Arrive into Santiago Airport, and after clearing customs, meet your driver/guide for your transfer to your hotel. After checking in, the remainder of the day is at your leisure for resting or exploring.
After breakfast, meet your guide in the lobby for your Private Half-Day Panoramic Santiago City Tour. From the history of the colonial neighborhoods to the modernity of the new financial center also known as "Sanhattan", you'll pass through the different areas of Santiago that characterize this booming metropolis. We'll begin in the city's old residential area, passing beautiful buildings and homes that today are part of the Barrio Universitario (university area). Our trip then continues to the historical and financial buildings of the city center. We'll make stops at La Moneda government palace and the Main Square and its surrounding buildings. We'll drive along the green Parque Forestal, and admire the stunning Fine Arts Museum. Continuing the tour, we'll visit the bohemian Bellavista neighborhood and San Cristóbal Hill. Here you will have an extremely unique view of the city, as you ride the Funicular to the top of the hill. We continue driving towards Barrio El Golf, one of the most exclusive areas of the city. This upscale neighborhood is an interesting mix of embassies, exclusive shops, restaurants and cafes, and regal mansions from families that settled here decades ago. Afterwards, you'll return to your hotel and the remainder of the day is free for relaxing or independent sightseeing.
After breakfast, meet your guide for a full day private tour. Valparaíso is a beautiful coastal city that has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. We will have the opportunity to ride a traditional funicular, a cable car that connects the center of the city with the top of the hills. We will visit the artistic Cerro Concepción and Cerro Alegre; these hills hide some of the most beautiful alleys full of graffiti paintings and murals, as well as some viewpoints that will provide amazing pictures. Later, on our way back to Santiago, we will make a last stop at Kingston Vineyard, located in the Casablanca Valley. Here, we will have the opportunity to learn about this family business and the artisan and organic winemaking techniques they use to produce their amazing wines. Finally, we will enjoy a tasting of some of their most delicious wines.
After breakfast, meet your driver for a transfer to the airport for your short flight to Calama. Upon arriving, you'll have a shared transfer to your hotel in the town of San Pedro de Atacama, located on the high plateau of the Andes Mountains. The remainder of the day is free and dinner will be on your own this evening.
Meet your guide for a small group tour of the Altiplanic lagoons. We'll head to the Salar de Atacama National Reserve Los Flamencos, a protected area which presents a landscape of salt fields, lagoons and a variety of birds living in these salty waters. We continue along the route to Socaire, a village of pre-Hispanic origin and Atacama culture. Witness its traditional system of cultivation through terraces and typical Atacama houses, made of stone with roofs of mud and wood. We'll continue to the the Miscanti and Miñiques, which are located 4000 meters above sea level. Apart from their beautiful landscape, the Miscanti Lake and the Miñiques, a massive volcanic complex, are the perfect places to do some birdwatching with species like flamingos and other Andean birds. On the way back you'll visit Toconao; a small colonial town with picturesque stone constructions, and the ancient church of San Lucas. We'll continue through an old forest sector, belonging to Quebrada de Jerez. Irrigated by the river Toconao, it enjoys the perfect micro-climate for the production of fruits like pears and quinces. Returning to your hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Today will be a full day of touring. We'll depart very early and travel to the Geyser del Tatio. Located 60 miles from San Pedro at 14,100 feet, it's the second highest geyser field in the world. Enjoy a picnic style breakfast and have a guided stroll through the geothermal field to see the geyser and pools of boiling water and mud. Once the sun has risen, your tour leader will lead you to the final stop in our tour of the geyser; a large natural hot spring for a rejuvenating soak in 40°C water! Later, we will stop in the small village of Machuca, where the original Altiplanic architecture is reflected in the lovely St. James Church. Return to San Pedro de Atacama, we'll visit an old colonial church before returning to your hotel.
Depart towards the mountain range of La Sal, where we'll visit two sectors, the Valley of the Moon and the Valley of Death. Both offer peculiar rocky formations and dunes - attractions that can't be missed when visiting the Atacama Desert. First, we will visit the area of the salt caverns, then ascend the great dune to view the central crater of the Valley of the Moon. The name "Moon Valley" stems from its similar look to lunar soil. We'll walk among the hills and mountain cuts amid an array of changing colors, organically produced by the erosion of water and wind. Later we'll continue our exploration and discover "Las Tres Marias". The Three Marys are statues of natural minerals, created by wind erosion. Our next stop is "Valle de la Muerte" or Death Valley, where we will have a spectacular panorama of the vista. You may even see sandboarders practicing their favorite sport. At the end we head to the sector of the Kari viewpoint to watch the beautiful sunset before returning to your hotel.
*Optional Additional tour: Space Observatory Star Gazing Tour - 2.5 Hours
Take advantage of the clearest skies in the world, and immerse yourself in the mysteries of the universe through this wonderful astronomical experience. Only 20 minutes away from San Pedro, you will gain access to 10 telescopes, accompanied by an informative lecture. The observation of the sky tour consists of three parts: Observation of the sky with the naked eye using a green lazer light to indicate all of the stars and constellations. Your host will explain how the sky changes with the rotation and in relation to latitude. The second part contemplates time at the telescopes. All 10 of them are set in different directions and it will be possible to observe several types of nebulae and clusters of stars. At the end of the tour, enjoy a hot chocolate and have an informal Q & A session before returning to your hotel.
After a leisurely breakfast, you'll have a transfer to the airport for your return flight to Santiago. There you can connect to your international flight home, or on to your next Avanti Destination!