Valparaiso Valparaiso is one of the oldest cities in Chile and currently one of its main ports. Located on a beautiful bay, a short distance from Santiago, this UNESCO World Heritage Site literally hangs from the steep coastal cliffs. It is an extraordinary setting. A variety of seabirds including the stunning Inca tern and humboldt penguins can be seen in the surrounding coastal areas of Valparaiso, while the wineries of the Casablanca and Colchagua valleys, Chile's wine valleys, are located a relatively short distance away - a retreat of delicious food and fi ne wines! Zero Hotel HIGH Facing the Pacifi c Ocean, this beautiful property affords wonderful views - perfect from dawn to dusk - and is a great place from which to enjoy the stunning location of Valparaiso. It's a boutique property, a converted house, which provides class and comfort for your stay. Atacama Desert & the Altiplano Chile's Atacama Desert comprises the virtually lifeless coastal pampas, plains that are dissected by dramatic and deep river gorges. To the east, this barren, lunar landscape, changes abruptly as it rises through the foothills of the Andes. This becomes the impressive Altiplano, with its alluvial salt basins, fabulous snow- capped volcanoes and a surprising variety of wildlife. Lake Verde and the El Tatio geysers are well worth a visit. Surrounded by volcanoes, the beautiful emerald green lake is home to fl ocks of Andean fl amingos as well ostrich-like nandus, guanacos and vicunas. Hotel Alto Atacama MID To get the most out of this unique landscape, we recommend staying in the midst of it. The Hotel Alto Atacama is located in the fertile Catarpe valley, three kilometres from San Pedro, but a world away; you'll be surrounded by silence, and a rugged mountain environment. Rooms are comfortable, with private terrace to enjoy the views. Awasi HIGH Awasi is a luxurious oasis in the desert. It has only eight rooms, built from wood, adobe and stone, and each has both indoor and outdoor showers, a verandah with beautiful views and spacious areas for relaxing and reading. It is perhaps the perfect place for relaxation and refl ection after some time in the desert. Lauca National Park Lauca, in northern Chile, is a wild and remote park with stunning scenery. Putre, at an altitude of 3,500 metres, is the base for visits to the park and has a wonderful setting in the hills with the Nevados de Putre as a backdrop. There are several pre- Inca ruins nearby as well as prehistoric caves with 5,000- year old hand paintings. Excursions from Putre are generally either by jeep or on foot and wildlife you could hope to see includes vicuna, guanaco, taruca, Andean deer, puma, alpaca, vizcachas and armadillo. Hosteria Las Vicunas MID Located in Putre, this is a rustic hosteria, which provides a good base from which to explore the nearby parks. Rooms are comfortable, but don't expect luxury, with ample public areas for relaxing. Hotel El Paso MID Centrally located, this hotel offers a nice environment in which to stay and is close to Arica's centre. Arica is an alternative base which we use on our itineraries after visits to Lauca National Park. The hotel has nice gardens and 80 modern rooms with air- conditioning. Patagonia & the Straits of Magellan Patagonia is a land of superlatives. It is a vast and contrasting region extending across the tip of the southern-most portions of South America. The southern Andes act as a monumental barrier on this area, while towards the Pacifi c Ocean into Chile, the land has been broken by glacial action resulting in hundreds of fjords and channels and thousands of islands. Within the Straits of Magellan is Chile's fi rst and only marine reserve, Francisco Coloane Marine Park, which protects the incredible marine biodiversity of the western branch of the Straits. It holds a summer population of humpback whales ( and occasionally sei and orca whales), as well as Chilean and Peale's dolphin, South American sealion and southern fur seals. Tierra del Fuego comprises all of the archipelagic area to the south of the Straits of Magellan and is home to active breeding colonies of penguins and sea lions, and there are numerous majestic albatrosses to see too. San Isidro Lodge MID This small, intimate lodge is located at the site of Chile's southern- most lighthouse. It accommodates only 12 people. The rooms are comfortable and the food is magnifi cent. It is the perfect base from which to explore the Straits of Magellan. THE AMERICAS | CHILE 155 Fact! Or visit us on the web www. wildlifeworldwide. com If you're interested in the natural environment, we'd also recommend a visit to the Lake District region of Chile. It has many interesting trees which are unique due to their geographical isolation, including various species of the southern tree genus nothofagus. The dominant forests here also comprise ancient species such as araucaria, or monkey puzzle, tree and the endangered alerce.
Eco- camp Carlos III Scientifi c Campsite MID Within the marine reserve on Carlos III Island, is a small scientifi c eco- camp accommodating only ten people in comfortable twin- bedded dome tents. The entire camp is built on wooden terracing to avoid erosion and is dedicated to whale research in the Straits. The intimate experience of this camp is enriched by the beautiful mountains, glaciers and pristine forests. The camp was founded by scientists who discovered this is where humpback whales return to every summer and so there will be plenty of opportunity to go whale- watching and also to learn about long- term population studies and identifi cation techniques used by the whale researchers. MV Mare and Via Australis MID Sailing from Punta Arenas between September and mid- April, the boats Mare and Via Australis sail the famed Strait of Magellan, Beagle Channel and spectacular Glacier Alley calling at Port Williams, Ushuaia and Cape Horn National Park. Eco- walks, glacier visits, on- board lectures and educational briefi ngs are the highlight of this 3 and 4- night cruise which can easily be tailored into your holiday itinerary. Torres del Paine Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia is a wonderful mix of peaks, lakes, ice fi elds and green valleys. The omnipresent Paine Massif, a magnifi cent set of rugged peaks, formed of granite and sedimentary rock, dominates the landscape. The wildlife here includes Andean deer, guanaco, pumas, skunks and hares as well as a host of birds such as Andean condors, lesser rhea, Chilean fl amingo, black- faced ibis, black- necked swans and kelp geese. EcoCamp - suite domes MID OUR CHOICE Suite domes are comfortable 28 metre square tented igloo- type double domes. The whole ethos is to have minimal environmental impact, while providing an effi cient, warm place to stay with great exposure to the Patagonian nature. Each dome has a private bathroom. Our Patagonia Wildlife Safari ( below) uses the suite domes. 156 SUGGESTED ITINERARY Day 1 Depart UK for Santiago Day 2 Santiago, 1- night, Hotel Rugendas ( B) Day 3 San Pedro de Atacama, 3- nights, Hotel Alto Atacama. Explore by foot, bike or vehicle to the salt fl ats, geysers and lunar landscapes of the desert ( BLD) Day 6 Putre/ Arica, 2- nights, Hosteria las Vicunas/ Hotel El Paso. Full day excursion to Lauca National Park ( BL - only breakfast included on day six) Day 8 Santiago, 1- night, Hotel Rugendas ( B) Day 9 Torres del Paine, 3- nights, suite domes. Explore the glaciers and lakes of this beautiful area, home to a myriad of wildlife ( BLD) Day 12 Santiago, 2- night, Hotel Rugendas. Explore Santiago, Chile's sophisticated capital ( BL - only breakfast included on day thirteen) Day 14 Depart for the UK ( B) Day 15 Arrive home Departure dates Daily, throughout the year Cost per person From £ 3879 ( Jan - Feb, Sept), £ 3979 ( Mar - Apr, Oct - Dec), £ 4079 ( mid - end Dec) What's included Flights, transfers, meals as indicated, nine nights hotel accommodation and three nights suite domes, guided activities LAND OF EXTREMES Explore the unique panorama and wildlife of Chile on this itinerary which takes in the beautiful lunar landscapes of the Atacama desert and the splendour of Torres del Paine. We've also added Lauca National Park, not a usual stop on a Chilean itinerary - but we know it'll be worth it for a wildlife enthusiast. TAILOR- MADE SUGGESTED ITINERARY Day 1 Arrive Punta Arenas. Torres del Paine National Park, 3- nights, EcoCamp, suite domes. Over the next three days you will enjoy a programme of activities, designed around your wishes. You can walk, drive or trek to lakes and glaciers within the national park, seeing puma, grey fox, guanaco, and birds such as bi- coloured hawk and black- chested buzzard- eagle. The park is your oyster! ( BLD) Day 4 Depart for your next destination Departure dates Daily, January to April Cost per person From £ 875 ( Jan - Mar), £ 735 ( Apr) Tour Extension Please ask us for prices for other durations, or for a complete package with other destinations in Chile What's included Transfers, meals as indicated, three nights suite domes, guided activities ( fl ights not included) PATAGONIA WILDLIFE SAFARI We've found this special wildlife safari in Patagonia. We think it'll appeal to those of you who love wildlife, adore beautiful scenery and fancy staying in unique, comfortable accommodation. This itinerary also has fl exibility on its side; you can stay for three nights as an extension to another tailor- made itinerary, any number of nights in- between, or as a six- night stand alone trip - the choice is yours! TAILOR- MADE Talk to an expert 0845 130 6982 Special occasion? Why not ask us for business class upgrades? We can offer competitive prices and it'd be a lovely start to your trip.