Best of Chile & Easter Island

Trip Overview

Deadline to register for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure is January 27, 2014!

One of 2014's HOTTEST destinations! Offered next year ONLY, it's an eclectic and electric mix of the Best of Chile. We begin our adventure vacation in South America just outside Santiago, Chile, walking beautiful vineyard trails in the Colchagua Valley (“valle de colchagua”), the heart of Chile's wine country and one of the most outstanding agricultural zones in this beautiful Latin American country.

Join AdventureWomen for wine tasting in Chile at some of the top Chilean wineries and discover what Wine Enthusiast Magazine calls "The next Napa Valley". The Wine Spectator anointed the Colchagua Valley  “Wine Region of the Year” in 2005 and Travel and Leisure Magazine named it as “one of the 25 most interesting destinations in the world in the 21st century”. These valleys produce some of the world’s finest red wines of Chile: Cabernet Savignon, Carmenere, Syrah and Malbec. Beginning in the foothills of the Andes Mountains and reaching west to the Pacific Ocean, the Colchagua Valley looks much like Napa Valley with its ubiquitous vineyards, valley floor river, tree-studded foothills, and the Andes Mountains always as a backdrop.

In 1840, the Pioneer Silvestre Ochagavia initiated the grand history of Chilean wine production by planting the first and the finest French wine varieties in the valley. Today, the area is one of the most important wine regions in South America. Our fun and active walking tour here is punctuated with winery visits and tastings to some of the most historic and award-winning wineries with names like Bisquertt, Montes, Santa Rita and Montgras. Overnights are spent in sumptuous Chilean hotel-haciendas and guesthouses.

From Santiago's wine country we fly to the silent and mystical moonscapes of the Atacama Desert (or “desierto de Atacama”) in Northern Chile, to explore the driest desert in the world and experience a bare but beautiful landscape that's out of this world. Strange and fantastic sand dunes, canyons, geysers, high-plateau lagoons, hot springs, volcanoes and extraordinary skies. The salt flats or “salar de Atacama” occupy a 600-mile plateau and are a marvel of geology. Vast open spaces, ink-blue skies by day and star-filled jet-black canopies at night create the perfect conditions for the two major astronomical observatories that occupy the arid and lonely landscape. No surprise, it's here in the Valley of the Moon, that NASA trained its Lunar Rover!

The most developed town of pre-Colombian Chile, San Pedro de Atacama sits on the desert’s northern edge and offers an oasis in the moonscape. Laid-back and arty, it is home to about 2,500 “atacameños” (indigenous residents of Atacama). Our sumptuous Altiplanico hotel in the Atacama Desert is built in a unique design inspired in the style of an altiplano village, and exemplifies the concept of visual silence in this surreal environment.

Next stop, our flight from Santiago in Chile takes us over 2,100 miles of the deep blue Pacific Ocean to a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Polynesia, and a small, 64-square-mile speck in the vast ocean – Easter Island! Annexed to Chile in 1888, Easter Island is known as the world’s largest open air museum, one of the most mystifying places in the world, and the most remote inhabited island on Earth. Easter Island’s history remains as unclear as it is evocative and the people of “Rapa Nui” (Easter Island in Polynesian) developed their own distinctive culture, best known by the "Moai," the colossal stone statues that stand as silent bystanders of the past, guarding their isolated South Pacific outpost. These monolithic sculptures with heads and bodies are the most famous residents of Easter Island and were carved of volcanic rock. More than 600 of them dot this exquisite Polynesian island landscape. During our time here we'll explore why many important mysteries of the Easter Island puzzle, including how and why the Moai were built, still remain unsolved. Our stay at Easter Island's Altiplanico hotel is spectacular. Designed in the style of the traditional Easter Island boathouse, with luxurious gardens, a beautiful swimming pool that overlooks the sea, and large open spaces in which to relax after encountering the seductive mysteries of the island, is the perfect way to end our Best of Chile adventure vacation!

Main Attractions

  • Hike the vineyards of the Colchagua Valley near Santiago, Chile, known as the Chilean "wine route", for wine tastings and touring some of the best known wineries in the world.
  • Explore the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world, and San Pedro de Atacama, considered the archeological capital of Chile.
  • Fly to Easter Island, the easternmost island in Polynesia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the most isolated place on the face of the Earth.
  • Experience the culture and cuisine of cosmopolitan Santiago, the Colchagua Valley, Atacama Desert, and Easter Island.
  • Stay in wonderful, sumptuous accommodations that perfectly fit the environments of all three areas of Chile we are exploring.

What You'll See and Do!

Archaeology, Architecture, Cultural Exploration, Cultural Performances, Hiking, Natural History, Photography, Sightseeing, Walking, Wine Tasting

What You'll See and Do

  • Cultural Exploration
  • Cultural Performances
  • Hiking
  • Natural History
  • Photography
  • Walking
  • Wine Tasting

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Best of Chile & Easter Island

Trip Itinerary

An eclectic and electric mix of the Best of Chile, our journey begins walking the "Wine Route" in the Colchagua Valley, the heart of Chile's wine country, tasting its finest wines with the Andes Mountains as our backdrop. Fly to the silent and mystical moonscapes of the Atacama Desert to experience the driest desert on earth, a bare but beautiful out-of-this-world landscape of geological wonders and extraordinary star-filled night skies: visual silence in a surreal environment. Then jet 2,100 miles over the Pacific Ocean to the most remote inhabited island on earth, to learn the secrets of Easter Island's "Moai," silent bystanders of the past. One of the most evocative and mystifying places in the world, and the world's largest open-air museum.

Day 1

Thursday, March 27, 2014: Depart the United States for Santiago, Chile
This evening we depart together from Miami for the city of Santiago, Chile, the gateway to our incredible exploration of Chile's wine region, the Atacama Desert, and Easter Island.

Meals Aloft

Day 2

Friday, March 28: Santiago to Santa Rita
This morning our flight arrives in Santiago, Chile at 5:50 a.m.. A beautiful colonial city located in a truly privileged spot, Santiago de Chile lies close to the best ski resorts in the country, and near the beaches that inspired Pablo Neruda.

On arrival we are met at the airport by our guide and driver and transferred to the Rio Clarillo Reserve. Hopefully we slept on the plane, because we hit the ground running this morning for our first walk! The Rio Clarillo National Reserve is situated in the vicinity of Pirque, in the pre-Andean mountain range of the central zone southeast of Santiago. The park's main attraction and focus is the Clarillo River, which supplies water to the nearby residential areas of Pirque and Puente Alto. This reserve has several trails like the Jorquera Ravine and the Aliven Mahuida. It is also the last refuge for the sclerophyllous forest which is formed mostly by species such as peumo, litre, lun and quillayes.

At the park we may spot several bird species such as the endangered wood pigeon, and with luck, Condors and eagles. We'll also see the Chilean iguana, which at first glance looks like an overfed lizard. A great place for photography, the park is laced with deep valleys, high mountains, and magnificent landscapes.

We continue our trip south to the Santa Rita winery, one of the best-known wineries in the world. Santa Rita’s main house remains intact and its wine vaults have been declared a national heritage site. Our tour covers the history of Chile and its viniculture as we walk around the vineyard, the bottling plant, and historic cellars like the “Cal y Canto”, and the “120 Patriots” cellar that has been declared a National Monument. The tour ends with a wine tasting of some of their reserve wines.

Close by on the property is the Andean Museum, which has more than 1,800 pre-Columbian pieces of art including textiles, wood, gold and ceramics. It also displays garments, ceremonial outfits and crafts used before the arrival of Columbus to South America, and traditional weavings from 10,000 years ago, which are older than any other South American empire.

(Lunch and Dinner)

Overnight Hotel Villa Virginia
http://www.fundacionorigen.cl/villavirginia/sobre/

After a very full day, our welcome hotel accommodations this evening are at Hotel Villa Virginia in Chile's Maipo Valley. The charming, country-style boutique hotel is part of the Fundación Origen, a non-profit agro-ecological school in Pirque that offers training for locals. The hotel grounds feature a sprawling lawn and garden with towering Chilean Araucaria and purple Jacaranda trees that frame a shimmering pool. The hotel focuses on de-stressing via their hot tub, visits to the ecological school, a meditation room, and yoga classes. Our focus, however, is SLEEP. Be forewarned, however, of an early wake-up call, courtesy of a local rooster!

Day 3

Saturday, March 29: The Ruta del Carbon
After breakfast we continue our trip towards the Colchagua Valley, "an oasis of rural calm with just enough sophistication to whet the wine traveler’s appetite," and … "the next Napa Valley," says Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Wine Spectator categorized the valley as “Wine Region of the Year” in 2005, and Travel and Leisure Magazine also named it as one of the 25 most interesting destinations in the world in the 21st century.

In the Chilean indigenous language Colchagua means “valley of the little lagoons.” It was the southern boundary of the Inca Empire. After the independence of Chile from Spain in 1810, traditional families acquired big areas of land in this valley and built famous haciendas, some of which are still standing today. Today, the area is known as the Chilean “wine route.”

Near the town of San Fernando we'll hike along the “Ruta del Carbon,” named after the adobe kilns found here, which the local people still use to produce charcoal. A steam train from the 20th century still passes through the valley. During our walk, we'll pass some of the most beautiful vineyards and estates in the area, known for their self-sustaining projects, beautiful architecture, and one of the best Malbec wines of the continent.

In the afternoon we continue to “Residencia Historica,” in the Colchagua Valley for the nights of March 29th and 30th. It is a beautiful country house, landscaped with eucalyptus trees and set in a fruit orchard and rose gardens. Dating back to the 18th century, it has been lovingly restored into a wonderful boutique hotel, and is known for its high quality of service, food, and ambiance.

(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Overnight Residencia Historica
http://www.residenciahistorica.com

Day 4

Sunday, March 30: The Canal Route - MontGras
Today we depart early from Las Majadas and travel to Yaquil, a small town surrounded by mountains and vineyards. Our walk is along the “Canal Route,” where we view beautiful vegetation and experience friendly locals, many of whom may offer us their typical drink, Chicha de Uva, a fermented grape drink mostly consumed in the countryside and during festivals. Walking to the highest point, we can see incredible views of the Andes, the valley, and beyond to the MontGras, Bisquertt, and Siegel wineries.

After our walk the bus is waiting to take us to MontGras Winery for a tour and the opportunity to taste some of their best wines.

MontGras winery is one of the most modern wine making facilities in the world. It has always utilized state-of-the-art technology in all its processes, and has won a large number of international awards over the years like the "Best Chilean Wine Producer" award in the UK’s 2002 International Wine & Spirit Competition. That same year it was nominated for the "Winemaker of the Year."

MontGras was selected by Harvard Business School as a case study of a Chilean winery. In 1998 MontGras started the first vineyard plantation on the top of a hill with the sole purpose of producing an iconic wine, which was named Ninquen, which means “mountain plateau." This great example of the Chilean wine making industry and the study results have become known all over the world.

(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Overnight Residencia Historica

Day 5

Monday, March 31: Montes Winery
This morning we hike the area of Viña Montes and experience a unique and unforgettable walk through vegetation that is typical of central Chile. This nature trail offers fantastic panoramic vistas and the chance to see more than 100 different species of plants, a high percentage of which are endemic to Chile. The trail goes to the “Divisadero” hill, leading up to an oak forest and, because it is located in the Mediterranean region in the central part of Chile, it is one of the most unique places in the world. The Hualo Oak Forest grows on the south east of the Divisadero hill and it is commonly known as the “Robleria” (oakery), formed mostly by the Hualo or White Oak.

After our walk we visit a new winery in Apalta, which boasts highly sophisticated winemaking technologies. Inside the “bodega” we observe the gravitational system used to move the wines, while out in the vineyards we enjoy views of the steep hillsides. This property produces the best grapes for Montes Alpha M, Montes Folly, and Purple Angel wines.

Later this afternoon we drive back to Santiago where we check in to our hotel before dinner.

The Tuscan-style Hotel Rugendas is on a leafy residential street several blocks from busy Avenida Apoquindo. All guest rooms are cozy and neatly maintained.Closely linked to the arts, its name honors the famous German painter Juan Mauricio Rugendas, who traveled through Chile between 1834 and 1844, perpetuating on his paintings and illustrations the very soul and folklore of the country. Reproductions of his paintings decorate the warm premises of the hotel.

(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Overnight Hotel Rugendas
http://www.rugendas.cl

Day 6

Tuesday, April 1: Fly from Santiago to Calama, San Pedro de Atacama and the Valle de la Luna
Today we take a morning flight to the city of Calama at 7,400 ft. on the Atacama Desert, considered one of the driest cities in the world, and located in the region of Antofagasta. We drive to the village of San Pedro de Atacama at 7,900 feet. This small town is located in an oasis of the Altiplano region, and some of the highest summits of the Andean range can be seen from here. San Pedro is also considered the archeological capital of Chile. 11,000 years ago the first Chilean settlers chose this area in the middle of the dessert, and became the first people to develop agriculture in Chile.

During a very scenic drive we'll stop to enjoy the view of the Salt Mountain Range (“Cordillera de la Sal”) and also view the amazing Licancabur Volcano. Upon arrival we check in to our hotel.

This afternoon we travel to the Valley of the Moon, located in the Cordillera de la Sal, eight miles west of San Pedro. Famous due to its extraordinary resemblance to the surface of the moon, hence it's name, we find sand and stones carved by water.

The Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world (it rains once every 5 years!), is located in the extreme north of Chile, near the border with Bolivia. It's a beautiful location, extremely barren. The wind, the desolation, the time and the sand of the desert have formed continuously mutant landscapes, always revolving again and again into beautiful shapes. There are no insects and no plants, but different kinds of sand, salt, gypsum and earth. It is a place of peace. Hot, but calm, and very quiet.

Due to the complete lack of rain, conditions for visibility are exceptional and the Atacama region is considered the best place on the planet for astronomical research. In fact the rocky terrain and it's similarity to the moon served as a perfect testing ground for NASA’s Lunar Rover. The Valley of the Moon has dry lakes where its salt composition leaves a beautiful white mantle and escarpments of green, blue, red and yellow colors during different times of the day.

During our visit we'll find ruins of old Chilean salt mines, worker huts, the salt statues "Las Tres Marías" salt caverns. At the end of the day we'll enjoy the sunset from the top of a large sand dune.

With the stars brighter than you have ever seen them, you can choose an optional star watching experience at a local observatory for a nighttime starwatch session.

Back to our hotel at the end of the day, we freshen up in time for dinner.

(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Overnight Hotel Altiplánico San Pedro
www.altiplanico.cl/altiplanico-san-pedro-de-atacama/

The Hotel Altipnanico San Pedro was developed following the concept of visual silence: the eye registers the hotel in its totality included in the immensity of the Atacama desert. Tucked away on a gentle stretch of land on the outskirts of San Pedro de Atacama, the hotel is surrounded by the quiet presence of the Andes. It faces the impressive Licancabur Volcano, and its unique design was inspired in the style of an Altiplano village. After a day exploring the driest desert in the world, we'll enjoy famous Atacama sunsets and relax from the sun in the fresh covers of private terraces and a beautiful swimming pool.

Day 7

Wednesday, April 2: Archeological Tour of Salar de Atacama and Toconao
After breakfast we'll visit the Fort of Quitor or “Pukara de Quitor”, a 12th century fortress built by the native Atacameño people to defend themselves from other South American groups. 1.2 miles from San Pedro, it was built over the San Pedro River banks, and declared a National Monument in 1982.

We next travel to Tulor Ruins, a former town built over 2,800 years ago, formed by 22 edifices with circular walls made of mud and vaults. This archeological site is a former village where the buildings remain along a one mile stretch. In 1998, these ruins were included in the World Monument Watch list of the 100 most endangered sites in the world, and the non-profit World Monuments Fund has been working since then for technical and financial support to preserve the ruins.

On our way back to San Pedro we'll stop by the remains of a small atacameño community, which offers natural tunnels and a unique view of the Salt Range.

This afternoon after lunch at our hotel, we'll visit the Salar de Atacama, the largest salt flat in Chile. With 1,800 square miles of surface covered with salt, it is located 34 miles from San Pedro. This giant insert lake in the middle of the desert is the result of groundwater upwelling, which is saturated in salt and minerals. The rivers are fed by the snow that comes down from the Andean mountains, allowing several oases to be formed.

After this visit we have time to stroll in the little colonial town of Toconao, built completely out of liparita (pumice volcanic stone). In fact, the name “Toco” comes from the Cunzo language and means stone.

Our next stop is the Liparita stone quarry of the Jerez Valley and ravine where giant and peculiar petroglyphs can be viewed. Around the volcano we'll find people making handicrafts which resemble the bell tower of the local church.

Over the hills and the desert, suddenly a bright green landscape appears in one of the driest areas of the planet. Natural pools can be found here and the locals use them to refresh and calm the heat during the summer.

We finish our afternoon activities with a visit to Lake Chaxa. Here the scenery is captivating, with mountains in the distance, and nothing to disturb the eye but salt crust on the ground. The view of the lake in the middle of the desert is absolutely unique, as are the flamingos who live there (Andean Flamingos, Chilean Flamingos and James Flamingos)! If lucky, we might have the opportunity to watch them fly over the lake. Then we'll celebrate the end of our day with a view of an amazing desert sunset before returning to the hotel for dinner.

(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Overnight Hotel Altiplánico

Day 8

Thursday, April 3: Fly from Calama back to Santiago and Overnight
After a delicious breakfast and a morning at leisure, we return to the airport in the city of Calama to fly back to Santiago. Arriving in the afternoon, we check into our hotel and have the remainder of the day at leisure to explore the city of Santiago. Or, you may just want to stay and relax at our hotel, ranked #1 out of 156 hotels in Santiago by Trip Advisor! Here are some reviews:

"The location is just perfect : restaurants and shops all around, the underground nearby, a lovely park at the end of the street. The hotel itself has the ambiance of a small French hotel. It is nicely decorated, has a lovely small courtyard, staff is very friendly and helpful."

"What a wonderful experience we had at Le Reve. It was the highlight of our tour that ended in Santiago, Chile. This lovely little gem far exceeded our expectations for friendliness, helpfulness, overall customer service, cleanliness, ambiance, etc. The restaurants surrounding this quaint, but sophisticated, boutique hotel offered more than you could want. Rooms are small but very nicely appointed. You won't be disappointed!"

(Breakfast)

Overnight Hotel Le Reve
http://www.lerevehotel.cl

Day 9

Friday, April 4: Fly to Easter Island – Rano Kau – Orongo
This morning we fly to Easter Island from Santiago, a 4-hour flight covering 2,100 miles over the Pacific Ocean. A small 64-square-mile speck in vast ocean, and the most remote inhabited island on Earth, Easter Island was discovered in 1771 on Easter Sunday (hence the name). It is the easternmost island in Polynesia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the most isolated place on the face of the Earth.

We land at the Mataveri Airport in Hanga-Roa city, capital of Easter Island province. Upon arrival at the airport we will be transferred to our hotel, the Altiplanico Easter Island, an exceptional hotel whose architecture evokes the traditional Rapa Nui boathouses.

Although more Polynesian than South American in character, the 64-square mile island was annexed by Chile in 1888, and is now famous as the world’s largest ‘open air Museum’ due to the "Moai", or human-like stone statues, (more than 600 of them), that can be found on the island. The Moai remain very much a mystery which archaeologists are still trying to unlock by interpreting an ancient language of the Rapa Nui, which is the key to understanding this culture, and is written on the so called ‘rongo rongo tablets’. However, its unique characters that run left-to-right one line and then the reverse on the next line are still undecipherable.

The island owes its origin to three volcanoes which erupted some three million years ago: Poike, Rano Kau and Maunga Terevaka. It is not known when or how the island was first populated, but the most credible theory suggests that the Rapa Nui people came from other Pacific islands in the 4th century AD.

This afternoon we begin our exploration of the town of Hanga Roa, encountering at every turn spectacular Moais, carved out of rock between the years 1250 and 1500. Hanga Roa is the only city on Easter Island, which means that almost all 3,000 inhabitants of the island live here. It has one commercial main street, with a bank, a post office, a gas station and craft shops, which carry the traditional catholic figures carved in wood with the unmistakable Rapanui style.

After touring the town, we hike to the incredible Rano Kao volcano, a 3,000 foot wide crater which has in its interior a lagoon where the famous Totota Isles are located. The caldera has a diameter of 1.5 kilometers and close to the crater’s inner wall is the beautiful ceremonial village of Orongo, site of the famous “birdman” competitions that came to an abrupt halt 150 years ago when the first Christian Missionaries arrived on the island. During our visit we will see the fifty elliptical houses that comprise the village, and that were inhabited during the 19th century.

Continuing with the expedition we hike down the western slope of the volcano to the Ana Kai Tangata cave, a seldom-visited cavern on the coast which holds the island's only cave paintings. Famous for its ancient painted walls of manutara (terns), the paintings are directly over head, images of red and white birds in flight. Dramatic cliffs shelter the cave from the crashing surf.

(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Overnight Hotel Altiplánico Rapa Nui
http://www.altiplanico.cl/en/altiplanico-easter-island/

Set on an exquisite property overlooking the Pacific Ocean on Easter Island, the Altiplanico Easter Island hotel has a panoramic view of the shoreline on one of the world’s most unique destinations. Altiplanico Easter Island is designed in the style of the traditional Easter Island boathouse, with luxurious gardens, a beautiful swimming pool viewing the sea, and large open spaces to relax after encountering the seductive mysteries of the island. The deep blue of the Pacific Ocean will permeate your stay as well as the warmth of the Easter Island culture, rich with music, art, history and architecture.

Day 10

Saturday, April 5: Rano Raraku – Anakena
This morning we begin our journey to discover the path of the mysterious Moai. Our expedition begins on one of the least explored paths of the island, the Vinapu ceremonial center, where the Ahu Tahira, a large stone platform, was built with the perfection that reminds us of how the walls of Machu Picchu were built. This ahu (stone platform) shows extraordinary stone masonry consisting of large, carefully fitted slabs of basalt. All the walls are facing towards sunset at winter solstice.

From here we continue to the island's the east coast to learn about the process of construction and transportation of the colossal Moais. This is the site of the largest Moai ever transported and erected onto an ahu (large stone platform). The Moai stood at 9.8 meters with an estimated weight of 82 tons. Its top knot alone weighs approximately 11 tons. It is also believed to be the last Moai to be toppled, sometime in the 1840’s.

Next we visit the spectacular quarry of Rano Raraku, where the Rapa Nui people carved the giant statues and where dozens of Moais under construction, but never completed, are found. Some of those Moais are buried to their shoulders, and others are quite unique, presenting different characteristics such as tattoos painted on their bodies.

Our final stop is the beach of Anakena where, according to native legend, Hotu Matua first landed on Rapa Nui. At this site we'll see the Ahu Nau Nau, partially restored in 1978 by Rapa Nui Archeologist Sergio Rapu. Located in this same area is the Ahu Ature Huki. The Moai standing on this ahu was the first Moai to be re-erected onto an ahu. This was done by a group of islanders working with Thor Heyerdahl and the Norwegian expedition in 1956.

(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Overnight Hotel Altiplánico Rapa Nui

Day 11

Sunday, April 6: West Coast to Terevaka
Today we explore the west coast of Easter Island. On our way to the Ana Kakenga Cave we find other caves, petroglyphs, and ahus (large platforms) where Moais stand, plus different types of vaka or Polynesian houseboats.

The cave systems, the best examples of which are found at Ana Kakenga, are a lesser known but an equally intriguing attraction on Easter Island. At Ana Kakenga, the caves’ small openings expand to huge underground systems that seemingly go on forever. Descending into Ana Kakenga, there is a lava tunnel known as the cave of the two windows (because there are two natural made windows made of stone with views of the ocean) The Rapanui used to take refuge in these lava tunnels from marauding tribes or Europeans.

Continue to the ancestral village of Ahu Tepeu to see the most amazing boat houses, with perfect terminations of stone blocks forming walls up to three meters high. Then continue to Puna Pau quarry, which produced the red-colored Pukaos, or "top knots", the hats carved from scoria (red volcanic rock), placed on top of Moai heads.

Back to our beautiful hotel to enjoy our last sunset and dinner… on the easternmost island in Polynesia… the most isolated place on the face of the Earth.

(Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)

Overnight Hotel Altiplánico Rapa Nui

Day 12

Monday, April 7: Fly Back to Santiago and On to Miami
This morning is at leisure, to explore more of the town or go to the market, or just to marvel at what we have seen and done over the past 12 days!

Transfer to the airport and fly to Santiago, where we connect with our late night flight to Miami, arriving early on the morning of April 8.

(Breakfast)

Day 13

Tuesday, April 8: Arrive in Miami
Early arrival into Miami and connecting flights home.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Best of Chile & Easter Island

Traveling to Chile


Important Information About Traveling to Chile

We suggest you book your air reservations with our travel consultant soon after registering for this trip!

On this AdventureWomen Best of Chile trip, the international and domestic/ internal airfare is priced separately, and not included in the total trip price.

Total airfare price, international and domestic (internal) flights:
As of June 2013, the total airfare package on LAN Airlines, international roundtrip from Miami to Santiago, plus 4 domestic flights, from Santiago to the Atacama Desert (Calama) and back to Santiago, then from Santiago to Easter Island and back to Santiago, is priced at $2,095.00 (all taxes and fees included, with taxes subject to change).

Domestic (internal) flights only:
For the LAN Airlines internal air package ONLY (no roundtrip international flights to Santiago), which includes 4 flights: Santiago to the Atacama Desert (Calama) and back to Santiago; Santiago to Easter Island and back to Santiago; the price is $1,249.00 (all taxes and fees included, with taxes subject to change). 

For those choosing to do their own international air arrangements, roundtrip Santiago, you are welcome to meet us in Santiago at the beginning of the trip, and depart from Santiago at the end of the trip. However, you must buy your domestic/internal flights ($1,249.00) through AdventureWomen in order to travel with the group throughout Chile.

Please note: if you are making your own international air arrangements to and from Santiago, AdventureWomen is not responsible for your flight schedule should the domestic/internal airline flight times/schedules change.

Following is our flight schedule:

March 27, 2014  LAN #503 depart Miami 9:25 p.m., arrive Santiago on March 28 at 5:50 a.m.

April 1 -  LAN #342 depart Santiago7 a.m., arrive Calama 9:05 a.m.

April 3 -  LAN #147 depart Calama 4:10 p.m,. arrive Santiago 6:15 p.m.

April 4 -  LAN #841 depart Santiago9:30 a.m., arrive Easter Island 1:10 p.m.

April 7 -  LAN #842 depart Easter Island2:10 p.m., arrive Santiago 8:55 p.m.

April 7 -  LAN #502 depart Santiago10:45 p.m., arrive Miami7:30 a.m. on April 8

In order to facilitate group arrivals and departures from Miami, we ask that you work directly with our travel consultant at Montana Travel to make your travel arrangements. After booking your trip, please contact Ciretta Green at Montana Travel, in Bozeman, Montana, to reserve your air space for Chile, and to discuss any add-on air arrangements to Miami: 

1-800-247-3538

Email: ciretta@mttravel.com

FAX 1-406-586-1959

CANADIAN RESIDENTS, please call 406-587-1188

When calling, please identify yourself as an AdventureWomen traveler. If you leave a message on Ciretta's voice mail, she will return your call promptly.

Hiking Ability Required

Our hikes throughout this trip are rated as moderate. This means that you must be in very good physical condition. Trips of this designation offer moderate physical challenges. You should be able to hike from 5-8 miles, in rolling terrain. Our hikes through the wine country in Colchagua will be between 3 to 5 hours a day (they don't use "miles", just hours), in rolling terrain. In the Atacama Desert and on Easter Island you must be prepared to walk each day, sometimes many miles, as we explore the environments of these two amazing areas.  The average elevation of the Colchagua Valley is about 500 feet, but some of the vineyards are at altitudes up to 9,000 feet!  The Atacama Desert's average altitude is 7,230 feet, with altitudes reaching above 12,000 feet. And being an island, Easter Island's maximum altitude is only about 1,663 feet.

Passports, Travel Documents & Health Requirements

Citizens of the United States must possess a valid passport, which must be valid 6 months beyond your intended stay. No visas are required for travel in Chile. If you do not have a passport, GET IT SOON! When you get your passport, you should also get two extra photographs to take with you. You should always possess extra photos when traveling to use in case of an emergency. No special vaccinations are required for travel to Chile. However, please consult your personal physician, local health department, travel clinic, or immunization center about any vaccinations you may need to update, or others that may be personally recommended for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history. Hepatitis A and B are present everywhere in the world, so you should talk to your doctor about this. You MUST have your own health insurance and not have any physical problems or conditions that would be adversely affected by the activities on this trip or the rigors of international travel.

Expedition Leader & Guide for our Chile Tour

After growing up in a small town in a valley of the Andes Mountains in Ecuador near Quito, Sebastian Jurado obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism Administration in Santiago de Chile. He perfected his English on a backpacking adventure through Canada and United States for 9 months, and after returning to Ecuador to guide, he was invited to manage a prestigious Environmental Education Project in Costa Rica. He has also led tours in Peru and the Amazon Basin, the Galapagos Islands, been a project advisor for anthropology study abroad programs through Louisiana State University, and is certified in CPR and Wilderness First Aid. Due to his vast experience and knowledge, he also works with our outfitter developing new programs, plus trains and coordinates guides when he is not guiding in the field. We are lucky to have Sebastian as our main guide throughout all portions of our Chile adventure!

Liability Form & Final Payment

Part of what AdventureWomen, Inc. hopes to foster is the taking of more self-responsibility for our own lives, health, and safety. Please read the Liabiity Form carefully, sign it, and return it with the remainder of your balance due by December 26, 2013.

Chile Climate & Weather: End March - Beginning April

When is the best time to travel in Chile? Santiago and surrounding areas enjoy a Mediterranean climate with four well-defined seasons (which are the reverse of those in the Northern Hemisphere). The weather is comparable to that of central and southern California. Our trip is in South American Autumn, which stretches from March through May, during which time temperatures range from 45 degrees F up to a maximum of 72 degrees F. The perfect hiking weather. Since the Atacama Desert is one of the driest areas in the world, the weather rarely changes from month to month. And Easter Island's weather is similar to Santiago's at the end of March - beginning of April. Nice! All told, the weather in all three areas of Chile during our travels is great!

Money Matters

The Chilean unit of currency is the peso (Ch$).  1  U.S. Dollar = 472.3 Chilean pesos as of April 3, 2013. Carry small bills with you, as it can be difficult to change bills larger than Ch$1000 in rural areas. Exchange rates are usually best in Santiago. Paying a bill with U.S. cash is sometimes acceptable (in and around Santiago), but you should expect to pay all transactions in the local currency, especially in the Atacama Desert and Easter Island. Accessing funds through an ATM, known as un Redbanc is by far the easiest and most convenient way of carrying money while in Chile. Most ATMs use the Plus (Visa) or Cirrus (MasterCard) systems and will accept your debit card. Most also have instructions in Spanish and English. You may have to pick an option titled 'foreign card' (tarjeta extranjera) before starting the transaction.You'll find machines in most towns (with the exception of Chile's Easter Island and small highland villages, like the Atacama Desert). You can find the current rate of exchange at the following website:  http://www.xe.com/ucc/

Electricity

The electrical current in Chile is 220V. If you plan to bring 110-volt appliances with flat-pronged plugs, you need to carry an international converter kit with a set of adapter plugs.Chile uses both the Type C European 2-pin Electrical Adapter Plug and the Type L Italian 3-pin Electrical Adapter Plug. Popularly known as the Europlug, the Type C electrical plug is a two-pin unearthed plug used throughout continental Europe, parts of the Middle East, and much of Africa, South America, central Asia, and the former Soviet republics.

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The Type L electrical plug has two round pins and a round grounding pin in a line. The live and neutral contacts may be inserted in either direction.

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If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Best of Chile & Easter Island

What’s Included in your adventure travel tour in Chile & Easter Island

  • 11 days/10 nights, fully guided land and hotel arrangements in Santiago Wine Country, the Atacama Desert, and Easter Island.
  • All transfers from hotels to airports, services and taxes, and all ground transportation throughout the trip.
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary.
  • Bottled water.
  • All accommodations in wonderful hotels, twin-bedded double occupancy rooms with private facilities.
  • An English-speaking tour leader throughout the trip.
  • Local guides for various tours during the trip.
  • All entrance fees and visits per the itinerary.
  • One AdventureWomen escort.
  • Tips for carriers and porters.

What’s Not Included in your adventure vacation

  • Round-trip international airfare, Miami- Santiago-Miami.
  • 4 internal flights in Chile: Santiago-Calama (Atacama Desert)–Santiago;  Santiago-Easter Island-Santiago.
  • Round-trip airfare from your hometown to Miami.
  • Alcoholic beverages and items of a personal nature.
  • Tips and gratuities for local guides and drivers. Suggested amounts are, on average:
    • $10 per person, per day to your main guide;
    • $5 per person, per day to your local guide(s);
    • $5 per person, per day for local driver(s).
    • Miscellaneous tips to staff at lodges.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Best of Chile & Easter Island

What to Pack for your Chile Adventure Tour

Since this adventure vacation in Chile incorporates everything from walking to hiking to sightseeing, and occurs in climates that are by turn Mediterranean, dry desert, and “island” unpredictable (on Easter Island), you need to come prepared! To be comfortable and safe while traveling in these climates, a wide variety of clothing is needed so that you can “layer” for cooler nights (in the mountains and the desert), or take off “layers” if it is warm (i.e., in Chilean wine country and also in the desert and Easter Island).

We suggest you use your daypack as your carry-on bag during your flights to and from Santiago. In it you should have all valuables and essentials: medications, passports and all important documents, cameras and memory cards, a day’s change of clothing, lightweight sleepwear, and toiletries.

Put luggage ID tags outside AND identification inside your baggage. If your bag is lost and the outside ID tag and baggage stickers are dislodged, the airlines may open the bag to search for an ID inside your bag. (We will send you 3 tags for the outside of your bags.)

You should also be aware of any new airline regulations about what you can and cannot bring in your carry-on bag, and what you must put in your checked luggage.

Three words of packing advice: LIGHT, LIGHT, LIGHT! It is best to condense your luggage into one manageable suitcase with wheels and one daypack or backpack (carry-on size). Also, a spare, very light, duffel bag or day pack rolled or folded into your wheeled suitcase is useful for transporting souvenir items home. This list tries to incorporate everything you should bring to be comfortable for any of the activities in which you participate.

  • Rain gear. It is very important to bring a good rain suit (including jacket and pants). Your rain parka can also act as a lightweight wind jacket. Please note, however, that bringing just a rain parka or poncho does not keep your legs and feet dry, and it is important that ALL of your body remains dry in a drizzle or in a downpour. See the “Resources” sheet in your registration packet., or go to Ex Officio at or LL Bean for good raingear suggestions.
  • Medium-weight hiking boots. It is best not to wear shoes on our hikes, even if they are walking shoes, because ankle support is absolutely essential in mountainous terrain. Please do not buy heavy, leather boots as there are numerous, medium-weight, quality hiking boots on the market. Asolo, Garmont, Merrill, Vasque, and other makes are widely available and designed especially for women. Since they are waterproof, Gore-Tex boots, although a bit more expensive, are our first choice. Other boots should be waterproofed with one of the excellent waterproofing products available such as Nikwax. MAKE SURE your boots fit properly and are well broken-in. Wear them around town to thoroughly break them in. PLEASE DO NOT COME ON THIS TRIP WITH A PAIR OF BOOTS YOU HAVE NEVER WORN BEFORE!
  • One fleece jacket, one wool or fleece cap, and lightweight gloves. You can layer the fleece jacket under your rain parka to act as a warmer jacket. Remember, deserts can get very cold at night!
  • Extra comfortable shoes such as tennis shoes or Tevas to wear in the evenings...ahhh!, and comfortable shoes to wear with other casual outfits.
  • A lightweight day pack for carrying camera gear, hat, sunscreen, etc. (you can also use your day pack as your carry-on bag).
  • Water bottle. We recommend the 24oz. Nalgene Everyday OTG Tritan Bottle. Made of Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, the bottle is completely BPA-free. Tritan™ copolyester provides excellent impact resistance and is suitable for both warm and cold beverages. Water bottles need to be attached to a belt, or have a carrying strap or carabiner to hold them in place or attach to your day pack for hands-free hiking.
  • Long pants and hiking shorts, several pairs. Excellent hiking clothing is available through the TravelSmith catalog which is included in your registration packet.
  • Long-sleeved shirts and T-shirts.
  • Bathing suit.
  • Underwear and sleepwear.
  • Socks. It is best to wear 2 pairs of socks inside your hiking boots, a pair of wool socks, and a thin pair of liner socks underneath the wool socks. We like Thorlo hiking socks and polypropylene liner socks which wick away moisture and reduce blistering. Bring plenty of socks!
  • Sun hat and sunglasses with neck strap.
  • A lightweight camera vest if you plan to take lots of photos. This is often very convenient to have for extra lenses, batteries, memory cards, binoculars. Lots of pockets are good!
  • A spare pair of glasses (if you wear glasses).
  • Bandanas. Bring 2 or 3 (100% cotton) for instant sweat bands and other uses too numerous to mention, some of which you have never even dreamed! Besides, it’s a tradition at AdventureWomen!
  • Sunscreen, lip balm with sunscreen, insect repellent, lotion.
  • Personal toiletries including Wash and Dries.
  • Ziplock bags in various sizes. For wet, dirty clothes and shoes, or to pack anything that might leak.
  • Lightweight flashlight.
  • Small travel alarm clock.
  • Small, lightweight binoculars for viewing animals, birds, scenery and long distance views. Nikon or Minolta make fine, lightweight viewing binoculars. Try a general game viewing 7 X 28, or 8 X 20 binoculars.
  • Earplugs. We recommend Mack's Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs, which you can buy at most drugstoresl. Good to 22dDecibels!
  • Extra clothes for evenings. Nice, casual clothes for relaxed dinners out. Maybe a casual dress or skirt.
  • Regarding foot care: To prevent blisters many hikers use moleskin. However, we recommend bringing a small roll of ordinary duct tape as an alternative. Applied when you feel a “hot spot,” before a blister forms, it reduces friction much better than moleskin. If you develop a blister, Spenco “Second Skin” is a very comforting necessity. Also bring foot powder for moisture absorption, and your own personal “foot care kit” which should include: cloth (not plastic) Band-Aids, about 10 individually wrapped alcohol pads, and a small tube of Neosporin or other antibiotic cream.
  • Optional: Journal, a relaxing book, and a field guide to Chile. 

Personal First Aid Kit

(bring in small amounts and in small containers)

  • Foot powder for moisture absorption; cloth, not plastic Bandaids; about 10 individually wrapped alcohol pads; and a small tube of Neosporin or other antibiotic cream.
  • Aspirin/ibuprofen, etc.
  • Cold-symptom relief tablets, antihistamine, cough drops.
  • Adequate quantity of sweat-resistant sun screen with at least an SPF 15 rating or higher, and lip balm with sunscreen.
  • Tweezers.
  • Ace bandage.
  • Antibiotics (Cipro, or another systemic antibiotic).
  • Prescription medicines in their original bottles.
  • Acidophilus enzyme (available in capsules in health-food stores). This often helps your digestive system get in shape for “new” flora.
  • Immodium, Lomotil, or similar anti-diarrhea medicine.
  • Pepto-Bismol tablets and/or liquid (in leak-proof bottle).
  • Emergen-C. Good for higher altitudes, and some people swear they get fewer colds on airplanes if they take this during flights. 

Camera Equipment

For many women, photography will be a VERY LARGE part of this trip. The opportunities are endless, and the scenery spectacular! We suggest that you bring many more memory cards and batteries than you think you could ever use!

  • Digital camera, memory cards, battery charger, and adapter. In India, triple round pin sockets are the norm. Most digital cameras have a built in converter so you probably only need to bring an adapter. You can also purchase adapter plugs in stores. You will be able to charge all of your batteries on the boat.

Last Minute Reminders

  • Make photocopies of your airline tickets and the first two pages of your passport, and put them in different locations (suitcase, carry-on bag, etc.).
  • Bring 2-3 extra passport size photos to use in emergencies.
  • Your valuables should be insured for the duration of the trip, but better yet, leave them at home.
  • Remove extra credit cards, driver’s license, and personal items from wallet or purse.
  • Make sure passport and airline tickets are valid and in the correct name.
  • Check with airline to reconfirm reservations and departure time (most airlines want to hear directly from the client for confirmations).

Some Extra Items to Add to your "What to Pack" List

We are updating and adding the following items for all international trips. With more than 30 years of experience flying around the world, we think these items help make your long airline flights much more comfortable and even more bearable:

  •  Neck pillow - Inflatable neck pillow for blissful support and deep sleep. For packing, it folds into itself. Self-sealing valve means nothing to close. Soft microfleece cover removes for washing. Eagle Creek® Large Inflatable Travel Neck Pillow.
  • Sleep mask /Comfort eye shade - Ultra lightweight and comfortable, the Comfort Eye Shade screens out light and distractions for a cozier flight. Ultra-soft micro fleece for comfort. Adjustable elastic strap for a perfect fit. Made of Molded Polyester Micro Fleece. Eagle Creek® Comfort Eye Shade.
  • Travel compression socks - Reduce ankle and leg swelling and reduce the risk of deep vein thrombosis. These doctor-designed socks stimulate circulation through gradual compression that stops swelling and guards against (DVT). Made of coolmax®-lycra®-nylon. The TravelSox® cushion Walk Socks have extra-padded soles and are made of moisture wicking SoftPrim®. TravelSox® Cushion Walk Sock™.
  • Noise canceling headphones - Block out unwanted sounds of children crying and airplane engine drone, and/or enjoy great audio sound. Reduce distortion and increase perceived loudness so you can enjoy sound at a lower volume. Get the around the ear design, which is very comfortable.
    • Bose Quiet Comfort 2 - List Price: $199.99. Oval shaped around-the-ear design, an iPod fits nicely in the center of the case between the headphones. You can get the next generation of Bose Quiet Comfort 3, but the cost is $349.00.
    • Audio Technica ATH-ANC7 - List Price: $219.95 Excellent sound quality and above average noise cancellation. Comfortable leather cushioning around the ear and can be worn for long periods of time with no discomfort. Excellent headphones with a reasonable price tag. Comparable in quality to the Bose Quiet Comfort 3.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.