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Chile
  • 5-9 day itinerary options available
  • Next Departure: Call (800) 575-1540
  • From $2,998 / person
  • (Varying single supplement)

Explore Patagonia on our Chile Vacation Packages!

Patagonia’s picture-perfect landscape of soaring mountains, alpine lakes, expansive glaciers, dense forest, lush valleys, and temperate steppes are rife with adventure. Hike and horseback ride deep into the rich Chilean terrain. Local guides will recommend and join you on the perfect adventure. Our Chile vacation packages allow you to experience the life of a gaucho and learn about the flora and fauna by day and indulge in a massage, relax in an open air Jacuzzi with a glass of Chilean wine by night.

  • Hiking
  • Horseback

Activity Level: Moderate to Challenging

About
This Tour

From your home base at the spectacular Hotel Salto Chico, uniquely situated on the banks of a thundering waterfall in the heart of Torres del Paine National Park, select from dozens of activities each day as you explore Patagonia’s awesome glaciers, rivers, lakes, and array of wildlife by foot, horseback, and sailboat on this Chilean adventure tailored to your definition of perfection.

•    Awake to the sound of rushing water and the pink of a rising sun aglow on the jagged granite peaks of the Paine Massiff
•    Cross the Pingo River by hanging bridge and trek through a forest of deciduous beech to Lake Grey Peninsula for breathtaking views of Grey Glacier and the icebergs peppering the shore
•    Snap close-ups of guanacos, rheas, condors, and eagles and panoramas of Almirante Peak, the Horns and the Towers of Paine, and the Paine River Cascade on a photo safari
•    Ride horseback with a local Gaucho through a rugged landscape of rushing rivers, pristine lakes, and open prairie
•    Sail along the face of a glacier with ice so electric blue you won’t believe it’s real
•    Cap off your day with a visit to the Ona Spa, a feast of southern king crab and Magellanic lamb, and a glass of highly acclaimed Chilean wine

Glacier
Photo: Glacier

Our guides did a great job making sure all the guests had their needs met. They delivered excellent service and were willing to do anything to make sure we were well accommodated.

Mike Pipkin Crownsville, MD

Itinerary
& Map

Tour Itinerary

5-9 day itinerary options available

Punta Arenas, Chile

Day 1: Punta Arenas / Hotel Salto Chico
Punta Arenas / Hotel Salto Chico
Meals Included:  D
Overnight: Hotel Salto Chico

Upon arrival at the airport in Punta Arenas, you will be met by an Explora Patagonia representative who will drive you in a comfortable minibus four and a half hour to Hotel Salto Chico, located right at the heart of the extraordinary Torres del Paine National Park in central Patagonia.

The varied and untouched landscapes of this area led UNESCO to declare it a biosphere reserve.

Your Patagonian hotel lodge opened in 1993 on the banks of the Salto Chico waterfall. It affords an excellent view of the unique Paine Massif and 2 of the 3 impressive torres, or towers, which give the park its name.

Upon arrival at the hotel, choose to kick back and relax or enjoy your first exciting Patagonia adventure tour.

About Hotel Salto Chico
The lodge has 49 rooms and a variety of inviting spaces. Situated on a 3-hectare (7.4-acre) site, the design borrows certain organic forms from the landscape itself, adapting to it with simple elegance. It was designed to create a dialogue with its environment, putting human beings in touch with the sublimity of their surroundings. For Patagonia travel, the lodge provides the welcome surprise of comfort in a remote area; nonetheless, you are not isolated from nature, but placed “within” it.

How can a small work of architecture coexist with a landscape as impressive as Torres del Paine? The response to this challenge was to construct a long building to contrast with the vertical form of Macizo del Paine. Hotel Salto Chico was painted white to blend in with the snow and ice. Both the perimeter of the site and the external cladding of the lodge are constructed of cement and wood beams, a combination able to withstand the Patagonian climate’s wide-ranging temperatures and strong winds. The interior is warm and light. This lighting effect was created by combining the warm color in the veins of local lenga wood with white walls in certain parts of the lodge.

Apart from the main section of the building is the swimming pool area with jacuzzis and sauna - the “Casa de Baños del Ona”, or Ona Bath House– which can be reached via sloping wooden walkways. The swimming pool and jacuzzis are at the same level as Lake Pehoé, providing a continuous view of the water. The outside of this building is painted the same emerald green color as the lake.

The rooms all have captivating views, silence and privacy. The sophisticated design incorporates native lenga wood (nothofagus pumilio) and cypress brought from the Guaitecas Archipelago, while the floor is made of almond wood. Each room has a small living area, hydromassage bath and beds designed for deep, pleasurable sleep after a day of exploration.

Finally, Salto Chico provides you with a unique treat: the rooms are television-free.

Day 2 & 3 & 4: Hotel Salto Chico / Torres del Paine National Park
Hotel Salto Chico / Torres del Paine National Park
Meals Included:  B, L, D
Overnight: Hotel Salto Chico

Over the next few days, how you decide to spend your time is completely up to you!

Every evening, your guides meet with you in the bar/living room area of the hotel, where they will explain all of the planned explorations available for the next day and help you choose the best exploration according to your interests and abilities.

Each trek and horseback ride will help you to discover the landscapes and wildlife of this singular place, as well as the unique way of life of its human inhabitants: the gauchos.

  • Trekking makes it possible for you to contemplate your surroundings in an unhurried and meaningful way
  • With almost 20 different treks, some lasting half a day, others a full day, your guide will lead you down little-used footpaths to arrive at the most isolated corners of the Park, which are rich in flora, fauna and adventures
  • Your trek will cross forests of mature lenga trees, remote pampas and rivers
  • You’ll walk alongside glaciers, lakes and enormous, mountainous formations of magma and granite
  • Perhaps you’ll choose to take on a challenging full day hike, passing through century old forests of beech and scrambling up glacial moraine to reach the base of the Paine Towers
  • Or maybe a slightly less taxing photo safari, keeping a lookout for fauna such as guanacos, rheas, condors, foxes, skunks, ducks, and geese is more up your alley

An essential element in the life of the gaucho, the horse has been the traditional way of covering the vast distances in Patagonia, making it possible for the few inhabitants on remote estancias in the pampa to stay in touch with one another.

Offering 14 different Patagonia horseback rides, you will find the perfect exploration for you, regardless of whether you’re a beginner or an expert.

The rides start at the stables or the quincho and are always accompanied by both a guide and a gaucho. Horseback explorations range from easy, such as the ride through the prairies and forests of the rugged Patagonian landscape along the Serrano River, to difficult following ascending trails until reaching the Toro heights with 360 degree views of the Park.

By night, relax in the remote peacefulness of Hotel Salto Chico.

Your room promises captivating views, silence and privacy. Explore on your own around the lodge, read that book that’s been put off for far too long, or head over to the Ona Bath House with its heated indoor swimming pool, a sauna and four open-air Jacuzzis, all with views of Lago Pehoé and Macizo del Paine.

You can also enjoy different types of massage with essential oils, such as therapeutic, relaxing or energizing. The lodge’s restaurant offers authentic dishes, like the Magellanic lamb, southern king crab and delicious fish with vegetables.

In the quincho (barbeque area), you can enjoy traditional spit-roast lamb prepared by Patagonian gauchos, or a home-made empanada (Chilean turnover) filled with meat and corn.

Day 5: Hotel Salto Chico / Punta Arenas
Hotel Salto Chico / Punta Arenas
Meals Included:  B

After breakfast, say goodbye to Hotel Salto Chico and Torres del Paine National Park as an Explora Patagonia representative drives you 4.5 hours to Punta Arenas airport for your post trip connections or flight home.

  • This trip is operated in partnership with Explora Patagonia and Chilean Travel Services (CTS).
  • This adventure can run as a 5 day/4 night program or a 9 day/8 night program – your choice! If you’d like to combine the 5 day adventure with further explorations in Chile or Argentina, please let your adventure consultant know, and he/she can arrange this for you.

** Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures and Explora Patagonia.

Dates, Rates
& Details

Start planning your next adventure now. See the information below for the rates and selection of available dates. For additional information on dates and availability, please contact our travel specialists.

  • 5-9 day itinerary options available
  • Next Departure: Call (800) 575-1540
  • From $2,998 / person
  • (Varying single supplement)

Additional Trip Information

Departure
  • Upon arrival at the airport in Santiago, Chile, take a connecting flight to the city of Punta Arenas which lasts around four hours.
  • Your trip begins with your arrival at the airport in Punta Arenas, Chile with reception by an Explora Patagonia representative who will be holding a sign with your name on it.
  • You will then be driven in a comfortable minibus approximately 4.5 (with a short stop halfway for a light meal) to Hotel Salto Chico where you can relax or enjoy an exciting Patagonia adventure tour.
  • Your trip ends on Day 5 with a four and a half hour drive back to the airport in Punta Arenas for your transfer flight to Santiago Chile.
  • From here, you will make connections according to your post trip plans.
Activities

Hiking

  • 20 different treks available
  • Your guide will meet with you in the bar/living room area of the hotel where he will explain your options according to your interests and abilities
  • Easy to challenging, half and full day hikes cater to a wide range of trekkers

Horseback Riding

  • 14 half and full day horseback rides available, ranging from easy to challenging
  • The horses have been specially trained for explorations and routes are suitable for those who are new to riding and expert riders
  • A basic course is also offered for those who wish to learn to learn to horseback ride
  • The equipment used is of the highest quality: Chilean saddles, hand-made by a master craftsman; British saddles; Argentine leather chaps; and helmets
Meals

The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. Meals are as included as indicated in the daily itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages (excluding premium liquors and wines) are included in the trip price.

Included in Trip Price
  • Double occupancy rooms  at Hotel Salto Chico.
  • Meals as listed in detailed itinerary (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
  • Daily explorations with bilingual guides and equipment (boats, horses, and vehicles.
  • All airport and lodge transfers as listed in itinerary.
  • Entrance fee to Torres del Paine National Park.
  • Alcoholic beverages during meals and open bar.
  • Austin Adventures T-shirt & luggage tags.
  • Pre-departure and packing information.
Not Included in Trip Price
  • Gratuities to Hotel Salto Chico staff and exploration guides.
  • Chilean entrance fee for US citizens ($160, subject to change at any time).
  • Premium liquors and wines.
  • Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
  • Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
  • All types of personal insurance.
  • Personal expenses (laundry, airport taxes, etc.)

 

Photos

Countries we visit in South America: , , ,

A few more reasons why you've gotta go…

  • 1. Turns out Patagonia wasn’t named after a cool outdoor clothing company - the explorer Magellan named the region after the native people there. He used the word Patagón, or giant, to describe the group, who were an average height of about 6 feet tall, much taller than the Europeans of the time.
  • 2. People have been in Patagonia longer than you might think. Humans have inhabited Patagonia since 10,000 BCE, if not longer, and traces of past settlements can be found across the region.
  • 3. The Patagonian region of Santa Cruz, in Argentina, is home to a 52-square mile petrified forest. The forest grew 150 million years ago, during the Jurassic period, and was later buried under volcanic eruptions at the beginning of the Cretaceous Period, when the Andes began formation.
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