Chile & Argentina Volcanoes Tour
Estimated Cost £3288 (including international flights between the UK and Chile) or £2259 (excluding flights) March 2nd to 14th 2019
Details and Itinerary

Following the success of our 2016 tour to Ecuador, we continue our exploration of the volcanic areas of South America by venturing further south into Chile. After spending time in Santiago, we fly south to the Lakes area of the country in northern Patagonia, where we get the chance to view some of the most active and well known volcanoes. During our time there, we cross over the Andes into neighbouring Argentina, with the return following a classic route across a series of lakes. The tour offers some superb opportunities for photography, covering a range of landscapes and ecological zones. The party will be escorted from the UK and throughout the tour by Alan Clewlow, an experienced geologist who will also be on hand to offer advice and some explanation of the geological features seen. We also have the benefit of local guides throughout the tour who will have detailed knowledge of the places being visited, the culture, history, wildlife and the local geology.

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Chile & Argentina Volcanoes Tour
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Planned itinerary

Day 1 Saturday 2nd March
The group takes an afternoon flight with KLM from Heathrow (via Amsterdam), arriving Santiago next morning, 3rd March. (It may be possible for some individuals to fly to Amsterdam from a number of regional UK airports to link up with the Santiago flight, providing the main group flies from Heathrow).

Day 2 Sunday 3rd March: Santiago
After arriving at Santiago Airport in the morning, we will be greeted by the tour company and transferred to the Cumbres Lastarria hotel in the city. Dinner that evening in the hotel.

Day 3 Monday 4th March: Santiago city tour
We start with a guided tour of Santiago, Chile’s capital.

Highlights include a visit to the cultural area of Barrio Lastarria and an ascent up Santa Lucía Hill, where the colonial city was founded in 1541. We take lunch at the Central Market, then cross the Mapocho River to the Bellavista neighbourhood, the lively and artistic district of Santiago. From here we climb the San Cristóbal Hill, where the famous Virgin Mary statue overlooks the city giving a panoramic view.

Day 4 Tuesday 5th March: Santiago to Temuco
We take an internal flight from Santiago to Temuco in the Lakes area in the south of the country. Hotel accommodation in Temuco is at the La Frontera hotel.

Day 5 Wednesday 6th March: Conguillío National Park (Llaima Volcano)
We venture into the Conguillio National Park. The elevation of the park ranges between 700 and 2500m above sea level, creating the conditions for an incredible area of wild landscapes and islands of vegetation, surrounded by lava flows. The main attraction is the Llaima Volcano, one of the most active volcanoes of Chile. On this day we also take in the Green, Rainbow, Captrén and Quepe lagoons and the Conguillio Lake, located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Glacier. Some of the animals which might be seen around the lake and lagoons are the Little Bush Monkey, the world’s smallest marsupial; the Condor; and several types of unique water birds. After finishing the day, we check into the Malalhue hotel in Pucón for three nights.

Day 6 Thursday 7th March: Geometric Hot Springs
We head towards the town of Licán Ray, about an hour’s drive away from Pucón to reach the area of geothermal hot springs, located inside the Villarrica National Park. Positioned right beside the Aihúe creek, their main feature is the abundance of thermal springs. The thermal centre has 16 thermal pools and 4 swimming pools. After lunch at a local restaurant, we return to Pucón later in the afternoon.

Day 7 Friday 8th March: Volcanic Caves and Parasite Craters
The volcanic caves of the Villarrica volcano are a short drive from Pucón. One of the most important attractions is a 650m. long lava tunnel. Following this, we visit “Volcanoes House” which has a photographic exhibition of recent eruptions and displays equipment used to monitor the volcanic activity of the area. We then take a walk through the native forest forest until we reach an altitude of 1300m to appreciate the panoramic view of the many lakes and snow-covered Sollipulli Hills. From here can be seen the surrounding volcanoes of Villarrica, Quetrupillán and Lanin. Following this, we descend through a volcanic lava canyon, towards the Villarrica valley and start the return journey to Pucón. (Picnic lunch on this day).

Day 8 Saturday 9th March: Transfer to Bariloche, Argentina
We leave Pucón heading for the frontier town of San Martin de Los Andes, 170km away, via the Monseñor Valdez Subercaseaux international road. We then continue our trip until reaching the beautiful Mamuil Malal international mountain pass, located at the foot of the Lanin Volcano, very close to the breathtaking Quillelhue Lagoon. We then journey into Argentina through the Lanín National Park along the traditional Patagonian steppe to reach Junín de los Andes. From San Martin de los Andes we drive to our destination at Bariloche. Accommodation is the NH Edelweiss Hotel.

Day 9 Sunday 10th March: Lake crossing to Peulla
Departing from Bariloche by bus to Puerto Pañuelo, we pass Lake Nahuel Huapi, where beautiful Swiss-style architecture is complimented by the bright gardens and flowers that colour the landscape along the way. Sailing from Puerto Pañuelo to Puerto Blest aboard the Gran Victoria, navigating across Lake Nahuel Huapi we get a chance to observe the grandeur of the landscapes, learning more about the area's fascinating history. After a bus trip to Puerto Alegre, we continue our sailing trip across Lake Frías, aboard the Victoria del Sur. Along this stretch of the lake, we should get beautiful views of the Cerro Tronador volcano. After a short sail, we'll arrive at Puerto Frías where we cross back into Chile. We'll continue by bus to Peulla, with its beautiful views of the Andes Mountains for lunch and an afternoon at leisure. Accommodation on this evening is the Natura Hotel.

Day 10 Monday 11th March: El Encanto Lagoon
The excursion begins using one of the four-wheel drive vehicles specially designed for this type of trip. We will be driven away from Peulla towards the Negro River, where El Encanto Lagoon is located. Our vehicle will cross the river, stopping at a viewing point, which provides a fantastic sight of Lake Todos Los Santos, the Peulla River, and Cerro Techado.

Before we return to our hotel in Peulla, we will make a visit to the Riggi Farm.

After our excursion, we check out and get ready for the second half of the Andean Crossing.

We'll sail to Petrohué, navigating across Lake Todos los Santos. If the weather permits, breathtaking views of the Osorno and Puntiagudo volcanoes and Cerro Tronador can be seen.

Arriving at Petrohue, we continue to Puerto Varas, passing by Lake Llanquihue. Impressive views of Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes dominate the landscape. Our accommodation overnight is the Hotel Bellavista in Puerto Varas, arriving in time for dinner.

Day 11 Tuesday 12th March: Osorno Volcano and Petrohué Waterfalls
The Lake District possesses many stunning sights, and one is the Osorno Volcano set behind the Llanquihue Lake - a true postcard image. Departing from our hotel in Puerto Varas, we head towards the Osorno Volcano, entering the Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park. After a typical southern lunch at La Villa de Ensenada, we take a walk through the forest of Coigües, stopping to observe La Burbuja Crater and admire the view of the Petrohué River valley and the Calbuco Volcano. From here the expedition continues to the Ski Centre and its cafeteria located at 1,200m above sea level, from where we access the ski lifts that allow us a better view of this incredible landscape. We then transfer to Puerto Montt Airport to board a flight to Santiago. Accommodation at Cumbres Lastarria Hotel, Santiago.

Day 12 Wednesday 13th March
After breakfast, we transfer to Santiago Airport to board a KLM flight to Amsterdam, flying via Buenos Aires, and connecting flight to Heathrow (arriving the following day Thursday 14th March).

Flight arrangements
Flights with the group between the UK and Chile are included in the basic tour price, but bookings can also be made without the group flights. This allows individuals to plan for possible stopovers on the way out or return from Chile, as the KLM flights between Amsterdam and Santiago call at Buenos Aires (Argentina) en route. We can book flights through a UK-based travel agent who will advise individuals, make bookings and co-ordinate with Volcanic Experiences, but people also have the option of booking directly with an airline via the internet.

We strongly advise that no-one buys an air ticket before the tour is certain to go ahead.

The estimated cost of the Chile & Argentina Volcanoes Tour is £3288 (*see booking conditions provided with the brochure). This includes return flights between London Heathrow and Santiago, 10 nights’ accommodation in good quality hotels, two internal flights between Santiago and southern Chile, ferry fares, luxury coach transport throughout the tour, excursions and admission to sites described in the itinerary. If individuals choose to make their own flight arrangements to get to and from Santiago, the cost without international flights is £2259. Breakfasts are provided throughout the tour, with lunches on 5 days and dinners included on 3 evenings.

Accommodation is based on two people sharing a room. It should be possible to arrange single accommodation for those who require it, but this will involve a supplement (estimated at £528). All those taking part in the tour are expected to arrange their own holiday insurance, which can be obtained from any travel agent or insurance broker.

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