- Stroll the streets of Santiago, one of the most dynamic and romantic capitals in Latin America
- Go on excursions to the nearby Casablanca and Colchagua valleys for wine tours of famous vineyards
- Get to know Chile's famous wines one sip at a time
|Day 1||Arrival in Santiago de Chile||Santiago|
|Day 2||Casablanca Valley and Wine Tour||Santiago|
|Day 3||Concha y Toro Vineyard Tour||Santiago|
|Day 4||Full-Day Colchagua Valley Vineyards Tour||Santiago|
|Day 5||Departing Santiago|
Day 1: Arrival in Santiago de Chile
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 850 meters (2,788 feet) up this central hill to a series of lookouts that offer wraparound views of Santiago. Enjoy the reconnoitering, and if you aren't the hiking type not to 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 out, 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 (known simply as "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 U.S. 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 be sure to get out of 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: Casablanca Valley and Wine Tour
After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel in Santiago, a driver will meet you for a trip about an hour west to the Casablanca Valley. This wine region of Chile is famous for producing white grapes that through a meticulous viniculture process become amazing Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs.
On the way, you'll pass by the coastal communities of Santo Domingo Beach and San Antonio, the latter of which is South America's busiest port. Eventually, you'll arrive in the small village of Lo Abarca where the boutique winery Casa Marin is located. You'll take a tour of the grounds and cap off the excursion with a tasting of premium wines. Later in the afternoon, you'll return to Santiago.
Day 3: Concha y Toro Vineyard Tour
In the morning a driver will meet you at your hotel and transfer you to wine country. The destination today is the town of Pirque, located about an hour south of Santiago. This is where you'll find the showcase vineyard and family estate of Concha y Toro. Currently, Concha y Toro is the largest producer of wine in Latin America, and they export their popular brands to over 130 countries.
The tour begins in the Casa Patronal, the company's main estate, which is notable for its beautiful green grounds and tranquil pond. You will visit the vineyards and stroll among the rows of grapes that comprise these internationally known wines. Then you'll enter the production facilities and observe the process that results in all those famous bottles, including the most famous Chilean wine of all: Casillero del Diablo. There's a legend to this particular Concha y Toro brand that you'll learn about on the tour. The tale dates back over 130 years and involves the devil himself guarding the family's wine cellar against theft.
Finally, it's time for a tasting of Concha y Toro's most famous varietals. If a sampling isn't enough then an added visit to the vineyard's wine shop will allow you to purchase more bottles either for yourself or as gifts. The tour finishes with a return to your hotel in Santiago, where you're free to enjoy the remainder of the day as you please.
Day 4: Full-Day Colchagua Valley Vineyards Tour
Today is the mother of all wine tours as you'll visit the most prestigious wine area in Chile: the valley of Colchagua, which is famous for the production of Syrah and Carménere wines. After a two-hour drive south from Santiago, you'll arrive at the prestigious winery Viña Viu Manent. Here you'll tour the grounds in style—on a horse-drawn antique carriage—and taste the various fine wines that are produced on the premises.
Afterward, you'll head to the nearby Apalta Valley to visit the Viña Montes winery. They'll open up their diverse cellar and you'll be able to taste the premium and ultra-premium wines that are produced there. On both these tours, you'll be accompanied by a bilingual guide so as to ensure nothing gets lost in translation.
Later in the afternoon, you'll return to your hotel in Santiago.
Day 5: Departing 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!