Atacama desert and the Lake District

Old Jan 31st, 2024, 10:30 AM
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Atacama desert and the Lake District

I am planning a three week trip to Chile as well in the last week of November and first two weeks of December. I find that many of the itineraries that people adopt are not very relaxing and allow one to only superficially see and explore a region. On trips to Europe that I have taken I have often joked that what Rick Steves can get done in three days takes me a week to do. I am thinking a good itinerary for Chile would be to spend 4 days in Santiago, fly to Calama and rent a car before driving to San Pedro de Atacama for four nights. Leaving Calama and flying to Temuco in the Lake district. Renting a car and over the course of 12 days drive to Peurto Montt visiting Pucon, Valdiva and Peurto Varas along the way. Possibly going to Chloe island and Castro. I have to flush out the details and would appreciate any advice on things to do in the Lake District or in the desert. My wife and I enjoy hiking and being outdoors and are in pretty good shape for our late 50s however hiking to the top of a volcano could put us out of commission for a few days and may not be worth it. We considered going to Easter island but are worried that if the flights to Easter island are delayed that this could throw our plans off for the rest of the trip (ie flights and car rentals). Having done a little research I also think that Patagonia may merit a 2-3 week trip solely dedicated to this region. Is Chloe island worth the visit?I have heard mention of a multicity flight pass in Chile which would work well for my trip. Does anyone know anything about this pass? Any other suggestions for the trip would also be appreciated.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2024, 09:46 PM
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IMHO , Santiago is one of the least interesting cities in South America and I would probably just use it as an entry point and move on. Valaparaiso is a couple of hours up the coast and is definite worth are days - from our blog https://accidentalnomads.com/2008/10...ls-and-horses/

I see little point in renting a car in Calama. It is a couple of hours by bus and most will use tours as a means of getting out to the various sights around SPdeA.

Cant help with the Chilelan lake district as we travelled down through Chile from the Peruvian border to Pucon where we crossed over to San Martin de los Andes in Argentina and continue on tow that side of the border. Pucon was stunning though. We took several bike rides around the forests and waterfalls at the base of Villarica - we had intended to climb it but it was off limits at the time because of volcanic activity.

I think you are right that Patagonia merits 2 or 3 weeks and concentrating your attention there would certainly be more relaxing than travelling the length of what is a very long thin country.

As far as flight deals are concerned, I know that LATAM used to have an air pass that offered a min of three flights at advantageous fixed fares if book with an international ticket. Not sure if this is still the case post pandemic.

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Old Feb 8th, 2024, 06:21 PM
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We did The Lakes Crossing from Bariloche, Argentina to Puerto Varas , Chile and highly recommend it. We overnighted in Puella en route. We saw a variety of mountains, volcanoes and plenty of lakes and nature. Most people do it all in one day but we enjoyed our overnight and dinner in a lodge.
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