(Santiago, San Pedro de Atacama)
A trip to South America is incomplete until you have travelled to Chile and experience one of the most pristine places on earth....the Atacama Desert. Arrive into Santiago, the country's capital and be whisked away to your hotel by private vehicle and driver. To get to know the city better, a half-day private guided tour is included. travel to the coastal cities of historical Valparaiso and vibrant Viña del Mar for a full day of fun, food and wonderful coastal scenery. No visit to Santiago is complete with a visit to the surrounding wineries, dazzle your tastebuds with Chilean wine! Traveling north by plane, you will reach the desert area of San Pedro de Atacama. The beauty of the desert resides in the texture of the land, the starkness of the sky and in how life has found a way to conquer the desert. Atacama is a lunar landscape in places, lush river canyons in others. In some parts, rain has not touched this parched land for the past three hundred years while summer can bring brilliant rainstorms in the mountains. Atacama can be vast empty stretches but it is also a place to see life unfold. The Atacama program offers clients a unique experience including guided explorations, gourmet meals and magnificent climate throughout the year. Each day guests choose from a variety of explorations; touring by car, trekking, biking and even mountain climbing. All explorations are accompanied by experienced guides and are available at all levels of abilities to explore the nature or the history of Atacama. Discover the heights of the Andes, enjoy the volcanoes and plateaus or visit the small villages with their traditions and folklore. The Atacama is yours to explore. Return to Santiago for some souvenir shopping before departing Chile.
Upon your arrival you will be met by a local representative who will help you locate your vehicle.
Private airport transfer in Santiago with a guide and driver.
Experience The Ritz-Carlton, Santiago – an unforgettable five-star hotel well situated in an upscale neighbourhood of Santiago . With all the frills and dazzling decor that make hotels a treat to visit, the acclaimed Ritz Carlton is all this and more. Stay in one of its 205 rooms, which are noted for marble fixtures, and high quality bedding and linen. All rooms feature classic decor and panoramic views of the city. Feast on gourmet culinary accomplishments, from Mediterranean preparations to buffet-style pastries and a chocolate temptation buffet. Later, spend time lounging by the indoor pool with a book. Absorb views of the Andes and the city. Otherwise, sit down at the bar and try one of the 100 martini varieties.
Enjoy a private full day excursion to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Valparaiso and the pretty coastal town of Vina del Mar. Take in the great coastal views as you head along the Pacific coast and soak in the panoramic view of the port, before visiting the home of Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda, whose house is a true hideaway located on the upper part of town overlooking the port. The house is modeled on shipbuilding (Neruda's love for all things maritime is famous) and the gardens have many exotic plants, which make for a restful spot. Continue to the Prat Wharf before going to Vina del Mar where you can enjoy lunch facing the sea (lunch is on your own, not included). At day's end you will be brought back to your hotel in Santiago.
Casablanca is a transversal valley approximately 24 kilometres long that extends from the Zapata Tunnel to the Shrine of Lo Vásquez and covers a total of 22.000 hectares. Flanked by mountains, Route 68 runs through the middle of the valley like a backbone and connects Santiago with the port of Valparaiso. The Casablanca Valley forms part of the Coastel Range, a mountainous chain formed 180 million years ago. Today the valley hosts more than 5.000 hectares (11.120 acres) of plantations, which count with the highest technology used today including Frost control towers, Certified drop watering and keen managing of the vineyard that guaranty first quality grapes. This way, the valley of Casablanca has positioned itself as the best valley in Chile as well as abroad , for white wines, in particular Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, and within the red wines with the Pinot Noir. On this day you will visit 2 premium vineyards with wine tasting included. Vina Emiliana and Casa Del Bosque.
Fly directly from Santiago to Calama airport. The flight duration is approximately 2 hours.Please note: Flight rates and availability are subject to change until booking.
You will be met at the airport and transferred by private vehicle and guide to the Awasi Lodge.
Included in your stay are the following: lodging, breakfast, lunch, appetizer and dinner (lunch on the date of check-in is not included), alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages, private outings, 2 half day or 1 full day excursion per day is included (on check-in/check-out day there is only 1 half day outing included), transfers from/to Calama Airport.
At Awasi, excursions are private, exclusive, and are programmed according to your preferences and pace. Tailor-made outings are designed with your private guide who will help you plan your trips and will accompany you during your stay. You can choose full- or half-day trips. We offer easy strolls or intense treks for the more adventurous, horse-back riding, bicycle rides, visits to archaeological sites, visits to the salt flats, Altiplano lagoons or villages hidden among the deep valleys. You can get up at dawn to go and see the geysers and relax in the thermal pools. Bird watching or an evening astronomic tour with local guides are some of the experiences you can organize during your stay at Awasi.
Tocanao and Atacama Salt Lake: Depart by private vehicle from Awasi Lodge and head south 60 miles to the town of Toconao. There, you can visit its historic church and bell tower and tour the stalls of craftspeople who offer their goods in the square. Next to Toconao is Jere creek, a canyon with the only running fresh water in these surroundings. Then, continue on to Chaxa pond, a National Reserve located at Atacama Salt Lake. In this setting you may observe the flamingoes that inhabit the Salt Lake, as well as other native bird species. Length: 4 hrs, Difficulty: Easy
Moon Valley: Depart for the Natural Reserve, which is located some 15 minutes away in the middle of the Salt Range. As the tour progresses, you will find lookouts from which to observe the unusual geological shapes which, together with the action of wind and water, have originated a land relief reminiscent of the inhospitable beauty of the lunar surface. Length: 3.5 hrs, Difficulty: Easy.
Cejar Pond: Cejar, a set of three ponds located in the middle of the Salt Lake in one of which you can bathe. Given its high degree of saltiness, you can float on the water but in fact cannot sink, a phenomenon similar to what you find in the Dead Sea (Israel). Here you can watch birds that live in the Salt Lake zone, such as flamingoes and Andean gulls, and enjoy a privileged view of the surrounding ranges. Length: 3 hrs, Difficulty: Easy.
Puritama: The road to the hot springs provides a magnificent view of the Andean Range. Upon arriving at the hot springs, go down the creek to the pools, which are surrounded by a native vegetation that also acts as a shelter for birds. There are 7 different pools to choose from, ranging in temperature from 86F to 92F, which makes them ideal for relaxation. Length: 3.5 hrs, Difficulty: Easy.
Rio Grande: Upon reaching Yerbas Buenas, you will find ancient petroglyphs carved on huge rock walls. After travelling over a steep road you will arrive at Santiago del Rio Grande. From there, enjoy a spectacular view of the valley, its farming terraces, animal corrals, and creek hillsides. You can also take a walk around the town and to the farming sectors, as well visiting the church and the craftsmen. Length: 3.5 hrs, Difficulty: Easy.
Catarpe: Depart Awasi heading north, passing de Quitor Ayllu-famous for its pukara fortress and cross the San Pedro River. There, you can take a walk in the Tambillo and Devil’s Creek sector. Continue on to the Ayllu at Catarpe, where you will have lunch in an old adobe house. Then continue on to an old Inca tambo -a highway resting place- and the San Isidro church. After seeing the valley, visit an old Salt Range tunnel from where you have an imposing view of the valley below. Length: 2.5- 3.5 hrs. Difficulty: Easy.
Zapar: You will tour an incredibly green canyon that suddenly crops up in the middle of a dune. Down this canyon runs water that comes from the Andes Range. Walk from Tambillo, surrounded by its amazing vegetation of Tamarugo trees, and reach Zapar crossing pasture zones that are archaeologically very important. Finally, make a stop for lunch at one of the local homes who will host you. The view of Atacama Salt Lake from here is one of the best there is. Length: 2 hrs, Difficulty: Easy.
Kari Hike: After a 15 minute drive from Awasi, you will reach a lookout from where you can admire the geological majesty of the Salt Range. The hike starts here and then continues on a narrow path with a ravine on one side. After going down a small dune, you will find Kari canyon, a dry ancient riverbed with rock descents, grottoes and caves. This excursion has different entry and exit points. Length: 2 hrs, Difficulty: Intermediate.
Guatin Hike: Leaving Awasi by car, take the road north to San Pedro where you will reach a valley called Guatin, by a creek, along a bank of the Bizama River. A profusion of cacti, different geological formations, small waterfalls, brooks, rocks, give the area a special attraction. After hiking for two hours you will reach an abandoned shepherd ranch from which you will begin your journey back. Length: 2.5 hrs, Difficulty: Imtermediate.
Barrancas Hike: Leaving San Pedro you will cross the Ayllu of Quitor, to the Salt Range. From here you will begin your hike, first crossing this tunnel and then climbing the range. Once you reach the top, take in the splendid view of the oases, the irregular formations, and the sight of the Andes and Domeyko ranges. Length: 1.5 hrs, Difficulty: Easy.
Vilama Hike: After a 20-minute ride from Awasi you will reach the small Vilama valley in the Salt Range, where you will begin your walk. You will reach a flat zone with a panoramic view of the Andes. Here, find an ancient abode with petroglyphs that speaks of the history of the ancestors. Walk along this dry plain until you arrive at a downhill trail that takes you to the winding Devil’s Creek. Length: 2 hrs, Difficulty: Easy.
Atacama History: Depart Awasi to the Quitor Pukara, an Atacama fortress, located in the Ayllu of Quitor, 2 miles from San Pedro. From its height, enjoy a privileged view of the valley. Continue to the town of Tulor, here you will visit the digging of ruins and the reconstruction of original homes according to the criterion of archaeologists. Length: 2.5 hrs, Difficulty: Easy.
Walk Around Town: This is a walk to get to know San Pedro and see beyond its restaurants and shops. Enjoy a guided tour of the Father LePaige Museum, the town square, the town church, the house of Pedro de Valdivia, the craft market and the main street. Length: 2 hrs, Difficulty: Easy.
Bicycling The Allys: From Awasi you will depart on your bicycle andl tour some of the following San Pedro Ayllu (farming communities): Solor, Solcor, Sequitor, Larache, Quitor and Catarpe. Length: 1.5 hrs, Difficulty: Easy.
Bicyling Death Valley: Depart on bike from Awasi towards the road to Calama. Pedal on slight climb up to the Death Valley entrance in the Salt Range. Reach the highest point in the valley and appreciate impressive views; after a descent, meet the paved road on which you pedal back to Awasi. Length: 2.5 hrs, Difficulty: Intermediate.
Bicycling Coca Rock: Ideal for those who love adventure and enjoy physical exertion. Start out on bike from Awasi and head north until you reach Patience Plain, a flat zone that connects to the paved road and then to Moon Valley. Crossing the Park, you will head back to San Pedro. Length: 4 hrs, Difficulty: Difficult:
Ayllu Horse Ride: A horse ride around town, traversing narrow alleys with houses typical of the area. You can also go a bit further to visit other more distant Ayllu such as Solor, towards the south. Ideal for those who enjoy the communion with animals and with the landscape. Length: 2 hrs
Las Barrancas Horse Ride: Depart Awasi down the road to Quitor Pukara. Crossing the San Pedro River continue to Catarpe Ayllu, where you may trot and gallop. Take an old road up to the Salt Range, reach the highest part and then continue trotting or galloping along the cliff cornices, and San Pedro valley. Length: 4 hrs, Difficulty: Intermediate-Difficult.
Highland Salt Lakes: Depart Awasi and visit the towns of Toconao and Socaire (10.600 ft). Along the way see dry dessert, small oases and mountain views. You will be able to see vicunas, among other wild species and the beauty of the Tuyajtu and Aguas Calientes salt lakes, with their turquoise colored ponds inhabited by ducks and flamingoes. Length: Full day, Difficulty: Easy.
Tara Salt Lake (with Lunch): Take the road up to Jama Pass (13.800 ft), which leads to Argentina, with the splendid setting of Licancabur Volcano (19.400 ft) and Juriques Volcano (18.800 ft). Then, continue along the highland, crossing swamps and ponds inhabited by wildlife, to the incredible Pakana Monks rocky formations (15.100 ft), true marvels of nature and onwards to the huge rock cliffs that surround Tara Salt Lake, where you will enjoy a delicious gourmet lunch. Length: Full Day, Difficulty: Easy, requires prior adaptation to altitide.
Miscanti Miniques (with Lunch): Depart from Awasi and visit the towns of Toconao and Socaire (10,600 ft). Follow the road to Sico Pass, to Miscanti and Miñique Ponds which are part of Los Flamencos National Reserve (14.100 ft). The main features are its ponds and native birds such as the tagua and the blanquillo. This outing includes lunch and, possibly, an optional visit to Chaxas pond on the way back. Length: Full Day, Difficulty: Easy, requires prior adaptation to altitide.
Tatio Puritama: Depart Awasi, cross the highland and observe the very rich flora & fauna of the area. After two hours on the road, arrive at the Tatio Geysers, intermittent springs that gush out imposing steam and hot water columns. After visiting the area, you will have breakfast. Before returning to Awasi, make a stop at the Puritama warm springs, where you can bathe and enjoy an appetizer. Length: Full Day, Difficulty: Easy, requires prior adaptation to altitide.
Caspana-Airport: After breakfast, depart Awasi, crossing the highland with its ponds and its characteristic flora & fauna. After an almost two-hour trip you arrive at the town of Caspana, whose inhabitants still farm on terraces as in the past, and to an ancient sector with Inca-style rock buildings. In this framework full of history and greenness you stop for lunch. Continuing on the tour, pass the town of Chiu-Chiu, with its charming XVI century Church, Finally, arrive at the Airport, concluding this stage of the trip. Length: Full Day, Difficulty: Easy, requires prior adaptation to altitide.
Matancilla: Depart Awasi and head towards the town of Rio Grande. On the way,stop for a close look at the Yerbas Buenas petroglyphs. Then take the road to the town of Matancilla, a zone of valleys surrounded by multicolored hills. Touring these valleys by car or on foot, you may see a landscape that is completely different from what you see near San Pedro. Length: Full Day, Difficulty: Easy.
Talabre: Walking its streets, admire the style of its buildings, its church, its history. Journey on by vehicle and then walk down some 600 ft to admire petroglyphs, ancient Atacama vestiges. Back to the town where you will have lunch at the home of a local family. Then you will have two options: one is to return to San Pedro; the second, to continue either to Chaxas lake or to Zapar, end see these places at sunset. Length: Full Day: Difficulty: Easy if done fully by car. If opt for the hike, it is Intermediate to difficult.
Situated on the edge of San Pedro de Atacama, a little oasis town huddled around the riverbed of San Pedro River, Awasi Lodge is no ordinary hosteria. It is a new boutique hotel with the highest standards of personalized service. Its hosts are proud to offer travellers a place of serenity and beauty that aims to strike a perfect harmony with its surroundings. Built with natural, local materials - adobe, stone and wood, its ambience exudes an air of earthy luxury, where great attention is paid to every detail.
Choose from a plethera of half or full day private guided excursions at Awasi Lodge.
Today you will transfer by private vehicle with guide to the airpot in Calama.
Fly from Calama to Santiago. The flight duration is approximately 2 hours.Please note: Flight rates and availability are subject to change until booking.
After being met by your guide and private vehicle at your accommodation, you'll be brought towards Vitacura neighborhood to visit Alonso de Cordova Avenue boutiques, an elegant neighborhood where you will be able to visit the best shops in town and where you'll find “ Lapiz Lazuli “(semi-precious stone found only in Chile and some places in Afghanistan) jewellery shop. Continue on to Parque Arauco Shopping Centre, the largest shopping mall in the country. After getting your fill of shopping, relax on the drive to "Handicraft Los Dominicos town " where you'll find a plethora of traditional Chilean handicraft.
Laura Iyer ,
January 10, 2014
We just returned last night from our Patagonia adventure and wanted to tell you we had the time of our lives! Everything turned out perfectly. Guides were fun, on time and informative. The excursions were great for an active family and, of course, amazing.
I can't tell you what was our favorite. The boys enjoyed exploring the mountains in El Chalten (they called it Mountain running) while Mohan and I relaxed in the beautiful hotel. I thought after the glacier trek it can't get any better - but it kept surprising me and amazing me. My personal favorite was the horseback riding. I thought afterwards after everything we have seen the bike tour would have to be a let down - NOPE - it also was so exciting and our guide was a hoot! We had great weather for each activity (I know there is a bit of luck involved with that one).
Meals were amazing and after so many active excursions no guilt in pigging out.
I am so happy we took a little risk and went out of the way with our vacation this year. We will have this with us for a life time.
Thank you again,
Laura, Mohan, Ryan, and Nathan
Catherine Dudley ,
January 10, 2014
Happy New Year!
GREAT trip! The brochure you sent to us the week before we set off was marvelous -- the pages are marked and worn with us referring to it so often! We were very pleased with every aspect that you set up for us including the airport pick-up and drop off and the tour of Quito and environs on Friday. Our guide spoke excellent English, the driver was courteous and we felt safe and well-informed throughout the day. The transfer to the Eclipse team was super easy and the flight to Guayaquil and trip to the boat went off without a hitch.
We're still going through the 500+ photos that I took and the 1700+ photos that my son took, but I promise to send a few to you in the next week or so. Galapagos was a fabulous trip and the Eclipse was a terrific way to navigate the islands. Gave them a 10 on their feedback form and would recommend Eclipse very highly.
Mark Dornfeld ,
November 11, 2013
"My wife and I had a wonderful trip, we really enjoyed ourselves. All the accommodations that you booked for us were exceptional and our drivers and guides were lovely. We had great weather the whole trip and only lost one activity due to high winds. As you know this is a beautiful part of the world so my camera was snapping all the time. We would definitely use your services in the future for this type of travel. Thanks for all you help and expertise........be well.....m.d."
Jack Gregory ,
November 11, 2013
I wanted to give you a little feedback on our recent trip to Peru.
In a word – EXCELLENT – especially the high quality people you work with in Peru. We have taken tours all over the world, S. Africa, France, England, Vietnam, China to name just a few, and the service we received in Peru was far beyond and of the other experiences we have had. The attention to detail was very much appreciated, picking us up at the airport, taking us back to the airport and complete, hassle free, handling of all our details truly made this a stress free experience.
Special thanks to:
-The entire reservation system and the people I came in contact with that process...every detail accounted for
-The people that looked after us in Lima
-Andre, the young man in Cusco who faithfully phoned every night just to make sure the day went well, my wife was well and that we knew what we had to do the next day.
-The Sumaq hotel in Aquas Calientes...you can tell the level of service by the details...I watched a waitress hold a high stool for a lady to prevent her from tipping backwards as she got on the stool, the lady didn’t even know the waitress did it....that’s client care.
-Especially Mariela, the tour guide in Cusco...highly knowledgeable, passionate, personable and shows great care for the people she guides.
Hainsworth Sherry ,
November 05, 2013
Clients were very impressed. Guides were amazing and accommodation was beyond expectations. They will definitely travel with you again and they have highly recommended Kensington Tours.
Hope I can work with you again the in the near future.
Scott Parks ,
November 05, 2013
Sandy and I are back from Peru and had a wonderful time. Kensington seems to have the best contacts in each country and Peru was no exception. I wanted to take the time to give you some specific feedback on each segment of out trip.
The “Hotel B” in Lima is fantastic. It’s an old house that has been turned into a small Hotel. The people are great and the location in Barranco is just what we like.
The Inkaterra Amazonica is probably the best place place to stay in the Amazon region. The rooms give a real feel of the sounds of the rain forest.
The hotels in both Cusco and Aquas Calientes were perfect with great locations. We added an additional day in Aquas Calientes which gave us three days in Machu Picchu. For us, this was well worth it and gave us the time we wanted to see all aspects of Machu Picchu. Pictures did not do justice to the site, although we got some great pictures.
The trip to see the Nasca Lines was, also, worth the time. Our guide added some side trips including lunch at a local winery which we really enjoyed. The Hotel Paracas was an unexpectedly high quality resort and a great way to end our trip.
Thanks for your help we look forward to next year
June Murray ,
August 20, 2013
"Buenas Noches Brandi-
I filled out the survey but I wanted to send you a note to say thank you. Our trip was the stuff lifelong memories are made of and I mean every part of it. From our time spent in Quito, to the Safari Camp and Isla Isabela. I cannot say enough about the professionalism of the staff at our accommodations and the expertise of all our guides (most especially Tanya Helmig at the Safari Camp). We hope to go back for an extended stay.
I have attached 2 photos for you of Bart and I. I think the joy is clearly evident- thank you for making it possible.
Barbara Mackey ,
July 22, 2013
"We just completed a family trip to Costa Rica, with three families traveling from different locations. All the coordination efforts were made easily and efficiently by our Kensington representative, Brandi Merchant, who was wonderful; an absolute delight to work with. All the accommodations were first class and the guides knowledgeable and very punctual. We will be using Kensington again!
Cindy Thoene ,
July 22, 2013
What an AMAZING trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously…the trip of a lifetime!
We returned late on Thursday and had out of town visitors through the weekend and we are just now unpacking and getting back to non-vacation reality.
I will share my feedback and get pictures sent to you soon.
Thanks for everything….truly a perfect trip!
July 24, 2013
Our trip was wonderful, we had a great time, wish we could have spent more time. In fact, I now know I would have spent more time in Cuzco and the Machu Picchu area.
Machu Picchu was fabulous.
Margot, our guide, and the driver, were absolutely wonderful, low key, very personable, very accommodating, really good. We didn't end up with enough time on the last morning in Cusco to finish the tour, but got a feel- of Sacsayhuman, Qengo, Koricancha. We saw Ollayantatambo, and went to Moray and Maras, and Wayra ranch which was also outstanding, on the next day, but did not do Pisac and the market. We got tired and ran out of time so cut a couple things. Louis the coordinator was good as well.
Would love to go back and learn more some time.
The coordinator in Lima was extremely nice too, and very helpful.
In fact, we loved the food, the people and everything. The Libertador Palacio , the Tambo del Inka and the Sanctuary were indeed outstanding hotels. LAN was all on time, great service.
Thank you again for all your help.
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