverse county in a short space of time. You should be aware that there are some long travelling days on this trip.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and B&Bs

You will spend 12 nights in hotels or locally owned B&B’s. All rooms are en suite and average a 3 star rating. Please note that due to the limited amount of accommodation within Torres del Paine National Park, it may be necessary to sleep outside the park on some or all of the nights that we are there.

Single accommodation (available on request).

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed April 2018
    Gareth Grimshaw

    Excellent trip!

    Chile is such a beautiful country. It has a very varied landscape from deserts to lakes to glaciers.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I loved the flamingo lakes. I felt I was on another planet and could have stayed there all day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Jaime Maynard was superb. I think everyone loved him. He was knowledgable, friendly, laid back and had a great sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Definitely pack for all weathers. We experienced temperatures from near freezing right up to 30 degrees.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take your binoculars. I forgot and regretted it.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Susie Marchant

    Not Relaxing but Packs a Lot in!

    A very busy schedule which can leave you exhausted at times but is essential due to the length and geographical constraints of this stunningly beautiful and varied country. The Atacama was amazing with its unspoiled panoramas of deep blue lagoons set against snow-capped volcanos with vicunas grazing undisturbed, and the elegant movements of the flamingos as they seem to do a dance as they fish at the Chaxa lagoons, unperturbed by onlookers. There is so much wildlife to observe and nowhere ever seems crowded. The varieties of tree species and fauna are fascinating too The National Parks are really well maintained and unspoilt. The weather in Patagonia can be quite wet and windy so be prepared but when the clouds part to reveal the granite towers of Torres de Paine it will take your breath away

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me the Atacama had so many aspects to it - from the full moon rising at sunset next to the snowy peak of the Lincancabur volcano set ablaze with colours of the setting sun, to the extraordinary sight of the steamy Tatio geysers in the freezing cold of sunrise, followed by a dip in the thermal springs to complete the experience The silent beauty of the salt lagoons - stunning!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gaynor was outstanding - really organised but very calm. Her knowledge and passion for her country seemed limitless so I think we all came away with a greater appreciation of life in Chile. Gaynor was warm and compassionate, always with a smile - and had a laugh I shall never forget! Her timing was good so we managed to fit in a couple of extra walks. She really enhanced the enjoyment of the trip and was always willing to answer our many questions. A lovely person.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Would recommend taking a direct flight to Santiago Buy Pesos for your trip in the UK - don't bother with USD they are a nuisance to change and the rate is not good. Zodiac trip can be paid in local currency or on credit card Take waterproof walking shoes and poles if you like them for inclines like the Osorno Volcano walk. trainers are not adequate. Patagonia can be very wet and slippery under foot I took a travel kettle as I like to make hot drinks in the room - no hotel offers kettle in room.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Do go to Chile - it is not over run by tourists. Even the busy attractions were sparsely attended It is so beautiful Try and speak a little Spanish The food was a little disappointing - I did get bored of having to make a cheese sandwich at breakfast to take for lunch on the road. Maybe I didn't experience the best restaurants but food was a bit overcooked and dry and lacking flavour, for my taste. Some lovely soups though
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Linda Parkin

    An amazing trip

    A lovely trip which includes a very varied itinerary. You get to see different areas of Chile, from the desert , city life, lakes and mountains all with amazing scenery. Seeing the sun rise through the steaming geysers in the Atacama desert and the frozen glaciers in Patagonia were my highlights. There is a lot of travelling with internal flights but how else would you get to see all the different areas. Gaynor our guide was excellent, well organised, calm and caring , every day was a new adventure and she was always happy and smiling. A really lovely trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the sun rise through the steaming geysers in the Atacama Desert and the frozen glaciers in Patagonia

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Gaynor our guide was excellent, well organised, calm and caring, she was always happy and smiling
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Colin Owen

    Magnificent landscapes

    Chile is a country of the natural landscape. So it isn't a particularly cultural experience as, for instance, is Peru. On Discover Chile we went in only one house (Pablo Neruda's in Valparaiso), no museums and there's no Spanish colonial architecture to speak of. But the landscapes are wonderful and sometimes unique. The world's driest desert at one end and icebergs at the other. The internal flights are necessary to see this hugely long country; they felt appropriate and acceptable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Day 5 - the stop at Reserva Nacional de los Flamencos then the steady and compelling bus climb to altitude culminating in the magnificent and majestic Miscanto and Minoques volcanoes with their respective lakes. The guide gave us 30 minutes at the Reserva, nowhere near enough. We told him we wanted more and stayed 1 to 1.5 hours which is about right. The Atacama is much more interesting than you might imagine. Don't think of it a just a desert - it's deservedly a major attraction in Chile with lots of interest and even topped Torres del Paine for me.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    A charming man but one who seemed to struggle initially with the size of this group (16) and, in trying to please, was at times indecisive and lacked direction. After several days there were definite rumblings of discontent within the group. He assimilated this and became better so that by the end of the trip he was as he should have been at the beginning. His knowledge of Patagonia was good but less so of the other regions and this is definitely an area which could have been improved. A good solution, which would have enriched the tour, would have been to use a different local guide in the each of the regions leaving the group leader freer to manage, rather than guide, the tour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I agree with the comments of Peter Rooke, reviewing a different Discover Chile group from mine, on clothing and food. I would, though, advocate lightish walking boots, say three season UK or at least approach shoes. If you choose conventional shoes instead make sure they are stout, as my mother would have said, up to rain, sand, dust and sometimes rocky uneven ground. I found no need of insect repellant at all and nor, so far as I am aware, did any my group. For the colder elements you will need a shell jacket so you can layer up and down underneath with a fleece and maybe a base layer under your shirt. Take gloves and a warm hat. Wind/waterprrof overtrousers are a good addition. You do not need full-on UK winter kit for a February trip; even pre-dawn at altitude it isn't that cold. Don't be concerned about the amount of trekking; it's high quality but pretty minimal and there isn't a great deal of climbing. If trekking is what you like, this trip will disappoint from that point of view and you would do well to reconsider. Chile is not a cheap country; think European out of pocket expenses. Budget up to £50 per couple per day and take a bit extra for contingencies. (Hotel del Paine $10 for a bottle of local beer; in the same hotel a fixed price buffet dinner, no other option, at $38pp; Santiago and San pedro pizza for two, one glass of admittedly gorgeous house wine and a Sprite or Cola £40; two airport small vending machine capuccinos £6). Everywhere takes plastic but it's useful to have some dollars cash. As regards pesos I changed $100 at the outset, paid for meals etc with a cash card, and that pocket cash lasted the two of us pretty well the whole trip. Think carefully about your packing on the internal flights and take whatever you most hold dear into the cabin. If you're travelling as a couple, switch clothing between your two cases. My group did five internal flights on LATAM. The entire group's bags, every checked case, went missing on one flight and three of those bags (mine included) didn't turn up till 24 hours later. On the next flight four of us lost bags again, myself included, for 24 hours.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I have separately suggested to Exodus that it considers adding in a wine tour - 1.5 to 2hrs - into the Valparaiso day. You drive right through the heartland of Chile's renowned wine-producing area and this could easily have been fitted into an otherwise pretty low-key day.
  • Reviewed February 2018
    Peter Rooke

    A great introduction to Chile

    A great way to experience four completely different parts of Chile. There's lots of travelling on this trip but at a reasonable pace. All our flights went like clockwork; no hitches or delays. Most of the hotels used have changed for the 2018 season and we had no complaints – all were fine. One of the reasons we chose this Exodus trip is because many of the excursions and activities included in this trip are charged as extras by other travel companies. It's worth shopping around and comparing.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Tough question - among many great moments some that stand out are our first sight of the Andes as we flew into Santiago; the salt lakes of the Atacama; the Osorno volcano and the Lake District; Patagonia - the whole of Patagonia - particularly the Torres del Paine National Park. We did the Easter Island extension and that was amazing too.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Robert was friendly and efficient - making sure transport arrangements worked smoothly. He had a fund of information and stories about Chile which helped pass the time on some of the longer drives.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The optional Zodiac boat trip is worthwhile, you see a glacier close up and it's an enjoyable day. We were a little apprehensive beforehand but they provide long, warm waterproof jackets. We needed them primarily as a windproof layer as we didn't get wet at all. Also, you're only on small boats for a fairly short time before transferring to a larger boat. It felt safe and well organised. Take a sunhat and plenty of sunscreen. It's easy to underestimate the high UV factor in Patagonia due to the cool breeze. Pack/wear layers: it's cold at the El Tatio geysers before sunrise but then gets hot quickly. When packing think of it as the equivalent of travelling from the Sahara to summer in northern Norway. Take a water/wind proof jacket, fleece, gloves, warm hat and a sunhat. In Patagonia we went from wearing a woolly hat to a sunhat in a couple of hours. Heavy walking boots would be overkill for this trip. Good walking shoes are fine; there isn't a lot of walking and it's on good paths. Carry insect repellent with you: most of Chile was fine, although we encountered some mosquitoes in Patagonia (on the Zodiac trip), and there can be horse flies at Petrohue Lake (the name means place of the flies). Easter Island has mosquitoes too. Be aware of the altitude in the Atacama. San Pedro is fine, but both the Miscanti and Miniques lakes and the El Tatio geysers are higher (although you're only there for a fairly short time). We were a little disappointed with Chilean food; they're rather fond of cheese and ham. It's worth hunting out places to eat. Estaka in San Pedro was pricey but good (go through to the quieter area at the back); there's a decent pizzeria near the hotel in Santiago and the Liguria restaurant in the next street is good too. There's a good pizzeria on the square in Puerto Natales. Do the Easter Island extension! It's well worth it. You can get an Easter Island stamp in your passport if you ask at the post office in Hanga Roa. Our room at the O'Tai hotel was basic (with A/C), the hotel has lovely gardens and a pool, a very tranquil place and very, very well located (very helpful staff too.). If you're visiting Easter Island look out for James Grant-Peterkin's book, 'A Companion to Easter Island' it's very informative and portable.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The trip spends a short time in Santiago, consider going out a day or two before the trip stars to explore the city and see more of it. Similarly, the Easter Island extension is short, we wished we'd added another day or two to our Easter Island trip just to have more time to relax and enjoy it.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Roger Loveys

    Does what it says in the notes

    A trip full of variety which moves at a good pace. Definitely feel we know more about Chile on return.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Each section of the trip provided its own highlight. The dramatic scenery, flora and fauna of Patagonia left a lasting impression.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Robert was an excellent leader being both exceptionally knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Chile. He was full of anecdotes which kept the group amused during the longer bus journeys.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Money changing available during the introductory walk around Santiago - better rates than at the Airport. As Chile is 'the longest country' in the world there is inevitably a lot of travelling.
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Debbie Henderson

    Fabulous Country!

    I booked this trip a year ago and had high expectations. I was not disappointed! Fabulous country with very distinctive regions. Seeing the Atacama was top of my list and remains my favourite. The Torres del Paine comes in second and we did get good weather there.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing the Amphitheater, Valle de la Luna, San Pedro de Atacama. I had a picture of this as my pc wallpaper - I knew it was in Chile, but not exactly where. When it came into view I was totally speechless. It was an amazing moment!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader Ignacio was a great people person, someone who loves his country and wants people to see the best. He was full of information and also amusing stories about life in Chile. Unflustered and calm. Great guy to have in charge.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do be aware there are long travelling days and the internal flight schedules can be erratic. But don't let it put you off! Food is reasonably expensive though the meals are usually big. 10% is added to bills in restaurants. Try the traditional Pisco Sour drink. If not on the group flight be aware of unauthorised taxi drivers at Santiago Airport. It should cost no more than 20000 - 25000 Chilean pesos for a one way transfer. It helps to know some Spanish but people are generally friendly and helpful.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The memories will live on of this beautiful country. Not cheap but if it is on your bucket list GO...it is well worth it!
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Paul Devall

    Discover Chile

    Excellent place to visit

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The Torres Del Paine national park. We were fortunate enough to arrive with good weather and could see the range in all its glory. Easter Island whilst expensive is worth the trip, the island is beautiful and the Moais amazing. In all honesty the places visited as a whole were fantastic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex was great, he was always there when we or any of the group needed him. In every place we visited he smoothed the way and ensured we all enjoyed it.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    As other travellers have noted there are some long days. I am sure some of this could be changed with different flying times etc. but you do lose a lot of time on buses and in airports. Be prepared for some stunning scenery and don't get caught out with the different climates at each area that is visited.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Chile is a great place, the people are friendly and in some respects its like stepping back in time. Be aware that dollars are the currency of choice in the Rio Serrano Hotel (or credit card). We never had any problems changing money except in Easter Island. If you decide to do the extension be aware that there are ATM's but no money changing facilities and that some of the restaurants are shut on a Sunday.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Joy Jackson

    Discover chile

    It was an excellent holiday and Alex was a very good guide and went out of his way to make us all comfortable.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were such contrasting landscapes it is difficult to decide on one, but perhaps on reflection I would have liked to have done more trecking in Patagonia. Also it was not apparent from the trip notes that the best sight of the glaciers is from a boat and not from a landbased viewpointso I am glad I took the zodiac.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    As said before Alex was excellent but ought to ask for insurance details - my first Exodus trip when this wasn't done

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Yes on the way from Punta Arenas to to Puerto Natales there is one cafe and loo stop where one gets charged for the toilet. Go to the shop on the right with the blue roof, which had an indoor loo and only charged 200 pesos, whereas the one on the left has an outside loo very dilapidated and charged 300!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    There was one day when we could take a cable lift to go up and down. It is cheaper if you are over 65 but Alex didn't seem to know this. Also he didn't forewarn us of the likely charges, so if you are like me and only take out for the day the money you are going to spend you could get caught out. Also it was not apparent that the hotel in Torres Del Paine much preferred receiving US dollars, so I was annoyed that I had converted dollars to pesos when in the Lake District! This should have been explained more carefully.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Mark Brumwell

    Discover Chile - An Excellent Introduction to a Stunning Country.

    This was an excellent trip. Having seen many stunning photographs of Chile, I went on the holiday with high expectations. I was not disappointed and indeed my expectations were exceeded. It is a truly stunning country with a huge variety of dramatic scenery, friendly people and interesting wildlife. This trip is a very good introduction to the country, covering a lot of territory in two weeks, allowing you to identify the bits to come back to with more time at a later date.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The highlight for me was Patagonia. It reminded me of the better parts of New Zealand, Alaska and the remote northern parts of Canada. We were lucky to have good weather in Torres del Paine National Park so I got some good photographs. The optional boat trip back to Puerto Natales was exciting and, although quite expensive, was well worth the additional cost.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Alex was knowledgeable and attentive without being intrusive. He was a pleasure to talk to and gave sufficient information to enhance the travel experience without overloading us with lots of facts that we probably wouldn't have retained. Occasional problems were sorted out quickly and efficiently.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although not physically demanding, this is an intensive trip with a lot of travelling, so best suits those with sufficient energy to really enjoy the experience.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The quality of hotels on the trip is good except for the Don Raul in San Pedro de Atacama. The rooms were unbearably hot, very small, dark and claustrophobic. Service in the hotel was rather hit and miss (we had to ask five times for our room to be cleaned), the food in the restaurant is very expensive with small portions (in contrast the restaurants elsewhere in the town which are fine) and maintenance of the hotel is poor. A better quality hotel here would be most welcome.

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

Private Adventures 

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