Your journey at a glance
This tour focusses on the glorious landscapes of Southern Chile, including some destinations that are well off the beaten path. The Lakes Region begins once you have crossed the Bío-Bío River, some 500 km south of the Chilean capital of Santiago. From this point on, temperatures are lower, the air more humid, and a landscape of snow-capped volcanoes and ancient forests starts to take over. However, this region is not all about nature. This is also an important cultural destination.
The Mapuche Indians form Chile’s largest ethnic group, and it was in this area that they fiercely defended their land against the Incas and the Spanish, proving themselves stubborn and daunting opponents. Neither empire advanced beyond this area, such was their resilience. German settlers arrived to the area in the 19th Century, and their stamp is particularly visible in-and-around Puerto Varas. Its natural wonders are of course the main attraction, and you will see no shortage of them during this fascinating Chile tour.
What to expect …
Transfer to Hotel Day 1
On arrival at Santiago’s International Airport you will be warmly welcomed by a member of the &Beyond team, who will assist you through passport control and baggage claim. You will then be driven to your hotel in Santiago.
Overnight in Santiago Day 1 - 3
The Singular Santiago is a five-star luxury hotel located in the Lastarria neighbourhood, in the heart of downtown Santiago. The hotel was designed to fit seamlessly into this iconic neighbourhood, which epitomises the pride and creativity of the people of Santiago. The history and heritage of Chile are important to its owners who are descendants of the pioneers who travelled to Patagonia to start a new life. One of the reasons they created The Singular Patagonia was to help capture the spirit of their homeland. This is therefore the ideal stepping-stone prior to the Patagonia leg of your journey.
In the afternoon, you will embark on a tour dedicated to highlighting the contrasts between the older, centrally located areas and the modern uptown stretch of Santiago. The adventure will be conducted in chronological order, allowing you the opportunity to understand the origins of the city, and the urban sprawl over the past 200 years, where Santiago turned from town to megapolis. Highlights will include Cerro Santa Lucía, where the city was founded in 1542, the Plaza de Armas, the Central Market, Estación Mapocho (a former railway station), and La Moneda, the Presidential Palace. The second half of the tour will take you to the residential areas of Providencia and Ñuñoa, and the cosmopolitan financial districts of Las Condes, before reaching La Dehesa, where the city reaches the foothills of the Andes, and offers a superb vantage point for a panoramic view of the city.
Afterwards you will return to The Singular Santiago for dinner and an evening spent at your leisure.
Spend two nights at The Singular Santiago Lastarria Hotel.
Venture through a vibrant capital city Day 2
A memorable opportunity awaits as you enjoy a full-day of explorations in Santiago, on a series of adventures that are exclusive to &Beyond.
Founded in 1541, the Chilean capital is today a modern, sprawling, and vibrant metropolis. Flanked on one side by the Andes, and the Coastal range on the other, the city has a unique natural backdrop. Today, Santiago is a dynamic city where colonial mansions sit among soaring skyscrapers, folk art becomes fashion and Latin and European cultures intertwine.
The tour highlights the contrasts between the older, centrally located areas and the modern uptown stretch of Santiago. The excursion will be conducted in chronological order, allowing you the opportunity to understand the origins of the city, and the urban sprawl over the past 200 years, where Santiago morphed from town to city. Features include the Cerro Santa Lucía, where the city was founded in 1542, the Plaza de Armas, the Central Market, Estación Mapocho (a former railway station), and La Moneda, the Presidential Palace. The second half of the tour will take you to the residential areas of Providencia and Ñuñoa, and the cosmopolitan financial districts of Las Condes, before reaching La Dehesa.
Flight to Puerto Montt Day 3
Today, after a scrumptious breakfast, you will be collected for your flight to the southern city of Puerto Montt.
Transfer to Puerto Varas Day 3
Upon arrival at Puerto Montt, you will be met by a local &Beyond representative, who will drive you to the charming town of Puerto Varas.
Overnight in Puerto Varas Day 3 - 5
Tucked between scenic Lago Llanquihue and the snow-capped Osorno and Calbuco Volcanoes, the enchanting village of Puerto Varas blends a rich German heritage with the stunning natural beauty of southern Chile’s Patagonia region. The quaint town centre features delightful wood-shingled homes, a public plaza teeming with rose gardens and unparalleled access to world-class adventures such as kayaking, canyoneering, rock climbing, fishing, hiking and skiing.
The best way to see the city of Puerto Varas is to walk from one end to another and observe its unmistakable German-inspired architecture, modern residential and beautiful gardens. One of the highlights is the colorful and impressive Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, which was founded in 1853 by German and Swiss settlers who came to populate southern Chile. Located in central streets and boulevards decorated with roses offer a coming and going of people enjoying their snack bars, tea houses and restaurants. Two natural viewpoints are Phillipi and Calvario hills, from both an overall view of the city, around the notion and extension of Llanquihue lake and lush vegetation that borders is obtained.
Heading up the downtown streets will discover historical treasures declared cultural heritage. The Kuschel House, the Niklitschek House are just a few and the real essence of the German culture of the early twentieth century. In the coastal board a boat and start navigation by the crystalline waters of Llanquihue lake with its beautiful places, admiring the Bay of Puerto Varas that can only be seen in all its glory as a backdrop and see if the weather permits the imposing Osorno volcano which with its daily snowmelt feeds Llanquihue lake. We end our tour tasting a piece of cake, eggs with bacon, jams, ham and cheese, Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate and Juice.
Hotel AWA is located next to the magnificent Lake Llanquihue, 27 km from the city of Puerto Varas and on a 20 hectare estate that boasts a private beach, marina and beautiful natural wilderness. Here guests can enjoy a myriad of excursions from fishing, birdwatching to volcano climbing, zip-lining, kayaking and river rafting. Given its beautiful location, guests can enjoy sensational views of the lake and volcanoes with cosy and well-appointed accommodation that beautifully decorated with local materials; spacious double rooms, junior suites and carefully designed suites – each individually decorated and featuring a spacious ensuite bathroom. The presence of modern art and traditional local craft such as mapuche looms offer a perfect combination of “old and new”. The entire project and finishes, have been oriented towards sustainability and energy efficiency.
Spend two nights at Hotel AWA.
Meander through a beautiful city boasting a rich cultural heritage Day 4
The ideal way to experience the city of Puerto Varas is to stroll from one end to the other. Observing its unmistakably German-inspired architecture, modern residential areas and lush, colourful gardens, a highlight is the impressive Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This neo-Romanesque and Baroque style place of worship was founded in 1853 by German and Swiss settlers who came to populate southern Chile. Puerto Varas is known as “La ciudad de las rosas” or “The city of roses”, and its central streets and boulevards are decorated with these gentle, fragrant rosettes. Delicious snack bars, tea houses and restaurants ensure a steady stream of patrons. Carve out some time to sumptuously dine on the region’s spectacular seafood, and then peruse the shops for locally-crafted Mapuche artefacts. Head downtown where you can discover historical treasures that are declared cultural heritage sites. The Kuschel House and the Niklitschek House are just a couple of these that reveal the true essence of the German culture of the early twentieth century.
Taking in the inspiring scenery, Puerto Varas boasts a magnificent natural environment, embodying mountains, lakes, forests and national parks that make this a visually powerful tourist hub. Standing proudly the Phillipi and Calvario hills, can be ogled from the city, and for an experience of the waterways board a boat and navigate the crystalline waters of Llanquihue lake, admiring the magnificent backdrop of the Bay of Puerto Varas. If the weather permits, gasp at the imposing Osorno volcano which, with its daily snowmelt, feeds Llanquihue lake.
Traverse the liquid beauty with lake crossing excursions from Puerto Varas to Bariloche over a series of pristine lakes and roads and lake crossings over the Andes Mountains to Bariloche.
Transfer to Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. Day 5
Today, after a delicious breakfast, you will be met by a local &Beyond representative and driven north to the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve.
Overnight in Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. Day 5 - 8
The Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve is located in the middle of the Chilean Patagonian rainforest, under the majestic Andes Mountain Range. This is a unique reserve with a strong commitment to the conservation of nature and local culture. Your stay will be a fascinating journey through the many wonders of this reserve, where you will learn about the area, the Huilo Huilo Foundation and their commitment to sustainable tourism.
The Nawelpi Lodge (‘Puma Spirit’ in Mapudungun) is located in the middle of the forest where luxurious bungalows are situated in beautiful surroundings along the Fuy River. The Nawelpi Lodge is a place to relax and connect with nature.
In the afternoon you will have the opportunity to explore the surrounds at your leisure, with dinner served at the hotel’s restaurant. Tuck into sensational dishes that blend the native flavours of the region with those brought by European settlers and enjoy exceptional views of the forest from your table.
Spend three nights at The Nawelpi Lodge.
Discover the wonders of a rainforest reserve Day 6
You will have two full days to pick and choose from the fun-filled adventures at Huilo Huilo’s Nawelpi Lodge:
- Educational walks
- Mountain biking
- Horseback riding
- Canopy tours
- 4X4 Excursions
- Snow adventures (available from July to October, subject to weather conditions)
Journey with a guide through the many wonders of this reserve Day 7
Under the majestic Andes Mountain range resides the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve. Located in the middle of the Chilean Patagonian rainforest, this unique reserve embodies a strong commitment to the conservation of nature and local culture. Journey with a guide through the many wonders of this reserve, where you will learn about the area, the Huilo Huilo Foundation and their pledge to sustainable tourism.
The mission of Huilo Huilo Foundation is the development of fauna and flora conservation projects with the help of the local community and entrepreneurs. One of the foundations flagship projects is the protection of the huemul, the southernmost deer. The huemal are a national symbol, but are in danger of extinction.
This reserve is a place of firsts and here you can catch a glimpse of the rare pudu, the world’s smallest deer found in the Lake District’s forests. Witness the monkey puzzle tree and alerce tree (similar to the American Sequoia), two of the world’s most enduring tree species. If you are an avid birdwatcher there is an incredible variety to spot here.
If you love heights then experience the magnificence of the Huilo Huilo Biological Reserve from above, in the Andean Condor Cable Car. The cable car travels through a new area of the reserve called the “Hidden Forest”, unveiling a breathtaking landscape and its inhabitants below, and offering access to a series of fun-filled activities such as trekking, mountain biking, and viewing the mighty condor.
For adrenaline junkies, try out one of the longest and highest ziplines in South America. The Huilo-Huilo Canopy tour offers visitors of all ages the chance to “fly” over the treetops in a spectacular setting, amidst the ancient forests of the Andean mountain range.
Transfer to Pucon Day 8
Today, you will be driven to Pucón, your last destination on this exceptional Chile tour.
Overnight in Pucon Day 8 - 11
Generally considered as the adventure capital of Chile, the area around Pucón offers a myriad of outdoor activities such as rafting, hiking, skiing, kayaking, and fly-fishing. There is however far much more to this multi-faceted destination. Among its many natural highlights, there are wonderful thermal springs and gorgeous national parks. Volcanoes, mountains, and lakes create one of the most beautiful natural sites Chile has to offer. The area is also the seat of the Mapuche, Chile’s main ethnic group. Their culture is very much alive in the area through cuisine, traditions, and language. The word ‘Mapuche’ means “people of the earth“. This ancient civilisation has gone through a difficult history, continually facing opposition, but they have remained free and independent. Mapuche art is known for its beautiful metalwork, especially silver jewellery such as headdresses and necklaces as well unique wooden carvings. They also have an ancient tradition of weaving textiles and carpets. Pucón has a small Mapuche Museum and many places where you can still explore the traditional Mapuche way of life. Pucón itself is a picturesque town, which depends heavily on tourism but has not succumbed to opting for a ‘touristy’ aesthetic.
The Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira is set in a beautiful and unique location close to Pucón. It features a 23-hectare park along the shores of the Liucura River and offers an oasis of peace and recreation. Vira Vira brings a new concept of vacation to life – “The Elegance of Adventure” as they call it, which means that a large range of exclusive activities and excursions will be a part of your all-inclusive stay. In the afternoon an activity will be provided by the hotel, giving you your first taste of the area, and will be followed by a splendid dinner.
Spend 3 nights at Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira.
Greet the great outdoors Day 9 - 10
Pucón has been coined the “Adventure Capital” of Chile, and offers myriad outdoor activities such as rafting, hiking, skiing, kayaking, fly-fishing, mountain biking, and horse riding. There is however far more to this multi-faceted destination than adrenalin escalation, and among its many natural highlights, there are wonderful thermal springs and gorgeous national parks.
Offering some of the most natural sites Chile has to offer, delve into explorations of the nearby Villarrica Volcano, visiting its labyrinth of tunnels or even reaching the summit. A scenic helicopter flight will leave you breathless as you soar over the active volcanoes and emerald colour lakes. For a stint in the pure white clouds of snow, embrace freedom as you ski and snowboard with no inhibition on the snow-capped volcanoes of Villarrica, Puyehue and Osorno.
You are encouraged to explore a new adventure or experience each day, in the ancient Mapuche territories. With some thirty options to choose from, your guides will expertly help you to tailor-make your adventures.
Flight to Santiago Day 11
Today, we wave a fond farewell as you are collected after breakfast and driven to Temuco Airport for your flight to Santiago International Airport. Upon landing, an &Beyond representative will be waiting to assist you with your connecting flight home.