Exploring the Atacama Desert
7-day Fly Drive Holidays in Chile for £1250pp
The Atacama Desert is one of the most extreme environments on earth, but it's criss-crossed by a handy network of small roads which make it the perfect place for a fly-drive holiday to Chile.
Our Desert Drive itinerary gives you five full days up in Atacama, and all under your own steam so that you can explore at your own pace. From sunrise at the Tatio Geysers to sunset in Moon Valley, this surreal landscape offers some of the most beautiful sights in Chile, and a fly drive holiday lets you see them all!
- Day One: Arrival in Santiago
- Day Two: Fly to Calama and Drive to Atacama
- Day Three: Exploring Atacama
- Day Four: Tatio Geysers
- Day Five: Moon Valley
- Day Six: Fly back to Santiago
- Day Seven: Overnight Flight to UK
Day One – Start of your Chile Fly Drive Holiday
Your fly drive holidays in Chile will begin this morning as you touch down in Santiago, and we will be there to meet you and take you straight to your hotel in the upmarket Providencia area of the city. You will then have the rest of the day free to relax and enjoy one of South America’s most sophisticated capital cities.
- Most International flights arrive early in the morning, so if you’re not too jetlagged you could take a tour of the city this afternoon, just ask us for more information.
Day Two – Start of Your Fly Drive Holidays in Atacama
We will pick you up this morning and take you to the airport for your flight up to Calama, in the northern Andes. Here you will pick up your car and drive further north to the small town of San Pedro de Atacama, which is the gateway to visiting the Atacama Desert. Here you can relax and check into your hotel, before taking a stroll around town as you get your bearings and get used to the altitude. (Breakfast included)
- Our standard price is based on a Europcar I3 tariff (Toyota Hilux or similar) but if you'd like more room or power, just ask us about the full range of vehicles available.
Day Three – Exploring Atacama
Today is your chance to really explore your surroundings. Located only about an hour away from San Pedro is the Los Flamencos National Reserve where some of the most remarkable arrays of wildlife exist. Home to the dark blue lagoons, flamingo flocks and many other bird species it is an ornithologist’s paradise. The Salar de Atacama another highlight of the region. It is the largest salt flat in Chile with large volcanoes and salt crusts dominating its landscape. (B)
Day Four – Tatio Geysers
It’s an early start this morning as you depart before dawn from San Pedro and head north to the famous El Tatio Geysers; a geothermal field flanked by soaring peaks. El Tatio is situated at 4,300 meters above sea level on the Altiplano. It is the highest geothermal field in the world and boasts spectacular scenery. As the sun rises you will be able to observe powerful spurts of steam that shoot out from various geyser blowholes and steaming ponds. Afterwards, on your way back to San Pedro, continue on to the Puritama hot springs where you can enjoy some rest and relaxation as you soak in the natural thermals pools. (B)
Day Five - Moon Valley
Of course you can spend the day as you wish but we recommend a visit to the Father le Paige Archaeological museum, before heading out to visit the strange Moon Valley. The sand and stone landscape has been eroded until it looks like the surface of the Moon or Mars - in fact, this is where the ESA tested their Mars rover because the conditions were so similar! You could then continue on to visit the arid Valle de la Muerte and the Salt Mountains, before finishing the day by climbing the Great Dune, from where you can watch the stunning sunset over the Atacama Desert. (B)
Day Six - Back to Santiago
This morning you will have some free time to relax or to get some last sunrise photos here in Atacama, and then it's time to drive back to Calama airport to drop your car and catch a flight back to Santiago. We will be waiting for you at the airport to take you to your hotel so you can get ready and enjoy your last night here in Chile! (B)
Day Seven – Last Day of Your Chile Fly Drive Holiday
Unfortunately today marks the end of your Chilean adventure. Most international flights leave Santiago in the evening so you have the morning free to wander round and buy some last minute gifts, before we take you to the airport in plenty of time for your international flight back home. (B)
Options for this Chile Fly Drive Holiday
Wine Tasting in Maipo Valley - from £95pp
Chileans are justifiably proud of their wines, and any road trip holiday in Chile is enhanced by a trip out to some of the country's vineyards for a tasting session. We'd suggest a day trip into the fabulous Maipo valley, where you can visit a couple of Chile's best vineyards to sample their wares, as well as enjoying the beautiful countryside.
La Campana National Park - from £175pp
If you'd like to extend your Chile road trip to explore some of the country's most lovely natural scenery, easily accessible in a day trip from Santiago, why not take a trip into the gorgeous La Campana National Park? Ideal for walking and trekking, with paths that are accessible all year round, you can enjoy seeing waterfalls and palm trees, wildcats, skunks, eagles and chinchillas before driving back to Santiago in the evening.
Torres del Paine National Park - 4 days from £850pp
If you follow the chain of the Andes right into the south of Chile, you end up in Chilean Patagonia and the fabulous Torres del Paine National Park. This winter wonderland of snow-capped mountains, icy glaciers and flower-strewn alpine meadows is one of a holiday in Chile's biggest attractions, and this four-day package makes sure you'll see the very best of it.
Easter Island Tour - 4 days from £1250pp
The enigmatic Moai statues make Easter Island one of the most mysterious holiday destinations in the world, but happily its mysteries are within relatively easy reach of Santiago so adding on a tour of Easter Island to this Chile holiday is fairly straightforward. This four-day package will allow you plenty of time to relax and enjoy all the highlights of Easter Island.
Similar Holidays to South America
Our standard price for this Chile fly drive holiday is £1250 per person, which is based on two sharing a double or twin room in our standard hotels.
That price includes all your accommodation, rental car with unlimited free mileage and local taxes (excluding the local airport pickup tax which unfortunately we are unable to pre-pay), self drive information pack, all transfers in Santiago, and breakfast every day.
We don't have any "local payments" or sneaky charges: everything you have read about on this itinerary is included in that price. And because everything we do is tailor-made, we don't have fixed departure dates or minimum numbers for our trips. Outside of national holidays or other special events, this price is valid for the whole of 2020.
So with the exception of a few meals, everything on your holiday is included. What we don't include as standard is your international flights, because with these you have a huge range of options depending on the date you want to travel, the route you want to fly, and your preferred departure airport in the UK.
We aren't tied to any particular airline, and we will be delighted to discuss all options with you, or you can even book the flights yourself if you prefer: it's totally up to you.
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