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Chilean Lakes + Patagonia (self drive)


CCW12S
12 NIGHTS
FROM £1,996
International flights + car hire quoted separately
Enjoy exploring beautiful Chile, including Puerto Varas in the scenic Lake District, set on Lake Llanquihue. Two snow-capped volcanoes - Osorno and Calbuco - are clearly visible from the lakefront. You can also visit Puerto Montt & the fishing village of Angelmó. Then fly to Patagonia to walk in Torres del Paine National Park. Full day excursion to Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers included.
Photo Chile Walking Holidays Lake District Torres Del Paine Patagonia
• 
Santiago
• 
Lake District
• 
Puerto Varas
• 
Lake Llanquihue
• 
Osorno Volcano
• 
Puerto Montt
• 
Petrohue River
• 
Puerto Natales
• 
Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers
• 
Torres del Paine
• 
Santiago
• 
Lake District
• 
Puerto Varas
• 
Lake Llanquihue
• 
Osorno Volcano
• 
Puerto Montt
• 
Petrohue River
• 
Puerto Natales
• 
Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers
• 
Torres del Paine
Day 1
You will be met at Santiago Airport and transferred into the capital of Santiago de Chile.
 
Check into your hotel in this sophisticated and cosmopolitan city, situated in a valley surrounded by the snow-capped Andes Mountains and the beautiful Chilean Coastal Range.
Day 2
This morning we recommend an optional tour of the modern city of Santiago.
 
We start with a short walking tour of this relatively compact city, including the Plaza de Armas in the heart of the old colonial city and bustling Ahumada Boulevard with its many shops, street performers and vendors. Here you will be able to see two beautiful neo-classical buildings - the 18th century Metropolitan Cathedral and the early 19th century Royal Court Palace, which now houses the National History Museum. Also enjoy outside views of the current Presidential Palace, La Moneda.
 
Continue by vehicle along the main avenues of old Santiago and across the bohemian neighborhood of Bellavista to San Cristobal Hill, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and Andes Mountains. Drive through the chic neighborhoods, shopping and financial centers of modern Santiago, before returning to your hotel. Afternoon is at leisure to explore more of this lively city independently.
 
Note: Most museums are closed on Mondays.
Day 3
Transfer to Santiago Airport for your onward flight.

Arrive at Puerto Montt Airport, collect your hire car and drive 30-minutes to Puerto Varas - the "City of Roses", surrounded by the mountains of the enchanting Lake District.
 
Check into your hotel and relax in this area of outstanding natural beauty.
Days 4 To 7
At leisure to explore Puerto Varas and the surrounding lakes and mountains of the Lake District.
 
With its streets and avenues adorned with rose bushes, you can drive up Philippi Hill for wonderful views of beautiful Lake Llanquihue, the second largest lake in Chile. Two snow-capped volcanoes - Osorno and Calbuco - are clearly visible from the lakefront.
 
You can drive to nearby Puerto Montt and the fishing village of Angelmó, with its fascinating selection of arts and crafts.
 
You can also drive to Vicente Perez Rosalis National Park to view the imposing Osomo Volcano. Here you can walk through a forest of coigues and other native trees, stopping at 1,000 m to view the La Burbuja Crater, before continuing to the ski centre where there is the option of taking a ski lift for panoramic views of the landscape.
 
Upper and lower Frutillar and its church offer another opportunity to admire Llanquihue Lake and the imposing Osorno Volcano, while the fast flowing turquoise waters of the Petrohue River are known for adrenalin-filled white water rafting and fly fishing. You can also drive to Alerce Andino National Park, with its beautiful rainforests and giant larch trees.
 
Puerto Varas is known for its strong German community and traditions.
Day 8
Drive 30-minutes to Puerto Montt Airport for your onward flight.

Arrive at Punta Arenas Airport, collect your hire car and drive 3-hour to Puerto Natales - the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park.
 
Check into your hotel in this former fishing town situated on the Ultima Esperanza Sound.
Day 9
Weather permitting, an early departure this morning for a full day excursion by boat to the spectacular Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers.
 
We sail from Puerto Natales and enjoy an onboard breakfast as we navigate through the beautiful Ultima Esperanza Fjord. After 3-hours we arrive at the icy blue Balmaceda Glacier in Bernardo O´Higgins National Park. This astonishing glacier is over 1,000 years old and offers a magnificent display when "calving" - as huge chunks of ice detach and crash into the waters below. You can hope to see cormorants and sea lions here.
 
At the end of the fjord we disembark and walk approximately 3/4 mile (1 km) through an indigenous forest to the foot of the Serrano Glacier, another fantastic natural wonder that is part of the Southern Patagonia Icefields.
 
On the way back we stop at an estancia (ranch) for an included Magellanic coast lunch, before returning to Puerto Natales in the afternoon.
Day 10
Today we recommend a full day excursion travelling across the dry scrubland of the Pategonian Steppes to Torres del Paine National Park - a 242,000 hectare UNESCO World Heritage site famous for its soaring mountains, electric-blue lakes and many glaciers.
 
Our excursion begins with a visit to Milodon Cave on Benitez Hill, where in 1895 the remains of several extinct animals were found including the sabre toothed tiger, the American horse and a large mammal known as a milodon. It is necessary to walk for half an hour to get to the cave and observe its stalactites.
 
We continue driving past lakes such as Sofía, Porteño and Toro towards Torres del Paine National Park, where the landscape changes dramatically to spectacular glacier lakes frequented by marine birds,  lofty waterfalls and magnificent granite mountain peaks covered by ice. The enormous Campo de Hielo Sur icecap gives the park four main glaciers - Grey, Dickson, Zapata and Tyndall. Two other glaciers descend from the west side of the central massif.
 
We walk along the shores of Grey Lake, where blue icebergs can be seen against a backdrop of the distant Grey Glacier. After an included lunch, we walk 15-minutes to the powder blue Salto Grande Waterfall, which flows into Lake Pehoe. The road continues to the Lake Nordenskjold look out that borders Sarmiento Lake, before we arrive in Laguna Amarga where, weather permitting, we will have a panoramic view of the three granite Torres Del Paine ('Towers of Blue') from which the park takes its name.
 
As we leave the park a variety of rare wildlife can be seen in the surrounding pampas (lowlands), including large herds of elegant Patagonian guanaco - a type of humpless camel related to the llama - and the lesser rhea, which is related to the ostrich and emu. We drive through the little village of Cerro Castillo and past Figueroa Lake, before returning to Puerto Natales in the late afternoon.
Day 11
At leisure to enjoy walking in the magnificent scenery of the Torres Del Paine region.
Day 12
Drive 3-hours to Punta Arenas Airport for your onward flight.

You will be met at Santiago Airport and transferred into the capital of Santiago de Chile.
 
Check into your hotel in this sophisticated and cosmopolitan city, situated in a valley surrounded by the snow-capped Andes Mountains and the beautiful Chilean Coastal Range.
Day 13
This morning enjoy a short walking tour of this relatively compact city, including the Plaza de Armas in the heart of the old colonial city and bustling Ahumada Boulevard with its many shops, street performers and vendors. Here you will be able to see two beautiful neo-classical buildings - the 18th century Metropolitan Cathedral and the early 19th century Royal Court Palace, which now houses the National History Museum. Also enjoy outside views of the current Presidential Palace, La Moneda.
 
Continue by vehicle along the main avenues of old Santiago and across the bohemian neighborhood of Bellavista to San Cristobal Hill, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city and Andes Mountains. Also drive through the chic neighborhoods, shopping and financial centers of modern Santiago.
 
Afterwards transfer to Santiago Airport for your flight home.

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