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Chile Winelands, Patagonia + Valparaiso (self drive)


CCC12S
12 NIGHTS
FROM £1,895
International flights + car hire quoted separately
If you would like to self-drive in Chile, this holiday is for you. Starting from the capital of Santiago, head to the Chilean winelands to taste some of their famous wines. Then fly to Torres del Paine to explore spectacular Patagonia & view the Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers. Complete your holiday relaxing in the historic port city of Valparaiso on the Pacific Coast - a World Heritage Site.
Self Drive Chile Winelands Photo Valparaiso Patagonia Santiago
• 
Santiago
• 
Chilean Winelands
• 
Puerto Natales
• 
Torres del Paine
• 
Balmaceda Glacier
• 
Serrano Glacier
• 
Ultima Esperanza Fjord
• 
Patagonia Icefields
• 
Valparaiso
• 
Vina del Mar
• 
Santiago
• 
Chilean Winelands
• 
Puerto Natales
• 
Torres del Paine
• 
Balmaceda Glacier
• 
Serrano Glacier
• 
Ultima Esperanza Fjord
• 
Patagonia Icefields
• 
Valparaiso
• 
Vina del Mar
Day 1
You will be met at Santiago Airport and transferred into the capital of Santiago de Chile. This sophisticated and cosmopolitan city is situated in a valley, surrounded by the snow-capped Andes Mountains and the beautiful Chilean Coastal Range.
 
On arrival enjoy a shared tour of this modern city. We start in the downtown area of this relatively compact city, where modern buildings have transformed the landscape, and visit Santa Lucia Hill where the city of Santiago was founded in 1541.
 
We continue to 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 some beautiful neo-classical buildings – including the 18th century Cathedral of Santiago and the early 19th century Royal Court Palace, which now houses the National History Museum. Also enjoy outside views of the Municipal Offices, the Post Office and the current Presidential Palace, La Moneda. Time permitting you will have the opportunity to taste a ‘Pisco Sour’, see local handcrafts and walk through some of the more traditional streets of the city, before being dropped off at your hotel.
 
Note: Most museums are closed on Mondays.
Day 2
This morning you hire car will be dropped off at your hotel, so that you can drive 2-hours from Santiago to the beautiful Chilean Winelands.
 
Check into your hotel and relax among the vineyards of this famous wine-producing region, situated between the snow-capped Andes and the coast.
 
Days 3 To 4
At leisure to relax and independently explore the wine estates of the beautiful Chilean Winelands.
Day 5
Drive 2-hours to Santiago 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 6
Weather permitting, an early departure this morning for a full day excursion by boat to the spectacular Balmaceda & Serrano Glaciers.
 
We sail at 08.00 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.
 
We disembark at Puerto Toro at the end of the fjord and walk 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) to enjoy an included 'Asado al Palo' (typical Magellanan barbeque), before sailing back to Puerto Natales. We disembark around 17.00 and transfer back to our hotel.
 
Note: This excursion is available from October to April only.
Day 7
Today we recommend self-driving (or take an optional full day tour), travelling across the dry scrubland of the Magellanic Steppe 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.
 
Drive past Figueroa Lake and stop at the village of Cerro Castillo, where you can enjoy a coffee and buy typical handcrafts of the region. A variety of rare wildlife can be seen in these pampas (lowlands), including large herds of elegant guanaco - a type of humpless camel related to the llama - and the lesser rhea, which is related to the ostrich and emu. You may also see giant condor birds soaring in the thermals.
 
Then enter 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.
 
From the Lake Sarmiento viewpoint, enjoy postcard views of the Paine Massif. Weather permitting, from the Lake Amarga viewpoint you will have one of the best views of the three granite Torres Del Paine ('Towers of Blue') from which the park takes its name. Also stop at the Lake Nordenskjold lookout, with its view over the different peaks of the Cordillera Paine – including the famous Cuernos del Paine and the highest mountain in the Park, the Paine Grande at 10,000 ft (3,050 m).
 
After a 15-minute walk to the powder blue Salto Grande Waterfall that flows into Lake Pehoé, stop on the shores of Grey Lake and walk across the hanging bridge over the Pingo River to the beach, from where spectacular blue icebergs can be seen against a backdrop of the distant Grey Glacier.
 
Then leave Torres del Paine, stopping on the return journey at the Milodón Cave on Benitez Hill. The remains of several extinct animals have been found here - including the sabre toothed tiger, the American horse and a gigantic herbiverous mammal known as the Milodon. You will need to walk for half an hour to reach the main cave, which is 200 meters deep, 80 meters wide and 30 meters high. Here you can see stalactites and a life-size replica of the Milodon. Return to Puerto Natales in the late afternoon.
Day 8
At leisure to enjoy walking in the magnificent scenery of the Torres Del Paine region.
Day 9
Drive 3-hours to Punta Arenas Airport for your onward flight.

Arrive at Santiago Airport, collect your hire car and drive 2-hours to the historic seaport of Valparaiso on the Pacific Coast - a UNESCO World Heritage site and the second largest city in Chile.
 
Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal, this was the most important Pacific seaport on the crucial trade route that linked the American west coast with Europe, via the Strait of Magellan. Its many stairways and old funicular elevators that lead up the 44 hills on which the city is built are a real feature. Check into your hotel in this lively and chaotic city, with its quirky and eclectic architecture.
Days 10 To 12
At leisure to relax and explore the port city of Valparaiso.
Day 13
Drive 2-hours to Santiago Airport for your flight home.

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