From: February 25 to March 9, 2017

Destination: Chile

  • Chile: From Atacama to Patagonia - FULL

    Chile is a country of startling contrasts and extreme beauty. On this trip we will immerse ourselves in this country's rich and historic culture by visiting a variety of colorful cities, villages, and points of interest. We'll hike through a stunning array of geological formations, from lunar landscapes to ancient forests. We'll take an opportunity to visit terraced farmlands, handicraft markets, and local sea food markets. We'll also enjoy three days in the Torres del Paine National Park. Encompassing a vast variety of local flora, fauna, and stunning geological features, this park has earned a reputation as one of the most spectacular places on Earth. Throughout this trip we'll savor the variety of Chilean cuisine and the people who live here.

    THIS TRIP IS FULL. To get on a waitlist, register for the trip (no deposit required).
  • Saturday, February 25:Welcome to Chile, a country of startling contrasts and extreme beauty with attractions ranging from the towering volcanic peaks of the Andes to the ancient forests of the Lake District. We'll be arriving throughout the day at the Santiago Airport. From here you'll be transferred to Hotel Fundador, our home for the next two nights. We have an optional city tour of Santiago beginning at 2:00PM and ending with a visit to the summit of Cerro San Cristobal, providing us with a birds-eye view of Santiago, the Andean Mountains, and the Maipo-Valley, the best viewpoint of the city! Otherwise, our trip officially begins in the lobby at 6:00PM. After greetings and introductions, we'll get to know one another over a dinner of delicious Chilean cuisine and discuss our upcoming adventures. We'll make it an early night to be fresh for tomorrow's adventure. Hotel Fundador  D

    Sunday, February 26: This morning we visit the World Heritage city of Valparaiso, Chile's oldest port and only about 1.5 hours away from Santiago. The city's many hills are covered in multi-colored houses, creating a spectacular panorama which can be enjoyed from a number of vantage points atop the hills. Walking the streets of Valparaiso becomes a great adventure as we encounter the residents of several neighborhoods and soak up the quirky and bohemian atmosphere, something different from anywhere else in Chile. We'll visit the former residence of poet and national treasure, Pablo Neruda, called La Sebastiana, and afterwards we'll have lunch in one of the typical restaurants situated in the port area. From Valparaiso we will continue along the coast for about another 20 minutes to the beautiful beaches of Vina del Mar, named the Garden City for its many parks and green spaces. After soaking in the modern and contrasting surrounds of Vina del Mar, we will return to Santiago in the afternoon. Walking: approx. 6 miles (4-5 hours). Hotel Fundador. B,L,D

    Monday, February 27: We take a morning flight to Calama in Northern Chile, where we will catch a 1.5 hour shuttle ride to San Pedro de Atacama, our base for the next three nights as we explore the region of the Atacama desert. En route there are spectacular views of the Cordillera de la Sal (Salt Mountains). The rest of the morning is free to spend at your leisure, go shopping, and interact with the locals. In the afternoon we'll hike in the Cornizas and Valle de la Luna (Moon Valley). This bizarre lunar landscape is set ablaze with color at sunset, the strange rock formations framed by the Lincancabur Volcano. We'll stay until the sun goes down to enjoy the array of colors. Walking: approx. 3 miles (3 hours) reaching a maximum altitude of 2,500 meters. Hotel Don Tomas or similar. B,D

    Tuesday, February 28: Today we will be exploring the region near San Pedro de Atacama, with several opportunities to stop and take a walk. Our first stop will be the village of Socaire. The village is noteworthy for its peculiar architecture using rough stonework, and for the local reliance on age-old methods of planting terraced fields of crops. We then continue on to reach the majestic silence of the Miscanti and Miniques highland lagoons. The two volcanoes of the same names are visible in the background; the twin lagoons are a deep blue, each framed by a white salt crust which creates a memorable contrast to the yellow highland grass all around. At our next stop we visit Salar de Atacama, a salt lake of huge proportions covered by a thick layer of snow-white salt crystals as far as the eye can see. The salt pan is home to several flamingo species. 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. After the excursion we will return to San Pedro. Walking: approx. 3 miles, in altitude and warm temperatures. Hotel Don Tomas or similar. B,L

    Wednesday, March 1: In order to experience the El Tatio Geyers, we'll have to get up very early so we can arrive at the geyser field in time for sunrise! The fountains that shoot up to 33 feet high occur when the morning sun melts the nightly ice caps that form over the hot springs. The sun's first rays reflect an array of colors as they mix with boiling jets coming from the geysers to create strong contrasts of steam and light. Around midday we'll head back to San Pedro for some free time to recover from the early start and altitude. The afternoon is free to explore and to visit Le Paige Museum. If the sky is clear, and the moon is not full, there will also be an opportunity to participate in an optional astronomy tour. Hotel Don Tomas or similar. B

    Thursday, March 2: This is a long travelling day that will likely require an early start as we will have a 1.5 hour drive from San Pedro de Atacama to Calama for an early flight to Santiago, and then from Santiago to Puerto Montt in the Lake District region. From here we have a 30 minute drive to Puerto Varas on the shores of Lago Llanquihue where the Volcan Calbuco and Osorno lay in the background. During the afternoon we will have an opportunity to explore local customs and participate in a cooking class! Then it's on to our hotel where we can relax for the evening and explore the local dining options in this charming lakeside town. Hotel El Greco or similar. B,D

    Friday, March 3: Today we explore the Lake District. We drive along the shore of Lago Llanquihue and enjoy breathtaking views of the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes. We will ascend to 4430 feet altitude from where we can appreciate the colors of the sky and lake blending in together. There will be a short hike near the crater as well as the Solitario hike across the last lava flow in 1869. This will put us at the entrance of Saltos del Petrohue where cooling lava from the Osorno Volcano formed a series of rapids and waterfalls. Together they form an impressive sculpture of extruded volcanic rock shaped by thousands of years of river flow. We board a small typical wooden boat for a short cruise of Lago Todos los Santos (All Saints Lake). The lake is surrounded by high mountains and the lower slopes are thickly forested. As we pull away from the landing and the source of the river Petrohue, the view is quickly stolen by the tremendous size and proximity of snow-capped Osorno Volcano behind us. Walking: approx. 3.5 miles, moderate. Hotel El Greco or similar. B,L

    Saturday, March 4: Today we will visit Alerce Andino National Park, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This 97,000 acre park is home to the alerce (fitzroya cupressoides), which is often compared to the sequoia for it's thick diameter and height. The alerces are Protected Chilean Natural Monuments that can grow up to 150 feet tall and 13 feet wide. We will enjoy an amazing hike among these venerable giants that can live more than 3,000 years, making them the second-oldest tree after the American bristlecone pine. This park has an amazing temperate forest, a unique environment which has no similarity to Chile's other National Parks. Walking: approx. 3 hours. Hotel El Greco or similar. B.L,D

    Sunday, March 5: After breakfast and packing up, we take a sightseeing tour of the city of Puerto Montt founded in 1853 by German colonists on the site of an indigenous Mapuche community. Downtown we'll take time to walk about the main squares and historical monuments. Afterwards we'll visit Port Angelmo where there is a large handicraft market and a seafood market, brimming with salmon and trout. In the afternoon we'll head to the airport, about a half hours drive, to board a flight to Punta Arenas - the southernmost city of Chile. From here we'll drive about three hours to Puerto Natales where we will spend the night and start the Patagonia part of our adventure. Hotel If Patagonia or similar. B,D

    Monday, March 6: This morning we drive into Torres del Paine National Park, one of the most spectacular national parks in the world. It has a huge variety of plant and animal species which, together with its snow-capped mountain peaks, cascading rivers and waterfalls, glaciers and mirrored lakes, have earned it a reputation as one of the most spectacular places on earth. This is a busy day of traveling and walking, including unforgettable views of the Towers and the Torres Massif from the Cuernos viewpoint and Salto Grande waterfall. In addition to being introduced to the flora and fauna of the region, we will visit Laguna Azul for more breath taking views. Hotel Mirador del Payne or Cabanas del Paine. B,D

    Tuesday, March 7: Another day in Torres del Paine National Park, this time to explore the Western highlights including Lake Grey. This deep lake, fed by the glacier of the same name, is filled with icebergs which have splashed down from the massive ice flow. From the hotel, we'll drive to a spot south of the lake then start a short hike by crossing a suspension bridge over the Pingo River. From here the path leads through a Lenga forest typical of the area, and continues onward to the tip of the narrow peninsula at the lake's southern end. This viewpoint offers a spectacular view of the lake with its icebergs, the tongue of Grey Glacier at the far northern end, and the snow-covered mountain peaks soaring above. On the way back we will stop at the Visitors' Center to see an exposition of the origin and history of the park. Hotel Mirador del Payne or Cabas del Paine. B.L,D

    Wednesday, March 8: For those who choose, there is the optional possibility of returning to Puerto Natales by zodiac (approximately $175 per person). This excursion involves boarding zodiacs to travel down Rio Serrano. The river ends at the Fjord Ultima Esperanza where we will transfer to a boat before approaching the spectacular Balmaceda Glacier, flowing out from the eastern side of Bernardo O'Higgins National Park. We aim to arrive at our accommodation in Puerto Natales around 5:30PM. For anyone not wanting to take the optional river route, the guide will accompany you on visits to other areas of Torres del Paine including a visit to Milodon Cave. In the evening we will meet up in Puerto Natales where we will gather for a delicious final meal together, taking time to laugh and reminisce about our shared journey. Hotel Gusinde or similar. B,L.D

    Thursday, March 9: Sadly, it is time to say goodbye to Chile and to one another. Today we travel south across the barren Pampa of Patagonia, an impressive 3 hour road trip as we journey to Punta Arenas Airport where we will fly back to Santiago and catch our flights back home. We will arrive back in Santiago airport at approximately 4:30PM.
  • $3395 (see this page for travel discounts) Deposit $400. Single supplements (only necessary if you want you own room) are $875.  Please make sure you understand our cancellation policies.

    Trip Includes

    • A local guide and an Adventures in Good Company guide
    • 12 nights double occupancy lodging
    • Meals as specified on the itinerary
    • National Park entrance fees
    • Airport transfer for those arriving the first day
    • Ground transfers in a private bus
    • All activities on the itinerary except for those specified as optional
    Not included: Transportation to Santiago or flights within Chile, airport taxes, alcoholic beverages, gratuities. We will arrange the internal flights and you can expect an additional cost of about $400.
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  • Common Questions

    If you’ve never traveled with us before, you may have some questions about how we do things and what you can expect. We’ve answered the most common ones below and are always available by phone or email to answer any others.

    How do I pay for my trip?

    You can make the deposit by submitting a secure form with your credit card information after filling out the registration form or calling us with your card information. We will send you an invoice for the balance due with your Predeparture Information 4 months before an International trip and 3 months before a domestic trip. You can get a 3% discount for paying the balance by check.

    What if I’m coming alone?

    The majority of women who travel with us come by themselves. If you want to pay a single supplement to guarantee your own room, or if you want to share a room with someone with whom you are traveling, you can indicate that on the registration form. Otherwise we randomly assign roommates and rotate every time we change lodging – it’s a great way to get to know different women on the trip.

    Can you accommodate special diets?

    It depends on both the trip and on your specific needs. With advance notice, we can accommodate most dietary restrictions or allergies on our domestic trips, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten intolerant. This is not always true on international trips, so please contact us in advance if you have specific dietary needs. We've found that if you are willing to bring some of your own snacks and a couple of items to supplement what is on the menu (peanut butter is always good!) and possibly have less variety than you are used to at home, then dietary needs usually are no obstacle. If in doubt about your specific dietary needs, especially if you have Celiac disease, please give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email.

    What if I have to cancel my trip?

    The amount of your refund depends on how close to the trip you cancel and whether it is a domestic or an international trip. You can read our cancellation policies here. We highly recommend travel insurance because cancellations are always unexpected; we will send you additional information about insurance when you register.

    Will my family be able to get in touch with me in case of an emergency?

    Yes, we always send out emergency contact information. On a few trips, because of limitations in communication, the best approach is to give them the office number and let us make the contact.

    What other information will you send me?

    When you register, we’ll send you a Trip Summary that includes the itinerary, travel information, and a packing list. Three to four months before your trip we’ll send you Pre-Departure information that includes detailed information on how to get to the trip starting point, pre- or post-trip lodging suggestions, suggested books and websites etc. Four to six weeks before the trip, we’ll send you a list of everyone who is registered along with their travel plans; and a Pre-Trip letter with the name of your guide(s) and how to contact them if your arrival is delayed as well as any other important updates.

    Do you help with pre-trip and/or post-trip hotel reservations?

    For international trips, if you want to stay at the hotel where we’re staying the first night before the trip, or at the hotel we’re staying the last night after the trip, we’re happy to make a reservation for you. Otherwise our PreDeparture Information will have hotel suggestions. Our travel agent is also happy to help you with this.

    How does the waitlist process work and how often do people cancel?

    If you are interested in a trip that is full, you should sign up here. If there is a cancellation, we send out an email to everyone who has expressed interest and ask them to respond within 24 hours. If more than one person is interested, we give the space to the person who has traveled with us before or in the order of being put on the waitlist. Frequently, even when we have a long wait list, it is the last person to sign up who is still available to go. Whether or not there will be a cancellation is completely unpredictable, although not uncommon.

    What is the role of the guide(s)?

    On every trip, the primary roles of the guide(s) are to ensure your safety and to make sure that, to the extent possible, you are having the trip you want. The guide(s) will also make sure that you know what is happening each day and what you need to bring to be prepared. On domestic trips the guide(s) will also likely be driving, preparing picnic lunches and sometimes other meals, providing skills instruction, and giving you information about the natural history of the area. On any trip where we partner with another company (which is most international trips and some trips that require special equipment), the AGC guide will work with the local guide to make sure that the trip is conducted in accordance with the AGC philosophy.

    What if I have more questions?

    Give us a call (877/439-4042) or send us an email. A Program Manager is assigned to each trip. Once you have registered, she will send you a registration confirmation letter that includes her name and email, and she will be your primary contact. Her job is to make sure that you get all your questions answered and that you feel completely prepared for your adventure.

    What if I'm the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape/only single woman/only mom on the trip?

    You might be. Someone has to be the oldest/youngest/heaviest/least in shape person on the trip. And while the great majority of our trips have both single and non-single women, and moms and non-moms, sometimes they don't. But it doesn't matter if you're "different" in any of those ways - what you will share with everyone else is a desire to experience adventure in your life, and an appreciation of the joy and camaraderie of being in an all women's group.

Trip highlights

  • Walking tours of some of Chile's most beautiful and historical cities including Valparaiso, Vina del Mar, and Puerto Natales
  • Hiking throughout the regions dizzying array of geological features, from deserts and geysers to volcanoes and ancient forests
  • Immersing ourselves in local culture and customs
  • Experiencing the vast range of Chilean cuisine

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