The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, six nights' accommodations, sightseeing tours, and regional transportation by bus and plane, from $2,230 per person—plus taxes of $105-$123.
When: Through May 2008.
Gateways: Miami; add $40 for L.A.; $50 for Houston; $85 for Seattle; $90 for New York City; $110 for Chicago; additional cities available.
The fine print: Airport-hotel transfers, breakfast daily, hotel taxes, and the services of a bilingual guide are included. Airport taxes and fees are an additional $105-$123 per person, depending on the U.S. gateway. Visas are not required; however, you will need to pay a $100 tourist card fee upon arrival. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $320. Read these before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: No deadline; based on availability.
Contact: Marnella Tours, 866/993-0033, marnellatours.com.
Why it's a deal: Marnella Tours, which specializes in Latin America trips, provides the convenience and peace of mind of having virtually all your trip details arranged in one booking. Consider, too, that the starting rate of $2,230 can be divided into $780 for accommodations, sightseeing, and meals, and $1,450 for round-trip international airfare and round-trip airfare between Santiago and Easter Island. (A land-only version of the package costs $780 per person.)
Note that it's very possible that travelers will be able to find cheaper airfares. When we did a recent multi-city airfare search on Kayak (Miami-Santiago-Easter Island-Santiago-Miami) for late March/early April, the lowest fare was $1,425 per person, including estimated taxes (multiple carriers). Compare that with about $1,555 through Marnella. However, the caveat is that the Kayak fare required two stops between Miami and Santiago, whereas Marnella makes a point of using airlines like Lan Chile and American that fly nonstop between Miami and Santiago—and only require one stop between other U.S. gateways and Santiago.
Trip details: The package includes round-trip airfare to Santiago on a major carrier (American, Lan Chile, or Delta) and six nights' accommodations. The first three nights are spent at the downtown hotel , near Plaza de Armas and La Moneda metro stop.
You'll take a three-hour sightseeing tour of the city that includes stops at La Moneda Palace, the (devoted to Inca, Maya, and Aztecan cultures), the Central Market, and Santa Lucía hill, where the city was founded in the 16th century.
You'll also set out by bus for a four-hour visit to the winery, where you'll explore the vineyards and sample some of the wines; on the way back to Santiago, you'll make a stop at Maipo Canyon.
Next you'll board a five-and-a-half-hour flight on Lan Chile to Easter Island, famous for the hundreds of enormous stone statues, called moai, left behind by the Rapa Nui civilization.The charming 41-room , which is in Hanga Roa village and a few minutes' walk from the coast, will be your base for three nights.
You'll spend two jam-packed days on group excursions with stops at Ahu Tahai, the anthropological museum, Puna Pau hill, Rano Kao volcano, the town of Orongo, Rano Raraku volcano, Anakena Beach, and Ahu Ature Huki.
You can extend your stay by adding extra nights in Santiago from $52 per person per night and on Easter Island from $79 per person per night.
Before you go, check the weather forecast, the , and the at .