Day 1 /June 29, 2019: Depart from Miami
Overnight flight from Miami to Santiago.
Day 2 /June 30, 2019: Arrive Santiago
Day 3 / July 1, 2019: Santiago city tour - La Serena [B,L,D]
After breakfast, enjoy a half-day city tour in Santiago.
First, we’ll travel west toward the soaring Andes, past the Cerro San Cristóbal, an outpost of the mountains which towers over the city with a great white statue of the Virgin Mary crowning its summit. We will ride the cable car, located at the Pedro de Valdivia Norte entrance to reach the summit.
After lunch, we will continue with a visit to the presidential palace, named “La Moneda” because the splendid building once housed the national mint. Many other sights in the historic centre are clustered around the always-bustling Plaza de Armas: the impressive cathedral; the beautiful old post office; the Palacio de la Real Audiencia, now home to the National History Museum; and the Casa Colorada, once the Spanish governor’s residence.
After the tour, we will drive to Santiago Airport for our short flight to La Serena. Our guide and driver will meet us at the airport and transfer to our hotel. Dinner and overnight at our hotel in La Serena.
Day 4 / July 2, 2019: La Serena *****ECLIPSE DAY**** [B,L,D]
The return drive to La Serena is in the late evening. After the celebration cocktails, late dinner and overnight at our hotel in La Serena.
Day 5 / July 3, 2019: La Serena [B,L,D]
After the tour, return to our hotel. Dinner and overnight in La Serena.
Day 6 / July 4, 2019: La Serena [B,L,D]
• LA SILLA OBSERVATORY
The observatory is 156 kilometers north of La Serena at an altitude of 2440 meters above sea level, it belongs to the Southern European Observatory which is financed by 8 European countries. It has 15 telescopes and a radio telescope.
Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 7 / July 5, 2019: La Serena - Santiago [B,D]
After breakfast, depart from Santiago, sit back and relax during the scenic drive to Santa Rita Winery. Boasting a dramatic backdrop of the Andes Mountains, the sculpted gardens and verdant splendor of the winery prove a spectacular sight. Greet your knowledgeable guide and begin your tour of the sprawling vineyards, learning about the 19th century origin of the vineyard as you wander. Explore the fermentation cellars and bottling plant to enrich your knowledge of traditional production methods, and then stand before the historical structure of Bodega 1 for a glimpse of typical colonial construction. Venture to the legendary landmark of Don Paula Restaurant, an establishment declared a national monument due to its colorful past. Hear about the 120 battle weary rebel soldiers who sought refuge in the restaurant, and how the courageous owner accommodated the revolutionaries. Sample the three varieties of the signature 120 wine, dedicated to this historical legend. Spend your remaining time at Santa Rita strolling the gorgeous gardens or observing the intriguing artifacts in the on-site Andean Museum.
Next, return to our bus to begin the short journey to Concho y Toro, stopping at a local restaurant on the way for refreshments (own expense.) Admire the winery’s picturesque position, enveloped by the Andean foothills, as you begin your tour of the Pirque Vineyards. Learn about cultivation and harvest methods are you walk amid sprawling vines, then descend into the atmospheric depths of the Cellar of the Devil to hear tales of the winery’s eccentric former owner. Educate your palate by sampling a sublime selection of wines in the elegant bar, trying signature wines such as Casillero del Diablo. Before returning to our hotel, purchase special souvenirs from the wine shop then relax during the smooth journey back to Santiago.
Day 8 / July 6, 2019: Santiago - Valparaiso [B,L,D]
Lunch at a local restaurant.
La Sebastiana museum
La Sebastiana is Pablo Neruda’s house in Valparaíso, now open to the public as a museum. High up on Cerro Florida, it offers a marvellous view of the sea and an interesting insight into the life and work of this eccentric poet and diplomat. Pablo Neruda bought this place in order “to live and write in peace” and furnished every corner according to his taste and preferences. He sometimes celebrated New Year’s Eve here. Pablo Neruda called La Sebastiana “a house that seems to be floating in the air, but stands firmly on the ground”.
Catrala Boutique Vineyard
The idyllic Catrala Boutique Vineyard was recently founded in 2003 and is among Chile’s youngest vineyards. It is a perfect location to close the day. You will learn about winegrowing with biodynamic and organic farming in a relaxed and familiar atmosphere. The “Peñuelas” nature reserve, which is full of endemic tree species, surrounds the vineyard and lends the area a spicy scent. In this wonderful environment it is easy to forget about daily life and to enjoy Catrala’s quality wines.
Dinner at the hotel.
Day 9 / July 7, 2019: Santiago [B]
Free day at leisure in Santiago.
Day 10 / July 8, 2019 : Santiago / San Pedro de Atacama [B,L,D]
Private transfer from the hotel in Santiago to the Airport in Santiago. Private transfer from the airport in Calama to the hotel in San Pedro de Atacama. We will have a tour of Salar de Atacama: A salt lake of huge proportions (3000 sq km/1,158 sq mi!), its surface is covered by a thick layer of light-coloured salt crystals, caused by the evaporation of the lake’s water. The world’s largest lithium deposits are found here, but the salt pan is also home to several flamingo species, including the Andean, Chilean and James flamingo, who feed on the micro organisms found in the saline lagoons. These beautiful birds and other species can be observed in their natural habitat at the Salar de Atacama’s Chaxa Lagoon, which is part of the Reserva Nacional de los Flamencos.
On the way to the salt flat, you will stop at the village of Tocoano to see its green square with large cacti, and also its white church with free-standing spire, and interesting constructions using cactus wood. Afterwards, return drive to San Pedro. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 11 / July 9, 2019: San Pedro de Atacama [B,L,D]
Those who wish to experience the El Tatio Geysers have to get up early, to ensure a timely arrival at the geyser field at sunrise. The fountains located over 4300m/14,108ft, shoot up to 10m/33ft high. The sun’s first rays reflecting countless colours as they mingle with boiling jets coming from the geysers create a strong contrast with the rising steam and the surrounding summits. After the spectacular show there, you have the choice of recovering from the morning chill and warming up in natural pools created by hot springs.
The tour begins in the very early hours of the morning in San Pedro, to ensure a timely arrival at the geyser field at sunrise. The return drive to San Pedro takes place around midday.
After lunch, we will continue to Moon Valley. One of the best-known destinations between Calama and San Pedro is the Valle de la Luna. This tour into the rugged beauty of the Atacama Desert begins at dusk. With the Licancabur volcano providing the backdrop, strange salt and rock formations in the middle of the valley’s barren sandy landscape really do look like a moonscape. After a tour past the bizarre natural rock and salt shapes, you will ascend a lookout point on a giant sand dune where you can enjoy a breathtaking view of the valley and the Licancabur volcano. Then, you pass by the bizarre rock formation “Tres Marías” and end the excursion at “Coyote´s rock” (“Piedra del Coyote”). From the top of this rock, you overlook the Kari-Canyon and wide parts of the desert, you can even catch a glimpse at the Salar de Atacama. The setting sun bathes the landscape in a light that changes with every minute, providing a mesmerizing play of colours. The return drive to San Pedro is after sunset.
Overnight in San Pedro de Atacama.
Day 12 / July 10, 2019: San Pedro de Atacama [B,L,D]
This morning we will visit the ALMA Observatory. The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an international partnership of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan, together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA -the largest astronomical project in existence- is a single telescope of revolutionary design, composed of 66 high precision antennas located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile.
Day 13 / July 11, 2019: Flight back to USA
After breakfast, transfer to Calama Airport for your flight back to Santiago.Then connecting flight to Miami.