- Go wine tasting in Chile's famous Casablanca Valley
- Tour Valparaíso, the most romantic and artistic city in Chile
- Discover the flavors of Santiago on a food tour
- Embark on an excursion in the mountainous Maipo Valley
|Day 1||Arrive in Santiago de Chile, Explore||Santiago|
|Day 2||Valparaiso, Viña del Mar & Casablanca Valley||Santiago|
|Day 3||Santiago Food Tour||Santiago|
|Day 4||Maipo Valley Full-Day Tour||Santiago|
|Day 5||Depart Santiago|
Day 1: Arrive in Santiago de Chile, Explore
Welcome to Chile! Upon arrival at Santiago International Airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. You'll have the rest of the day to explore the city at your leisure.
Suggested activities include:
- Hike to the top of Cerro San Cristobal, the most magnificent viewpoint in Santiago. When visiting any new city, it's a good idea to get your bearings by surveying the area from a high vantage point. Pathways lead 2,788 feet (850 m) up this central hill to a series of lookouts that offer wraparound views of Santiago. Enjoy the reconnoitering, and if you're not the hiking type, don't worry: you can catch a scenic gondola to the top.
- Stroll the cobblestone streets of Barrio Bellavista. On the north side of Santiago, you'll find this trendy enclave, at once fashionable and bohemian. Brightly painted old houses adorned with graffiti art sit alongside modern shopping complexes featuring an eclectic array of eateries and bars. It's a great place to come for dinner, a glass or two of Chilean red, and people-watching from a patio table.
- Visit the Plaza de Armas, located in Santiago's historic center. There's a lot of history within the four corners of this expansive stone plaza, as it was founded all the way back in 1541. Also here is the impressive Catedral Metropolitana, a neoclassical church dating to 1748 and whose towering twin bell towers dominate the north side of the plaza.
- Snap pics in front of the Palacio de la Moneda. Chile's opulent Presidential Palace (La Moneda) is just a short stroll from the Plaza de Armas, and like the plaza, it's filled with history. It was here in 1973 that Chile's armed forces, backed by the US government, overthrew President Salvador Allende, kicking off a brutal right-wing military dictatorship that would last for 17 years. Today, the country is under democratic rule, and visitors are welcome to visit the palace.
For dinner, leave the hotel and enjoy a culinary adventure in the city. In recent years, Santiago has emerged as a global foodie destination. Chilean chefs are reinventing traditional dishes like empanadas, cazuelas (stews), and seafood with ingredients harvested all the way from the northern deserts and southern Patagonian regions. You can find great restaurants and wine bars not only in the Bellavista neighborhood but also in the revitalized historic barrios of Yungay and Italia.
Day 2: Valparaiso, Viña del Mar & Casablanca Valley
After breakfast, you'll depart from your hotel in Santiago and drive about an hour west toward the coast. Your destination is the Casablanca Valley, home to many top wineries. Here, you'll take a tour, taste, and enjoy lunch at the wonderful Casa del Bosque Winery.
After lunch, you'll continue the short distance to the coast and the cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar. First up is the port city of Valparaíso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site famous for its colorful hillside neighborhoods, winding stairways, and abundance of street art. It's a throwback to a time when electric trolleys coasted along the waterfront, and funicular elevators carried people high into the hills. On a city tour, you'll visit some famous sites, such as Plaza de la Victoria and the Naval Academy, and ride a funicular high into the hills where panoramic vistas of the bay await. A real highlight is visiting the former home of Chile's Nobel Prize-winning poet, Pablo Neruda.
Afterward, you'll drive a short way to the adjacent town of Viña del Mar, which couldn't be more different in style than its neighbor. Whereas Valparaíso is a retro artistic haven, Viña is a modern seaside hotspot with sleek shopping centers and upscale restaurants. After touring around the city and waterfront, you'll return to Santiago in time for dinner.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Santiago Food Tour
Today you'll get out and explore on a half-day food tour of Santiago. It's an immersive experience that reveals the true beating heart of the city, which is found in its people, marketplaces, and cuisine. It's so informative that by the end of it, you'll be an honorary Santiaguino.
Highlights of the tour include:
- Wandering the aisles of Santiago's labyrinthine central market. This is the beating heart of the city, overflowing with vendors and residents eager to get their hands on the freshest of the day's produce. With the assistance of an English-speaking guide, you'll engage with these vendors and shoppers, learning about their daily routine while getting the inside track on the most delicious tidbits to try.
- A tasting of traditional Chilen dishes. It's not enough to experience the kinetic energy of the marketplace—you'll want to do like a local and indulge your taste buds as well. You'll also see how some of Chile's most famous dishes are prepared.
- Ascend to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal. After the market, it's time to hop on a cable car to the top of this hill that sits about 984 feet (300 m) above the city. Enjoy the 360 degrees panoramas and take plenty of photos, as these are the most incredible views in Santiago.
- Take a lunch break in the fashionably bohemian enclave of Barrio Bellavista. It's time for even more food, this time in the trendiest neighborhood in the city: Bellavista. Here, you'll find various funky cafés, international eateries, and high-end restaurants.
After the tour, you'll return to your hotel and can spend the remainder of the day relaxing.
Tour Duration: Half-day (with English-speaking guide)
Day 4: Maipo Valley Full-Day Tour
Today, you'll experience even more of Chile's famous natural beauty with a visit to Cajón del Maipu. After breakfast, you'll embark on a 45-minute road trip southeast of Santiago to this popular gorge. You'll first arrive in the fertile San José de Maipo region, with its hills and vineyards. Then, it's an ascent into the mountains, and the landscapes become even more dramatic as massifs and snowcapped peaks dominate the skyline. That's nothing of the sparkling rivers and streams that wind through this paradise.
After reaching 9,843 feet (3,000 m) above sea level, you'll exit the vehicle at the shores of the Embalse de Yeso, a reservoir nestled in the Andes whose glassy surface shines bright turquoise. There will be ample time to marvel at this landscape and snap photos of the panoramic vistas. You'll also walk around the shore as your expert guide offers insight into the geology of the area as well as the history of the reservoir, a result of damming the Yeso River back in 1964.
For lunch, sit near the water and enjoy a picnic accompanied by a selection of top Chilean wine. Afterward, you'll return to San José de Maipo and stop at a local restaurant to try a traditional Chilean empanada. Finally, you'll transfer back to your hotel in Santiago.
Day 5: Depart Santiago
It's time to say farewell to Chile. In the morning, you'll transfer from your hotel to the airport in Santiago for your flight back home. ¡Buen viaje!
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