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Chile and the Falklands Wildlife Holiday

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Most travellers to the Falklands visit for only a day or two as part of a cruise. Our holiday includes a whole week discovering the highlights of the islands. We’ll take you to Port Stanley, the capital, which looks like a small English town fifty years ago. The remains of ships abandoned 100 years ago are still to be seen in the coves, testament to an era when the islands were a safe haven when all ships passed this way before the Panama Canal opened. You’ll also travel to rural outposts by road and light aircraft.

The Falkland Islands lie off the coast of Argentina in the South Atlantic. However, very few people know about the wilderness beauty of this remote island archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean. The islands have an unpolluted environment with vast open spaces and white sand beaches. A huge variety of wildlife has adopted the Falkland Islands as their home: the bird and animal population (sheep, and penguins) outnumber the human inhabitants by 10-1. At least 5 species of penguin are found on the Falkland Islands and elephant seals, sea-lions and seals, an abundance of birds and minke and killer whales can be spotted here. The islanders remain British in outlook and descent, adhering to British laws and buying British goods.

The holiday also features a few days in Chilean Patagonia the vicinity of Torres del Paine National Park, exploring this true wilderness where just a few rough roads cut through a frost-bitten landscape of glaciers, luminous lagoons, icy pinnacles and wind-strafed steppe.

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Santiago. Transfer to hotel in the capital.

Day 2

Guided excursion to Valparaiso and Viña del Mar.

Day 3

Fly to the Falklands Islands, transfer to Darwin; visit war sites.

Days 4-5

Fly to Pebble Island, home to huge penguin colonies.

Days 6-7

Fly to tiny Sea-Lion Island, famed for its abundant wildlife.

Day 8

Fly to Mount Pleasant and continue to Port Stanley.

Day 9

Visit Volunteer Point.

Day 10

Fly to Punta Arenas in Patagonia, by road to Puerto Natales.

Days 11-12

Excursions from the hotel, including to Torres del Paine National Park.

Day 13

Transfer to Punta Arenas and fly to Santiago.

Day 14

Transfer to airport for international flight home.

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Places visited on this holiday

Chile and the Falklands Wildlife Holiday

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Santiago and the vineyards
Santiago and the vineyards
With a backdrop of snow-draped Andean peaks in a sunny fertile valley, Chile’s huge capital lies at the heart of the country. A multi-layered place of contrasting neighbourhoods it is worth getting to know.

There’s a tiny colonial heart which displays an often poignant history, offset by the glittering malls, skyscrapers and shady boulevards of a modern economy. Interspersed are European-style centres for shopping and eating out such as Italianate Bellavista and newly vibrant, villagey localities among which is trendy Lastarría. The surrounding Mediterranean landscape is the perfect setting for vineyards and wineries producing Chile’s well respected wines.
When's the best time to visit Santiago and the vineyards?
Santiago has a hot dry summer and cool winters with some rain and even snow. Spring and autumn (Sep-Oct and Apr-May) are pleasant times for a city visit. The vineyards are at their prettiest in spring (Sep-Oct) but a visit may be most interesting at harvest time (Mar-Apr).
What is the official language in Santiago and the vineyards?

Spanish.

How can I get local currency in Santiago and the vineyards?
Chilean Peso. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. There are also many banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash; rates for euros and sterling are harder to find and frequently poor.
What's the time difference between Santiago and the vineyards and UK?

GMT -4 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, from Sep/Oct to early Mar. 

What places combine with Santiago and the vineyards?

Valparaiso, colourful Pacific port growing in popularity among visitors, 106km (2hours by road); a beach wind-down in Chile’s principal resort, Viña del Mar (100km, 2 hours); a few days on Polynesian Easter island (5 hours direct by air); winter skiing in the family resort of Valle Nevado (65km, 1 hour 40mins by road).

How do I get to Santiago and the vineyards?

There are no direct flights from the UK, average flight time is 16 hours; a change of plane is required in Europe, Brazil or the USA.

What are the festivals and cultural events in Santiago and the vineyards?

Feria Internacional de Artesania: Nov; Parque General Bustamente, Centro, Santiago, the city’s best craft festival.

Feria Internacional del Libro: Nov, Machopo station, Santiago. A Hay Festival is imminent for Santiago – watch this space!

Fiesta de la Vendimia: Santa Cruz, Colchagua Valley, An annual grape harvest festival in early Mar. 

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Valparaiso and Vina del Mar
Valparaiso and Vina del Mar
Drive from Santiago northwest through the coastal cordillera and you arrive at these two Pacific towns: one a historic and busy port, the other a beach resort. Valparaiso’s aspect and atmosphere differ totally from the capital. Shoals of crammed painted houses career down vertiginous hillsides, accessed by wooden lifts and staircases. These hilltop quarters now offer boutique hotels and chic and interesting restaurants. Down below the port area’s heavy Victorian-style architecture recalls an era when British influence was strong. A few kilometres north is the resort of Viña del Mar, historically chic but now a popular family seaside spot and commercial town.
When's the best time to visit Valparaiso?
Valparaiso and Viña have a hot dry summer and cool winters with some rain. Spring and autumn (Sep - Oct and Apr - May) are pleasant times for a city visit; summertime (Dec - Mar) the best time for the beaches which can be crowded with visitors.
What's the official language in Valparaiso?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Valparaiso?
Chilean Peso. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs using a UK credit or debit card. Limits may be lower than your UK bank allows. There are also many banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) where you can exchange US dollars cash; rates for euros and sterling are harder to find and frequently poor.
What's the time difference between Valparaiso and UK?

GMT -4 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer, from Sep-Oct to early Mar.  

What places combine well with Valparaiso?

Santiago, vast multi-layered capital, 106 km (2 hours by road); a stay at one of the vineyards in the Colchagua, Maipo and Casablanca valleys, 177 km by road.

How do I get to Valparaiso?

It’s a 2 hour drive on a fast highway from Santiago to either destination.

What are the festivals and cultural events in Valparaiso?

New Year: Valparaiso: 3 days of festival attended by over a million visitors, with a firework display on the bay.

International Music Festival: Viña del Mar, a week in Feb. This event once attracted stars of international renown, nowadays it is more a showcase for aspiring Latin American pop stars. 
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Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) lie 500km east of the coast of Argentina. Many people know a bit about their history, but few are aware of the wilderness beauty of this remote archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean. The islands have an unpolluted hilly environment with sprawling, wind-buffeted, tree-less landscapes and white sand beaches. A huge variety of wildlife inhabits or visits the archipelago and the fauna outnumbers the human population by 10-1. At least five species of penguin crowd the shores of the Falklands - gentoo, macaroni, rockhopper, king and African penguin. Elephant seals, sea-lions and seals, an abundance of birds, minke and killer whales can be spotted here, their mournful cries carried on the incessant winds.

Port Stanley, the capital, resembles a small English town fifty years ago, with squat, white, pitched roofed cottages, an Anglican seafront church and familiar red phone boxes. The hulks of ships abandoned a century ago lie in rocky coves, testament to an era when the islands were a port of call for passing ships before the opening of the Panama Canal. Nowadays, the 3,000 islanders remain British in outlook and descent, adhering to British laws and buying British goods.
When's the best time to visit the Falkland Islands?
The Falkland Islands have a chilly climate characterised by strong winds, particularly in the spring (Sep-Oct). Rain falls on approximately 180 days per year, but totals are small. The islands are at their warmest in Jan, the mid-point of the southern summer, but temperatures (averaging 10°C) don’t vary much throughout the year. A little-known fact is that the islands are bathed in the same number of sunshine hours as southern England. Visitors benefit from long hours of daylight Oct-Mar, when migratory birds and mammals arrive. November is the breeding time for penguins.
What's the official language of the Falkland Islands?

English.

What are the Falkland Islands' official currency?

The Falkland Islands pound. This is equal to one pound sterling, with notes and coins being similar to those in the UK, varying only in their design. There are generally no currency restrictions. British currency is accepted or exchange UK sterling for Falkland Islands currency at the bank in Port Stanley. There is no charge for exchanging sterling for Falkland Islands currency or vice versa. There are no ATMs on the island nor is it possible to exchange South American currencies, but credit cards are widely accepted and you can get a cash advance on cards at the bank. A departure tax of £25 is payable in cash by all passengers on flights departing Port Stanley to South America.

What is the time difference between GMT and the Falkland Islands?

GMT -3 hours; this is actually daylight saving time. The accurate time is GMT -4 hours, observed all year round since 2011.

Which countries combine well with the Falkland Islands?

Chile, accessing the country by air at Punta Arenas, gateway to Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park; Antarctica - many cruises drop anchor at the Falklands.

What are the festivals, cultural and sporting events in the Falklands?
Bank holidays. UK bank holidays are observed, with the exception of Easter Monday and the bank holidays in May and Aug. 

Liberation Day, 14 Jun. Church services and military parades commemorating the 1982 war.

Falklands Day, 14 Aug. Commemorates the first recorded sighting of the islands by English sea captain John Davis on the ship ‘Desire’.

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Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine

 

Torres del Paine National Park in southern Patagonia is the pinnacle of Chile’s natural landscapes, fast becoming one of the world’s most popular places for walking holidays. Cuernos del Paine is a granite massif which has been sliced apart into needle-sharp spires by glaciers. Beyond are the vertical triple towers of the Torres del Paine. Wind-battered grasslands lead up to sheltered glacial valleys with flowery meadows; torrential rivers surging with ice are interlaced with glassy lagoons. Wildlife abounds everywhere, from geese to guanaco; condors and puma may be spotted, especially in the low winter season from April to October.

When's the best time to visit Torres del Paine NP?
The best months for hiking are Mar-Apr. Many hikers also visit in summer (Dec - Jan) along with non-trekkers so it can be very busy at that time. Days are long and mild then but it can be windy, as in spring (Sep - Oct). For non-hikers, a visit at any time is recommended outside the winter months Jun - Aug when it can be very cold and access routes can be blocked by snow. On the other hand, it is frequently less windy in winter and you have a better chance of spotting wildlife as there are few tourists around. Many facilities are closed then; however, each year, a few more stay open to cater for this off-season traffic.
What's the official language in Torres del Paine NP?

Spanish.

How canI get local currency in Torres del Paine NP?

Chilean Peso. Bring sufficient pesos for your needs from a previous larger destination.

What's the time difference between Torres del Paine NP and UK?

GMT -4 hours. Sometimes daylight saving is observed in the summer.
What other places combine with Torres del Paine NP?

Puerto Natales, picturesquely located town on Last Hope Sound which still has a frontier feel, famous for its black-necked swans, 3 hours by roadEl Calafate in the Parque Nacional de los Glaciares, Argentina (to visit the Perito Moreno glacier), 425km (7 hours scenic drive); the Aisén Region, a wilderness of little-visited forests and rivers north of the park, 4.5 hours drive to Punta Arenas then 1.5 hours by air the Chilean lake district (2 hours away by air from Punta Arenas).

How do I get to Torres del Paine NP?

Daily flights from Santiago take 3 hours 50mins to Punta Arenas, thence it is 3-5 hours by road to Torres del Paine.

Speak to an expert Travel Consultant or send us your enquiry today.

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