"Patagonia" is famous for wild its untamed wildness...our tour begins in Buenos Aries- the Paris of the South. Escorted by Norman & Julie Bruce

Patagonia:(Uruguay, Argentina & Chile)

Nov 16th – Dec 6th 2018
Escorted by Norman Bruce
$8,550 Canadian - Land Only
starts in Montevideo, Uruguay and ends in Santiago, Chile
(+ optional Iguazu Falls & Easter Island)

Please note it is also possible to take sections of this tour:
Patagonia & Iguazu Falls:
23 Days Nov 14 – Dec 6 Land Only $9,995
Patagonia & Easter Island: 25 Days Nov 16 – Dec 10 Land Only $11,740
Patagonia, Easter Island & Iguazu Falls: 27 Days Nov 14 – Dec 10 Land Only $13,260
Argentina & Uruguay: 16 Days Nov 16 – Dec 1 Land Only $6,195
Argentina, Uruguay & Iguazu Falls: 18 Days Nov 14 – Dec 1 Land Only $7,695
Chile & Easter Island: 13 Days Nov 28 – Dec 10 Land Only $6,725

With OPTIONAL TOURS to Easter Island & Iguazu Falls
(please note the itineraries for Easter Island & Iguazu falls are under day December 7)
Patagonia + Easter Island:
25 Days Nov 16th – Dec 10th Land Only $11,740
Patagonia + Easter Island + Iguazu Falls: 27 Days Nov 14th – Dec 10th Land Only $13,260
Chile + Easter Island: 13 Days Nov 28th – Dec 10th Land Only $6,725

Tour Includes:
Accommodation mainly in the equivalent of North American 4 Star hotels. In rural areas we use the best available hotels and lodges. All our hotels have en-suite bathrooms. As appropriate, they have central heating and/or air-conditioning.
Breakfast and dinner daily. Usually we take dinner at a special restaurant in town.
Arrival Transfers in Montevideo and Departure Transfers in Santiago, if taking our group flights and arriving and departing on the group flight dates.
Land and water transport by coach, taxi, hydrofoil and motorboat. Wildlife viewing, sightseeing and entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary.
Flights: Buenos Aires – Trelew, Trelew – Ushuaia, Ushuaia - El Calafate, Punta Arenas - Puerto Montt, Puerto Montt – Santiago.
All tips for group activities.
Porterage for one piece of luggage where available
Guiding by Royal Heights’ tour leader with assistance of local guides.

(Updated April 1 2017) PLEASE NOTE WE HAVE MOVED THIS TOUR TO OPERATE IN 2018


ITINERARY:
Fri Nov 16th Today we fly overnight from North America

Sat Nov 17th Montevideo
We arrive in Uruguay’s capital this evening and transfer to our hotel. First of 2 nights in Montevideo. NH Columbia Hotel or similar. Dinner, if arriving in time.

Sun Nov 18th Montevideo
Today we have a guided tour of Montevideo city. Just as greater Buenos Aires is home to nearly half of Argentina’s people, so 50% of Uruguay’s entire population lives in or around Montevideo. However, everything here is on a much smaller scale than in Argentina. The total population of the country of Uruguay is only a little over 3 million. Founded by the Spanish in 1726 in response to the Portuguese establishment of Colonia, Montevideo has always been the little sister of Buenos Aires. Montevideo shares many of the characteristics of Buenos Aires, but on a much smaller and more laid-back scale, which many travellers find charming. Many Argentines compare Montevideo to Buenos Aires 40 years ago and envy the relaxed pace of life in the Uruguayan capital. We start our tour at the city’s main square, Plaza Independencia. In the centre of the square is the mausoleum of General Jose Artigas, leader of Uruguay’s struggle for independence from both the Portuguese and the Spanish. To the east is Montevideo’s main shopping street, Avenida 18 de Julio. On the south side of Plaza Independencia is the palatial, cream-coloured Government House and the stately Solis Theatre. To the west, through an arch is the entrance to the Old City, Ciudad Vieja. Built on a peninsula surrounded on three sides by the River Plate, the old part of the city contains the port and many fine buildings and public gardens. We also drive along the riverfront Rambla boulevard past residential suburbs and beaches. Second of 2 nights in Montevideo. NH Columbia Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Mon Nov 19th Montevideo - Colonia - Buenos Aires
This morning we drive through the countryside to the charming town of Colonia, which was founded in 1680 by Portuguese adventurers from Brazil as a rival port to Buenos Aires and not captured by the Spanish until 1762. Built on a small promontory jutting out into the River Plate estuary, Colonia is one of the few colonial era towns still found intact in the southern cone of South America. Sections of the city’s old defensive walls can still be seen running alongside the river. We take a guided walking tour of the tree-shaded cobbled streets to view some of the historic buildings, the Iglesia Matriz (Uruguay’s oldest church) and the old port. Old Colonia is a wonderfully relaxing place to wander and to take lunch before we take a hydrofoil 31 miles across the massive estuary of the River Plate to the great city of Buenos Aires sitting on the south western shore in the neighbouring country of Argentina. First of 3 nights in Buenos Aires. Hotel Murano or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Tues Nov 20th Buenos Aires
Today we tour Argentina’s capital - “The City of Good Airs”. Nearly 40% of Argentina’s total population of 37 million people live in Greater Buenos Aires. Founded by a Spanish expedition in 1536, the city is one of the world’s great ports - facing the estuary of the River Plate. The city centre streets are laid out on a grid pattern. When Charles Darwin visited in the 1830's he wrote “The city of Buenos Aires is large and I should think one of the most regular in the world.” Buenos Aires is often called the “Paris of South America” due to its French-style public buildings and wide avenues.
As well as being a city of fine European-style buildings, wide avenues and peaceful parks, Buenos Aires is also known for its neighbourhoods. Each neighbourhood has its own character, depending on which nationality of immigrants settled there on arrival in this great port city at the gateway to a new continent. We visit the Italian-settled area of La Boca and hope to see another Buenos Aires tradition - the Tango dance. Later we visit the very exclusive Recoleta area and wander through the Recoleta Cemetery where Buenos Aires’ elite are buried in elaborate family mausolea. Although of humble birth and not from the city, Eva Peron managed to have herself and her father buried here. There is also an excellent open-air artists’ market in the park in Recoleta which we can explore.
In front of the magnificent National Congress Building, in Plaza del Congreso, ornate fountains represent the Argentine constitution and the River Plate. At the opposite end of Avenida de Mayo, close to the river front, is the historic Plaza de Mayo. In this area we see the Casa Rosado (Government House) from the balconies of which Evita and her husband Juan Peron gave rousing speeches to the masses. We also see the Colon Opera House, Palace of Justice and some of Buenos Aires’ finest shopping streets. In the Metropolitan Cathedral we will see the tomb of San Martin who, along with Simon Bolivar, liberated South America from Spanish colonial rule. The old brick warehouses of the Puerto Madero port area have recently been restored as fashionable shops and restaurants. We travel down the Avenida 9 de Julio, which is said to be the world’s widest avenue. Here we will see Buenos Aires’ landmark Obelisk which was erected to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first founding of the city.
Second of 3 nights in Buenos Aires. Hotel Murano or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Wed Nov 21st Gauchos & The Pampas

This morning we leave “the Great Metropolis” and head out into the countryside. Buenos Aires really flourished in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries when Argentina was one of the five richest countries in the world, based mainly on its worldwide agricultural exports. The wealth of the city came from the countryside around it, the famous Pampas. The area became a major wheat growing area as well as raising huge numbers of sheep and cattle. This wealth was concentrated in the hands of few owners of enormous ranches, known as “estancias”. Today we travel out into the vast Pampas to learn about the way of life of the famous Argentine cowboys, the “gauchos”, as we visit an estancia. We have the opportunity to ride horses or take a ride in a horse-drawn wagon before enjoying a typical barbeque lunch called a “parillada”. This gives us a chance to taste the world-famous Argentine beef of the Pampas. We will also see displays of folk dancing and music from the diverse regions of Argentina as well as displays of the horse-riding skills of the gauchos. Third of 3 nights in Buenos Aires. Hotel Murano or similar. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Thurs Nov 22nd Fly Buenos Aires - Patagonia
This morning we fly south to the town of Trelew on the Argentine coast of Patagonia, a vast region stretching across the southern cone of South America. The dividing line between the Argentine and Chilean sections of Patagonia is formed by the Andes Mountains. From Trelew we transfer to Puerto Madryn, a seaside town with extensive beaches favoured by people from Buenos Aires as a holiday resort. This afternoon is free for you to explore the town of Puerto Madryn. First of 3 nights in Argentine Patagonia. Hotel Villa Piren or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Fri Nov 23rd Peninsula Valdez
Today we explore one of South America’s finest wildlife showcases - sometimes called the “Zoo of the South Atlantic”. The Peninsula Valdez is almost an island, being attached to the mainland by a thread of land so narrow that one can sea the ocean on both sides as we cross to the peninsula. Along the outer coast between Punta Delgada in the south and Punta Norte in the north are superb places to view seals, sea lions, elephant seals, guanacos (relatives of llamas), rheas (ostrich-like flightless birds), maras (rabbit-like animals related to guinea pigs) and many species of sea birds. Be sure to bring a good pair of binoculars ! Several thousand male southern sea lions establish themselves here at the beginning of the southern summer. These are noisy places as the males roar, posture and fight to defend their territories and harems of females against other males. 4,000 to 5,000 elephant seals (the largest species of seal) make their homes on the Peninsula Valdes. Weather permitting, we take a boat ride on protected Golfo Nuevo bay along the rocky coastline to see colonies of some of the more than 1,000 Southern Sea lions which crowd the sandstone shelves near Punta Piramides. Second of 3 nights in Argentine Patagonia. Hotel Villa Piren or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Sat Nov 24th Penguin Sanctuary

Along the coast of Patagonia rich seas nourish a dense concentration of marine wildlife but the land is seemingly-endless, dry, scrubby grassland.
Today we travel south through some remote Patagonian scenery and visit the massive penguin rookery at Punta Tombo. This is one of the largest penguin colonies outside of Antarctica, with these strange birds nesting in burrows in every available spot as far as the eye can see. These are Magellanic penguins, better known as “jackass penguins”. It’s easy to understand how the birds get their common name when you hear over 800,000 birds braying like donkeys! The penguins come ashore here in November and raise 1 or, in a good year, 2 chicks per breeding pair. Many of the nesting burrows are located over half a mile from the sea and it is very comical to see these black and white birds waddling long distances over dry land to reach the water. Ungainly on land, these flightless birds are in their true element once in the sea, where they “fly” under water with extreme agility and endurance. The mother and father take it in turn to guard the nest from marauding gulls and skuas while the other goes fishing. Depending on how far offshore the fish shoals are, an adult can be away at sea for 3 days. We are able to get right up to the adults and their fluffy grey chicks at their nests. In fact, these birds are so unafraid of people, you even have to be careful where you step! Third of 3 nights in Argentine Patagonia. Hotel Villa Piren or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Sun Nov 25th Fossils + Welsh town - Tierra del Fuego

Patagonia is one of the most important areas in the world for the discovery of fossils. This morning we learn about some of the local finds at the superb Egidio Feruglio Palaeontology Museum in Trelew, where beautifully-displayed exhibits include dinosaurs, sabre-toothed cats and dinosaur eggs. Later we visit some of the sites where important fossils have been discovered in Bryn Gwyn Palaeontology Park. This is the only palaeontology park in South America and many of the fossils are still to be seen in situ, only partly excavated.
Most of Patagonia is dry, empty scrubland but in this area the Chubut River irrigates a fertile valley whose green fields and neat towns contrast with the barren surrounding landscape. The majority of the population of Argentina are of Spanish or Italian origin, but in the fertile Rio Chubut Valley area around Trelew a large Welsh population was invited to settle in 1865 and they have left their mark through until today. We visit the charming Welsh town of Gaiman.
This evening we fly south again from Trelew to Ushuaia on the island of Tierra del Fuego. Ushuaia is considered the world’s most southerly city and Tierra del Fuego contains the world’s most southerly national park. The island is a continuation of the mainland, being divided between Chile and Argentina by a continuation of the Andes range of mountains.
First of 2 nights in Ushuaia. Albatros Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Mon Nov 26th Tierra del Fuego N P + Beagle Channel Cruise
Today we explore rugged Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego and learn about the four native tribes that originally occupied the island.
It was fires set by these native people that inspired the explorer Ferdinand Magellan to name this the “Island of Fire” in 1520. From Ensenada Bay we have excellent views across the Beagle Channel to the southern islands of Chile. This is a wonderful area for bird watching and both of the world’s largest flying birds - the Condor and the Albatross - live in this area. Tierra del Fuego is the closest major land mass to Antarctica and so its climate is strongly influenced by its icy southern neighbour.
This afternoon, weather permitting, we take a cruise on the Beagle Channel, the waterway named after the ship on which Charles Darwin passed through this area on his expedition of 1831-36. There are 3 main routes by which ships can pass between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans around the tip of South America. The most southerly and most exposed is to round Cape Horn in the open ocean. The most northerly route is through the Straits of Magellan, which separate mainland South America from the island of Tierra del Fuego. The most protected route passes through the Beagle Channel, which separates Tierra del Fuego from an almost uninhabited group of Chilean islands to the south.
This afternoon and evening you have plenty of time to explore Ushuaia since, this far south, it doesn’t get dark until after 10 p.m. in summer and shops in this duty-free port stay open late.
Second of 2 nights in Ushuaia. Albatros Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Tues Nov 27th Fly Ushuaia - Calafate
After a relaxing morning in Ushuaia we fly north to El Calafate, in another area of Argentine Patagonia. Later this afternoon we drive out into the countryside to enjoy dinner at a wonderful guest ranch located beside the turquoise waters of Lake Argentino. This lake covers an area of 600 square miles. This is a working sheep ranch out in the Patagonian wilderness. This evening our dinner is a traditional Argentine barbeque known as a “parrillada.” First of 3 nights in El Calafate. Hotel Michelangelo or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Wed Nov 28th Moreno Glacier

At the southern latitude equivalent to Vancouver, BC in the northern hemisphere, a vast sheet of ice covers much of the Andes. Over 200 miles long and from 25 to 40 miles wide, the ice covers 5,500 square miles of mountainous terrain. No fewer than 47 major glaciers flow from this massive ice field. Some, such as the Grey Glacier which we will see in Torres del Paine National Park, flow west into Chile while others, such as the Moreno and Upsala Glaciers, flow east into Argentina. This area on the Argentinean side was designated Glacier National Park in 1937. Today we visit the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world’s few advancing glaciers. Be sure to bring a good pair of binoculars ! Fed by several subsidiary glaciers, Moreno grinds its way 22 miles eastward down the mountainside, directly towards an arm of Lake Argentino known as “Iceberg Channel”. By the time the glacier reaches the lake it is nearly 3 miles wide and, at the top of the face, nearly 200 feet above the water. The contrast of the lush foliage over which the glacier is advancing with the stark blue-white ice of Moreno’s face against a backdrop of turquoise lake water and black and white mountain peaks is a sight not soon forgotten. We also approach to within 100 feet of the face of the glacier, so that we can not only see the great river of ice but also hear the roar as huge chunks break off and splash into the water right in front of us - forming icebergs. Second of 3 nights in El Calafate. Hotel Michelangelo or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Thurs Nov 29th Upsala Glacier |Today we travel by boat to visit the largest ice river in Glacier National Park - the Upsala Glacier. Formed from several secondary glaciers descending the eastern slopes of the Andes, Upsala is 30 miles long and enters the remote northern arm of Lake Argentino known as Boca del Diablo (“the Devil’s Mouth”). Because it is so large and its ice so old, Upsala discharges the biggest and bluest icebergs into the lake.
This afternoon you have time to explore the town of El Calafate
Third of 3 nights in El Calafate. Hotel Michelangelo or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Fri November 30th El Calafate, Argentina - Puerto Natales, Chile
From El Calafate we drive across the rolling landscape and through a break in the Andes to Puerto Natales, in Chile. The town is located on a long inlet from the Pacific Ocean. In fact, Chile is a long, thin country cut by so many deep east-west fjords that it is impossible to drive from the north to the south within Chile. One has to drive from Chile into Argentina and back into Chile in order to travel the length of Chile!
First of 2 nights in Puerto Natales. Hotel Martin Guisinde or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Sat Dec 1 Torres del Paine National Park

Today we drive north from Puerto Natales to visit the Cave of the Milodon. This is the place where, in 1890, the remains of a prehistoric giant ground sloth nearly 12 feet tall were discovered. From here we travel further north and spend the day exploring Torres del Paine National Park by vehicle and on foot. Be sure to bring a good pair of binoculars. This is one of the most spectacular national parks in the world. The park lies between the central spine of the Andes, nearly buried under a massive ice cap, and the steppes of southern Patagonia. The most conspicuous individual mountains are the Paine Horns (8,530 feet). These two massive peaks of pinkish-grey granite are made exceptionally striking by caps several hundred feet thick of jet-black slate. Seven small glaciers bracket the three nearby Towers of Paine peaks. We will also see the ice bergs floating on the green waters of Grey Lake where they have broken from the face of the Grey Glacier as it descends from the Andes.
Torres del Paine shelters an abundance of bird species including the ostrich-like Rhea. We should also be able to see wild Guanacos, a relative of the llama. This evening we return to Puerto Natales. Second of 2 nights in Puerto Natales. Hotel Martin Guisinde or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Sun Dec 2nd Puerto Natales - Punta Arenas - Chilean Lake District
This morning we drive south through the bleak Patagonian landscape to Punta Arenas. This major city, where days are 20 hours long during our visit in the southern mid-summer, faces the Straits of Magellan and looks south to the island of Tierra del Fuego on the Chilean side. In the mid-19th century, long before the building of the Panama Canal, the quickest sea route between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans was through the Straits of Magellan. We tour Punta Arenas to see some of the mansions and public buildings that sprouted during the city’s late 19th century heyday. We also visit the elegant city cemetery where the wealthy families buried their dead in impressive mausolea, reminiscent of La Recoleta cemetery in Buenos Aires.
From Punta Arenas we fly north to Puerto Montt, the gateway to Chile’s Lake District. One of the dominant features is the Fuji-like Osorno Volcano, whose snow-capped peak can be seen throughout the southern Lake District. Later, we transfer to the charming holiday town of Puerto Varas, located in a gorgeous setting directly on Lake Lanquihue. This afternoon you have time to explore laid-back Puerto Varas. First of 2 nights in Puerto Varas. Hotel Cabanas del Lago or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Mon Dec 3rd Lake Crossing
As well as Osorno Volcano (8,730 feet), the skyline of Chile’s Lake District is also dominated by several other large extinct volcanoes including Pantoja (6,044 feet), Picada (5,610 feet), Puntiagudo (8,170 feet), Casablanca (6,496 feet) and Tronador (11,352 feet). There are seven separate national parks within the Lake District. Today we drive through the green and gently rolling countryside and take a boat cruise on All Saints Lake, also called “Emerald Lake” due to its deep green colour. We sail across the lake, past holiday homes on the islands, to the border with Argentina and back again. Second of 2 nights in Puerto Varas. Hotel Cabanas del Lago or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Tues Dec 4th Chilean Lake District - Santiago - Vina Del Mar
This morning we transfer back from Puerto Varas to Puerto Montt and fly north to Chile’s capital, Santiago. From here we drive out to Vina Del Mar on the Pacific coast. This town is neatly laid out with manicured boulevards lined with palm trees and Chile’s most popular beaches. Due to its many lush parks, Vina is known as “the Garden City.”
Overnight in Vina Del Mar. Hotel O’Higgins or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Wed Dec 5th Valparaiso + Santiago + Fly Home
Before the building of the Panama Canal, Valparaiso was the first major port that west-bound ships called at as they rounded Cape Horn. The city is really two quite distinct towns. The commercial centre and major streets are located on the flat land around the port but the majority of the jumbled residential neighbourhoods are built on the steep slopes which rise behind the port area. The higgledy-piggledy houses of different sizes and colours are packed in across the hillsides on twisting cobbled streets, reminding one of parts of old San Francisco. The lower area is connected to the hillsides by old funicular elevators that climb at crazy angles. The unique character of Valparaiso was recognised in 2003 when the United Nations designated the city a World Heritage Site.
This afternoon we drive inland to Santiago and start our sightseeing tour in the historic centre of the city at the Plaza de Armas. Nearby is the Presidential Palace, La Moneda. In front of the palace is the Plaza de La Libertad and close by is the Plaza Bernardo O’Higgins, named after the Peruvian-Irish father of the republic. This evening we fly home overnight to North America. Breakfast.

Thurs Dec 6th Today we arrive home


IGUAZU FALLS (4 day PRE-TOUR)

Wed Nov 15th Today we fly overnight from North America
Thurs Nov 16th Buenos Aires – Iguazu Falls This morning we arrive in Buenos Aires and fly north to Iguazu Falls, one of the world’s largest waterfalls. This is also where the Iguazu River, which at this point forms the border between Argentina and Brazil, flows into the Parana River, which is the border with Paraguay.
First of 2 nights at Iguazu Falls. Esturion Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

Fri Nov 16th Iguazu Falls
At Iguazu a total of 275 falls cascade over a precipice 1.8 miles wide. Iguazu Falls are higher than Victoria Falls in Africa and twice as wide as Niagara Falls. An average of 62,000 cubic feet per second of water thunders over these falls. At their height, in February and March each year, over 450,000 cubic feet per second pour over the falls forming as many as 260 separate cataracts. At the river’s edge it is possible to feel a faint vibration through the soles of one’s shoes ! At the heart of this unforgettable scene is the Devil’s Throat where 14 separate falls join together, roaring 350 feet down into the chasm below. The spray produces many dazzling rainbows above the falls.
Two thirds of the falls are on the Argentine side and the geology of the riverbed and islands on this side has allowed the construction of a series of elevated walkways that lead between islands to several observation points with spectacular overlooks. Today we have a guided tour to see the massive falls from several view points within Argentina. We also explore Iguazu National Park which is divided between Argentina and Brazil. There are 137,000 acres of the park on the Argentine side. Partly due to the spray rising from the enormous series of waterfalls, this park has one of the finest subtropical rain forests in South America, populated by over 2,000 plant species and over 400 bird species, including colourful toucans, parrots, parakeets and humming birds. There are also over 500 species of butterfly found in the park, many of them with dazzling colouration, such as the giant, iridescent Blue Morpho Butterfly. Be sure to bring a good pair of binoculars ! Exploring the extensive network of trails in the park takes us into pristine jungle, silent except for the rustle of leaves and the songs of the multitude of birds and insects.
Second of 2 nights at Iguazu Falls. Esturion Hotel or similar. Breakfast & Dinner.

Sat Nov 17th Iguazu Falls + Fly Iguazu - Buenos Aires - Montevideo
This morning we are free to explore the town of Puerto Iguazu on the Argentine side of the falls. Unlike a temperate rainforest, which is usually made up of hundreds of thousands or millions of individuals of very few species of conifer, the tropical rainforest canopy here is formed by far fewer individuals of a huge variety of species of tree. Many of these tropical trees are well over 100 feet high with broadly spreading branches. In this humid environment, these tall trees not only shelter shorter trees and shrubs but are themselves the growing platforms for an enormous variety of epiphytes including mosses, lichens, lianas, bromeliads, philodendrons, begonias and hundreds of species of orchid. Everywhere one looks plants are growing in uncountable variety on other plants. This great abundance of plant life also supports a great variety of animal life, although one has to be sharp-eyed to spot many of the mammals, including the 2 species of monkey which inhabit the area, and birds among the dense foliage.
There are also a number of different optional excursions which you can take to view the falls in different ways.
This afternoon we fly to Buenos Aires and connect to our flight to Montevideo.
First of 2 nights in Montevideo. NH Columbia Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.


EASTER ISLAND (6 day POST-TOUR)

Wed Dec 5th Valparaiso + Fly to Easter Island
Before the building of the Panama Canal, Valparaiso was the first major port that west-bound ships called at as they rounded Cape Horn. The city is really two quite distinct towns. The commercial centre and major streets are located on the flat land around the port but the majority of the jumbled residential neighbourhoods are built on the steep slopes which rise behind the port area. The higgledy-piggledy houses of different sizes and colours are packed in across the hillsides on twisting cobbled streets, reminding one of parts of old San Francisco. The lower area is connected to the hillsides by old funicular elevators that climb at crazy angles. The unique character of Valparaiso was recognised in 2003 when the United Nations designated the city a World Heritage Site.
This afternoon we drive inland to Santiago Airport where we catch our flight to Easter Island, one of the most isolated places on earth - 2,300 miles from the coast of mainland Chile. Upon arrival transfer to our hotel.
First of 4 nights on Easter Island. Otai Hotel or similar.

Thurs Dec 6th Easter Island After a relaxed start to get over our long flights we travel north of the main town, Hanga Roa, to see some of the unique archaeological sites that tiny, isolated Easter Island is so famous for. The island is known for its ahu, which are village burial sites and ceremonial centres. Over 245 have been discovered around the island. Here the famous Moai stone statues, ranging from 6 feet to over 30 feet tall, stand with their backs to the Pacific Ocean and their faces overlooking the sacred sites. This afternoon we visit Ahu Akivi where 7 restored moai guard the site of an ancient village. We also visit Ana Te Pahu, a former cave dwelling formed from lava tubes. Puna Pau is the quarry where the red topknots which were placed on top of the heads of many of the Moai were mined. Many of these topknots lie scattered on the ground.
Second of 4 nights on Easter Island. Otai Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Fri Dec 7th Easter Island Today we travel along the south coast visiting sites of such villages as Ahu Vaihu and Ahu Akahanga on our way to Peninsula Poike, the eastern tip of the island formed by extinct Maunga Pukatikei volcano. Ahu Tongariki is the largest ceremonial site ever built on Easter Island and has 15 dramatically-located Moai. We also visit Rano Raraku, the main quarry where the ancient peoples dug out the huge stone statues. Over 600 Moai lie around in this area, the largest being nearly 70 feet tall.
When we cross Peninsula Poike to the north coast we visit ceremonial sites such as Ahu Te Pito Kura and Ahu Nau Nau, where a row of well-preserved Moai stand next to a beautiful white sand beach. This afternoon we travel back across the island to our hotel.
Third of 4 nights on Easter Island. Otai Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Sat Dec 8th Easter Island Today we visit the Sebastian Englert Anthropological Museum in town to learn more about the unique culture of Rapa Nui, as Easter Island known in the native language. We also learn some of the theories as to why the population which carved such huge stones and moved them over great distances dwindled from 15,000 at the height of the culture to less than 3,000 today. There are many mysteries on Easter Island and many people have developed theories to explain them, including famous navigator Thor Heyerdahl. Today we explore more of the sites in Rapa Nui National Park.
Fourth of 4 nights on Easter Island. Otai Hotel or similar. Breakfast and Dinner.

Sun Dec 9th Easter Island – Santiago + Home This morning we fly back across the wide expanse of the Pacific to Santiago on mainland Chile. This afternoon we start our sightseeing tour in the historic centre of the city at the Plaza de Armas. Nearby is the Presidential Palace, La Moneda. In front of the palace is the Plaza de La Libertad and close by is the Plaza Bernardo O’Higgins, named after the Peruvian-Irish father of the republic.
This evening we fly home overnight to North America. Breakfast.

Mon Dec 10th Today we arrive home

Not Included:


  • Any Visa fees. Canadian passport holders do NOT currently require visas for Uruguay, Argentina or Chile. However, your passport should be valid for 6 months beyond the date of your return home.
  • Lunches.
  • Trip Cancellation / Interruption and Medical Insurance. We offer insurance coverage with MANULIFE Insurance
  • Single Supplement charge, if requested ($1,850 Canadian)
  • Personal Expenses such as souvenirs, laundry, drinks not included at meals.

Flights: Our preferred routing from Vancouver is with Air Canada and Lan Chile Airlines via Toronto and Santiago to Montevideo and returning from Santiago via Toronto. However, we have the ability to book your flights with any airline. Please call us for quotes on other airlines.
Please note that there is an additional cost for the arrival & departure transfers should you wish to travel with an airline other than our group flights or purchase the LAND ONLY Package. There is also an additional cost if you wish to travel with Air Canada / Lan Chile on dates different from our group arrival and departure dates.

Single Travellers: If you wish to be guaranteed a single room there is a Single Supplement charge of $1,850 Canadian.
Published price is based on 2 people sharing a twin room. For those people travelling alone but wishing to share we shall do our best to match you with a roommate. The earlier you pay your deposit the easier this will be. You will be informed 3 months prior to departure if a roommate is not currently available. At that point you may choose to be invoiced for the Single Supplement ($1,850) or refunded your deposit (and Cancellation Insurance if purchased at the time of deposit) without penalty. If you choose to pay the single supplement and a roommate subsequently joins the tour, your single supplement will be refunded with the final documentation.

Payment: You can secure your place on the tour with a $400 per person non-refundable deposit. We take payment by cheque, VISA or MasterCard for the $400/ person DEPOSIT. The invoice for the balance of the tour will be sent out in mid-August 2018. Payment for the balance of the tour is due on September 16th 2018. Prices quoted are for FINAL PAYMENT made BY CHEQUE

Special Notes:
Group limited to a maximum of 24 participants. Please pay your $400 deposit early.
Land portion of the tour must be booked directly with Royal Heights Tours. You can book the Land portion of the tour with us and make your own flight arrangements through your travel agent or using your Frequent Flyer points.
Our office staff are not medically qualified to advise you on which immunizations you require. Please consult your local travel health clinic.

Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.