- Chile From Top to Toe
Chile boasts an astonishing array of unique landscapes from the scorched plains of Atacama Desert, to the piercing glacier shards of Torres del Paine National Park. Experience a visual feast as you travel through the vibrant city of Santiago, colonial Valparaiso and the quaint town of Puerto Natales.
Depart London on your scheduled overnight flight to Santiago in Chile, via Sao Paulo, Brazil.
On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for some time at leisure before re-joining your group for tonight's welcome dinner.
Set against a backdrop of snow-capped Andean peaks, Chile's vibrant and versatile capital city of Santiago is an unforgettable treasure trove waiting to be explored. During today's morning tour, delve into the city's historic core, uncovering the impressive government palace and the beautiful 13th-century baroque cathedral, renowned as one of the only churches in the world constructed directly above the tomb of a disciple of Jesus. Later, discover the landscaped park of Santa Lucia Hill which reveals the site where Spanish conquistadors founded the city in the 16th century, and relish incredible vistas overlooking the city and mountains beyond. Journey to the port city of Valparaiso this afternoon to explore its colonial architecture and enjoy a cable car ride.
Today is for you to spend at leisure, for you to relax at your hotel or further explore the surrounding areas. You may choose to spend your day experiencing one of Chile's most famous sites, the stunning Colchagua Valley. Producing some of the country's very best red wines, enjoy tastings of award-winning Cabernet Sauvignons and wonderfully rounded Merlots in an area of natural beauty.
Board a morning flight from Santiago to Calama in the Atacama Desert; renowned as the driest place on earth, this truly unique 1000-kilometre stretch of land boasts a landscape like no other. Comprising of wind-sculpted canyons and salt lakes that miraculously turn from orange to gold throughout the day, delight in vistas before climbing the crimson sand dunes of Moon Valley this afternoon; observe as the blazing sun begins to set.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Following breakfast, journey to the mesmerizing Salar de Atacama. Chile's largest salt flat is home to many native bird species and boasts an extraordinary landscape of jagged salt peaks and steaming volcanos which extend beyond the horizon. Traverse the crunchy crystalline edge of this immense basin to the Chaxa Lagoon where you can get close to dozens of flamingos eagerly dipping their beaks into the mineral-rich waters. Next, relish in exceptional tranquillity at the nearby Miscanti and Minique Lagoons; positioned at the base of grandiose volcanoes and characterized by their motionless blue waters, this biodiverse oasis provides incredible views over its unique landscape.
Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Before the earliest glimpse of daylight emerges, journey to the world's highest volcanic geothermal field, positioned over 4,300 metres above sea level in the Andean mountain range, to witness the dramatic Tatio Geysers. Reaching the peak of their fervent activity in the early morning, watch a fascinating display of gushing steam and water burst out from deep underground in a shrill eruption of white mist. As the rising sun warms the earth below, take a dip in the luxurious hot springs nearby, whose natural waters are geothermally heated underneath the Earth's crust. Return to San Pedro for this evening's overnight stay.
Breakfast & Dinner
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Puerto Varas, via Santiago. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel for the rest of the day at leisure.
Breakfast & Lunch
Situated on the banks of Lake Llanquilhue, the town of Puerto Varas affords spellbinding views of distant snow-capped volcanic peaks. This morning observe a cascading ribbon of sapphire water which slices through the verdant landscape at Petrohue Falls, before gently cruising the glistening waters of idyllic Lake Todos Los Santos, referred to as Lago Esmeralda due to its piercing emerald hues. Later this afternoon, meander along rocky terrain at the foot of Osorno Volcano.
Enjoy a day at leisure as you explore the charming 'City of Roses' in Puerto Varas.
Breakfast & Dinner
This morning, travel to the airport for your flight to Punta Arenas before continuing on your journey towards the quaint town of Puerto Natales. Renowned as the gateway to Parque National Torres del Paine, this humble town is situated on the shore of the Sound of Ultima Esperanza, nestled between the Argentinian border and Chile's interconnected isles.
Breakfast & Lunch
Immerse yourself in a landscape of supreme natural splendour on a full-day tour of Torres del Paine National Park. A biodiverse haven bursting with environmental phenomena including rugged glaciers, towering granite shards and intense turquoise waters, explore this spectacular landscape whilst keeping a close eye out roaming Guanacos and majestic condors soaring in the skies overhead.
Breakfast & Lunch
Set sail upon the Channel of Last Hope this morning, marvelling at the gargantuan glaciers which sharply pierce the ocean from the southern continental ice field. Catch a glimpse of diving Magellan Dolphins and graceful sea lions, recurrent visitors to the area, before disembarking for a leisurely stroll along the shores of Tempanos Lagoon towards the Serrano Glacier; a landscape of towering icebergs and native forests truly epitomises an unforgettable day.
Breakfast & Dinner
Transfer to the airport for your return flight to Santiago and after a day at leisure, re-join your group this evening for a farewell dinner.
Travel to the airport for your overnight flight back to the UK via Sao Paulo, Brazil.
British passport holders do not need to obtain a visa prior to travel, you will be granted a tourist visa on arrival into Chile, Bolivia and Peru that will cover you for the duration of your stay on the tour. Further advice should be sought from the applicable tourist authority for other nationalities and for general queries. We strongly advise you to check your destinations' Tourist Board or Embassy for the most up to date guidelines regarding passport validity.
We strongly recommend that you and all members of your party are suitably insured as soon as you book your holiday. It is a condition of booking that you must have suitable travel insurance. It is important that you purchase travel insurance that suitably covers your participation in whatever activities you may undertake at the time that you make your booking. To assist you with this, we have arranged travel insurance in partnership with Holiday Extras. To arrange your travel insurance with Holiday Extras, please call 0800 781 4237 and quote 'WK830' for preferential rates. Please ensure you provide us with the name of your insurer, policy number and their 24-hour emergency contact number as soon as possible. Mercury Holidays will not be liable for any costs incurred by you due to your failure to take out suitable travel insurance from the date of booking.
If booking more than 10 weeks before departure a deposit of £49pp will need to be paid at the time of booking with the full amount payable at 10 weeks prior to departure. The deposit applies to adults and children. If you are within 10 weeks of travel then the full balance of the holiday will be payable.
International flights are operated by TAM airlines operating via Sao Paulo. Each passenger is entitled to 23kg of hold luggage plus 1 item of hand luggage not exceeding 56cm x 40cm x 20cm in size and 1 personal item such as a handbag or laptop. Internal flights are with LAN airlines or Amaszonas airlines. Each passenger is entitled to 20kg of hold luggage plus one item of hand luggage not exceeding 5kg. It is compulsory to recheck luggage in Sao Paulo when connecting with a domestic flight. Please be aware of the difference between the weight restrictions of international and internal flights. Weight restrictions will be finalised on E-ticket receipt. Check-in for international flights should be at least three hours before departure. Flight times/numbers are for guidance only and are subject to change. On arrival in Chile, you will be met by a representative from our local agent, Pure Chile, holding a sign displaying: 'Mercury Holidays'. The Mercury Holidays/Protours Chile representative will show you to your transfer vehicle.
It is your responsibility to check any health and vaccination requirements applicable to your booked arrangements. We can only provide general information about this. Health and hygiene facilities and disease risks vary from country to country. You should take health advice about your own needs as early as possible and in good time before your departure. Sources of information include; www.fco.gov.uk, http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/, www.hpa.org.uk, your General Practitioner or a specialist clinic.
This tour is accessible to most people with a good level of fitness and mobility. It involves full days of sightseeing, often on foot and includes some climbing of stairs and getting on and off coaches and boats. This tour is not suitable for anyone with walking difficulties.
The minimum number of travellers in your group will be 10, and the maximum will be 15. If in the unlikely event there are less than 10 people booked on your tour date, we will endeavour to reduce any disruption to your holiday and try to operate your tour with lower passenger numbers. If we are not able to operate your departure date then you may be asked to change to a different date and a full refund will be made available to you should this alternative not be suitable.
This is a fully escorted tour, meaning that you will be with a local guide in each of the main destinations on the trip. In addition to the local guides, a national guide will meet you in Calama and remain with the group until Cusco. In Santiago you will be accompanied by a local guide only.
Each of the three countries visited on this tour have their own currency: <br /><br /><table class="basic" cellspacing="0"><thead><tr><th><b>Country</b></th><th><b>Currency</b></th></tr></thead><tbody><tr><td>Chile</td><td>Chilean Peso (Ch$)</td></tr></tbody></table><br />US Dollars are widely accepted in large hotels and restaurants but local currency will be needed for payment in smaller establishments. Therefore, it is recommended that you either take a mixture of currencies or take US dollars and change this into the local currency as and when you need to. Cash machines are available in the major cities to withdraw money in the local currency of the country.
You will need to take some extra money with you to cover any personal purchases, such as souvenirs, laundry and extra drinks and snacks. Approximately £400 will be sufficient for the duration of the tour, depending on how much of a bargain-hunter you are!