Experience the wild nature and welcoming culture of Chile. Take in Santiago’s modern and colonial architecture and sample enticing dishes on a market tour. In the enchanting Lake District, visit picturesque Chiloé Island and observe a penguin colony. Meet rodeo cowboys on a Chilean ranch and indulge in an authentic barbecue paired with local music and dance. Head into Patagonia and discover the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers. Tour the spectacular mountain scenery of Torres del Paine National Park and visit the historic port city of Punta Arenas on the Strait of Magellan.
Puerto Varas, this lakeside retreat offers a spectacular view of the majestic Osorno volcano that sits beyond the pristine waters of Lake Llanquihue. Stroll through a two-acre garden landscaped with native vegetation. Relax with a massage in the tranquil spa and unwind in the sauna. The wellness facilities also include a heated pool and a gym. Delight your tastebuds with Chilean cuisine that showcases the excellent seafood from the region. Each guest room features a plasma television with cable channels, minibar, hair dryer and free Internet access.
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Hotel Cumbres Lastarria offers access to restaurants, shops and cultural sights in the trendy quarters of Santiago as well as the cable car up to Cerro San Cristóbal. Savor Patagonian-inspired dishes at Punto Ocho with upper floor cityscape views either indoors or on the terrace. Tapas Bar serves drinks and small bites in a casual atmosphere. This first-class hotel boasts modern amenities including a rooftop swimming pool, fitness center and business services. Wi-Fi is complimentary.
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Located in the midst of southern Patagonia, Hotel Costaustralis enjoys a waterfront location on Ultimo Esperanza Bay in Puerto Natales, outside of Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. At the on-site restaurant and bar, savor local specialties and Chilean wines with a panoramic seaside vista. Reminiscent of a coastal chateau, the hotel features a gift shop, business center, laundry services and a breathtaking location in the dynamic Patagonian landscape. Wi-Fi is complimentary.
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CANCELLATION-You will receive a full refund for cancellations made up to 90 days prior to trip departure. Cancellations from 89 to 76 days prior to departure will be subject to a $300 per person administrative fee. The withheld administrative fee may be applied to a future AHI Travel program that will operate in the current calendar year or year following cancellation. The credit will be applied to the final billing and may not be used as part of the initial deposit. It is non-transferable and is not valid toward the purchase of an AHI Cruises independent cruise. Cancellations from 75 days to 60 days prior to departure will result in forfeiture of 25% of the entire cost of the trip per person; 59-30 days, 50% of the trip cost per person; cancellations from 29 days up to the time of departure will result in 100% forfeiture of the entire cost of the trip.
day 1 & 2
Arrive Santiago and transfer to hotel
Arrive at Santiago’s International Airport, where an AHI Travel representative will be waiting to take you to the Hotel Cumbres Lastarria. Once you’re settled, get familiar with the neighborhood on a walk with your Travel Director. Then set the stage for your travels by delving into Chile’s history, from indigenous groups and Spanish rule to independence and democracy. At tonight’s Welcome Reception and Dinner, meet and get acquainted with your fellow travelers.
This morning, tour a poignant museum which sheds light on human rights violations in Chile’s turbulent past. Then see Santiago’s marvelous fusion of colonial and contemporary architecture. Admire the Palacio de la Moneda, Plaza de Armas and other landmarks before visiting the colorful Bellavista barrio. In the bustling Mercado Central, taste enticing dishes and learn how locals cook. After an afternoon on your own, gather for a talk about current issues affecting everyday Chileans.
Santiago/Fly to Puerto Montt/transfer to Puerto Varas
Journey south today to the enchanting Lake District! Fly to Puerto Montt, and after you arrive, make your way to a small fishing village to enjoy an authentic curanto lunch. In this traditional method, a hole is lined with red-hot stones, then seafood, meat and vegetables are placed inside and covered with nalca leaves to cook. After lunch, travel to Puerto Varas. Your hotel sits on the shore of beautiful Lake Llanquihue with snowcapped volcanos in the distance.
Ferry across the Chacao Channel to this picturesque island on the archipelago of Chiloé that boasts lush countryside and sweeping coastlines. After a stop in quaint Chacao, watch Humboldt and Magellanic penguins and other wildlife from a boat that takes you close to their natural habitats. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can witness both species of penguins nesting side-by-side. In Ancud, learn about the island’s unique, wooden 17th-century churches.
Today, visit a ranch where Chilean cowboys, or huasos, will demonstrate their rodeo skills. Enjoy grilled dishes at an asado, a barbecue, then celebrate with folk music and a spirited cueca, the national dance. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy at leisure. Stroll along the lakeshore and admire Puerto Varas’ charming architecture influenced by 19th-century German and Austrian settlers. Tonight, trace the intriguing history of the immense Patagonia region during a presentation.
Fly to Punta Arenas/Transfer to Puerto Natales
This morning, fly from Puerto Montt to Punta Arenas. See the highlights of this historic port city on the Strait of Magellan between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Before the Panama Canal opened in 1914, Punta Arenas prospered as a coal refueling station for steamships. Today, it’s a launching point for international scientific expeditions to the Antarctic peninsula. After lunch on your own, continue to Puerto Natales and the Hotel Costaustralis along the waterfront.
Take in vistas of emerald hillsides, rugged mountains and waterfalls as you cruise on the Ultima Esperanza Fjord to view the impressive hanging glacier, Balmaceda. Then trek into the unspoiled beauty of Bernardo O’Higgins National Park to see the spiky Serrano glacier nestled above a peaceful lake where tiny icebergs float. After lunch at a Patagonian ranch, cruise back to Puerto Natales.
Torres del Paine National Park
Welcome to the astonishing, pristine landscapes of this world-famous park, framed by the snow-covered Cuernos del Paine mountain range. A UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, it’s also rich with wildlife, including guanacos, Andean deer, condors and pumas. At the Salto Grande waterfall, hear the thunderous crash as water cascades from Lake Nordenskjöld into Lake Pehoé. Along the way, enter a huge cave where the prehistoric remains of a Milodon, a giant ground sloth, were discovered in 1895.
Punta Arenas/Fly to Santiago
After breakfast, depart for the Punta Arenas airport and fly to Santiago. Check in to the Hotel Cumbres Lastarria. Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers at a restaurant for a Farewell Dinner in honor of your memorable Chilean adventure.
Santiago/Transfer to Santiago Airport
During free time today, make your own plans in Santiago or join the Elective Activity. This optional tour takes you to oceanside Viña del Mar, a favorite vacation getaway of Chileans known for its broad beaches, and hilly Valparaíso, where you’ll see the UNESCO World Heritage historic quarter, brightly painted houses, quaint funiculars and vivid street art. Later, bid farewell to your fellow travelers and depart for Santiago’s airport for your flights home.
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