Across Patagonia: Chile's Lakes, Mountains & Wildlife - 2019

Puerto Montt • Puerto Varas • Chiloé Island • Puerto Natales & Torres del Paine • Chilean Fjords • Santiago
  • $416
  • 12
  • 21
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Explore Chile’s rugged backyard on an adventure through the glaciers, peaks, lakes, and islands of magnificent Patagonia. From the Chilean Lakes District to the UNESCO-listed Torres Del Paine National Park, wilderness rules on this expedition that also includes deep dives into Chilean culture and cuisine. Discover curanto and paila marina, unravel Chilota tradition, and step inside Punta Arena, once the haunt of sailors, sealers, and Antarctic explorers. But whether scoping for penguins and cruising through coves in Chiloé Island or trekking the Valdivian temperate rainforest in Chile’s oldest national park, this land of extremes and enormous beauty will find endless ways to bewitch you. 

Traveling solo? Vantage Adventures offers FREE Single Supplements on every departure — but with limited inventory, they go fast! Throw in warm local hospitality, Chilean wines, two days in Santiago, and an optional post-trip extension through Easter Island, and you’ve got all the necessary ingredients for the trip of a lifetime.

Puerto Varas to Santiago de Chile

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DAY 1:

Fly overnight to Chile

Begin your Patagonian adventure with an overnight flight to Puerto Montt, the gateway city to Chile’s Lakes District.

DAY 2:

Walking tour of Puerto Varas, and a Welcome Dinner

After touching down in Puerto Montt, you’ll transfer to Puerto Varas and check into your hotel. After lunch on your own, get acquainted with this adventurous destination and its neighboring volcanoes, as well as lovely Lake Llanquihue on a short walking tour. Enjoy some time to explore further on your own before returning to the hotel for tonight’s Welcome Dinner.

Included Meals:


DAY 3:

Rapids, rainforests, and volcanoes: Inside Chile’s oldest national park

A scenic drive past dairy farms punctuating Lake Llanquihue’s southern shores brings us to Vicente Péres Rosales, where we’ll spend the day. Chile’s oldest national park is home to Valdivian temperate rainforests and three volcanoes, but first we’ll beeline for Petrohue Rapids, where we’ll enjoy a nature walk in this Chilean Lakes District hallmark. In these dense woodlands filled with orange myrtle, Chilean firebush, and hazel, we’ll keep an eye peeled for hummingbirds and other wildlife before lunch at a scenic fishing lodge.

Cultural Discovery: Over at the Antonio Felmer Museum, we’ll delve into the history of German immigration in Chile. Working farm implements, antique furniture, housewares, textiles, and more shed light on the lives of these hardy 19th-century settlers. Spend the rest of your day at leisure, or continue the German theme with an optional German settlement tour with an included beer tasting and authentic Chilean barbecue.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch
Optional Tour: German settlement tour, with beer tasting & barbecue

German settlement tour, with beer tasting & barbecue

  • Approximate Cost: $139 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Puerto Varas
  • When: Half-day tour
Visit southern Chile’s Lake District and enjoy views of Orsono Volcano, along with quaint buildings reflecting the town of Frutillar’s colonial past. This German settlement has a fascinating history and you’ll learn about those who immigrated here in addition to visiting a brewery with Old World-style drafts like bock, stout, and ale; and savor a delicious Chilean barbecue dinner paired with these beers.

DAY 4:

The penguins of Chiloé Island, with a home-hosted curanto lunch

Our full-day nature excursion brings us to Puñihuil Cove on Chiloé Island, the only known shared breeding site for both Humboldt and Magellanic penguins. But there are 156 other avian species to delight us here on what the native Mapuche dubbed the “Island of the Gulls.”

Unforgettable Moment: Setting off on fiberglass boats, we’ll cruise three small islets in search of steamer ducks, red-legged cormorants, kelp gull, and other birds. Back on land, we’ll pass farmlands before exploring the historic wooden churches at Caulin and Chacao. More than natural beauty, Chiloé is home to dozens of 17th- and 18th-century wooden churches and a unique Chilota culture that blends mestizo traditions with religious practices introduced by Jesuit missionaries. Cultural Discovery: For lunch, look forward to a traditional, home-hosted curanto — a shellfish, sausage, and vegetable medley baked underground in a stone-lined pit. We’ll spend the evening back in Puerto Varas.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 5:

Shop for handicrafts during a market visit with traditional seafood lunch, then fly to Punta Arenas

Enjoy a leisurely morning in Puerto Varas before we transfer to Puerto Montt. Here, we’ll visit the Angelmó fish and handicraft market and savor a traditional paila marina seafood stew lunch before flying to Punta Arenas, Chile, near the southern tip of South America. Founded as a penal colony, Punta Arenas later became a way station for ships prior to the completion of the Panama Canal. Settle into your centrally located hotel, which overlooks the Straits of Magellan and sits in walking distance to a park and local markets.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 6:

Delve into the seafaring history of Punta Arenas, then stroll the horticultural and architectural marvel that is Punta Arenas Cemetery

A morning walking tour acquaints you with the rugged history of Punta Arenas, once the regular haunt of sailors, sealers, and Antarctic explorers. We’ll admire some 19th-century mansions built by wool barons and Gold Rush profiteers during a walking tour of this charming town and learn how its location earned its status as “the center of the world.” Cultural Discovery: This afternoon, we’ll admire the architecture and heritage of the Punta Arenas Cemetery, a cypress-lined park steeped in history. Alternately, you may embark on an optional tour exploring Patagonian heritage. Enjoy dinner at the hotel this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Patagonia Heritage and the Early Explorers

Patagonia Heritage and the Early Explorers

  • Approximate Cost: $55 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Punta Arenas
  • When: Half-day tour
Get a fascinating look at the past and present of Patagonia on this explorative tour. Our first stop is the interactive Nao Victoria Museum for an intriguing firsthand look at Magellan’s legacy. Let the exact replica of Magellan’s ship, the Nao Victoria, take you back in time to when he set sail with dreams of conquering the world. We head next to the Punta Arenas cemetery, inaugurated in 1894. Stroll among the immaculate trees and grand mausoleums; this cemetery is home to many pioneers, immigrants, and other diverse families that left their mark in the colonization of this isolated part of the world. Our final stop on the tour is Cerro de la Cruz, where we’ll be rewarded with incredible aerial view of the city below.

DAY 7:

Adventure in Puerto Natales, then savor a gourmet dinner with Chilean wine pairings

After enjoying breakfast this morning, we’ll transfer to Puerto Natales, a colorful fishing port and the portal to adventure mecca Torres del Paine National Park. Unforgettable Moment: Our spectacular all-inclusive hotel here is set on Última Esperanza Sound ("Last Hope Sound") and is known for its award-winning sustainability model. Spend the rest of the day exploring the grounds, enjoying the spa facilities, touring Puerto Natales, or biking among the scenic trails. Enjoy complimentary drinks in the lounge, and this evening’s gourmet dinner with Chilean wine. The Remota’s cuisine features fresh and creative fare, much of it grown right on the premises.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 8:

Exploring Torres del Paine, from nature walks to flora and fauna

Today we explore one of the hemisphere’s most spectacular sites, Torres del Paine National Park, where the plains and lakes of the Patagonian steppe meet the soaring rock crags of the Andes. Alongside its scenery and wildlife, the park is also home to three sky-high rock formations known as torres (towers). Unforgettable Moment: We’ll spend the day on the park’s west side, and explore Salto Grande, an emerald-green waterfall that spills into the Paine River. Enjoy an easy hike here, admiring long views of the jagged Cuernos del Paine. Afterwards, we’ll take a nature walk along Lake Grey, a glacial wonderland on the Southern Patagonia Icefield. Keep alert and have your camera ready for the birds and wildlife that inhabit this unique ecosystem, including flamingos, condors, ostrich-like ñandues, pygmy owls, and southern parakeets. Blue icebergs, snow-white peaks, and red and yellow wildflowers will make for a wonderfully Technicolor day. Back at the hotel, we regroup over cocktails and dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 9:

Trekking Torres del Paine’s east side, including Guanaco Valley and waterfalls

Today we return to Torres Del Paine, this time focusing on the east side where we enjoy a photo safari in search of the llama-like guanaco, rheas, and condors. We’ll spend the morning enjoying a nature walk in the Guanaco Valley before proceeding to the Cascades del Paine, a beautiful waterfall set in a wide valley. Here at the mirador, we’ll find the best views of the park’s famous towers. We’ll regroup back at the hotel for cocktails and dinner this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner

DAY 10:

Enjoy a day at leisure, or perhaps you’ll opt for a Condor Hill hike or a horseback riding excursion

Spend the day as you please. Keep your eyes on the skies for condors during an easy hike up Condor Hill, or embark on a horseback-riding excursion in Dorotea Hill (and don't worry — you don't have to choose between these excursions, you can enjoy one in the morning and one in the afternoon, if you wish). Alternatively, you might embark on an optional full-day tour of Patagonian glaciers and fjords, with an included barbecue lunch. Tonight, we’ll reconvene at the hotel for cocktails and dinner.

Included Meals:

Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Optional Tour: Balmaceda Glacier

Balmaceda Glacier

  • Approximate Cost: $250 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 8 hours
  • Location: Puerto Natales
  • When: Full-day tour
Don’t miss your chance to see some of the most spectacular glaciers in Patagonia on this full-day tour, which includes a fjord and glacier sailing with an authentic barbecue lunch. You’ll witness the dramatic peaks of cliffs, nesting birds, finally coming to Balmaceda Mountain and its eponymous glacier. Don’t forget your camera!

DAY 11:

Experience the rugged Patagonian lifestyle at a historic ranch, then fly to Santiago

This morning finds us on an adventure to a historic Patagonian ranch, where lunch is cordero a la parilla — grilled lamb. We'll return to the hotel to gather our belongings, then transfer to the Punta Arenas airport for our flight to Santiago de Chile. After arriving at our Santiago hotel, enjoy an evening at leisure and dinner on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 12:

Tour Santiago’s gems, then recount your memories at tonight’s Farewell Dinner

A bus tour of Santiago puts the city in perspective today. The capital of Chile since colonial times, Santiago today is a vibrant metropolis boasting a world-class culinary scene, excellent museums, and enough charm to convince nearly 40% of the country to call this city home. Cultural Discovery: During the tour, you’ll enjoy a visit to the acclaimed Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. Beautifully displayed in the former Royal Customs House, its collections date back some 15,000 years.

The afternoon is free for you to further explore Santiago or relax before this evening’s Farewell Dinner at our boutique hotel, perhaps sampling the cafés and exploring the bohemian scene in the surrounding Lastarria neighborhood.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 13:

Spend a day soaking in Santiago, or take an optional tour to a Chilean winery

Spend your final day in Chile as you wish, either on your own in Santiago or on an optional tour to a renowned Chilean winery. Later this evening, transfer to the airport for your overnight flight to the United States. If you are taking the post-trip extension, you’ll depart for your flight to Easter Island after breakfast.

Included Meals:

Optional Tour: Best of Chilean Wineries

Best of Chilean Wineries

  • Approximate Cost: $99 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 3 hours
  • Location: Santiago de Chile
  • When: Half-day tour
Visit one of Chile’s largest producers of wine today, considered among the best varietals from this award-winning region. Founded in 1883, Chile has put its own stamp on the grape varieties imported from Bordeaux here. Several varietals are grown in Chile, including Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Carménères. You’ll taste a variety of them and learn about the production process — which also includes a tasty empanada snack at lunchtime!

DAY 14:

Return home

Connect in your U.S. gateway city for your return flight home.

Post-Trip Extension

Easter Island

FROM: $2199 PER PERSON | 5 DAYS | $440 PER DAY

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or regional expert.

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JourneyAcross Patagonia: Chile's Lakes, Mountains & Wildlife  — 2019Patagonia 
Price without Air*$4,999$7,165Save $4,332 per couple
Trip Length12 days11 daysMore days at a better value!
Per Diem$416$651Save $470 per couple, per day!
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Meals26 meals: 11 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 7 dinners26 mealsPlenty of included meals, and the opportunity to experience local cuisine!
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