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Come discover the striking landscapes and unique culture found in the depths of Chilean Patagonia. While this land was made famous by some of the world’s most extreme explorers, such as Ferdinand Magellan and Charles Darwin, it is now accessible to all nature lovers. Join us on Vantage’s Across Patagonia: Chile’s Lakes, Mountains & Wildlife to see these wild frontiers for yourself. With 25 included features and Cultural Discoveries, this comprehensive tour will show you the best Chile has to offer.
Over the course of 13 days, our enhanced 2021 itinerary will take you to Chile’s finest cities and most extraordinary natural landscapes. Your adventure begins in Santiago, where we've added an extra day. Enjoy a full-day excursion to the colorful hills of UNESCO-listed Valparaíso and Viña Del Mar. Along the way, discover regional cuisine, incredible architecture, and vital Chilean history.
You’ll then leave the world as you know it behind, exploring two of Chile’s most prominent national parks: Torres del Paine and Vicente Pérez Rosales. In these extreme southern terrains, you’ll witness a range of Patagonian wildlife and landscapes, from guanacos to rheas and glaciers to steppe. You’ll board an expedition cruise through the Seno Última Esperanza for incomparable vistas of glaciers and fjords. Feast on traditional Chilean BBQ and visit locals’ homes for authentic culinary delights. Spend time at a sheep ranch and watch the national sport of rodeo. Stay three nights in Chile’s Lakes District, greeting penguins on Chiloé Island and reveling in views of the Strait of Magellan at the award-winning Remota Patagonia Lodge. This journey will delight your senses and challenge your perspectives, leaving you awe-struck and enamored with South America.
With Across Patagonia: Chile’s Lakes, Mountains & Wildlife, solo travelers enjoy zero Single Supplements on every departure. For the ultimate Chilean experience, join our pre-trip extension to enigmatic Easter Island. Click here to get a glimpse of the wildlife you may encounter on this adventure, plus tips on how to capture your memories in the perfect photo.
Fly overnight to Chile
Begin your Patagonian adventure with an overnight flight to Santiago de Chile.
Hop on a panoramic bus tour of Santiago and enjoy a Welcome Dinner
Put the city in perspective today by hopping on a bus tour of Santiago. The capital of Chile since colonial times, Santiago is a vibrant metropolis boasting world-class culinary scene, excellent museums, and architectural charm. It’s so alluring that nearly 40% of the country calls this city home.
The afternoon is free for you to further explore Santiago, so ask your Adventure Leader about renting a bicycle! We’ll gather in the evening for a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant.
Spend the day in Valparaíso and Viña Del Mar
We’ll set off for a full-day tour of Valparaíso, Chile’s second-largest city. This romantic, freewheeling seaport was once home to Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. A UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its historic quarter and seductive 19th-century architecture, Valparaíso is also a natural amphitheater, with rows of rainbow-hued residences staggering into the hills. A walking tour will reveal the city’s highlights and many hills. There are several working funiculars throughout the city, making it easier for residents to move about. We’ll ride one of the funiculars for a stunning vantage point of the city!
After lunch on our own, we’ll depart for the coastal city of Viña Del Mar, which means “Vineyard of the Sea.” Renowned for its modern buildings and white sand beaches, this is a favorite weekend or summer retreat for locals. We’ll take a scenic drive throughout, stopping to take pictures as we head back toward Santiago to rest for the night.
Fly to Puerto Montt, enjoy a rodeo show at Medialuna Arena, and savor a traditional Chilean meal
After a short flight to Puerto Montt, we’ll transfer to Puerto Varas (our home for the night) and check into our hotel. We’ll get acquainted with this adventurous outpost on a short walking tour, then head to Fundo Olguita.
At this local horse stud farm, we’ll learn about the vital Chilean tradition of rodeo, where we’ll mingle with the huasos, or cowboys. Our guide will inform us about the morphology of Chilean horses, their distinct characteristics, and their purpose on the farm.
We’ll continue to the Medialuna Arena, where we’ll see an exciting rodeo demonstration. As Chile’s official national sport, Chileans take great pride in rodeo. The sport is deeply rooted in national traditions. Our guide will explain rodeo’s basic rules as well as how the horses train for the sport. Enjoy a pisco sour and appetizer as you admire this spectacular demonstration. After the show, we’ll get to meet the performers.
Dinner will take place at the adjacent cabana, where we’ll relish distinct regional flavors such as roast beef, local vegetables, wine, and leche asada. As we enjoy our meal, listening to traditional Chilean music, dancers will perform the cueca and other typical dances.
Explore the rapids, rainforests, and volcanoes of Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park
We’ll start the day with a trip to Museo Antonio Felmer. At this house from the 1800s, we’ll delve into Chile’s history of German immigration. Working farm implements, antique furniture, housewares, and textiles will shed light on the lives of these resilient 19th-century settlers.
After a scenic drive past dairy farms punctuating Lake Llanquihue’s southern shores, we’ll arrive at Chile’s oldest national park: Vicente Pérez Rosales. We’ll spend the day here, surrounded by temperate Valdivian rainforests and its three volcanoes. At this Chilean Lakes District hallmark, we’ll head to Petrohué Rapids for an incredible nature walk. In these dense woodlands filled with orange myrtle, Chilean firebush, and hazel, we’ll watch for hummingbirds and other wildlife.
Lunch will take place at a fishing lodge with panoramic views. After our meal, you have a variety of options for the afternoon. You can go with our guide to explore the nearby Osorno Volcano and the lovely Lake Llanquihue. Ask your Adventure Leader about fly-fishing and additional hiking opportunities in town. If you feel like relaxing, you can also stop by close shops, or simply enjoy the lodge’s facilities and lake-view rooms.
Dinner will be hosted at a local family’s home.
Visit Chiloé Island’s bird paradise and savor a home-hosted curanto lunch
A full-day nature excursion will bring us northwest to Isla Grande de Chiloé, or Chiloé Island. Here, we’ll visit Puñihuil Cove, which is home to a small fishing community. This is also the only known shared breeding site for both Humboldt and Magellanic penguins. The native Mapuche dubbed this the “Island of the Gulls,” and we’ll have the chance to spot 156 other avian species. Setting off on fiberglass boats, we’ll cruise three small islets in search of steamer ducks, red-legged cormorants, kelp gull, and other birds.
When we’re back on land, we’ll pass through colorful farmlands, stopping to explore historic churches in Caulin and Chacao. Aside from its astounding natural beauty, Chiloé is home to the unique Chilota culture. A blend of Mestizo traditions and Jesuit religious practices resulted in dozens of 17th- and 18th-century wooden churches that dot Chiloé’s landscape.
For lunch, we look forward to a home-hosted curanto. This traditional shellfish, sausage, and vegetable medley is baked underground in a stone-lined pit. After our meal, we’ll head back to Puerto Varas for the evening.
Hike through Parque Philippi, enjoy paila marina for lunch, and fly to Punta Arenas
Our day will begin at a leisurely pace. Join our local guide for a morning hike in Parque Philippi, or simply relax and take in the views of Osorno Volcano from the hotel. We’ll then head to Angelmó Mercado Típico to savor a traditional paila marina seafood stew lunch at the fish market. We’ll have time to check out the artisanal shops for unique handmade souvenirs.
In the afternoon, we’ll fly to Punta Arenas, near the southern tip of Chile. Founded as a punitive colony, Punta Arenas became a ships’ way station prior to the construction of the Panama Canal. Settle into your centrally located hotel, which overlooks the Strait of Magellan.
The evening is at leisure. Take the opportunity to visit the nearby park and local markets.
Discover the history of Punta Arenas, visit Museo Regional de Magallanes, and learn about Patagonian heritage
A morning walking tour through Punta Arenas will acquaint you with its rugged history. This charming town was once the regular haunt of sailors, sealers, and Antarctic explorers. We’ll admire 19th-century mansions built by wool barons and Gold Rush profiteers. Our guide will explain how this location earned the status of “the center of the world.”
In the afternoon, we’ll visit Museo Regional de Magallanes. This early 1800s old house showcases original furniture and artefacts, poignantly depicting Punta Arenas’ golden era before the Panama Canal.
We’ll then embark on a Patagonian heritage tour. This includes a visit to Museo Nao Victoria, a life-size replica of the vessel Ferdinand Magellan used — the very first ship to navigate the world. It’s then off to the cypress-lined Punta Arenas Cemetery, a park steeped in history and fascinating architecture.
We’ll enjoy dinner in a local restaurant tonight.
Visit a Patagonian ranch, adventure amidst the Seno Última Esperanza, and enjoy a wine-paired dinner in Puerto Natales
After breakfast, we’ll visit a historic Patagonian sheep ranch. At Estancia Consuelo, we’ll learn about the rugged agrarian lifestyle in this slice of Chile. To further our cultural experience, we’ll have a local specialty at the ranch: cordero a la parilla, or grilled lamb.
It’s then off to the colorful fishing port of Puerto Natales. This is the portal to the Patagonian adventure mecca: Torres del Paine National Park. We’ll check in to Remota Patagonia Lodge. Our spectacular, all-inclusive hotel in Puerto Natales is known for its award-winning sustainability model. The lodge is set on the shores of Seno Última Esperanza, or Last Hope Sound. This fjord-lined inlet was named in the 16th century by explorer Juan Ladrillero; he believed that crossing this channel was his last hope for reaching the Strait of Magellan.
We’ll spend the rest of the day taking advantage of all the grounds offer. Enjoy the spa facilities, walk through the charming town of Puerto Natales, or bike among the scenic trails. We’ll have complimentary drinks in the lounge before our gourmet dinner, paired with exquisite Chilean wine. Remota Patagonia Lodge’s cuisine features fresh and creative fare, much of it grown right here on the premises.
Explore landscapes and wildlife inside Torres del Paine National Park’s west side
Today, we’ll explore one of the southern hemisphere’s most spectacular sites, where the plains and lakes of the Patagonian steppe meet the soaring rock crags of the Andes. Torres del Paine National Park is world-renowned for its wildlife and jaw-dropping landscapes, like the three sky-high rock formations known as torres, or towers. Undoubtedly, this is where the park got its name.
We’ll spend the day exploring Salto Grande, an emerald-green waterfall that spills into the Paine River. Enjoy an easy hike here, admiring expansive views of the jagged Cuernos del Paine.
It’s then off for a nature walk along the glacial wonderland of Lake Grey. While exploring this Patagonian icefield, keep your camera ready. You may spot flamingos, condors, ostrich-like ñandues, pygmy owls, and southern parakeets. Even without fauna, the blue icebergs, snow-white peaks, and red-and-yellow wildflowers will make for a wonderfully vibrant, multicolored day.
Back at the hotel, we’ll unwind over cocktails and dinner.
Trek Torres del Paine’s Guanaco Valley on a photo safari and visit the striking Cascades del Paine
We return to Torres del Paine today. This time, we will focus on the east side, where we join a photo safari in search for rheas, condors, and the llama-like guanaco. We’ll spend the morning walking 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.
Board an expedition cruise through Patagonian glaciers and fjords
Today, we’ll spend a full-day cruising Patagonia’s other-worldly glaciers and fjords. As we make our way through Seno Última Esperanza, you’ll witness soaring clifftops and snowy mountainsides. Among the breathtaking vistas you’ll witness is Monte Balmaceda and its towering glaciers. Don’t forget your camera, as these are once-in-a-lifetime panoramas! It’s also very possible that we’ll see wildlife during our expedition.
Say adios to Patagonia and take a flight to back to Santiago
Our adventure changes course today as we leave Patagonia behind and board a flight back to the capital. After taking a scenic drive on the way to our hotel, the afternoon in Santiago will be at leisure. Use your time to explore more of this incredible city. If you haven’t already, try regional specialties like empanadas, palta rellena, and ceviche. Ask your Adventure Leader for restaurant or sightseeing recommendations!
Soak in Santiago — and wine — before flying home
Spend your final day in Chile at the renowned Santa Rita Winery. After our Farewell Lunch paired with wine, we’ll browse pre-Columbian artifacts at the Andean Museum, which is connected to the winery. Later in the evening, you’ll transfer to the airport for an overnight flight back to the United States.
Connect in your U.S. gateway city for your return flight home.
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.