Northern Chile explorer & stargazing in Elqui Valley

Tailor-made holidays
Duration (in days): 15

From: UK - Santiago

To: Santiago - UK

From

£6,580

Inc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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Overview

Discover the unimaginable contrasts on offer in Northern Chile with this two-week holiday. You'll spend your first few nights in La Serena, enjoying its beautiful beaches and locally-caught seafood, before venturing into the remarkable Elqui Valley, known for its Pisco grape plantations and dark skies. You'll stay in a unique 'Astro Hotel' with a removable roof, giving you the chance to gaze at the Milky Way from the comfort of your bed.   

From here, you'll fly north to Copiapó to explore the wildlife of Pan de Azucar National Park, spotting otters to guanacos, foxes, sea lions and Humboldt penguins. By day, you'll set off on guided treks and kayaking expeditions and, by night, you'll camp under a blanket of stars. Afterwards, you'll head for the desert town of San Pedro de Atacama to spend three days discovering the Atacama Desert. You'll visit the dramatic Moon and Death Valleys, the glinting Salar de Atacama and the El Tatio geyser, learning about the Inca history of the Atacama as you go. 

This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.

This holiday includes

  • International and domestic flights
  • All transfers
  • All accommodation in Chile with daily breakfast
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary

Highlights

  • Sample locally-grown fine wines in the Casablanca Valley
  • Camp under the stars of the Atacama Desert
  • Sleep in a star-gazing dome in the Elqui Valley
  • Feast on seafood on the beach in La Serena
  • Spot otters, guanacos, foxes, sea lions and Humboldt penguins in Pan de Azucar NP
  • Discover jewel-coloured blue and green lagoons of Nevado Tres Cruces NP
  • Catch a mesmerising sunset over Moon and Death Valley, cocktail in hand
Itinerary

 

Itinerary in brief:

  • 2 nights in Santiago
  • 2 nights in the Elqui Valley
  • 1 night in La Serena
  • 1 nights in Copiapó
  • 4 nights in Pan de Azucar National Park  
  • 3 nights in San Pedro de Atacama
  • 1 night in Santiago

 

Day 1: Depart UK

Depart the UK from your chosen airport.

Included: International flight

Day 2: Arrive in Santiago

On arrival at Santiago airport, you will be met and taken by private transfer to your hotel where you will check in for a 2-night stay.

In the afternoon, you will be taken on a private tour of the city to visit the most famous landmarks, markets and to taste and drink some of the country’s specialities.

Included: Arrival transfer, tour, hotel

Day 3: Casablanca Valley, Viña del Mar and Valparaiso

Today, you’ll be picked up in the morning to go on a private tour and wine tasting in the Casablanca wine valley where some of the prestigious Chilean wines are produced. Next, you’ll visit the sandy beach resort of Viña del Mar, before finishing in Valparaiso with its steep hills and colourful neighbourhoods. (Lunch at a local restaurant is included).

Included: Breakfast, tour with lunch, hotel         

Day 4: Santiago to the Elqui Valley

Today you’ll be collected and taken by private transfer to the airport for your flight to La Serena. When you land, you’ll be met and taken for a guided tour of the city’s colonial centre, the harbour and the bay of La Herradura – with lunch included at a local beach restaurant.

This afternoon, you’ll visit the Elqui Valley famous for its rich pre-Columbian history, cultivation of the Pisco grape and astronomic observatories – it’s a dark sky sight with little light pollution. After sunset, you’ll stop at the Alfa Aldea Observatory for a stargazing session, accompanied by a glass of Chilean wine. Later, you’ll be driven to the town of Pisco Elqui for dinner (included) and to check in to your hotel for a 2-night stay.

Your stay tonight is at an incredible property - Elqui Domos. It’s an Astro hotel offering exclusive dome-shaped rooms that have a detachable ceiling, perfect for observing the incredibly clear sky of the Elqui Valley. Prepare for an awe-inspiring night beneath a blanket of stars!

Included: Breakfast, all private transfers, domestic flight, lunch and dinner, hotel            

Day 5: Elqui Valley

Today you’ll take a privately guided tour through the Elqui Valle. You’ll visit the town of Horcon, a small settlement known for its local artisans, and one of Chile’s oldest Pisco distillery. Lunch and dinner are also included today.

Included: Breakfast, private transport and tour, lunch and dinner, hotel              

Day 6: Elqui Valley to La Serena

After breakfast, you will be driven to the family-run vineyard of Cavas del Valle that produces superb Syrah wines. After a tasting, you’ll be driven to Vicuña where you will have lunch in a local restaurant.

In the early afternoon, you will be driven to La Serena where you will have the afternoon free, and you’ll stay for one night.

Included: Breakfast, private transport and tour, lunch, hotel      

Day 7: La Serena to Copiapó

This morning you will be driven to the bus terminal in La Serena where to board a bus to Copiapó - the journey will be around 5 hours.

Overnight in Copiapó

Included: Breakfast, bus to Copiapó, private transport and tour, lunch, hotel      

Day 8: Arrive in Copiapo, Chile  

On arrival at Copiapo airport, you will be met and driven for 1.5 hours to the private campsite at La Puerta, a small oasis located 70km away from Nevado Tres Cruces National Park.

On arrival, you’ll have lunch and your English-speaking guide will brief you about the activities of the upcoming days. These will consist of four nights of camping, moderate treks, kayaking expeditions and wildlife encounters. In the afternoon, there is an easy 1.5-hour acclimatisation trek, followed by a traditional welcome dinner in the evening. Tonight, you’ll spend your first night under the starry skies of the Atacama!  

Included: All transport, accommodation, touring and meals       

Day 9: Nevado Tres Cruces National Park    

After breakfast, you will be driven to the Santa Rosa Lagoon, located at 3,762m which is home to migratory flamingos. From here, you’ll take a 1.5-hour trek to a stunning lookout point from where you will be able to see the lagoon as well as the Maricunga Salt Lake.

After exploring, you will arrive at the campsite in time for lunch and have some time to rest. In the late afternoon, you can choose to go on another walk in the desert, or you can relax before dinner is served under the starry skies of the desert.

Included: All transport, accommodation, touring and meals       

Day 10: Pan de Azucar National Park    

Your day will start early this morning when, after breakfast, you will be driven to the Pan the Azucar National Park, nestled along the coast of the Pacific Ocean.

The drive will be around 4 hours, but you’ll make several stops along the way to visit the Maricunga and Pedernales salt lakes, the mining city of El Salvador and to eat your packed lunch. Tonight’s dreamy campsite location is right beside the ocean and several islands. The national park is home to wildlife from guanacos in the desert to penguins in the islands. This afternoon there’s a 2.5-hour walk to explore this extraordinary place before dinner this evening.         

Included: All transport, accommodation, touring and meals       

Day 11: Pan de Azucar National Park 

A new day full of adventures! First up is a kayaking expedition in the waters of the Pacific Ocean, exploring the park’s coastline and its nearby islands. If you’re lucky, you may spot some of the Humboldt penguins that inhabit the area. From here, you will continue kayaking to the small fishing settlement of Caleta Pan de Azucar where you will stop for lunch.

Back at the campsite, you’ll have some time to relax before going on a 3-hour trek to a lookout point. From your vantage point, you can appreciate the contrast of landscapes in the park; the blue ocean waters on one side and desert on the other. Tonight you’ll have dinner and make the most of your last night camping.

Included: All transport, accommodation, touring and meals

Day 12: Copiapó to San Pedro de Atacama

Today it’s time to bid farewell to your guide and the team who have helped to create lasting memories on this adventure. You will be taken to Copiapo airport by private transfer to connect with your flight to Calama. You will be met and taken by shared transfer to your hotel in San Pedro de Atacama where you will check in for a 3-night stay.

In the afternoon, you will join a tour of the Moon and Death Valleys. These valleys are famous for their rugged terrain and impressive stone and sand formations and at sunset, you’ll have incredible views over the light gradually fading over the vast landscapes while enjoying a typical Chilean cocktail.

Included: Breakfast, private departure transfer, domestic flight, shared arrival transfer, shared tour with a cocktail, hotel     

Day 13: Toconao and Atacama Salt Lake

Today you will join a tour of the Atacama Desert that will explore both the history and natural beauty of the region. First, there’s a guided visit of San Pedro itself, the 3000 years old pre-Columbian village of Tulor and the Pukara de Quitor fortress.

In the afternoon after a packed lunch, you’ll continue to the Atacama Salt Lake; an inland sea formed millions of years ago and an impressive sight dominated by rock formations and crystallised salt.

Included: Breakfast, shared tour, box lunch, hotel           

Day 14: El Tatio and Machuca       

Today’s early start will be well worth the effort! Before dawn breaks today, you will join a tour to reach El Tatio Geysers. Located at over 4,000m, this is the highest geothermal field in the world so make sure you bring some warm clothes for this tour!

In the late morning, you will be driven to the village of Machuca, which historically was the resting place for llama caravans that travelled the Inca Highway. You will be taken back to San Pedro in the early afternoon to spend the rest of the day at leisure.

Included: Breakfast, shared tour, hotel

Day 15: San Pedro de Atacama to Santiago       

Today you’ll be collected and driven by shared transfer to Calama airport for your flight back to Santiago. Once you arrive, make your way to your airport hotel and check in for a 1-night stay.

Included: Breakfast, shared departure transfer, domestic flight, airport hotel    

Day 16: Depart Santiago    

Today make your way to the airport for your flight back home.

Included: International flight   

Day 17: Arrive UK    

 

Info

The regions in the itinerary can be visited all year round, however, consider the Altiplanic winter between January and March when heavy rains are possible. In such cases, the program might suffer changes.

This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.           

What's included: 

  • International and domestic flights
  • Return airport transfers
  • Bus from La Serena to Copiapó
  • 4 night tour in Pan de Azucar National Park
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Entrance Fees

Not included: 

  • Any meals and excursions not mentioned
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips & gratuities
Accommodation

15 nights in 4* standard accommodation

Hotels in this category include:

  • Hotel Luciano K

  • Elqui Domos

  • Costa Real

  • Noi Casa Atacama

  • Holiday Inn Airport Santiago

Plus:

  • Tented accommodation in Pan de Azucar National Park

 

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