Private Journeys

Trailblazer Chile

13 days from £5,122pp

Chile

Moon Valley

Essentials

Transport

6 road transfers with private driver.
Excursions in the Atacama Desert with private driver-guide.
4 regional flights of 2-4 hours each.

Accommodation

All hotels are of a very comfortable mid-range and upper mid-range standard, with on-site restaurant facilities.
In Torres del Paine, your hotel is in the heart of the National Park.
Please see the itinerary for more details.

Meals

Breakfast daily, 1 lunch and 1 dinner.

Guides

We carefully select our local partners; their English-speaking guides understand the expectations of our clients very well, and are consistently singled out for praise by clients on their return.

Summary Of Nights

13 days, 12 nights: Vineyard (2), Atacama (4), Torres del Paine (4). 2 further positioning nights are spent at a hotel within walking distance of Santiago’s airport terminal.

Daily Spend

A guideline budget of around £40 per person per day should cover the cost of meals and drinks not included in the holiday itinerary. Extra are relatively expensive in Torres del Paine due to its remoteness.

How To Take It

Cards are widely accepted in Chile and most towns have a cash machine (ATM) for withdrawing local currency. . In most shops and restaurants you can also pay by card. However, you should not rely on plastic as your only source of funds in case your card gets blocked or just doesn’t work in the local ATM.

We therefore also recommend taking a reasonable quantity of US dollars cash (no more than is covered by your insurance), which can come in very handy in when you are unable to use a card or get hold of local currency. Dollar bills should be in good condition, soiled or torn bills may be refused. We don’t recommend taking Sterling, as the exchange rate is not always competitive or even available.

In Chile, we recommend paying for your extras at hotels (including hotel restaurant bills) with US$ cash or by credit card. Such transactions are usually exempt of IVA (sales tax).

Recommended 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. Chile’s authorities currently require visitors to have travel insurance with coverage for all expenses associated with Covid-19.

Journey Latin America’s recommended insurance company is Campbell Irvine, and their medical and repatriation cover is handled by International Medical Assistance.

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, and prepaid on regional flights in Chile.

Journey Grade

Generally this holiday is suitable for all able, reasonably fit visitors, including families. If you have a disability or special requirements, please call us.

You will be staying at an altitude of over 2,400m and visiting locations over 4,000m above sea level (Tatio Geysers). Local guides can advise you about precautions against any ill effects generated by the thin air at altitude; most people only feel a little breathless. (See “Altitude” paragraph below).

Climate

In the Santiago area expect a Mediterranean type climate. In February temperatures range between 28°C and 35°C and there’s a good deal of sunshine.

The Atacama Desert is hot (18-30°C) though temperatures fall substantially at night when it is clear and mornings are chilly. In Jan-Mar the region can be susceptible to heavy rains coming from the Bolivian Andes.

The weather in southern Patagonia is notoriously unpredictable throughout the year. In the ‘season’, from October to March, there may be everything from a blizzard to a heat wave. Strong winds and rain are possible at any time and it can get extremely cold.

Altitude

Your stay in San Pedro de Atacama in the Andes is at high altitude (2,407m). A small minority of visitors may suffer temporarily from altitude sickness. Symptoms vary; most common are mild headaches, slight nausea and breathlessness. If you don’t recover in a day or two, speak to our representatives; in very rare instances it is necessary to descend to lower altitudes. Most people are unaffected and if you drink plenty of water and allow your body to acclimatise (don’t exert yourself or drink alcohol) in the first couple of days after arrival, you will minimise your chances of suffering any symptoms. Tatio geysers, at 4,320m, are at the highest location you will visit on this holiday.

Clothes And Special Equipment

For day-to-day wear you should go prepared to encounter all seasons. Both warm clothing and a sun hat are essential, and a light fleece jacket and a Gore-Tex (or similar) outer shell makes a good combination. Trousers, skirts or shorts made from light, quick-drying synthetic materials work well. If you plan to eat in smart restaurants in Santiago, something a little more formal 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 a dip in the hot springs.

Please get in touch with the office before departure if you have any doubts. Good equipment is very important and hard to come by in South America.

Vaccination

Preventative vaccinations are recommended against the following: typhoid; polio; tetanus; hepatitis A. For specific requirements you must consult your GP.

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

Visas

Holders of a full British passport do not require a visa, although passports must be valid for at least 6 months after the trip begins. Anyone with a different nationality should enquire with us or check with the relevant consulate.

If flying to the US, or via the US you will need to fill in your online ESTA application.

Country info

When's the best time to visit Chile?

Thanks to its size and shape, Chile is a year-round destination. The southern hemisphere summer is the reverse of our own, with Dec-Feb being high summer in Patagonia. Spring (Oct-Nov) and Autumn (Mar-Apr) can still be very pleasant and are quieter. While summers in the lake district are generally warm and sunny, as a rule the further south in Patagonia you go the more unpredictable the weather. Santiago and Valparaiso have a Mediterranean-type climate, with very warm summers and cool winters (ski season is Jul-Aug). San Pedro de Atacama enjoys sunshine and warm temperatures year-round, influenced by altitude and the high Andes, with cool nights Jul-Sep and a chance of heavy rains in Jan-Mar. Easter Island has pleasant temperatures all year, warmest Oct-Mar, cooler Jun-Sep.

For more detailed information visit our When To Go section.

What's the official language of Chile?

Spanish.

How do I get local currency in Chile?

Chilean Peso. Notes can be withdrawn from the many ATMs in larger towns and cities 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. Non-resident foreign guests at hotels in Chile do not normally pay the 19% VAT on most extras (such as food and drink consumed on the premises) if the bill is settled in US$ (cash or credit card) upon checking out.

What's the time difference between Chile and UK?

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

What countries combine well with Chile?

Bolivia, accessing the south of country from San Pedro de Atacama, travelling via salt lakes of the Salar de Uyuni; Argentina, crossing the Andes over one of several scenic passes: from the Atacama Desert in the north to Salta, from Santiago to Mendoza, via the lakes crossing from Puerto Varas to Bariloche in the lake district and from Torres del Paine to El Calafate in Patagonia.

What are the festivals, cultural and sport events in Chile?

Tapati festival, Easter Island: normally during the first 2 weeks of February with traditional music, dance and sports.

New Year’s Eve, Valparaiso: impressive firework displays.

What do I need to know about altitude in Chile?

Whilst a typical holiday in Patagonia presents no challenges with altitude, parts of northern Chile (Lauca National Park and parts of the Atacama Desert) offer a spectacular introduction to the high Andes, with several attractions at over 3,000m. Travel to high altitude can cause mountain sickness and even if you feel fighting fit it’s important to take things easy and stay hydrated (drink plenty of water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine) as you get used to the thin, dry air. You may initially notice a headache, dizziness or breathlessness and this usually improves with acclimatisation. If you are pregnant or taking the contraceptive pill, have a medical condition such as heart or lung condition, anaemia, asthma, high blood pressure you should seek the advice of your GP before booking.  We also recommend you check your travel insurance covers travel to high altitude.  If you’re taking the family, remember small children may be less capable of communicating altitude-related symptoms effectively: keep an eye on them too. Rest assured we will plan your itinerary carefully, taking into account any time spent at altitude. If you have any questions or concerns about altitude please speak to your travel expert.

Further advice on travel to altitude is available on  www.travelhealthpro.org.uk.

What's included in the price

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

Included Excursions

  • Wine tasting (Vineyard)
  • Moon Valley (Atacama Desert)
  • High Altiplanic Lagoons (Atacama Desert)
  • Tatio Geysers (Atacama Desert)
  • Torres del Paine National Park

What's not included in the price

  • Meals other than specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions*
  • *Where a local company organises an optional excursion it does so as a principal and not as an agent of Journey Latin America.
  • NB Occasionally local governments may impose additional levies to taxes already paid on tickets, if this should happen, the payment is made locally.

What's included in the price

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

Included Excursions

  • Wine tasting (Vineyard)
  • Moon Valley (Atacama Desert)
  • High Altiplanic Lagoons (Atacama Desert)
  • Tatio Geysers (Atacama Desert)
  • Torres del Paine National Park

What's not included in the price

  • Meals other than specified
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Airport taxes, when not included in the ticket
  • Optional excursions*
  • *Where a local company organises an optional excursion it does so as a principal and not as an agent of Journey Latin America.
  • NB Occasionally local governments may impose additional levies to taxes already paid on tickets, if this should happen, the payment is made locally.

Inspired by this trip

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

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Your edit for Latin American inspiration

Our exciting range of articles on Latin America explore everything from iconic destinations and lesser-known cultural gems to delicious traditional recipes. You’ll also find exclusive travel tips, first-hand client reviews and the chance to get your personal questions answered by our travel experts.

View Extraordinary Inspiration

Real Latin America Experts

  • Ben Line
    Ben Line - Travel Consultant

    Ben fell in love with Latin America on a six month backpacking trip from Colombia to Mexico in 1995. Since then he has explored most of South America, including living in Peru for a year. He is now Manager of the Tailor-made Department.

  • Mary Anne Nelson
    Mary Anne Nelson - Travel Consultant

    Born in the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, Mary’s insider knowledge and dry sense of humour make her a highly valued member of the Tailor-made team.

  • Hannah Waterhouse
    Hannah Waterhouse - Travel Consultant

    Hannah had an early introduction to Latin America when her family moved to Ecuador and she returned to study in Buenos Aires for a year before backpacking across the continent.

  • Kathryn Rhodes
    Kathryn Rhodes - Travel Consultant

    Kathryn backpacked across Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru before joining us. She has a degree in Philosophy and French and is a keen netball player.

  • Hannah Donaldson
    Hannah Donaldson - Travel Consultant

    Having spent part of her childhood in Colombia and worked in Brazil and Costa Rica, Hannah's ties to Latin America run deep. Hannah is an invaluable part of our Group Tours team.

  • Chris Rendell Dunn
    Chris Rendell-Dunn - Travel Consultant

    Anglo-Peruvian Chris grew up in Lima and spent much of his adult life in between London and Cusco as a tour leader, before settling permanently in our Sales team.

Meet the team