Chile: Wine and Wellness
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This wonderful 9-day tour takes you to the best of the wine and pisco regions in Chile, as well as time spent relaxing in Andean natural hot springs, short hikes, massages, and much more. Beautiful landscapes combine with history and interesting sites in the Santiago and La Serena areas. A visit to the Elqui Valley for some unique experiences rounds out this incredible vacation.
ADDITION RATE INFORMATION
Rate based on double occupancy. Single Supplement: $1098.00 CAD 5% GST not included. International flights not included.
Day 1: Arrive SantiagoSantiago, Chile
This is your international flight day. Ask us about the suggested international flights. You are met by your local representative and your private transport in the international airport in Santiago and taken to your hotel in the downtown area. There are many stores, activities and fantastic restaurants in the area. You have the morning to rest before we enjoy lunch as a group and depart for our afternoon tour.
This afternoon we depart for our “Santiago Offbeat” tour to see the alternative side of Santiago. The local tour guide will take us to “La Chimba,” which in Quechua literally means “the other side,” of the River Mapocho. The river has traditionally divided the city and its residents - with “La Chimba” housing the marginalized, trod-upon residents of Santiago since the Spanish Colonial times. “Santiago Offbeat” brings you to the other side, to its gems and the humble, proud and beautiful people that make it special. The tour walks through four impressive open-air markets, El Mercado Central, Tirso de Molina, La Vega Chica and La Vega Central, great places to see, smell, and photograph the agricultural and fishing bounty of Chile. From there we take the Metro to El Cementerio General, the General Cemetery, Chile’s oldest, biggest and most important cemetery.
Did you know that all but one of Chile’s presidents are buried in the General Cemetery in Santiago, one of them being the military dictator Augusto Pinochet? Or that the Catholic Church allowed Protestants to be buried in the General Cemetery... but only if they were separated by interior walls that were 7 meters high and 3 meters wide to ensure the Catholics did not rest too close to the heathens?
This walking tour will take us to a side of the city that other tours will not. More importantly, after the three-hour walk you will fall in love with Santiago and the Santiaguinos, the residents of the beautiful Capital. We head to the heights of one of the lookout hills for a complete view of Santiago before returning to the hotel to have a rest before dinner.
Tonight we are treated to an exquisite dinner with an international menu, in one of the capital’s most traditional restaurants. The night begins with a spectacular live show from the South Pacific Islands and Chilean folklore from the north, center and south of the country, with its delightful dances.
Day 2: Casablanca GourmetCasablanca Valley, Santiago, Chile
This indulgent tour will transport you to the beautiful Casablanca Valley, about an hour to the west of Santiago. Our first stop will be at Chile’s first 100% organic and biodynamic winery, and will include a tour and tasting of four wines from their extensive range, accompanied by a tasting of either chocolate or cheese.
We will then enjoy a delicious three-course lunch, where we will talk with the enthusiastic chef and owner about his focus on local and market-fresh produce. We will enjoy a tasting of three local wines from small producers that you will have trouble finding elsewhere.
After lunch, we will visit our final winery, with a tour to show you some interesting and different winemaking techniques. We will finish the day with a taste of three distinctly unique blends, and an opportunity to explore their typical general store.
We will then transport you back to Santiago at the end of an enjoyable day.
Day 3: Volcano And Hot SpringsCajon de Maipo, Santiago, Chile
We depart at 7 am for our day tour into the Andes. A remote, majestic and quiet place at the foot of the Andes Mountains, Baños Colina is located about 104 km from Santiago and at 2.500 meters. These natural pools have temperatures reaching up to 50°C and are arranged as outdoor terraces, by calcareous deposits. Enjoy a relaxing and therapeutic hot springs bath in the Andes after a 3 km hike to the viewpoint of the San Jose Volcano.
We will enjoy the connection with nature and the best of Cajon de Maipo on foot while having breathtaking views of the San Jose Volcano. We will relax in the natural and therapeutic mineral waters of Baños Colina (hot springs) and exercise with our 2-hour hike to the volcano viewpoint (6 km). We return to the hotel at approximately 7 pm and can enjoy dinner nearby.
Day 4: Boutique WineriesAconcagua, Santiago, Chile
Today is a marvelous day as we discover some of the smaller boutique vineyards and wineries in the Aconcagua region, as well as the larger but beautiful Errazuriz winery, with beautiful views of the mountains.
Our first stop is the family-owned and operated Vina Von Siebenthal, where we will take a brief tour followed by a tasting of two of their Gran Reserva wines accompanied by local cheeses. After, we will visit the stunningly beautiful property of Errazuriz, where we will tour the ancient cellars and winemaking facilities before a tasting of four of their Max Reserva wines at the Wine bar. You will then enjoy a three-course lunch matched with premium wines from the Especialidad and Max Reserva range.
After lunch we have a unique opportunity to visit Flaherty wines, a small, boutique winery that is producing just one wine but doing it extremely well. We will see their new premises and enjoy a glass of wine on their terrace while we talk personally with the winemaker and owner. We return to Santiago later in the afternoon for our last night in Santiago.
Day 5: Santiago To La SerenaLa Serena, Chile
Chile’s second oldest city after Santiago, La Serena is just seven hours north of the capital by bus and the perfect size for exploration. With roughly 300,000 inhabitants, the city never feels congested or confusing. The architecture here is gorgeous, and along with its wide pedestrian avenues that seemed to have been transported directly from Spain, La Serena is also known as the City of Churches – there is one on almost every corner, it seems. The city has a breezy, refreshing character to it, owing to the fact that it is a popular beach town with the longest stretch of beautiful golden beaches in the entire country, which is essentially a 4,000km stretch of coastline, itself. You could walk uninterrupted for an entire day along the coast.
We depart this morning in our private transport with a local guide to travel north to La Serena. We can enjoy lunch en-route and arrive into our hotel in La Serena at about 5 pm. There is a lot to enjoy en-route and we will be stopping throughout the day to stretch and enjoy the areas. We have the chance to travel to the Limari Valley, just past Ovalle, and Chile’s northernmost vineyard, Francisco de Aguirre. This may be pisco territory, but since 1993 this winery has been successfully producing fine wines, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and cabernet franc, among them. Tour the facilities, learn about the winemaking process, and sample the goods.
We continue to travel past the beaches of La Herradura, Las Tacas, Morrillos and Guanaqueros. Turning inland, we pass a number of ranches and farms en route to the Valle del Encanto, or Enchanting Valley. This idyllic site was home to a hunter-gatherer civilization 4,000 years ago, but researchers believe it was the Molle culture, around 700 B.C., that left their mark on the landscape with more than 30 petroglyphs, which are stone images, either etched or painted (snakes, for example, and fish, sun symbols and heads with what appear to be antennas or tiaras), and a number of piedras tacitas, which are intriguing indentations in stones. The evening is free to enjoy the city of La Serena.
Day 6: La Serena To Elqui ValleyElqui Valley, La Serena, Chile
This is a 137-mile stretch of incredible, lush landscape surrounded by arid mountains and topped off by bright blue skies. The picturesque villages that dot the valley are separated by miles and miles of vineyards, wine grapes on one side and grapes to make the local Chilean Pisco on the other, plus avocados, alfalfa and other crops as well.
The region also offers the clearest atmosphere in the world. The valley is far away from city lights, and its climate is so gentle and steady that there is very little wind and precipitation to disturb the clean air. On a moonless night, the starry sky is absolutely magnificent. The Milky Way is indeed very “milky” and Jupiter makes the brightest show at night.
With the new millennium and the Cosmic Era of Pisces to Aquarius, the magnetic and spiritual energies of the earth have been shifted from 30 degrees north to 30 degrees south and land directly in this area. Before this change, the Earth’s magnetic center was located in Tibet in the Himalayas. In the previous 2000 years the Earth was under the influence of Pisces. Between the mountains of the impressive Andes massive, there’s a particular place in which a powerful source of magnetic energy is located. This spot is the Elqui Valley, near the old coastal city La Serena in Chile. The location of this special place is exactly 30 degrees south and 70 degrees west in the Elqui Valley in the small town of Cochiguaz. Since 1960 many esoteric brotherhoods linked to astrology, yoga, reiki, shaman teachers and meditation, have settled their communities in the Elqui Valley due to this source of magnetic energy.
The tour begins on the banks of the Elqui River, the lush setting for villages like Agarrobito, which is famous for its especially beautiful church and ancient olive groves. The tour proceeds through fields of olives, avocados, papayas, lúcumas and chirimoyas (the last, a pair of unique local fruits) and we have the opportunity to stop and sample local produce. In Vicuña, we learn the ins and outs of making pisco, a type of brandy made from a Moscatel-like grape, at one of the many pisco distilleries in town. We are visiting in the perfect month, as this is when they harvest the sweet grapes for Pisco and we will be able to taste them right from the vines!
At sunset, we journey to the Observatory, one of the few such centers open to the public. A lecture and slide presentation will offer insight into this science, the wonders of the universe and the stars of the Southern Hemisphere in particular. A 12-inch telescope allows for nonpareil stargazing. Guides will be on hand to narrate, pointing out and providing information about all visible stars, planets, and galaxies. We return to our hotel in the area for a great night's sleep.
Day 7: Elqui Valley To La Serena To SantiagoElqui Valley, La Serena, Chile
This morning we continue down the Valley to Pisco Elqui, a small town that offers many types of energy work and here we spend our morning. You have the choice of having reiki, massage, a yoga class, chakra balancing or other therapies this morning. We enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and return through the Valley to La Serena to take a short flight back to Santiago, arriving mid-evening and are transferred back to our hotel. You have the rest of the evening free.
Day 8: Maipo Valley Wine TourMaipo Valley, Santiago, Chile
Today we visit an organic and biodynamic vineyard, just an hour away from Santiago. Explore the gravity-flow design of the winery and the underground cellar before enjoying two of their wines with a panoramic view of the vineyards. We continue on to visit the homestead and gardens of the Carrera family and hear stories of their instrumental involvement in the fight for Chile’s Independence. Finish with a tasting of two wines in a garden setting. We enjoy lunch today in a typical Chilean restaurant with a selection of traditional Chilean dishes, a side salad and a small dessert, accompanied by a glass of wine.
After lunch we head towards the coast to this family-owned and run vineyard, where you will taste three of their wines while enjoying a sweeping view over the natural amphitheater of their vineyard. We return to the hotel for our last night in Santiago. Tonight we will enjoy a good-bye dinner at a nearby restaurant.
Day 9: Free Day In Santiago – OutSantiago, Chile
We hate to say goodbye to this wonderful country, but all good times must come to an end! Today is a completely free day to sleep in, relax, enjoy the hotel, shop or see other sites in the city. Please ask your tour leaders what you can do today and they will be happy to help arrange anything you require.
Today you will be transferred back to the airport for your international flight out.
Single traveller? Ask us about pairing you with a same sex traveller to avoid the single supplement.
This is a small group tour, maximum 8 travellers.
35% deposit upon reservation, final payment due 60 days before departure date. OR Payment plans available for this tour: $250.00 deposit and equal monthly payments.
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