Chile 5

Santiago, Atacama Desert, Ushuaia Cruise

Description:
ITINERARY
Day 1: Santiago Arrival in Santiago, reception and transfer to your hotel.

Day 2: Santiago City tour of Santiago including a visit to the Government Palace, the Main Square, the Cathedral and a visit to the museum of precolumbian art. An excursion to the Cerro San Cristobal viewpoint for a beautiful panoramic view of the city. Santiago de Chile was founded in 1541 and is in a beautiful setting with only 62 miles separating the Pacific coast from ski resorts in the high Andes. You will find 17th Century architecture and lively markets set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains.

Day 3: Santiago - Calama - San Pedro de Atacama After breakfast, private transfer to Santiago airport for the flight to Calama, set in the middle of the Atacama desert. Arrival and transfer to San Pedro de Atacama. Accommodation at the hosteria.

Day 4: Atacama desert tour Tour of San Pedro de Atacama, cradle of the Atacama Culture during the pre-Columbian period. Followed by a visit to the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt mountain range) and the only view of the massive salt flat with the Licancabur volcano in the background. We will then visit the Pukara de Quitor. In the afternoon, excursion to the Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon) which astonishes visitors with its geological formation of salts and carbonates and where nature has shaped an astonishing landscape. Return to your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama.

Day 5: Atacama desert tour After breakfast, we will visit the Archaeological Museum Padre Le Paige where we will witness an exhibition showing the evolution of Atacamanian life over the last 11,000 years. We will then visit the town church, The Main Square, the house of Pedro de Valdivia (a conquistador and the founder of Santiago). Toconao stands out with its bell tower, alleys and craft workshops. After lunch, a visit to Lake Chaxa to view the three species of flamingoes amongst many other birds.

Day 6: San Pedro de Atacama - Calama - Santiago Very early morning departure to the Tatio Geysers to experience this spectacular demonstration of volcanic activity. In the middle of the Andean mountains, the El Tatio Geysers at 4,500 metres above sea level gush fumaroles at dawn. We will also visit the village of Caspana with its fertile terraces, architecture in Liparita stone and characteristic mud-roofs. We will continue with visits to the villages of Toconce and Vegas de Turi on an awe inspiring route which takes us through Chiu-Chiu and Lasana, with their important cultural and historical legacies including one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in Chile. Box lunch on route. Return to Calama in the afternoon for your transfer to the airport and your return flight to Santiago. Reception and transfer to your hotel.

Day 7: Santiago - Punta Arenas After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Punta Arenas.
Arrival and transfer to your hotel, the four star Finnis Terrea Hotel.

Day 8 (Saturday): Punta Arenas Transfer to the port in Punta Arenas for the boarding of the "Mare Australis" expedition cruiseship. The crew, headed by the Captain, will welcome you aboard with cocktails. The ship will depart towards the city of Ushuaia, through the mythical Strait of Magellan and sailing through the Patagonian Channels and around Tierra del Fuego.

Day 9 (Sunday): Ainsworth Bay - Tucker Islet With the first light of dawn, navigation will continue through the Almirantazgo Fjord. We will disembark in Ainsworth Bay near the Marinelli Glacier, where we will take a walk to see an elephant seal colony and appreciate the Magellan Forests. Located in Ainsworth Bay, in the midst of the Darwin Range, one can see the enormous ice wall more than 40 metres high. During the afternoon, we will approach Tucker Islet and the Australis Cruises Expedition Group will give us a brief talk about the ecosystem and geography. An excursion on board zodiac boats to admire a small colony of Magellan Penguins. We will also see other bird species such as Skuas and Cormorants. The presence of dolphins and sea lions are also likely.

Day 10 (Monday): D'Agostini Fjord In the morning, a number of blue-tinted floating icebergs announce that we are sailing through the D'Agostini Fjord, a sea route which passes several glaciers. In a memorable awakening, and surrounded by a breathtaking landscape, we can watch the dance of light at dawn in front of the Serrano Glacier, where we will clearly see the central moraine. The myrtleberry, chaura (wild berry), ñirre (nothofagus pumilio, known as Antarctic beech), and wild strawberry together with other native species, thrive in these surroundings. We will disembark in Condor Bay, close to the Condor Glacier. Here we will enjoy a short walk through the native forest and an excursion by boats. After boarding again, the ship will sail through the Magdalena and Cockburn channels towards the Beagle Channel.

Day 11 (Tuesday): Garibaldi Inlet - Puerto Williams When the ship enters the Garibaldi Inlet, our aim will be to come as close as possible to one of the most beautiful glaciers of our cruise and to be able to observe the breathtaking mass of blue ice. During the route we will stop for a moment to admire the sea-lions and wild duck that herald our arrival. We will continue cruising through floating ice towards land and will disembark, in the middle of silence, in one of the solitary beaches of the Garibaldi Inlet. From here, we will penetrate one of the wildest and thickest forests of Patagonia, as our guides tell us about its flora, fauna and geography. Located at the northern end of Navarino Island and on the shores of the Beagle Channel, Puerto Williams - with no more than two-thousand inhabitants is one of the most southerly towns in the world.

Day 12 (Wednesday): Puerto Williams - Ushuaia The last day of the cruise with an early arrival in Ushuaia, located on the border of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains. The port of Ushuaia, originally a penal colony, is now the capital of the Argentinean province of Tierra del Fuego. Here, we will enjoy the wonders of this landscape where the sea meets the forests and mountains and is the start of excursions into the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Return to the airport for your flight home, return to Punta Arenas with the same ship but lasting only three days or optional tours to visit the surrounding area.

INCLUDED

per person based on two sharing and includes accommodation in 3* and 4* hotels with breakfast, all transfers and tours with a bilingual guide, standard cabins aboard the cruise to Ushuaia with all meals and an open bar, all land transportation and meals as per itinerary.

NOT INCLUDED

Airport taxes, the international airfare to Chile and internal flights are not included.

For current availability contact us at info@amazingchile.com and we will send you the relevant trip dossier along with a 90 day fixed quote, terms and conditions.

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