Day 1: Home-> Santiago, Chile
Fly to Santiago, Chile; Meet Edutrips Representative at baggage claim & our coach bus will transfer us to our hotel. In the afternoon, you will enjoy a city tour beginning with a visit to the neo-classical La Moneda Palace, home of Chilean presidents until 1958 and today the seat of the government. Also visit the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, one of South America’s finest museums with exhibits of pre-Columbian cultures from Central America to the Andean region. Next, visit one of the most complete collections of ceramics, ancient textiles and relics of the American culture. After this interesting visit, walk with your guide to the heart of Santiago and to the recently remodelled Plaza de Armas. From here view the Cathedral (finished in 1789) and the buildings housing the Central Post Office and City Hall, both national monuments of colonial vintage. The tour will end at the San Cristobal Hill where we will have impressive panoramic vistas of the city below.
Day 2: Valparaiso
Today we will drive across the coastal range to the colorful, UNESCO city of Valparaiso. The morning will be spent wandering the maze of streets, hills and walkways with time to stop & shop along the way. In the afternoon we will begin a guided tour of the home of Pablo Neruda, Valparaiso’s most famous Poet. In the evening we will return to our hotel in Santiago.
Day 4: Temuco
Today we will board a flight to Temuco. Upon arrival in Temuco will visit the Hueche Ruka community, giving you a fascinating insight into the traditions of the Mapuche peoples of Chile’s south. These native people were here in the south of Chile long before the conquistador Pedro de Valdivia discovered the region in the mid 1500s. There will be a demonstration of the community’s principal artistic and creative activities, its gastronomy and handicrafts. Continue to Villarrica, which lies in the shadow of the beautiful Villarrica Volcano on the eastern side of Lake Villarrica.
Day 5-6: Villarrica
The next two days we will spend exploring Huerquehue National Park, a mountainous natural reserve.
The park offers a wide variety of hikes that traverse dense beech forests containing native vegetation such as coigües, lingues, and araucarias. Araucarias are unique old-growth trees that live for more than a thousand years. The hiking paths in Huerquehue National Park lead to pleasant waterfalls and gurgling brooks, or to splendid vistas of the Andes and Volcano Villarrica.
Day 7-8:Atacama Desert
Today we will fly to Calama. Upon arrival we will drive across the Domeyko mountain range to the oasis town of San Pedro de Atacama, at the heart of the world’s driest desert. This is a desolate area of stark landscapes dominated by the vast Atacama salt lake and the distant line of volcanoes that mark the Bolivian border. Spend 3 nights in San Pedro de Atacama, a village built with adobe in traditional style. Day visits include the surrounding salt flats, the rock formations of the Valley of the Moon and the impressive geyser fields of El Tatio.
Day 9 – Santiago
Return to Santiago & flight departs for home