Small group tours to Chile
Description of Small group tours to Chile
City, lakes, islands and glaciers – this small group holiday to Chile captures practically every angle of the country’s south in two weeks. You’ll start off in the twin cities of Santiago and Valparaiso. The former is all colonial architecture and panoramic parks; the latter is a hilly sea port. It’d be rude not to pop by the Chilean vineyards outside Santiago, too.
Outside the cities, you’ll delve into the Atacama desert and bright turquoise Lake Miscanti. You’ll get a few nights in Torres del Paine National Park, too – the poster child of Chile’s glacier-carved south.
Chile is a country of epic proportions, so expect a few domestic flights and road trips thrown in along the way – along with boat trips that take you towards sky-scraping monoliths like Glacier Grey.
Check dates, prices & availability
PlanetIn recent years there have been initiatives to involve the local Atacameño communities in the rapidly growing numbers of tourists to the region. We support this movement which sees local entry fees being used to pay local people for properly managed park administration and development, such as tourist facilities and research into the local wildlife.
We work with local guides throughout Patagonia, not only supporting local employment, but our guides are best positioned to teach you about the local flora and fauna, as well as the more disturbing aspects of the local environment, notably the receding glaciers and areas of former deforestation. On our Chile small group tours our guides, and tour leaders, advise how best to minimise our impact whilst travelling in this region and the receding glaciers act as stark reminder of what we can also do back home to minimise the impact of our humankind on the environment.
Much of this tour is spent in the national parks of Patagonia. When inside the parks we ask clients to keep all waste with them until back in the nearest town, to walk only on designated paths, and not to pick flowers or disturb the natural resources. Given the purity of the water in Patagonia, we also encourage clients to drink tap water rather than buy bottled water, to avoid excess waste of plastic.
PeopleOn our Chile small group tours we work with small privately owned ground agents who live in the area, have established RT policies in place, and employ local guides and staff. The hotels on this tour are individual properties, not part of international chains and we eat in local restaurants serving locally grown produce – our style of travel ensures that as many local people as possible benefit by our being there. This tour runs with a maximum of 20 people which helps to minimise the impact on delicate environments.
On the day trip to the island of Chiloe, we visit a penguin colony, set on islands just offshore. We navigate the islands in zodiacs but do not set foot on the islands where the penguins (and sea otters, steamer ducks etc) are found, in order to protect their natural habitats. Local fishermen operate the zodiacs, a successful and lucrative venture, giving them an alternative to fishing prohibited fish and shellfish, such as abalone. We end the day on Chiloe by visiting a local chilote house, typically that of welcoming Senora Sefora. She invites local musicians to entertain us and she and her family prepare a feast of the local dish, curanto. The warmth of the ‘chilote’ people is touching and it is clear Sefora opens her home to tourism because she enjoys sharing her culture with us, not just for the much needed income that comes with it. This day is often quoted as the highlight of this tour.