Mystical Chile Tour
Starting out from the capital Santiago, this unforgettable Chile tour has been designed to take you from coastline to mountain-top, taking in a host of stunning sights and experiences along the way. You’ll explore incredible landscapes around the Atacama Desert, as well as Chile’s best known cities and the fascinating marine wildlife of the Pacific.
- Encounter the culture of the Lickan Antay people in the Atacama Desert
- Visit a local fishing community in Chañaral de Aceituno, on the Pacific Coast
- Trek through the Atacama Desert in a traditional caravan with llamas
- Hike through colourful ravines and rock formations in search of mysterious petroglyphs
- Immerse yourself in the modern culture and buzzing night life of Santiago and Valparaiso
- Share delicious traditional meals with the indigenous and rural communities of the north
- Discover the world-renowned Altiplanic lagoons and salt flats of the Atacama
- Let the rays of an unforgettable sunrise warm you at Tatio Mallku, South America’s highest geothermal geyser field
- Go on a stargazing excursion under some of the planet’s clearest skies (optional)
- Visit the Huasco National Park to go whale-watching and see other marine wildlife
This is a private tour and you will be accompanied by an English-speaking local guide during all excursions, and throughout your time in Huasco. The price displayed is per person based on two people sharing. All tours can be tailor-made to suit your interests and requirements.
This mystical Chile eco-tour starts in the beautiful cities of Santiago and Valparaiso, before heading north into the heart of the Atacama Desert. You will discover the cultures, landscapes and history of the Atacama Desert and the coastal Huasco region, and experience life within traditional and indigenous communities.
In the Atacama Desert you’ll stargaze at the clearest skies in the world, listen to ancient stories and legends, photograph flamingos flying thousands of meters above sea level, and hike through deep ravines. You will visit the stark salt flats of Atacama and experience breath-taking landscapes, beautiful sunsets and star-filled skies. Walking with the llamas you’ll accompany a timeless ancestral caravan through the desert, and take part in traditional activities with the Lickan Antay people – the ancestral inhabitants of the desert.
You will then travel onwards into the fertile Huasco Coast to stay at the Chañaral de Aceituno fishing community, where you can sample delicious seafood, discover delicious gastronomy and dine on tasty fresh ceviche. You’ll then take a whale-watching excursion from Chañaral Island, as well as being introduced to the colourful vegetation of Llanos del Challe National Park.
Day 1: Santiago (-/-/-)
You’ll be met at the airport in Santiago de Chile by a guide from our local team and driven to your hotel in the heart of this charismatic capital. On the way, get the low-down from your guide who will be bursting with tips. The rest of the day is free for you to relax and settle in.
Day 2: Santiago (B/-/-)
Spend the day exploring this friendly and easy-to-navigate city. Admire the grand Plaza de Armas, watch the sunset from Cerro Santa Lucia, and wander through historical Lastarria and bohemian Bellavista. Optional: city-tour.
Day 3-4: Santiago to Valparaiso (B/-/-)
You’ll have an early pick-up for a 1.5 hour coach transfer up the coast to the lovely seaside town of Valparaiso. Reception at the coach station and transfer to a charming hotel in town. Discover Valparaiso on your own, shop in the markets and use your change to scoot up the hillsides in the rickety old funiculars. Visit the Pablo Neruda museum and spend the evening dining on freshly caught seafood. Optional: city-tour.
Day 5: Valparaiso to the Atacama Desert (B/-/-)
You’ll have an early pick-up at the hotel and transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Calama. Transfer to San Pedro de Atacama, a small town in the middle of one of the driest places in the world. Check-in to your B&B and enjoy a free afternoon. During the evening you will go on a private guided hike through Death Valley. The hike starts from a vantage point where we can see the Atacama salt flats, the Andes Mountain Range and the oasis town of San Pedro. Then descend to the valley through the dunes before going back to the B&B. This makes for an excellent introduction to the Atacama Desert.
Day 6: Atacama Desert (B/L/-)
Visit the Lickan Antay people who have inhabited the desert for thousands of years. On this private excursion, your guide will show you the story of his family and the economic activities carried out in the desert. You will learn how to grow corn and alfalfa crops, all about animal farming and typical Lickan Antay crafts and skills. Before a traditional lunch, you will experience an Atacamenian tasting, perfect to whet the appetite and discover local specialties. During the afternoon you will hike through Moon Valley and its ravines and enjoy sunset and star-filled skies. At night you will join a small group to experience Atacamenian astronomy. The Atacama sky is one of the best in the world for stargazing and your local guide will teach you Andean constellations and stars and how to understand the cosmos according to the ancient inhabitants of the Andes.
Day 7: Atacama Desert (B/L/-)
After breakfast, you’ll be met at your hotel for a private excursion. You’ll set out to explore on foot, hiking through a dramatic ravine and past volcanic rock formations. The ravine is full of cacti of several different species, the biggest of which is the Equinopsis Atacamensis, growing up to eight meters high. You’ll enjoy a traditional lunch in Solor with the locals and the rest of the afternoon and evening are free back in San Pedro.
Day 8: Atacama Desert (B/L/-)
After breakfast, you’ll be picked up for a small group excursion to the pretty village of Socaire where you’ll enjoy a typical hearty Andean lunch. Away from civilization and 3500 meters above sea level, you’ll explore the bird-filled altiplanic lagoons and see the mesmerizing and legendary Atacama Salt Flat. Free evening in San Pedro.
Day 9: Atacama Desert (B/-/-)
After breakfast join an Ancestral Caravan to walk through the desert with the local Lickan Antay people and their llamas. Your local guide will teach you more about the history of the desert and the relationship between the Lickan Antay people, llamas and travelling. After this journey through the desert you’ll visit the tiny village of Rio Grande. Check out the huge and mysterious petroglyphs carved into the hillsides of the chameleon-like Rainbow Valley. Return to San Pedro in the evening.
Day 10: Atacama Desert – Tatio Geyser Field (B/-/-)
An early start to catch the sunrise at Tatio Mallku, South America’s largest and highest geothermal field with around 100 active geysers. Here the fumaroles reach up to twenty or thirty meters high and the water springs at 85 degrees Celsius. The thin air, the water fumes and the mystic sun rising will make your experience simply unforgettable. Then, visit Machuca Village to taste llama meat (if you dare) and browse local handicrafts. Note: this is a small group excursion. Back in San Pedro you’ll have some time to relax before jumping aboard an overnight bus to Vallenar (comfortable reclining seats), in the Huasco Valley.
Day 11: The Huasco Coast (-/L/-)
Once your overnight bus arrives in Vallenar, your local guide will take you to Chañaral de Aceituno, a small fishermen’s town at the very place where the desert and the ocean collide. You will take part in their day-to-day activities and have time to relax and enjoy the food and beautiful landscapes. The evening is free and accommodation is in private rooms in a traditional country B&B.
Alternatively, you could add a two or three day excursion to the observatories around La Serena, where you’ll find some of the most beautiful night skies in the world.
Day 12: The Huasco Coast (B/-/-)
Take a guided visit to Chañaral Island, about 6km offshore and part of a marine park. Here you’ll get a chance to spot the resident Humboldt Penguins, marine otters, rare birds, whales and bottlenose dolphins. Back in the wharf, enjoy a delicious seafood lunch. In the afternoon, head north and discover the old smuggler’s harbour of Carrizal Bajo and delight in the flowering desert at the Llanos de Challes National Park. In the evening, arrive to the hidden village of Totoral to have dinner and enjoy a reposing silent night.
Day 13: The Huasco Coast to Santiago (B/L/-)
You’ll be picked-up for a guided visit to the different archaeological sites of the valley, then get back to the oasis for a rustic lunch beneath the shade of the trees. Later, take a guided tour along the beautiful coast towards the town of Caldera. From there, you’ll take a flight back to Santiago and transfer to your comfortable hotel.
Day 14 - 15: Santiago (B/-/-)
Back in Santiago, time to rest, relax and absorb the amazing experiences of the last two weeks. The following day it will be time to transfer to the airport for your flight home.
- Trip duration: 15 days
- Countries visited: Chile
Medium: Accommodation in B&Bs or 2-star family-run hotels (always in a private room).
Note: this is a guideline; please refer to the tour detailed description for what is and is not included.
- Level of difficulty: Low
4 nights in a hotel in Santiago, 2 nights in a hotel in Valparaiso, 5 nights in a B&B in San Pedro de Atacama, 2 nights in a B&B on the Huasco Coast, 1 overnight bus journey.
- Transport: Internal flights, bus, private car, boat
- Meals included: 12 breakfasts, 5 lunches
Percentage of cost going to local communities:
At least 40%
- Bilingual guide: Available in English, French or Spanish
- Extra services:
You will be greeted at the airport on arrival by a local guide who will take you to your hotel and will be able to answer any questions, make any additional arrangements and generally ensure everything goes smoothly.
No minimum number of passengers required and you will not be travelling with a group of people you do not know. Prices quoted are per person and based on at least 2 people travelling. You should expect a cheaper price for bigger groups.
Your passport details are required at the time of booking. For detailed information on visa requirements and health formalities, visit the FCO Travel Advice Website and the US Travel Advice Website (direct links to Chile page).
Information on money changing in each destination, as well as what it is customary to tip for various services, will be provided.
This tour of Chile, like most of our adventures through Latin America, has a low level of physical difficulty and participants can choose to do as much or as little as they like. If you have any concerns or require special arrangements please call or email us to discuss.
What to bring: Travel insurance, passport, binoculars, alarm clock, walking shoes, water bottle, daypack, sun protection, insect repellent, sun glasses and hat, swimwear, flip-flops, torch with extra batteries, wind and waterproof jacket, warm clothes to layer, warm socks, fleece, hat, gloves, scarf, comfortable light cotton shirts with long and short sleeves, comfortable trousers made of cotton or a light synthetic material (bring at least two sets of light clothes which can be washed and dried easily), shorts, rain coat.
- Best time to travel: September - April
- Extra budget recommended: Around £200 / $250 pp to cover meals and all other expenses not included in the itinerary.
- What is included: Welcome reception at the airport. Transfers (some may be shared) and internal flights. Overland transport. Accommodation. Entrance fees to sites of interest, museums and national parks mentioned in the itinerary. Guided activities and excursions with English speaking guides (some private, some as part of a small group). Meals as stated in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner). Contributions to the social projects visited. Donation to help in preserving the Amazon rainforest through agro-forestry and education.
- What is not included: Flights from your country of origin. Travel insurance. Alcoholic drinks. Additional meals or snacks. Travel within and around each town. Visa fees (if any). Tips. Souvenirs.
To start creating your ideal, tailor-made tour to Chile, please complete and send this form. Our Chilean partner will be in touch shortly:
Mystical Chile Tour
£ 2,520 GBP
Experience everything from breathtaking landscapes, beautiful sunsets and star-filled skies to ancient storytelling, extraordinary wildlife and rich Andean culture and gastronomy. This eco-tour to Chile takes you into the heart of the Atacama Desert, after having explored the diverse neighbourhoods and charms of Santiago and Valparaiso. You will visit the incredible landscapes of the Atacama region and discover the desert-dwelling culture of the Lickan Antay people.