For nature lovers (and wine enthusiasts, too) Chile, with its spectacular scenery, is a must-see destination in South America. It comes with an excellent tourism infrastructure, and we have sought out beautiful, luxury accommodations along the way. Add to that a strong economy, a stable political environment, warm and inviting people, and you’ll see why Chile is making its mark as the new hotspot in South America.
This trip will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts who love being in nature yet who also enjoy luxury lodgings and very nice meals along the way.
If you were a geography buff in school you were probably intrigued by the very odd shape of Chile – the spindly “shoestring” country that lies between the Pacific Ocean and the mighty Andes Mountains. Top to bottom Chile extends some 2,500 miles, and that very wide range of latitudes means an extremely diverse landscape as we journey through this beautiful land. The equivalent North American latitudes would be from Hudson’s Bay, Canada down to Cancún, Mexico!
In the Atacama Desert, Chiloé, and Patagonia we’ve selected all-inclusive, top-notch lodges that offer a variety of daily activities to choose from — from the tame to the high-octane! So wherever you fall on the physical-activity scale you should find something that suits you as long as you’re a nature lover.
Such geographic variety provides not only breathtaking scenery but also the ingredients for a distinctive, varied national cuisine. Ocean delicacies are vitally important here, but European immigrants brought with them a love of robust country cooking. International cuisine has caught on here as well. And if you’re a wine lover then you know you’re in for a treat here where you can enjoy some of Chile’s excellent labels!
Day 1 - Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Santiago is Chile’s bustling capital and by a long shot is also its largest city with about five and a half million people. An underrated metropolis with quality museums, lively neighborhoods and nightlife, and good food, Santiago doesn’t get the same press as Buenos Aires and Rio, but it’s no less cosmopolitan than its flashier South American neighbors (and some would say it’s more so).
If you’re coming from the United States most flights arrive in the morning, and a private transfer is included from the airport to our excellent hotel in the trendy Lastarria neighborhood in the city center.
We’ll meet around 6:00pm for our welcome drink in the hotel and then head out for a delicious dinner.
Please Note: If you wish to come in a day earlier in order to explore more of what Santiago has to offer than what we will be doing as a group - or just to recover from the long plane trip or to allow for a buffer in case of a travel glitch - we can arrange an extra night for you at the group hotel.
Meals: Welcome Drink, Dinner
Hotel: The Singular Santiago Lastarria Hotel, Santiago, 5*
Day 2 - Wednesday, November 11, 2020
This morning we’ll just touch on some of
Santiago’s highlights such as:
• the neoclassical Palacio de la Moneda (presidential palace) in Constitution Square, the country’s most formal plaza;
• the Plaza de Armas, where the city’s Cathedral presides and the symbolic heart of Chile since the city was established on this spot in 1541;
• and the massive hilly park (and the city’s lungs) known as Cerro San Cristobal, an iconic spot with great views of both the city and the very nearby Andes Mountains.
We’ll then drive out to one of the nearby wineries in Chile’s Maipo Valley,
one of the country’s prominent wine-producing regions tucked into the foothills of the Andes. Our destination is a beautiful and sprawling estate with an impressive museum, and it dates back to 1880, when vines and winemakers were brought in from France. Here we’ll have lunch in their fine restaurant and a tour of their winemaking process followed by a wine tasting. The cellars here are national monuments, built by French engineers in 1875.
Afterwards we head back to Santiago. Dinner is open this evening, and there are a good number of restaurants in our Lastarria neighborhood as well as other notable ones scattered around the city.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Hotel: The Singular Santiago Lastarria Hotel, Santiago, 5*
Days 3 - 5 - Thursday, November 12, 2020 - Saturday, November 14, 2020
On Day 3 we fly from Santiago to Calama (2 hours) and then make the overland journey (1¼ hours) up to San Pedro de Atacama.
The nearly surreal arid north of Chile seems like something from another planet. Its sand and rock formations create a remarkably moonlike landscape. This very high desert area was an outlier of the Inka and earlier Andean civilizations — and it is unique and very beautiful. The Spaniards left their own monuments as colonial churches, but indigenous llama and alpaca herders have outlasted them. The region is the closest Chilean counterpart to Peru and Bolivia in terms of surviving indigenous communities. Here in Chile’s Norte Grande (“Great North”), the altiplano or high steppe exceeds 13,000 feet in elevation in some
areas, punctuated with soaring volcanoes of nearly 20,000 feet.
We are based for three nights a couple of miles outside the town of San Pedro de Atacama, with a population of just about 2,000, to explore this marvelous area. The town sits at one end of the Salar de Atacama, an immense sprawling salt lake that has nearly evaporated.
Our beautiful luxury lodge is all-inclusive (meaning meals, drinks, guided activities, spa access), with a wide array of excursions to choose from each day to suit your interests, whether they be tame or on the high-octane side; whether adventure-oriented or more cultural in nature. You can choose from something
as mellow as their “spa activity” on the property to rigorous high-altitude hiking. In general, though, the more you like the outdoors and the more willing you are to do some walking / hiking, the more you’ll appreciate the offerings.
We’ve timed this tour to coordinate with a new moon whenwe’ll be in the Atacama Desert, which means stunning stargazing. The lodge offers an after-dinnerastronomy activity right on the property.
Meals: Day 3: Breakfast, Dinner; Days 4 & 5: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Hotel: Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa, San Pedro de Atacama, 4*
Days 6 -7 - Sunday, November 15, 2020 - Monday, November 16, 2020
On Day 6 (mostly a travel day) we fly from the Atacama back down to Santiago (2 hours) and then connect further southward (1¾ hours) to Chiloé.
"Steeped in magic, shrouded in mist", the 41-island archipelago of Chiloé is a sort of world apart but becoming one of Chile’s favorite travel destinations. The area is packed with nature, from wild beaches to thick temperate forests. While many come here to take advantage of hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, bird-watching, whale-watching, and more, Chiloé is also known for its unique wooden churches, fine crafts, rich seafood stews, and houses poised on stilts. While Catholicism is the prevalent faith on these islands, the centuries-old myths and traditions of the ancient Mapuche people live on in the modern-day seafaring and farming Chilote people, who embody a different side of Chilean history.
We base ourselves for two nights in an all-inclusive luxury lodge near Castro, the capital. On our one full day in Chiloé we’ll explore the traditional stilt houses, historic churches, and authentic craft markets. The vibrant Mercado Yumbel is awash with local produce, freshly caught fish, and rustically woven wares. It’s a place for islanders as well as visitors. We’ll also see the important church of San Francisco, one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, and finish with time in the shipyards and carpentry school, an important part of the city’s economy and cultural heritage.
During the afternoon you may wish to indulge in a spa treatment at the lodge or simply relax in the beautiful surroundings. For those who wish to be more active a variety of half-and full-day excursions are available, including biking, hiking, horseback riding, and kayaking.
Meals: Day 6: Breakfast, Dinner; Day 7: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel: Tierra Chiloé Hotel & Spa, Castro, Chiloé, 4*
Days 8 - 11 - Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - Friday, November 20, 2020
On Day 8 we drive overland from Chiloé to Puerto Montt (3 hours, which includes a 1-hour ferry) before boarding a flight (2 hours) down to Punta Arenas in far southern Patagonia and the jumping off point for the next adventure in the program. We arrive in the evening and have just a brief overnight here at a hotel in town before continuing the next day.
Next morning we drive overland to Puerto Natales, the location of our next excellent lodge. It’s a long drive (close to 3 hours), but it impresses on you the vast openness of this region with its infinite skies. You really do feel like you’re near the end of the world.
Thanks to the phenomenal granite needles of Torres del Paine National Park, one of the scenic masterpieces on the planet, Chile’s most southerly region has become an international emblem of pristine alpine majesty. Here are epic landscapes in some of the world’s wildest remaining country, a marvelous granite-and-glacier world.
Puerto Natales, which has something of a frontier-town appeal, is our base for three nights. Stunningly situated on the Seno Ultimo Esperanza (Sound of Last Hope), it enjoys a magnificent water setting, with grand views of the snowcapped Cordillera Sarmiento and the Campo de Hielo Sur (southern Patagonia ice cap) over the water to the west.
Just like in the Atacama Desert we are based at an all-inclusive luxury lodge (meals, drinks, guided excursions, spa access) for three nights in Patagonia. Here again there’s an impressive roster of activities to choose from each day with varying degrees of physical exertion involved. Most of them, though, will be enjoyed if you have an appreciation for nature and the outdoors and are willing to participate in walking or hiking.
Meals: Day 8: Breakfast, Lunch; Days 9, 10 & 11: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Hotel: The Singular Patagonia Hotel, Puerto Natales, 4+*
Day 12 - Saturday, November 21, 2020
The Puerto Natales airport is just a 10-minute drive from the lodge. From Puerto Natales you can fly to Santiago (3½ hours) and then homeward, or you might be interested in extending your stay in Chile or elsewhere in South America.
Possible extensions might include further time spent inside Torres del Paine National Park (as we don’t stay inside the park itself but have it as a day-trip option from our lodge); a cruise around Tierra del Fuego; a trip to Easter Island; or perhaps an overland trip into the Argentine side of Patagonia and the Perito Moreno Glacier. We might be able to assist with such arrangements depending on your plans.
Accommodations for this trip are high-end throughout, including three luxury all-inclusive lodges: Atacama Desert (3 nights), Chiloé Island (2 nights), and Patagonia (3 nights).
The Singular Santiago Lastarria Hotel, Santiago
We’ve selected a luxury 5-star boutique hotel
in the city’s trendy Lastarria neighborhood that made its way onto Conde Nast Traveler’s Hot List of new hotels for 2015. The 62 spacious rooms are appealing with their blend of classic and contemporary – modern
comforts but with the flavor of a bygone era. There’s a great rooftop bar and pool (although it will probably be a bit too chilly for swimming at this time of year). The restaurant is excellent should you wish to eat here on your free evening, but the neighborhood is known for its dining options. The hotel’s spa might be an appreciated amenity to help recover from your air travel
Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa, San Pedro de Atacama
In a serene narrow valley location flanked by the orange Cordillera de la Sal mountains, this luxury all-inclusive resort feels remote and at one with nature but is only a couple of miles from the center of San Pedro de Atacama. This is a real high-desert retreat (elevation 8,000 feet) with
surrounding mountains and a sky full of stars at night that will utterly amaze.
There is a strong sense of place here, from the stone and wood blending into the natural landscape to the use of native plants already growing in the region instead of more showy ornamental ones from elsewhere. The 42 lovely rooms are 500 square feet and have spacious furnished terraces, double vanities in the bathroom, and local arts and crafts as décor.
Meals blend Mediterranean flavors with some local cuisine using organic ingredients. Instead of one pool they’ve placed a half dozen smaller pools around the property so that you can perhaps find your own nook to lounge in. The spa is excellent, and the bar/lounge area is attractively furnished and welcoming. There are also pleasant “chill” spots with fire pits for pre-or post-dinner drinks.
A variety of half-day and full-day excursions are offered. All are guided. Some require acclimatization to the altitude and thus aren’t recommended for the first day. Here are a few of the most
• Lickanantai Culture (sightseeing)
• Chaxas Lagoon – Atacama Salt Flats – Toconao village (sightseeing / walking)
• Valley of the Moon (hiking)
• Tatio Geysers (sightseeing / walking)
• High Andes Lagoons (sightseeing / walking)
• Los Cardones Ravine (hiking)
• Termas de Puritama (hot springs)
• Stargazing lecture at the resort’s own open-air observatory with a guide (subject to moon phase)
• Mountain biking in various locations
• Spa “activity”
More details of these and other excursions can be provided after your trip enrollment
Tierra Chiloé Hotel & Spa, Castro, Chiloé
Legends abound in Chiloé, and this top-notch lodge connects guests with the lore of the surreal archipelago on excursions by land, sea, and horseback. Perched on traditional palafito (stilt) architecture, where the Pacific laps up against a bucolic coastline, enchantment lingers inside the lodge, where the ocean is on grand display through floor-to-ceiling windows, colorful Chilote handicrafts abound, and a Mapuche fairytale—left propped against your pillow each night—might weave its way into your dreams.
The lodge does its part to keep the indigenous culture thriving by sharing their stories and customs with guests. During lodge excursions cultural exchange is prioritized, and even nature outings like hikes and horseback rides are thoughtfully complemented with meet-and-greets and storytelling sessions.
Among the lodge’s features are picture windows in the 24 rooms; a dining room with floor-to-ceiling windows revealing panoramic sea views; bar, lounge, and terrace with fireplaces; a private beach; indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a spa with sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi; organic gardens that yield fresh produce for lodge meals; and included wifi.
The Singular Patagonia Hotel, Puerto Natales
A most commendable job indeed for this recently opened, all-inclusive luxury lodge that used to be a cold-storage plant in the early 1900s and located right on the Sound of Last Hope near the frontier town of Puerto Natales, gateway to the Torres del Paine National Park. What was being stored and exported were the meat, hides, and wool of sheep. It’s been restored and resurrected by fourth-generation family members of the original pioneers who settled the area and built the sheep farming industry more than 100 years ago. After a 10-year refurbishment it’s now a sleek, modern hotel inside a historic structure – and one of the most talked-about hotel properties certainly in Patagonia and perhaps all South America. There are wonderful views from the 500-square-foot guest rooms that have 20-foot glass-panel windows; a gourmet restaurant (open to the public); attentive, personalized service; and a roster of half-day and full-day guided excursions to choose from. “Industrial” décor (like chairs in the lobby fashioned out of old radiators), vintage photos, and an on-site museum showcasing the workings of the former plant combine with 21st-century comfort and amenities to create a unique experience. The lovely spa and pool area look out onto the icy waters of the Sound and fjords.
As with the other two luxury lodges on this tour our accommodation here also has quite a range of guided activities to choose from as part of their all-inclusive arrangement. Some of the most popular excursions include:
• Torres del Paine National Park (sightseeing / walking)
• Torres del Paine National Park (trekking)
• Mylodon Caves (walking)
• Puerto Natales town (walking)
• Puerto Natales town (cycling)
• Serrano and Balmaceda Glaciers with estancia (ranch) visit (speed boat / walking / hiking)
• On-property historical museum tour
• Horseback riding around Laguna Sofia
• Cycling around Laguna Sofia
• Kayaking in various locations
• Condor perching point (hiking)
More details of these and other excursions can be provided after your trip enrollment.
• The stupendous landscape of the majestic Patagonia wildlands, where the “end of the world” descriptor makes total sense.
• The vast northern reaches of the surreal Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth, with its bizarre (and beautiful), high-altitude “moonscapes”.
• The UNESCO World Heritage designated archipelago of Chiloé known for its scores of wooden churches constructed during colonial times, multicolor homes on stilts, and for its rugged misty land and seascapes.
• The Mediterranean-like heartland surrounding the capital with its excellent vineyards in fertile lands trapped between the Pacific and the Andes.
• Luxury accommodations, delicious meals, and excellent wines.
• 11 nights’ high-end accommodations including 8 nights at 3 luxury, all-inclusive lodges
- 2 nights at The Singular Santiago Lastarria Hotel in Santiago;
- 3 nights at Alto Atacama Desert Lodge & Spa in San Pedro de Atacama
- 2 nights at Tierra Chiloé Hotel & Spa in Castro, Chiloé
- 1 night at upscale hotel in Punta Arenas
- 3 nights at The Singular Patagonia Hotel in Puerto Natales
• Most meals (as indicated in the day-to-day program)
• Unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at the all-inclusive lodges (except premium brands)
• Limited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages at other group meals
• Sightseeing as noted in the program with entrance fees to sights
• An extensive roster of half-day and full-day guided excursions at the lodges in the Atacama Desert, Chiloé Island, and Patagonia
• Ground transportation in the Santiago area using a private comfortable coach
• Ground transportation in the Atacama Desert, Chiloé Island, and Patagonia using the lodges’ own vans
• Local tour guides at each stage of the program and for all excursions in the Atacama Desert, Chiloé Island, and Patagonia
• Use of spa facilities at all accommodations (treatments are extra)
• Winery tour and wine tasting
• Welcome drink
• Airport transfers throughout the program, including private individual transfers upon arrival in Santiago according to your flight arrangements
• Venture Out tour manager throughout the itinerary
• International airfare
• 3 domestic flights within Chile. Please allow approximately $500-$600. Venture Out will book these
• 2 lunches, 2 dinners
• Any extra hotel nights that may be needed or desired before or after the tour
• Gratuities to the staff at the lodges along with gratuities for services in Santiago (restaurant, driver, guide)
• Spa treatments
• Expenses of a personal nature (laundry, phone calls, room service, etc.
• Pre-trip expenses such as travel insurance, passports, etc.
What kind of traveler will enjoy this trip?
This trip will appeal to outdoor enthusiasts who love being in nature yet who also enjoy luxury accommodations at the end of an active day and appreciate very nice meals along the way. In the Atacama Desert, Chiloé Island, and Patagonia we’ve selected luxury all-inclusive lodges that offer a variety of guided daily activities to choose from -- from the tame to the highly adventurous. So wherever you fall on the physical-activity scale you should be able to find something that suits you as long as you’re a nature lover. The more you like the outdoors and the more willing you are to do some walking / hiking and brave the elements, the more you’ll appreciate this trip
Weather is another important factor when considering this trip. In Patagonia the winds can be very strong, and sometimes certain activities are cancelled due to these strong winds. So a flexible attitude is important. We’ll be there during their spring season, which typically has less intense winds than the summer and also comes with the benefit of wildflowers, but of course the windis always unpredictable. Daytime temperatures are usually in the 60s F, but if there’s wind it will feel colder.
Rain is also a possibility in both Chiloé and Patagonia.
In the Atacama it will be warm during the day - probably in the mid-to-upper 70s F. The sun is intense, being at high elevation, but this also means evening temperatures are pleasant in the 50s. The chance of rain here is low as we’re in one of the driest corners ofthe planet.
Our lodge in the Atacama Desert is at 8,000 feet. Some of the excursions that are offered there go up to 13,000 feet and can only be done two days after the arrival day, allowing one full day to acclimatize. Some trip participants in the past have brought medication for prophylaxis against the possibility of altitude sickness.
As Chile is 2,500 miles long we’ll be taking a few flights to get us around. Venture Out will book these internal flights, and the pricing for them will be separate from the tour cost (see above). The flights are on comfortable jets such as Boeing 737s or Airbus 320s
Approximate flight times are as follows:
• Day 3: Santiago to Calama - 2 hours
• Day 6: Calama to Santiago - 2 hours
• Day 6: Santiago to Castro - 1 hour 45 minutes
• Day 8: Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas - 2 hours
Please Note: When booking your air arrangements to/from Chile you should book your arriving flight into Santiago and your return trip should originate from Puerto Natales. It may be more cost-effective to purchase the Puerto Natales-to-Santiago segment separately. Or you could look at including it in your overall booking and see what that does to the price. If purchasing it separately from your other flights it could be cheaper to purchase a round-trip (and not use the return) than to purchase a one-way. Again, you have to play with different scenarios.
Important: This itinerary is being published more than a year in advance of the tour. Domestic flight schedules within Chile are not yet known, but we are basing the flow of this itinerary on how the flights operate currently. Once the flights for November 2020 are announced there is the possibility that changes to this itinerary, including the dates of the tour, will have to be made to conform to the domestic flight schedules. Please do not purchase your international air arrangements until you have the go-ahead from us.
In addition to the flights we also have ground transfers to get us to/from our accommodations.
These are the road travel times:
• Day 3: Calama to San Pedro de Atacama - 1 hour 15 minutes
• Day 6: San Pedro de Atacama to Calama - 1 hour 15 minutes
• Day 6: Castro, Chiloé to our lodge - 30 minutes
• Day 8: Chiloé lodge to Puerto Montt - 3 hours (including 1-hour ferry)
• Day 9: Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales lodge - 3 hours
• Day 12: Puerto Natales lodge to Puerto Natales airport - 10 minutes
While as accurate as possible at the time of publishing, this itinerary should be considered a close indication of the schedule and scope of activities, trip routing, and meals, rather than an inflexible schedule of events. It is subject to change. We also reserve the right to maintain flexibility in order to take advantage of unforeseen opportunities. This trip is subject to the Limitation of Liability and all the Terms and Conditions as detailed in the Trip Enrollment Form.
Costs are based on double occupancy of a room. If you are traveling solo and wish to have your own room throughout the tour then the single supplement will apply. If you are traveling solo and wish to share a room, we will match you with a roommate if one is
available. Should there be no one to pair you with, the single supplement fee will apply.
About our tier pricing:
There are certain fixed costs involved with operating a trip of this nature regardless of the number of participants who have signed up. With a smaller number of group members, the fixed costs (per person) are higher. In order to cover those fixed costs for a smallersized group, we prefer to charge a bit extra in order to ensure that the trip can run rather than have to cancel a trip due to a low number of sign-ups.
To realize the maximum enjoyment from your Venture Out trip, we encourage participants to have flexibility, a sense of humor, curiosity and enthusiasm about new people and places, and an openness to the unexpected. With a spirit of adventure and positive attitude, we're sure you will have a very special travel experience. If you are uncertain about the level of comfort, difficulty, or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please email us to discuss your concerns.