Epic Chile - Atacama & Easter Island

Uncover two of Chile's most fascinating destinations, the unworldly landscapes of the Atacama Desert and the remote and mysterious island of Rapa Nui where giant Moai statues have left travellers captivated and in awe for generations. This is a less trodden journey of remarkable inspiration. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Stay in Tierra Atacama, a National Geographic Unique Lodge

Experience the spiritual and fascinating land of Atacama & Easter Island

Savour fine and exquisite gastronomy 

Experience from a local insider's perspective

ITINERARY

DAY 1: SANTIAGO / ATACAMA

Today, arrive into Calama El Loa Airport from Santiago and on arrival, be transferred to the stunning Chilean desert landscapes of Atacama (1.5hrs drive). On arrival, be welcome by the splendid environments of Tierra Atacama, a National Geographic unique lodge with breathtaking vistas and serene silence of the desert. 

Overnight: Tierra Atacama, Atacama

Meals: Welcome Dinner

 

DAY 2: ATACAMA

Early this morning, we begin an excursion to the Moon Valley "Vallee de la Luna" to appreciate the surreal beauty of the landscape from many viewpoints in the Salt Mountain Range, such as the scenery of Death Valley, Moon Valley and the Andes Mountain Range. Take short walks to the rocky outcrops formed by natural erosion and weathering of wind, rain and temperature change of the desert. Thereafter, travel to the remote lagoons of Aguas Calientes and the salt flats of Tuyajto with its amazing colors and contrasts. Experience the Piedras Rojas Red Rocks with formations that seemed to come from another dimension. The colors of the Altiplano stand out against the fierce blue skies and make for a stunning panorama. 

Overnight: Tierra Atacama, Atacama

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 3: ATACAMA

Begin another day of exploration with a visit to the Tatio Geysers, located at an altitude of 4,300m. The geothermal field has close links to the volcanic activity in the zone and consists of huge steam columns which reach heights of 12m. On the way back to the village, there is an opportunity to spot families of vicunas, foxes, vizcachas and Andean ostriches. En route, stop in the village of Machuca, situated at 4,000m and has a privileged site surrounded by nature and is the only village where we can see roofs made of cactus and maybe taste some barbecued llama, oered by the villagers. 

Overnight: Tierra Atacama, Atacama

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

DAY 4: ATACAMA / SANTIAGO

Farewell today to the surreal landscapes of Atacama as we drive to Calama El Loa Airport (1hr drive) for a domestic flight to Santiago (2hrs). On arrival at Santiago - capital city of Chile, begin a walking tour of the historical centre of the city where we admire the vibrant atmosphere of Plaza de Armas, the majestic Moneda Palace and appreciate the verdant splendor of Parque Forestal, modelled after Paris' Champs Elysees and enjoy the bohemian atmosphere and colorful street art of the Bellavista neighborhood. Consider an ascend to the summit of San Cristobal Hill for a panoramic view of the glittering city with the Andes Mountain Range as the backdrop. Finally, retreat to The Aubrey, a charming boutique hotel with a contemporary modern buzz. 

Overnight: The Aubrey, Santiago

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5: SANTIAGO (EXCURSION TO VINA DEL MAR & VALPARAISO)

We take an excursion today to experience the coastal beauty of Vina del Mar and Valparaiso today. En route, we journey to the verdant vineyards of the Curacavi and Casablanca valleys where we visit a wine estate and tasting before continuing to the vibrant town of Vina del Mar, dubbed as the "Garden City" with impressive architecture and horticulture. Next, visit the UNESCO-listed town of Valparaiso, laden with architectural eccentricities tumbling over 43 hills. Explore the serpentine streets dotted with colorful buildings and spend some time with a local to experience the town from an insiders angle. 

Overnight: The Aubrey, Santiago

Meals: Breakfast 

DAY 6: SANTIAGO / EASTER ISLAND

Today, transfer to Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez Intl Airport for a flight to Easter Island (5.5hrs) as we enter into another realm of mysterious proportions and one of the most remote and isolated destinations in the world. On a remote speck of rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean lies one of the most amazing and enigmatic cultures in history, Easter Islanders or the "Rapa Nui" known locally, created a cultural heritage that echoes till these days as we are enchanted through the ages by the giant rock statues called "Moai" On arrival, we are met at Mataveri Intl Airport and transfer to the tranquil and dramatic surroundings of the Explora Rapa Nui for check in. 

Overnight: Explora Rapa Nui, Easter Island

Meals: Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 7: EASTER ISLAND

We start our exploration today travelling eastward along the south coast, visiting sites that are lesser known and avoid the crowds. Experience a walk amongst giants in the abandoned moai statue factory, as well as feel the majestic presence of the greatest monument ever built, with its 15 mighty statues. Our first stop will be Hanga Poukura, a beautiful coastal area of interesting, rough lava rock formations and several Moai statues buried in a line with only the backs visible. You will also witness the Hanga Poukura blowhole, created by millions of years ago and when ocean waves comes in, water will spurt up into the air. Continue then to Hanga Mai Hiku where after the deforestation of Easter Island, the islanders had to work hard to keep the humidity in the soil. We learn about the ancient techniques of plantation used by the locals. Thereafter, make a stop at One Makihi, an amazing site with Moai statues, beautifully decorated against the Rano Raraku volcano where most of the Moai statues were first created here. Finally, we visit the site of Ahu Tongariki, the biggest and most impressive monument with its 15 mighty moais. 

Overnight: Explora Rapa Nui, Easter Island

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 8: EASTER ISLAND

We start the morning today with another visit to Ahu Tongariki with a morning sunrise spectacle of the Moai statues captured in breathtaking angles from the rising sun. Later in the day, we begin our adventure on the north coast today. Breathe the tranquil atmosphere when venturing into the most remote and inaccessible areas, surrounded only by free-roaming animals and countless abandoned prehistoric remnants in a magical ambient of an ancient past. We journey around the back of the highest volcano along the remarkable north coast of Easter Island where there are neither roads nor signs. The tribes that lived in these remote areas were cut off from the rest of the island.

 

We visit the Ana Kakenga, an ancient cave where the ancient inhabitants modified the natural entrance with rocks, leaving only a small passage through that eventually opens up to a large chamber and splits into two openings from the cliffs, overlooking the ocean. We then visit a few abandoned villages such as Te Peu and Vai Mata, with some well-preserved dwellings as well as Moai statues. We also visit the Ahu Atanga where the monument is perfectly astronomically-aligned, pointing to the astronomical north with extreme precision and located on the northermost tip of the island. 

Overnight: Explora Rapa Nui, Easter Island

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

DAY 9: DEPART EASTER ISLAND

Today, be transferred to Mataveri Intl Airport for your onward journey to Santiago or Papeete in Tahiti. 

Meals: Breakfast

HOTELS

Amid the surreal, lava-sculpted, salt-glazed landscapes of Northern Chile lies the Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa, a National Geographic unique lodge surrounded by natural beauty of epic proportions. The lodge blends into the windswept plateau, landscaped into the native vegetation and built inside the clay walls of a centuries-old cattle corral. 

Tierra Atacama Hotel & Spa, Atacama

The Aubrey is Santiago's first true boutique hotel and is truly a distinctive urban retreat that lets one escape from the buzz of the city. It is a transformed space with 15 beautifully appointed en suite bedrooms, each with a unique character and most with balconies and terraces. 

The Aubrey, Santiago

Explora Rapa Nui is an all-inclusive resort situated on Easter Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean offering 30 comfortable suites featuring ocean views and designed to maximize silence and privacy with sophisticated furnishings. 

Explora Rapa Nui, Easter Island

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