Atacama and Patagonia hiking holiday

“Two week holiday, travelling in a small group with local guides to the wonders of Chile’s Atacama Desert and, in contrast, Patagonia. Beautifully paced itinerary. ”


Santiago | Atacama Desert | San Pedro de Atacama| Walk in High Andes | Salt Mountains | Volcano walk | Tatio Geysers | Torres del Paine National Park | Ecolodge Patagonia | Options to hike, bike or kayak in Torres del Paine NP | Mirador Ferrier | Glacier Grey | Lago Toro peninsula | Iconic hike to base of Torres | Laguna Bonita | Lago Toro | Punta Arenas

Description of Atacama and Patagonia hiking holiday

Get off the beaten track in the Atacama Desert and Torres del Paine National Park.

Climb an active volcano, cycle through salt flats and soak in hot springs.

Head into Torres del Paine National Park to hike the most iconic trails, or explore quieter corners.

Explore the fantastic, contrasting landscapes of the Atacama Desert and Patagonia: in depth, on foot.

Spend as much time as possible in the open air of the Atacama, seeing the people, wildlife and scenery with the help of your expert guide.

Sleep in comfortable 'yurts' in Paine, set in a private reserve just outside the park. Enjoy a hot meal and a warm bed at the end of each day.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:Fly to Chile (NB international flights are not included).
Day 2:Arrive in Chile. On arrival you will be transferred to your comfortable hotel. Explore some of Santiago later with our local advice and tips.
Day 3:Sunset in the Atacama. Early morning flight to the Atacama Desert, with time to relax in your boutique hotel on the edge of San Pedro de Atacama. Late afternoon drive and walk via a sand dune, salt flats and a gorge for sunset in the desert. (B)
Day 4:Bike ride to lagoons. Morning bike ride across salt flats to a number of lagoons, where you can take a swim before driving back. Ride up to 20km, 3hrs, almost flat. (B)
Day 5:Day walking in the Andes. Full day walking on old Inca roads from the high Andes down to the Salt Mountains. Walk 18km, 5hrs, down 1,000m. (B,L)
Day 6:Volcano walk to summit. After several days of being active at altitude, today’s walk takes you high to the summit of a dormant volcano. Walk 6km, 3hrs, up 420m, down 420m. Afternoon to relax. (B)
Day 7:Fly south. Very early start to visit the Tatio Geysers, the world's highest geothermal field. Stop at hot springs for a dip on the return to San Pedro. Later you fly back down to Santiago and stay overnight. (B)
Day 8:South to Patagonia. Fly south along the spectacular spine of the Andes to Punta Arenas, where your lodge guide meets you. You are driven north around 5 hours to your beautiful ecolodge, set just to the south of the Torres del Paine Park on a private reserve. (B,D)
Day 9:Torres del Paine. Choose your excursion from a daily menu of varied options, from gentle walks to full day hikes, bike rides to kayaking. The following is a suggestion of how you might spend your days, but you're free to structure this as you please. Head into the Torres del Paine National Park today to hike up to Mirador Ferrier and then down to Glacier Grey. On a clear day, there is no more spectacular introduction to this most emblematic and beautiful mountain range. (B,L,D)
Day 10:Torres del Paine. Walk across the Lago Toro peninsula through the beautiful old-growth forests of the lodge’s private reserve and back on foot to the camp. One of the striking features of Torres del Paine is how few trees there are. Your ecolodge is privileged to be set inside its own beautiful forest. (B,L,D)
Day 11:Torres del Paine. Hike to the base of the famous Torres ('towers') , the most iconic hike in the entire national park. If you have the energy and the weather is set fine, the hike to the base of the towers is the most emblematic in the park, in Chile for that matter. Set off early to hike up to the distinctive mile- high granite towers. (B,L,D)
Day 12:Torres del Paine. Walk from the Camp through young forest to a lovely waterfall which cascades down across the rocks and into the lake. Once back at the camp, you might like to take to the waters of Laguna Bonita or Lago Toro for a paddle. If the winds are low and the weather is right, there are few places in the world you would rather be in a kayak. (B,L,D)
Day 13:Travel north. Drive back to Punta Arenas to fly to Santiago. A long travel day, but with beautiful scenery, so sit back and enjoy. (B)
Day 14:Depart Chile. Morning free to explore Santiago before transferring to the airport for your flight home (flight times may vary). (B)

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Atacama and Patagonia hiking holiday

This holiday is unique to us. We have an unrivalled passion for Chile and this trip was designed for our clients to gain a real feel for the Atacama Desert and Patagonia’s Torres del Paine. Our guides in Chile are all experts in their areas: this is what makes a huge difference to the quality of your experience in the country.

We are passionate about the places we visit. To help preserve the integrity of these destinations we keep groups small to minimise environmental impact.

We work directly with local businesses and organisations to directly benefit local economies. We use small, locally owned hotels and restaurants. We know the hotel owners except in the large cities. We work with local guides so that our holidays are more interesting for clients and more beneficial locally. And, we make payment to suppliers before our clients arrive.

1 Reviews of Atacama and Patagonia hiking holiday

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 15 Apr 2005 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Trekking with the most amazing mountain backdrop for several days, in Torres del Paine, culminating in the climb up to Las Torres themselves; there just aren't the words to do this place justice.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Do some walking beforehand, if you want to get the most from it. Also, don't forget a camera, or you will be truly sorry!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

Since we stayed, ate and drank locally, this should be a positive thing. Minimized environmental impacts is a bit tricky, after a 12-hour long-haul flight and lots of internal flights and long drives, but our final choice to walk lots instead of simply tour in a minivan should help a little.

4. Any other comments?

This is easily one of the best holidays I've ever been on, and my first small-group holiday, which I enjoyed more than I expected (as a general lone-traveller).

Read the operator's response here:

We now includes a small charge in the price of its holidays which goes to Climate Care's carbon offset schemes - this has been implemented since Mr Senior booked his holiday.

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