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Luxury Chile: Patagonia, Chiloe and Maipo valley vineyards

13 days from £6,250pp

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Luxury Chile: Patagonia, Chiloe and Maipo valley vineyards:
Trip Dossier

Chile’s Patagonia extends from the achingly beautiful lake district - with its ice-cream cone volcanoes, meadows, waterfalls and virgin forests - down to the glaciers and steppes of a more brutal, primeval landscape in the far south. The area of the lakes, traditionally a magnet for visitors from Chile and overseas alike, has become more accessible, and hotels, lodges and resorts of all standards have been established there. Chiloe, the misty and mysterious island off the Pacific coast, steeped in myth and legend, has long conserved a traditional way of life and now here too you can explore from a delightful top-of-the-range property, Tierra Chiloe.

Further south, on the fringes of Torres del Paine National Park, the lodge’s sister property, Tierra Patagonia, offers an equally exclusive opportunity to explore the mountains and glaciers of wild and untamed region in comfort and style. 

Round off your adventure with a couple of days luxuriating at one of Chile’s most prestigious vineyards, set in a fertile valley not far from the capital, Santiago. 

Short itinerary

Holiday itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Santiago, transfer to luxury hotel in prestigious Las Condes.

Day 2

Fly to Castro, capital of Chiloe island in the lake district. Transfer to luxury lodge.

Days 3,4

Choice of guided activities from the lodge.

Day 5

Transfer by road and ferry to the mainland, continue to lake Llanquihue.

Day 6

At leisure at Hotel Awa.

Day 7

Fly to Punta Arenas in southern Patagonia.

Days 8-10

Excursions and activities from the lodge.

Day 11

Fly to Santiago and continue to the Maipo valley

Day 12

At leisure at Casa Real and Santa Rita winery.

Day 13

Return to Santiago for your international flight.

Detailed itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Santiago, transfer to luxury hotel in prestigious Las Condes.
 
Santiago

Santiago is set in a broad valley between parallel ranges of the Andes, with lofty snow-draped peaks, and a smaller coastal range with a Mediterranean feel. Santiago is a huge metropolis, a mix of the old and the contemporary, with neighbourhoods featuring tree-lined avenues and affluent tranquillity and others full of historic references and commercial bustle.

Transfer from the airport to your first class hotel, the Ritz Carlton. It’s in the calm, upmarket residential and commercial district known as Las Condes. Once you’ve settled in nicely you’ll be collected for your guided walking tour of selected districts of the city. In the shadow of glassy sky-scrapers you’ll discover fine historic buildings dating back to Spanish colonial times, sitting alongside eye-catching arty, contemporary structures. You’ll be seeking out some of the more interesting landmarks and arty neighbourhoods at a leisurely pace, allowing you to soak up the atmosphere of the capital.

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Santiago

Day 2

Fly to Castro, capital of Chiloe island in the lake district. Transfer to luxury lodge.
 
Chiloé

The remote and agreeable little city Castro has never lost its frontier feel, with its ramshackle, brightly painted wooden buildings spilling down from the hillside to the harbour. Continue by road to your lodge. Chiloé's patchwork fields, tiny coves and forested hills are somewhat reminiscent of Cornwall or Devon, as are the little fishing communities, colourful boats and thick woollen pullovers. But here there survives an evocative indigenous culture, with an imaginative mythology involving witches and troll-like creatures. A magical air pervades, rain or shine.

Among Chiloé's many photogenic attributes are the rustic wooden houses built above the water on stilts (palafitos), unique wood-tiled architecture and over 150 wooden painted churches dating back to the hegemony of the Jesuits. The island's coastline hosts dolphins, seals and the odd penguin, and there's a rich tradition of seafood cuisine. There's a bird-filled wetland right in front of idyllic Tierra Chiloé lodge, where a panorama of wonderful views unfolds.

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Chiloé

Days 3,4

Choice of guided activities from the lodge.
 
Chiloe

Based at the lodge, you can choose from a number of half and full-day guided excursions including walking, cycling, horse riding and visits to villages and hamlets which have retained vestiges of the island’s unique culture. You will discover the graceful, Unesco-listed wood shingle churches, so different from the colonial Spanish baroque dominant elsewhere on the continent.  Stroll along undulating coastal trails or through native forests, browse produce and crafts markets and savour seafood-based Chilote cuisine.

You should have the opportunity to sail on the lodge's exclusive boat, the Williche. A traditional Chilote wooden vessel built in Castro, she offers the best way to explore the creeks and bays of the outer islands of this labyrinthine archipelago. If you wish to be more adventurous, you can try your hand at sea kayaking - with luck you will spot seals and dolphins. Returning each day to the lodge is a highlight in itself, thanks to its wonderful views, spa and delicious food and wine.

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Chiloe

Day 5

Transfer by road and ferry to the mainland, continue to lake Llanquihue.
 
puerto varas

Drive north to take a half-hour ferry trip across to the mainland of Chile - a short but possibly entertaining trip as your boat may be accompanied by a pod of playful dolphins while seabirds wheel above. Drive on through open countryside to your contemporary-chic lodge on the shores of the lake Llanquihue, where sparkling blue-green waters reflect the snow-stifled bulk of Osorno volcano. It’s just a 30 minute drive from leisure port Puerto Varas, which still harbours some of the German culture imported by Bavarian settlers in the 19th and early 20th century, including its iconic red and white church.

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puerto varas

Day 6

At leisure at Hotel Awa.
 
lake district

You may well be tempted to spend the day enjoying the spa, the grounds and the spectacular views available at this innovative lakeside property – we agree, it will be hard for you to tear yourself away. However, if you love the outdoors, there’s an impressive list of optional excursions and activities in the surrounding countryside which we can arrange for you in advance.

These feature guided walks along hiking trails in the adjoining national parks, where a sprinkling of hidden lagoons studs untouched conifer forests. Water-borne activities include gentle kayaking on the picturesque and serene Ronclavi estuary or a more dynamic experience white water rafting on foaming rivers. Those with an interest in local culture would enjoy a day trip to towns and villages around the lake to learn more about the German colonisation along the shores of Lake Llanquihue over 150 years ago. Their heritage is still very much in evidence, including delicious details such as the popular kuchen on display in the tea rooms peppering the region.

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lake district

Day 7

Fly to Punta Arenas in southern Patagonia.
 
Torres del Paine

Fly to Punta Arenas in southern Patagonia and continue by road to your lodge right on the edge of Torres del Paine National Park. With any luck, you will have glimpsed seen the remote ice-throttled peaks and glaciers from the air, but that won’t detract from the impact of witnessing this grandiose scenery up close.  

Milky blue and gem-sharp emerald lakes, sinuous rivers, glaciers and wind-scoured steppes have forged a unique environment. Torres del Paine is the natural habitat of over 150 species of birds (flamingos, condors, eagles and ostriches) and 25 species of mammal (including guanacos, armadillos, silver foxes and pumas). Come prepared for elemental drama: the dictates of the weather prevail but this national park is well worth the journey south, whether slashed by rain or bathed in sunshine.

The road from Punta Arenas carves a lonely path across flat, ferociously wind-buffeted grasslands where you might spot a little hardy wildlife, but gradually the monotony of the landscape is overcome as the huge granite massif of Torres del Paine, with its icy spires, looms up on the horizon. You enter an area of blue green lagoons, waterfalls and tufty hillocks, where guanacos graze and water-birds shelter.

Tierra Patagonia, your stunning designer hotel, sits on a bluff overlooking the rain-fed lake Sarmiento, the largest in the region.  All rooms have views over the water, and you are within a stone’s throw of the iceberg-dotted lakes, snow-jacketed mountains, scrawny forests and vast expanses of open steppe.

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Torres del Paine

Days 8-10

Excursions and activities from the lodge.
 
Torres del Paine

Tierra Patagonia offers a full range of excursions within and around Torres del Paine National Park. You can explore on foot, horseback, bike, or boat – the portfolio of activities delves into every corner of the park. From a choice of hiking tours, wilderness bike rides, horseback adventures and kayaking expeditions, the team will create a plan tailor-made just for you. The expert guides will assess your physical activity level and your personal interests, so that you can explore Torres del Paine just the way you prefer.

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Torres del Paine

Day 11

Fly to Santiago and continue to the Maipo valley
 
maipo valley

Return to Santiago by air from Punta Arenas and continue by road to the Maipo valley in the foothills of the Andes, one of the world's outstanding wine-growing regions. Your accommodation is on a historic country estate also embracing the Santa Rita vineyard. Casa Real is within easy reach of the neighbouring vineyards and wine cellars, yet secluded within its own peaceful and immaculate grounds.

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maipo valley

Day 12

At leisure at Casa Real and Santa Rita winery.
 
wine in chile

Spending a full day here gives you the opportunity to enjoy the house's elegant facilities, the museum displaying a private collection of Andean artefacts, and the flower-decked ornamental  gardens, ancient trees and ponds dotted with black-necked swans. The property is certainly opulent, with a somewhat formal, aristocratic ambience. The décor, furnishings and sculptures are inspired by the colours and motifs discovered at Pompeii in the 1890s.

Your stay will include a tour of the Santa Rita winery and the chance to taste its splendid premium wines and fine cuisine. 

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wine in chile

Day 13

Return to Santiago for your international flight.

Essential information

Transport

3 flights (longest 4hrs); 6 road transfers 30mins - 4hrs.

Accommodation

We've selected some of the finest hotels for this holiday. You'll stay at a stylish hotel with good facilities in Santiago's elegant Las Condes district, and two lodges belonging to the prestigious Tierra portfolio in Chiloe and southern Patagonia. In the lake district you will stay at a beautiful lodge with personalised service from the proprietors. Each property captures the flavour of your surroundings perfectly. Whatever the style – traditional classic or lodge - they have top of the range service, facilities and bespoke guided excursions.

Meals

Full board with drinks included at Tierra Chiloe (3n), Tierra Patagonia (4n), Casa Real (2n). Half board included at Awa (2n); breakfast in Santiago.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners, some of whom we have worked with for over 30 years. Their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by the latter on their return. The guides at your luxury properties are well qualified and English-speaking.

Included excursions

• Santiago: Guided walking tour.
• Chiloe: Guided excursions from Tierra.
• Torres del Paine: Guided excursions from Tierra.
•  Maipo valley: Guided tour of Santa Rita Vineyard.

Summary of nights

13 days, 12 nights: Santiago 1, Chiloe 3, Puerto Varas area 2, Torres del Paine area 4, Maipo valley 2. 

Included in the journey price

• Services of our team of experts in our London office.
• Services of Journey Latin America local representatives and guides.
• All land and air transport within Latin America.
• Accommodation as specified.
• Meals as specified.
• Excursions as specified, including entrance fees.

Not included in the journey price

• International flights to Latin America
• Airport taxes where not included on your tickets
• Insurance
• Tips and gratuities
• Meals other than specified
• Optional excursions

Currency

The unit of currency in Chile is the peso.

Daily spend

It is very difficult to give a guideline for essential expenses but a budget of around US$50 per person per day should cover the cost of meals not included in the holiday itinerary, drinks and the odd souvenir. Eat at the best restaurants and you will pay considerably more.  

How to take it

Cash machines are available in all major cities and towns, and so taking a debit or credit card with a PIN number is the most convenient way of withdrawing money while on your trip, and in most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, since cards can get lost, damaged, withheld or blocked, you should not rely exclusively on a card to access funds. 

We recommend that additionally you take a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which you can exchange into local currency. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. You can take sterling, but the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available, restricting the number of places where you can change money.

Tipping

Tips are expected and local guides often rely on their tip as a significant proportion of their income. 

Most service industry workers will expect a tip of some kind and so it is useful to have spare change for hotel porters, taxi drivers and the like. It is common to leave 10 - 12% in restaurants.

Insurance

Travel insurance is essential.
Details of our recommended policy can be found on our Travel Insurance page.

Airport taxes

If you have purchased your flights through Journey Latin America, the international departure tax is usually included in the ticket.

Journey grade

This is a fully comprehensive holiday with travel or optional excursions on most days but may be considered very relaxing. The holiday is suitable for all able-bodied, reasonably fit visitors. In other cases, e.g. if you have a disability or other special requirements, please contact us.

Climate

In the Santiago area expect a Mediterranean type climate though it can snow in winter (June-August). In October, November, March and April  temperatures range between 15°C  and 25°C and there’s a good deal of sunshine. January and February are hot, around 30°C or higher. 

The lake district has a weather pattern not dissimilar to that of the UK, though summers tend to be hotter and sunnier and winters wetter.

The weather in Patagonia is notoriously unpredictable throughout the year. During the southern hemisphere summer (October to March), be prepared for everything from a blizzard to a heat wave. Strong winds and rain are possible at any time but especially in spring and autumn, and it can get cold with snow in winter, but seldom much below freezing. 

Clothing and special equipment

For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. Both clothing for both hot and cold conditions including sun hat a light fleece jacket and a Gore-Tex (or similar) outer shell. Trousers, skirt or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well. If you plan to eat in smart restaurants, although clothing is not formal (no need for jacket and tie), something quite smart would be appropriate. Strong, comfortable footwear is essential and you should bring umbrella, insect repellent, sun block and sun glasses. You might take swimwear for the odd dip in a natural pool.

Vaccinations

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. You should consult your GP for specific requirements.

You can also find helpful information on the Masta Travel Health website.

Visas

APIS and ESTA - important flight information:

ESTA - If flying to the US or via the US you will need to fill in your application to ESTA online.
This costs $14 per person. This must be applied for by you personally.
Passports must also be digital e-passports with an embedded chip. Avoid locking suitcases if transiting the USA, as their customs authorities retain the right to break into them.

APIS - Many countries now oblige airlines to provide additional information about passengers prior to the flight departure. This Advance Passenger Information (APIS) must be supplied to us promptly in order to issue tickets and avoid fare increases. We will provide the airlines with the relevant details if we are booking your international flights. If the information is not provided you may be denied boarding.
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