Chi

Chile: Patagonia & Easter Island

November 13 – 22, 2024 • 10 Days • $5950**

In November 2023, we returned to Chile after an absence of almost 20 years. We are back in Chile again in November 2024, this time combining Patagonia and Easter Island into one, value-packed, doubble-bucket list itinerary!

Chile is a land of extremes! Hugging the southwestern corner of the South American continent, it’s a long narrow sliver averaging just over 100 miles in width and snaking over 3000 miles from the north to its far southern tip at the bottom of the world.

Some of its deserts, the driest on the planet, have not seen rain for decades. Further south, however, rainfall is measured in meters and the largest icefields outside of Antarctica and Greenland store surprisingly high percentages of the world’s fresh water. Its eastern flank is guarded by the soaring heights of the Andes; its western flank peers out over the Pacific, the world’s largest ocean.

The first part of our itinerary focuses on Chilean Patagonia, in particular Torres del Paine National Park.

The second part of the Adventure takes place in mystical Easter Island, famed for the massive, mysterious moai (stone heads) carved by the Polynesian Rapa Nui, the indigenous inhabitants of the island. We think you’ll be surprised at the diverse attractions of this remote little island in the middle of the Pacific.

** Airfare not included: Chile’s unique, pencil-thin geography results in vast point to point distances. Furthermore, Patagonia, on the southern tip of the South American continent, is isolated from Santiago below some of the world’s largest icefields…through which there are no roads. To the west, Easter Island is a 5½-hour flight from Santiago, approximately the same distance as Hawaii lies from the West Coast of the USA.

Due to the unusual geographic spread of attractions in Chile, combined with a shortage of airlines and flights available, air travel is both necessary and complicated.

Information for flights to and from Patagonia and Easter Island has just become available (week of April 1, 2024). The costs for the two round trip flights (4 flights total) to Patagonia and Easter Island is $1550. Travelers will be invoiced a $1000 deposit to hold the seats immediately upon registration; the balance is due at final billing, 90 days before departure.

Tour Type: Classic Curated

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Patagonia’s rugged remoteness populated by condors, penguins, guanacos, pumas, sheep, and a few humans as well
  • Torres del Paine National Park – with 4 walks to explore natural wonders surrounding the “Blue Towers” and the Cuernos del Paine (Blue Horns) including the Blue Lagoon, Salto Grande waterfall, Nordenskjöld Lake, Pehoe Lake, and Grey Lake
  • Easter Island – with an outsized reputation relative to its size (63 square miles) and historical impact. The island’s name is derived from the fact that the first Europeans, Dutch explorers, arrived for a one-day visit on Easter Sunday in 1722. The indigenous name of the island is Rapa Nui (Great Rapa) or Te Pitot e Henau (Navel of the World).
  • Easter Island guided walks – outstanding hiking experiences highlighting both scenic wonders at Orongo Rano Kau and a plethora of moai (stone heads) for which the island is primarily famous, including the main quarry at Rano Raruku
  • An array of optional activities in both Patagonia and on Easter Island to give travelers control over an otherwise value-packed schedule
  • An all-day excursion to the Chilean coast to experience the 19th century mansions and beaches of Vine del Mar; Valparaiso’s multi-colored houses, off-beat architecture, and colorful system of funicular elevators offering public transport up and down its forty-odd hills; and the wine heritage of Chile at a Casablanca Valley

Including:

  • Airport to hotel transfers on the day of departure
  • Superior tourist-class hotel accommodations
  • All land transportation including airport transfers for internal flights
  • 12 walking and hiking trails in Chilean Patagonia and Easter Island
  • Walking fees for those collecting IVV walking credit, if sanctions approved
  • 18 meals: All breakfasts, 7 lunches, and 2 dinners
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • Cultural and historical expertise of local guides throughout
  • All tipping for local guides, coach drivers, and group meals
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy; single accommodations are available for a fee of $1133. WAI also provides a roommate matching service.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Patagonia: Torres del Paine National Park – 2 days and 4 walks
  • Patagonia: Cruise and all day visit to Estancia (Ranch) Peninsular with walk, BBQ lunch, and sheep demo
  • Easter Island: Guided Hanga Roa walk & Ahu Tahi moai
  • Easter Island: Guided Orongo Rano Kau Walk
  • Easter Island: Guided Rano Raruku Walk
  • Easter Island: Rapa Nui National Park
  • Afternoon beach and cave excursions on Easter Island
  • Vina del Mar “Garden City” tour & walk
  • Valparaiso “Jewel of the Pacific” tour & walk with lunch
  • Casablanca Valley vineyard tour and tasting
  • More fun and educational stops than we can list

 Optional Excursions:

  • Dorotea Point 8×8 Offroad Adventure (Day 1)
  • Mylodon Cave Natural Monument (Day 5)
  • Easter Island Stargazing Excursion (Day 7)
  • Tongariki Sunrise Excursion (Day 9)

Not included:

  • 4 internal flights.
    Flight details and the best way to book internal flights are currently under consideration. More information will be provided shortly after registration. Approximate cost of all 4 flights is between $1300 and $1600 per person.

    • Day 1 ~ November 13: Santiago to Puerto Natales
    • Day 5 ~ November 17: Puerto Natales to Santiago
    • Day 6 ~ November 18: Santiago to Easter Island
    • Day 9 ~ November  21: Easter Island to Santiago

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

About Adventure Pace

Important Info

Your Guides

Scott Isom (the one on the left) has had a passion for the outdoors ever since his childhood days spent exploring the waterfalls and outstanding hiking trails of the Columbia River Gorge with his family.

Scott has led tours on all 7 continents and is one of WAI’s busiest guides and on-site Adventure planners.

Scott will be leading our Chile Adventure along with one other lucky, yet unnamed, WAI guide, as well as support from a cadre of local guides.

Itinerary

Click on each day to reveal more details. (BLD) refers to meals included – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.

Because our flight to Patagonia on November 13 departs Santiago mid-morning, travelers are strongly encouraged to arrive a day early into Santiago on November 12. Merits of arriving early include breaking up the journey with a full night of rest in Santiago, providing a time cushion for possible flight delays and lost luggage, and the opportunity to explore Santiago on foot from our hotel.

No group activities are scheduled for today, but WAI guides will greet you at our hotel with a bouquet of ideas on how to spend your afternoon, all walkable from our hotel.

Pre-day arrival package is $275 per person (single supplement of $66) and includes:

  • transfer from the Santiago airport to our hotel on November 12
  • early check-in (most flights arrive early in the day) on November 12
  • hotel room on November 12 with breakfast the following morning
  • outgoing transfer from hotel to airport on November 13

Travelers who arrive in Santiago a day early on November 12 will be transported to the airport this morning following breakfast. Any travelers NOT signed up for the November 12 package in Santiago will rendezvous at the airport for the flight to Puerto Natales, which arrives in Patagonia about 1 pm.

Once a sleepy fishing village, Puerto Natales has blossomed into the base for visitors drawn by the outdoor magic of Patagonia and Torres del Paine National Park.

We check into our centrally-located hotel set across the street from lovely Señoret Channel and the southern terminus of the ferry serving the Chilean fjords. The afternoon schedule allows for down time before the Welcome Orienation meeting this evening, following by dinner.

Also available this afternoon, as described below, is an optional introduction to the scenic splendors of this rugged, mountainous, fjord-laced geography.

Optional Dorotea Point 8×8 Offroad Excursion
Upon checking into our hotel in Puerto Natales, travelers are invited to join an optional offroad excursion in a unique 8×8 wheeled vehicle designed to go where no bus has gone before. This 3-hour adventure takes us up into the mountains around Puerto Natales, specifically to Dorotea Point, to enjoy some exploring on foot while taking in the most expansive views of the trip. 15 person minimum. Price: $75 per person

Walk 1: Sarmiento Gate to Amarga Gate Walk – 7 km, rated 2B
Walk 2: Laguna Azul Walk – 6 km, rated 2B

Established as a national park in 1959, Torres del Paine did not receive its current name until 1970, a name meaning “Blue Towers” in a mixture of Spanish and native languages.

Weather can offer all four seasons in a single day, but November is the dry season, and we hope to see the trademark towers of the Park, called “Cleopatra’s Needles” by an early foreign tourist.

Our first walk crosses the vast openness of the steppe below the towers. Encounters with wildlife are likely, including flamenco, gray fox, Andean condor, but especially the always-curious guanaco, one of four South American members of the cameloid family.

From Amarga Gate, we drive north to Laguna Azul (Blue Lagoon) for a picnic lunch and today’s second walk. The trail here skirts the northern bank of the laguna offering lakeside landscapes, views of the towers, and a sense of the end-of-the-world remoteness which drapes our every moment in Chilean Patagonia.

Walk 3: Estancia La Peninsula Walk – 6 km, rated 2B

A full day journey deeper into the Patagonia Fjords starts with a boat ride through Last Hope Fjord to Estancia (ranch) La Peninsula. We start our visit here with a hike through surrounding forest and wetlands, on the lookout for abundant bird life.

A traditional Patagonia lamb barbeque for lunch provides a great way to unwind and relax with our hosts before a demonstation of sheep herding provided by a rancher and hardworking sheeps dogs. A sheep shearing offers the backdrop for enlightening explanations of the history and rigorous daily life of ranching in Patagonia.

Late this afternoon, we return by boat across Last Hope Fjord to our hotel. The evening is free for dinner on your own free and rest in preparation for tomorrow’s return to Torres del Paine National Park.

Walk 4: Salto Grande and Mirador Cuernas Walk – 6 km, rated 2B
Walk 5: Lago Grey Walk – 6 km, rated 2C

Two additional highlights of the Torres Del Paine are featured today from two additional trails.

Salto Grande, on our first walk, is a dramatic waterfall on the Paine River, draining Nordenskjöld Lake into Pehoe Lake. Our trail continues to a viewpoint of the Cuernos del Paine, the Horns of Paine, the Park’s second remarkable series of peaks with distinctive sculpted surfaces. Wildlife is ubiquitous in the park and viewings are likely again this morning.

Following a break for lunch, our final walk in Torres del Paine takes place at Lago Grey. Here, the trail takes us across a sandbank to circumnavigate a forested knob, the highlight of which is mirador Lago Grey, a viewpoint of the lake and the glacier by the same name at the north end.

We return to Puerto Natales having seen several faces of what is arguably Chile’s most famous national park.

Optional Walk 6: Mylodon Cave Walk – 2 km, rated 2B

Today we fly back to Santiago, staging point for tomorrow’s journey to Easter Island.

After four busy days in Patagonia, the morning is free to rest or window shop from our hotel, or consider joining the optional excursion listed below.

Mylodon Cave Walk: Travelers interested in seeing a difference face of Patagonia are invited to join us after breakfast for a short drive to walk at a place of archeological significance — Mylodon Cave Natural Monument. It was here that the world’s best-preserved remains of a Mylodon, a genus of a giant sloth (5000 pounds) that became extinct thousands of years ago, were discovered in 1895 by a German explorer. Price ~ TBD

Following a group lunch in Puerto Natales, a flight north takes us to Santiago, where tonight’s hotel is a 5 minute walk from the luggage carousels, a logistical decision to prepare us for tomorrow’s departure for Easter Island.

Walk 7: Hanga Roa Walking Tour and Ahu Tahai, 5.5 km, rated 2B

A short transfer after breakfast this morning prepares us for a flight (not included) across the Pacific to a mythical island lost in the mists of a mysterious past. We land at Easter Island’s Mataveri International Airport, the world’s most remote airport, 2336 miles across the Pacific from Chile’s western coast.

Nearby is our hotel for the next three nights in Easter Island’s solitary town, Hanga Roa.

Upon arrival, travelers are invited for an orientation walk along the coast to see the Ahu Tahi moai (stone heads), followed by dinner back at our hotel.

Walk 8: Vai Atare & Rano Kau Walk, 6 km, rated 3D
Bonus Walk 9: Ana Te Pahu Walk, 2 km, rated 1C

After breakfast this morning, we head south to visit the island’s largest volcano, Rano Kau. On the western rim of the crater are the ruins of a settlement called Orongo, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the cliffs here overlooking the Pacific a strange competition was held over a period of about 150 years, the last race taking place in 1866 .

The annual contest conferred the title of “Birdman” on the winner, or the winner’s sponsor. The odd race involved scaling the dangerous 1000-foot cliffs, swimming shark-infested waters to a small offshore island, and finding the eggs of an elusive bird called the Sooty Tern.

Our walk ascends an access road, skirts the rim of the crater circling to the western edge, then wanders a set of stone ruins on the cliffs above the Pacific.

After lunch, activities for the afternoon will be announced but we expect to explore moai and cultural sites on the western side of the island.

Stargazing on Easter Island Excursion
There can be no darker setting from which to view the Southern Constellations than the uninhabited side of one of the planet’s most remote islands. The experience begins with a presentation of Polynesian history, navigation, and basic astronomy. Next we drive to the remote side of the island to set up the telescope and get oriented to the Southern Hemisphere sky. Binoculars and the telescope will help magnify our understanding, and a second stop is on tap to try night photography with mysterious moai in the foreground. We return to the hotel from this extraordinary experience just before midnight. Estimated price: $143 NOTE: This experience is weather-dependent and will be canceled in the event skies are overcast.

Walk 10: Trail of the Moai & Rano Raraku Walk – 6 km, 2C

Today is devoted to the eastern side of Easter Island.

Our morning objective is another significant volcanic feature, Rano Raraku. This volcanic site provided rough volcanic stone quarried to produce most of the island’s moai. As such, it is an excellent place to see moai in various states of completion. By far the largest moai on the island are also located here since keeping them on site removed the challenging obstacles of transportation.

Our local guide has much to share about the history of the island and its moai during this visit which ends along the coast at Auh Tongariki, a remote area featuring 15 moai.

Following lunch, opportunities are provided to see the northeast corner of the island, farthest away from our base in Hanga Roa. Stops include South Pacific beaches at Anakena and Ovahe.

The evening back in Hanga Roa is free to wander and have dinner on your own.

The morning is free to explore Hanga Roa and perhaps support the local economy with any last minute souvenir purchases. A 5 1/2-hour flight returns us to Santiago this afternoon for our last night in Chile.

Optional Tongariki Sunrise Excursion: Early risers are invited to join us for a memorable final morning on Easter Island. We leave before dawn for a famous vantage point to view sunrise at Tongariki. It should be dark when we arrive, allowing a bit of stargazing as night transitions through dawn to sunrise. Breakfast awaits upon our return to the hotel. Price ~ $121

Walk 11: Vina del Mar Garden City Walk – 2 km, rated 1B
Walk 12: Valparaiso Jewel of the Pacific Walk – 3 km, rated 2B

Flights to North American depart from Santiago late this evening. This provides the perfect window of time to explore a different face of Chile’s many and diverse blessings.

We head, this morning, for the Chilean coast for an excursion of a completely different type; Valparaiso and Viña del Mar sit on Chile’s Pacific seaboard, just over an hour away.

Viña del Mar is nicknamed the “Garden City” and is famous for its beaches and numerous castles and 19th century mansions from its golden age. After a pleasant beachside stroll here, we turn south to neighboring Valparaiso.

Highlights in Valparaiso include a wide palette of multi-colored houses, off-beat architecture and street art, and a funky but functional system of forty-odd funicular elevators from the early 20th century offering public transportation up and down hillsides on which this “Jewel of the Pacific” is built. An included lunch and a 3-part walk here introduce us to different facets of this singular city on the sea.

Chile is also justly famous for its wine production. On our way back to Santiago, we visit a vineyard in the Casablanca Valley to experience a wine tasting and sample this unique slice of Chilean culture and agriculture. Last stop, this evening, is the Santiago Airport for late flights back to our northern hemisphere reality.

Thank you for sharing this bucket list journey to explore Patagonia & Easter Island. We return home with a greater understanding of and appreciation for these two remote corners of the Western Hemisphere.

Before You Book

Click on each heading for more details.

To register, a non-refundable $300 deposit is required to hold your spot. A final payment is due 90 days before departure and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us 2 to 3 weeks in advance.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

Please follow this link to read our full General Tour Conditions.

With help from local experts and walking guides, these itineraries are crafted with extensive on-site planning by WAI tour planners.

When designing Classic Curated Tours, our objective is to capture the essence of a destination—the history, culture, and natural wonders unique to that part of the world. We then build activities and walks that take us inside these characteristics.

Yes, these tours are educational, but they are also interactive and immersive; walking gets us off the bus and penetrates local cultures to not only see, but also touch, smell, and feel these special spaces.

Along the way, interactions with locals amplify the experience by sharing insights into the magic of that particular location.

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. Several walks on this trip are oriented more towards education, and therefore take longer due to stops for guide commentary. Nature walks, on the other hand, generally continue at a steadier pace because we’re stopping less to talk.

In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please call our office at 1.360.260.9393.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented on the table below:

INCLINE

1. Minimal hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: <200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain: 1000-2000 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).

International Flights

The tour begins and ends in Santiago, Chile. Travelers will arrange their own flights to and from Santiago.

We recommend that you contact Laura Pfahler, the travel agent we work with, to help book your flight arrangements. In this age of airfare complications and airport uncertainty, using a travel agent is a good investment! More details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in an Adventure Advice PDF by email after you register for the Adventure.  Please do not book your airfare prior to receiving these flight details from us!

Laura Pfahler: 503.434.6401 or [email protected]

Internal flights within Chile

Chile’s unique, pencil-thin geography results in vast point to point distances. Furthermore, Patagonia, on the southern tip of the South American continent, is isolated from Santiago below some of the world’s largest icefields…through which there are no roads. To the west, Easter Island is a 5½-hour flight from Santiago, approximately the same distance as Hawaii lies from the West Coast of the USA.

Due to the unusual geographic spread of attractions in Chile, combined with a shortage of airlines and flights available, air travel is both necessary and complicated.

From Santiago, four internal flights are required and are not included in the tour land price of $5950.

  • Day 1 ~ November 13: Santiago to Puerto Natales
  • Day 5 ~ November 17: Puerto Natales to Santiago
  • Day 6 ~ November 18: Santiago to Easter Island
  • Day 9 ~ November  21: Easter Island to Santiago

Information for flights to and from Patagonia and Easter Island has just become available (week of April 1, 2024). The costs for the two round trip flights (4 flights total) to Patagonia and Easter Island is $1550. Travelers will be invoiced a $1000 deposit to hold the seats immediately upon registration; the balance is due at final billing, 90 days before departure.

WAI believes in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Laura Pfahler and Sharon Mitchell of World Travel Inc. can provide travel insurance services for your WAI tour, as well as your airfare. For those who purchase airfare through Laura, purchasing your travel insurance from her colleague, Sharon Mitchell, may be the simplest option.

Be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions (i.e. some benefits, such as coverage of pre-existing conditions, are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package). In addition, remember that airfare is not covered by any travel insurance policy you may have purchased for the tour.

Check out Insurance Tips from World Travel for a short introduction to travel insurance.

Sharon Mitchell–World Travel Inc.
Phone: 971-261-2091
Email: [email protected]

Other options include:

  • Allianz
  • Betins
  • Travel Guard
  • Travel Insured International

As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the SquareMouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

WAI bears no responsibility for travel insurance benefits advertised by various credit card companies. If you are relying on this type of benefit for insurance, we advise you to verify coverage types and limits and that your purchase does in fact qualify you for this insurance.

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). Travelers interested in purchasing “cancel for any reason” insurance coverage should be careful to check pricing and terms BEFORE they register for a tour. Recent changes in the international travel landscape has caused changes in the policies of some insurance companies, and made the purchase of this particular type of policy even more time-sensitive.

Walking Adventures International reserves the right to cancel this tour departure with fewer than 15 participants, in which case registered participants will receive a 100% refund of payments received.

This refund policy contains one exclusion. Many suppliers require non-refundable deposits as a condition of booking services. Though it is rare, unforeseen circumstances can force us to cancel a tour. In cases where supplier’s non-refundable policies are imposed, WAI attempts to retrieve as much of these deposits as possible but cannot guarantee a 100% refund. In cases where full refunds cannot be obtained for a cancelled tour, we will do our best to transfer unrefunded money as traveler credits to be applied to a future tour to that destination.

Our approach to wellness on tour has traditionally been to encourage travelers to:

  • Focus on health before the tour so you start healthy.
  • Pace yourself while on tour; travel is inherently stimulating and can produce adrenalin boosts that mask energy drain. Guard your energy reserves and consider the length of the trip and whether to opt out of some activities and/or walks.
  • Be self-aware. If you feel yourself tiring or feel a bug coming on, take precautions to block it (e.g. extra rest, extra doses of vitamin C, etc).
  • If you feel a bug coming on or if you take ill, distance yourself from others when possible.
  • If you feel ill, isolate yourself towards the back of the bus and away from others

Click WAI Wellness on Tour Policy to view the WAI policy on Wellness on Tour.

Soon after registration, an “Adventure Advice” email will be sent with critical information on flight arrangements as well as important steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you review this Adventure Advice email.

A final payment is due 90 days before departure (August 15, 2024) and is non-refundable after the due date. You will receive a prompt email from us a week or two in advance. Please see our General Tour Conditions for the full terms and conditions for participation in this Adventure.

About 2 weeks before departure, you will receive a final email packet with details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

We look forward to enjoying this fascinating region of Europe with you as we set sail on the Rhine River Cruise!

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Chile: Patagonia & Easter Island 2024
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