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  • Dates
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This wine and food focused trip is a delicious introduction to the pleasures of Chile. You’ll start with two days in sophisticated Santiago with a choice of tours, either adding on or working off calories. On two days of Colchagua region wine tours, you travel to Chile’s agricultural heartland, filled with lush vines, great food and warm Chilean hospitality. It is here that some of Chile’s important families used wealth derived from mining in the late 19th century to introduce French varietals, mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, Carménère, Merlot and Malbec. A re-birth of fine wine traditions in the mid-1990s has developed the valley into one of the most important wine regions in South America, making it a must-visit for aficionados of vino tinto. Your last three days are spent in two memorable coastal cities, with some final wine tastings along the way in the Casablanca Valley. One of the first Chilean cities founded by the Spanish, fascinating Valparaiso was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 for its architectural and cultural significance. Idyllic Vina del Mar is known as “the garden city” for its lush gardens and palm-lined boulevards. Never more than two hours from the capital, the different worlds you experience on this trip will teach you what it means to eat, drink and be merry in Chile.
Itinerary
DAY 1: SANTIAGO
A Southern Explorations guide will meet you at the Santiago International Airport on arrival, take you to your hotel and assist with check-in. This afternoon you may take a city tour or visit a winery in nearby Maipo Valley.
 
Santiago City Tour: This tour gets you to Santiago’s most important historical sites including the downtown area surrounding the Plaza de Armas and the Presidential Palace. You will stroll through the bustling stalls of the Mercado Central, one of Chile’s largest fresh seafood markets to see the many options provided by Chile’s bounty. You also visit some of the lesser known barrios. Once considered the outskirts, Republica and Concha y Toro are today home to Santiago's high society, transformed by the capital's constant growth. Here you see many styles of architecture dating back to the 19th and early 20th centuries. Continuing on to the eclectic Lastarria neighborhood, you walk through the Parque Forestal, passing by the National Bellas Artes Museum. For panoramic views, you visit the top of San Cristobal Hill, 984 feet above the city. During the tour you will have the opportunity to visit the La Chascona Museum,* the former home of Pablo Neruda, Chile’s most famous poet and Nobel laureate. (Museum closed on Mondays.) Please note: *La Chascona Museum offers tours on a first-come, first-served basis and may require a short wait.
 
Maipo Wine Valley: Spend the afternoon in Cabernet and Carménère country. While not Chile’s oldest wine region, as some authors have claimed, Maipo is certainly among the most traditional. Its French-inspired vineyards initiated Chile’s second wine boom some 150 years ago and are partially responsible for the valley’s famed Cabernet Sauvignon (by far the region’s most prized grape). The valley is also home to some of the country’s finest Carménère. You will enjoy tours and tastings at the boutique Aquitania Winery, founded by four French and French-Chilean oenologists. Please note: winery visit available Monday through Friday.
DAY 2: SANTIAGO
After a delicious breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel to begin your day’s activity. Options include:
 
Santiago City Culinary Tour - Market Tasting: You’ll drive to the downtown center and the iconic Plaza de Armas, learning a bit of Chilean history and how the Spanish colonial past continues to influence Chilean cuisine today. On the tour’s walking portion, you will visit Santiago’s two most famous markets. La Vega is the city’s largest and most vibrant produce market, a bustling place where residents shop for their meals alongside buyers from Santiago’s top restaurants. You cross the Mapocho River to enter the Mercado Central. During today’s culinary tours, your guide will lead you in a gastronomic narrative, stopping at various points to taste native fruits and typical Chilean fare such as sopapilla and empanadas plus traditional drinks such as “cola de mono” (a creamy drink served around the holidays) or “terremoto”(made with pineapple ice cream and artisan wine). Before being returned to your hotel, your final interlude offers a choice of desserts, artisan ice cream or a spread of cakes/pastries with coffee or tea. (B; tastings at markets/shops and snacks)
 
Bicycling the Parks of Santiago: Enjoy a day of Chile bicycling tours through Santiago’s beautiful parks. The journey starts from the lobby of your hotel where you meet your guide to depart for Parque Araucano. You travel through its beautiful gardens and continue downhill on well-maintained trails to Parque Americo Vespucio which connects Santiago’s Las Condes and Vitacura districts. The next destination is 60-acre Parque Bicentenario, on the bank of the Mapocho River. The landscape here is comprised of more than 4,000 trees including 1,300 endemic to Chile. You enjoy a picnic in the green open space for which Santiago is known before returning to your Santiago hotel with the evening free to roam. (B; picnic snack)  
DAY 3: SANTIAGO – COLCHAGUA VALLEY
After breakfast, you will be picked up at your Santiago hotel to drive two hours south on the Pan-American Highway to get acquainted with the famed agricultural and wine regions of central Chile, starting at the eastern end of Colchagua Valley. You will visit Colchagua’s oldest winery, Casa Silva, founded by Emilio Bouchon, who arrived in Chile in 1892. Casa Silva is best known for its award-winning Carménère, the signature grape of Chile. Your tour includes a tasting of its reserve wines and a delicious lunch prepared in the modern style of the on-site restaurant’s Chilean chef. Next stop is the Laura Hartwig Winery, a highly rated family-owned boutique winery. In the afternoon, you will check into your nearby hotel and enjoy a leisurely evening. (B,L) 
Please note: Wineries subject to change without notice. Some wineries may be closed on Sundays and holidays.
DAY 4: COLCHAGUA VALLEY – SANTIAGO
Today’s Chile wine tours further demonstrate why Colchagua has developed such a fine reputation for reds. The first stop is Neyen de Apalta Winery, which produces just one Bordeaux-style blend from 115 year-old Carménère vines. Founded by the Rojas family in 2002, Neyen is located on the site of one of the area’s pioneering 19th century wineries. A short drive away is the famed Apalta sub-region and a stop at Casa Lapostolle Winery, established in 1994 by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle of the Grand Marnier family. It produces some of the best QPR (quality/price ratio) wines in Chile and has helped to establish Colchagua as a premier red-wine producer. Next, you’ll enjoy a delicious lunch at the family-run Viu Manent Winery. Founded in 1935, the winery is known for its attention to detail and respect for environment, history and tradition. Your driver will then return you to Santiago for a relaxing evening and overnight at your hotel. (B,L)
Please note: Wineries subject to change without notice. Some wineries may be closed on Sundays and holidays.
DAY 5: SANTIAGO – CASABLANCA – VALPARAISO
After breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel for a picturesque drive to the Pacific. You pass through the verdant agricultural Curacaví Valley before reaching Casablanca Valley, famous for producing some of Chile’s best white wines and cool-climate reds. Your first visit will be to Catrala vineyards. This boutique winery is situated in a small, breezy, foggy microclimate of Orozco, within the Casablanca Valley. With the coolest climate in the valley, they also have the latest harvest, which goes into April. Next you will visit the boutique Kingston Family Vineyards, a pioneer in the production of artisan-style Syrah and Pinot Noir. Lunch is a special wine-paired menu at the HOUSE Casa del Vino restaurant. In the late afternoon you arrive in Valparaiso to spend two nights at boutique accommodations. (B,L)
Please note: Wineries subject to change without notice. Many wineries are closed on Sundays and holidays.
DAY 6: VALPAISO & VINA DEL MAR
You will be picked up at your hotel and start today’s Valparaíso tours in the downtown sector, learning about the history of “Valpo” and its importance in South American commerce. Century-old hillside ascensores (elevators) transport you up the city’s steep hills, where a labyrinth of streets contains brightly colored buildings, bohemian cafes, elegant restaurants and spectacular views of the harbor below. You’ll travel to two of Valparaiso’s most famous hills, Cerro Concepción and Cerro Alegre, stopping for lunch at a top restaurant. Afterwards you depart for Viña del Mar, passing by the “Reloj de Flores” (flower clock) and inviting beaches while learning about the city’s colonial and contemporary history. At day’s end you will be returned to your Valparaiso lodgings for an evening on your own. (B,L)
DAY 7: VALPAISO – SANTIAGO
Spend your last day in Valparaiso according to your interests. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to Santiago’s airport for your international flight home, concluding this Chile travel with Southern Explorations. (B)

Weather

When to Visit
  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec

Santiago & Surrounding Vineyards - The fertile heartland, this midland area of Chile enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with maximum temperatures averaging 82°F (28°C) in January and 50°F (10°C) in July. The rainy season lasts from May to August. Evenings and nights can be cool, even during the summer.

General Patagonia - The area south of Puerto Montt and Chiloé covers about 30% of the total land area of Chile. It is a rugged, mountainous region of tremendous beauty. Westerly winds and storms often drop enormous amounts of snow and rain on the seaward slopes. In the Magellanes and Tierra del Fuego areas, temperatures in summer average 52°F (11°C). Dampness and wind chill can make it feel cooler so layered clothing and good waterproof gear are musts. The weather year-round is highly unpredictable, and in summer be prepared for incessant winds that lessen in the winter. In the shoulder season months, November and March, winds are not likely to be as strong as during the peak of summer.

Torres Del Paine - The weather is famously unpredictable in this area and it is possible to experience four seasons in the course of a few hours. Average daily temperatures vary but in summer one can expect temperatures ranging between 50° F (10° C) and 70° F (20 ° C) with the occasional hot day of 78° F (25° C). Temperatures can drop to zero at night, and high winds are common in this area. Travelers should be prepared (both mentally and physically) for unpredictable and sometimes challenging weather conditions and pack accordingly. Good head-to-toe, breathable waterproof clothing is essential.

SANTIAGO

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN54-850.0
FEB54-840.1
MAR52-800.2
APR47-720.5
MAY40-642.3
JUN40-583.1
JUL37-573.0
AUG38-612.1
SEP40-651.1
OCT45-710.5
NOV47-770.2
DEC51-820.2

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

 

PUERTO MONTT

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN48-663.6
FEB47-673.7
MAR47-643.9
APR43-605.6
MAY42-569.2
JUN39-518.8
JUL37-509.0
AUG38-528.2
SEP38-525.7
OCT38-524.8
NOV43-600.5
DEC46-634.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

 

PUNTA ARENAS

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN43-571.4
FEB44-571.1
MAR51-541.6
APR39-491.6
MAY35-441.7
JUN31-391.3
JUL29-381.3
AUG31-411.3
SEP32-461.1
OCT36-500.9
NOV40-531.1
DEC42-561.2

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

 

SAN PEDRO ATACAMA

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN50-760.9
FEB50-750.2
MAR48-730.1
APR44-700.1
MAY38-660.0
JUN33-610.0
JUL33-610.0
AUG35-640.0
SEP40-690.1
OCT43-720.1
NOV46-740.1
DEC48-750.1

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

 

EASTER ISLAND

Min-Max Air Temp

Avg Rainfall

JAN68-812.8
FEB68-813.3
MAR68-803.8
APR66-774.8
MAY64-746.0
JUN62-724.2
JUL60-704.1
AUG60-703.7
SEP60-713.4
OCT61-732.7
NOV63-752.9
DEC65-783.4

*Year Round Temperatures in °F, Rainfall in Inches

 

Maps

Specials >> Chile

Join a group on our Feburary 4-16, 2019 Patagonia Hiking Panorama tour to experience the best...

Wine, Food, Culture and Coast

Pricing
2-3 Travelers
$2,995
Single Supplement: $500
Included in tour cost
  • All airport/hotel transfers
  • All hotel accommodations
  • All listed activities
  • English-speaking certified guides
  • Entrance fees for all scheduled tours, national parks & archaeological sites
  • Meals as indicated
  • Southern Explorations pre-departure services
Excluded from tour cost
  • Airport taxes, international and local
  • Domestic airfare within South America
  • International airfare to and from Central & South America
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Medical & travel insurance (highly recommended)

Wine, Food, Culture and Coast

Trip Dates
Wednesday, August 1, 2018 to Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Available
Valparaíso
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Colchagua Valley
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.
Santiago
Hotel upgrades are available, please contact us to discuss your options.

One Day

Multi-Day

torres del paine patagoniaSouthern Explorations enabled me to go on the trip of a lifetime, without having to worry about the trickier aspects of planning. It was well worth the cost to not have to coordinate reservations, tickets, and itineraries with people and companies that exist on the other side of the globe. The locals who work with Southern Explorations were fantastic, and I won't hesitate to recommend Southern Explorations to my friends. I will certainly consider booking with them for future trips! - Mary Vanatta (W Multi Sport)

chilean patagoniaI just wanted to let you know what an incredible time Jerry and I had on your Patagonia ‘W’ Multisport tour. Our group was amazing. The people that you connected us with were great and we bonded quite strongly with them. In fact, we have plans to visit them in Tokyo in April. The guide, Cristian Sanchez, and the chef, Miguel Chacana, made a perfect pair. Cristian was an AMAZING guide. He was entertaining, engaging, funny, serious, informative and a true leader. He was able to bring the group together and hold it together with ease. He was also very willing to spend every moment introducing us to his local friends and encouraging us to engage in the local customs like sharing tea from a “mate.” Cristian kept us on schedule at all times and made the activities flow with effortless ease. He is also one of two guides to have been born and raised in Puerto Natales and this made a huge difference in his spiritual connection with Patagonia - he was truly one with the mountains and everyone in the group could sense it. Great tour overall and I will happily recommend your company to others. Our guide was very impressed with your tour operation and he prefers to work with you since you are one of the best operating in that area. This goes a long way in giving me comfort in my recommendation of your firm. Thanks again and we will be in touch when we are ready for another great experience. - Bill Coleman and Jerry Boening, New York (Patagonia)

torres del paine patagoniaSadly, I am back from my AMAZING trip to S. America. I just wanted to thank you for everything. Your professionalism, responsiveness, & knowledge of S. America were incredible. I truly had the trip of a lifetime thanks to Southern Explorations. You guys left no stone unturned from the Galapagos, to Peru, to Chile, to Patagonia..............my expectations were exceeded 10-fold. I already recommended you guys to the gentleman on the plane next to me. It was really nice to get to meet Justin in Patagonia. It is obvious how hard he has worked to establish such strong contacts, guides, etc. I could tell that our guides were a step above the rest. I just wanted to thank you for making my dream come true. My mom & I will never forget this the rest of our lives. - Ami Jampolis (Galapagos Island Cruise, Peru, Chile & Patagonia)

chilean patagonia travelWe had a tremendous experience. Patagonia is truly heaven on earth and Southern Explorations enabled us to safely and efficiently spend 2 weeks in this paradise. Eri was a superb guide and traveling companion. Knowledgeable, smart, humorous and patient. He has a wonderful laid back style. We developed a genuine bond with Eri and we hope to see him again. He was superb with my 9 yr. old son. The estancia Tercera Baranca was wonderful, we could have stayed there indefinitely. I can't make enough positive statements to describe our experience. - Will, Beth and Max Mondzac (Patagonia)

 
Southern Explorations planned and arranged the perfect 2 week Chile trip for me and my husband. Jonathan Borgida at SE talked to me about our interests and tailored his recommendations around them. He designed the itinerary so we could visit the Colchagua Valley wine country, Easter Island, the Atacama Desert, and the Lake District, in a sequence that wasn’t too hectic. He arranged for local tour guides, all of whom were exceptional and enabled us to have a deeper experience of the people and country, and to see things we wouldn’t have been aware of regardless of the amount of research we did on our own. Because we had an evening flight home, Jonathan also arranged for us to have a guide and driver takes us to Valparaiso for our last day. All flight, hotel, and other travel arrangements were flawless, too. - Gloria Kavanah (Chile Custom Trip)

Vira Vira was awesome - it was the perfect start to the perfect trip. Michael and his family are totally hands on and committed to creating a top notch experience for their guests.  The property, the food, the excursions, the attention to detail - we could not find a single fault with anything. It literally felt like we were their personal guests. Everyone else staying there seemed very satisfied as well. Two thumbs up! Dimple (Honk Kong) (Custom Chile)
It was a wonderful trip and Southern Explorations really did a marvelous job of putting everything together for us. Thank You. We have had nothing but fantastic memories and have spoken to many people about Southern explorations and what a nice job you guys did putting everything together. Peru and other South America ventures will happen. I will be in touch. - Steve Andryk (Wisconsin) (Luxury Patagonia)

The Southern Explorations team did a fantastic job helping us plan our Galapagos adventure in 2011 and our Torres del Paine/Australis Magellan Straits cruise 2015. They were extremely helpful in planning our trips and quickly responded to each of our questions. We will definitely seek their services to assist in any future travels.   - Sharon McRae (Torres del Paine/Galapagos Islands)


Our experience from our first exploratory call to the Seattle office was excellent. Prompt and courteous responses and they accommodated our specific needs for a combined Patagonia and Galapagos trip. I cannot think of anything that was not satisfactory. I recommend Southern Explorations highly.   -Lyn Arscott (Patagonia & Galapagos Island Cruise)


Basically the trip was perfect. Our wishes about big things were totally fulfilled, like exploring Rio Brian, going up Valle del Silencio, etc. Our wishes for small things (low sugar, low gluten, good photo opps) were exceeded. It was a totally excellent trip. Your ability to deal with the unexpected was amazing .. weather, my injuries, our changing our minds. It was an amazing trip! And SE agent gave us all kinds of good advice before we left.   -Brian & Lynne Collins, USA (Chile)

Our words to describe our trip are Spectacular, Exciting, and Remote! We got to see basically everything we had hoped for, and more! - Ann Huston, California (Patagonia)

Thank you for a wonderful introduction to South America and excellent vacation. We will be returning to other SA venues in the coming years and will be sure to contact Southern Explorations for assistance.   -Gordon McPhee, South Carolina (Chile & Argentina)


This was a trip of a lifetime. The highlight was the Explora Lodge with unbelievable hikes and horseback riding. Also, the Perito Moreno Glacier was fantastic. I wouldn't change a thing. - Kyle Craig, Colorado (Patagonia)


All in all a thoroughly enjoyable, informative and relaxing trip. Well done! - Brian Parnega, Canada (Chile)

“The Southern Explorations team did a fantastic job helping us plan our Galapagos adventure in 2011 and our Torres del Paine/Australis Magellan Straits cruise 2015.  They were extremely helpful in planning our trips and quickly responded to each of our questions. We will definitely seek their services to assist in any future travels.” - Sharon McRae (Cruceros Australis + Hotel Las Torres)


Our experience planning a trip to Patagonia in South America with Southern Explorations exceeded my highest expectations!  Everything was incredibly well organized, the hotels they booked for us were very nice, the guides and people who transported us all spoke our language (English).  When my husband got very sick and we had to alter our plans,  they were on top of rebooking flights and canceling excursions, and handled all of the logistics for us.  I would highly recommend the services provided by Southern Explorations, and will certainly use them for all future travel planning that we do!! - Kristi Holland, Alabama (Patagonia))
Our two sons, ages 19 & 22, said it was the best trip they'd ever been on. (And we've been to southern Africa game camps, New Zealand, Galapagos, numerous SCUBA diving vacations all over the globe, not to mention dozens of other less dazzling spots around the world and the US). (Patagonia) is really gorgeous. Jorge (Guide) was exceptional--just perfect for us! The tents are fantastic--lots of room to put huge backpacks inside along with lots of other gear--kudos on the tents. La Tercera (estancia) was marvelous and charming--we're so glad you planned two nights for us there. The food by Carmen was the best we ate on our entire trip to Chile--really extraordinary both nights!
 

 

Chile - Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I choose an itinerary?
A: We offer a variety of pre-planned tours online and we’d love to design a custom trip just for you. Take a look at what we have online then call an Adventure Travel Coordinator to discuss the trip that best fits your timeframe, budget and interests.
Q: Can I make changes or additions to these tours?
A: Yes! We are happy to modify any tour to meet your needs and also add pre and post-excursion extensions. If you sign up for a group departure we cannot change the group portion but we can add extensions before and after.
Q: When is the best time to go to Chile?
A: Chile can be visited year-round, although the southern regions are generally best visited in the Spring, Summer and Fall, which run from October through April. Northern Chile, due to its high desert, is pleasant to visit year round. Central Chile, in the Andes, becomes a skiers paradise from late-June to mid-September. Contact an Adventure Travel Coordinator to discuss the best timing for your preferred tour.
Q: What is the weather like in Chile?
A: Chile is a long country, spanning many climatic zones, and offers weather systems ranging from warm, high desert to cold tundra. Patagonia is famous for having “all four seasons in one day,” while the Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on earth. Contact an Adventure Travel Coordinator today to discuss the weather on your trip.
Q: What is a typical day like in Chile? 
A: The typical day varies widely from trip to trip, but all tours will have full days with guided exploration. There is time for rest and relaxation, as well as independent exploration of the cities and towns you visit. Due to the remote nature of Chile’s most scenic areas, some long travel days will be required.
Q: How much time do we need to visit Chile?
A: Although we have trips as short as 5 days, we highly recommend spending at least 7 days in Chile, and ideally 12. Chile has many fascinating regions and some of the most beautiful areas are quite remote, requiring extended travel time.
Q: How far in advance should I book?
A: As a rule, the further in advance you can plan, the more options you will have. We recommend planning a trip at three to nine months in advance, but if you want to stay at very specific luxury hotels or travel over a holiday we recommend planning nine months to a year in advance.
Q: What are your booking and cancellation policies?
A: Click here to see our booking and cancellation policies.
Q: Do you use certified guides?
A: The guides on all of our tours are experienced, fluent in English and hold a degree in a related field. The guides are experienced in the outdoors and trained in basic first aid. We tend to use the same guides as they are accustomed to the trips we offer and understand the Southern Explorations commitment to quality.
Q: What kind of accommodations can I expect?
A: We primarily work with 4-star hotels in Chile and the occasional 3-star property that meets our standards. We also work with several amazing 5-star properties and all-inclusive lodges. All of our hotels are clean, comfortable, well-located, offer en suite bathrooms and have been personally vetted by a Southern Explorations’ staff member.
Q: Do tours include airfare?
A: We will confirm all airfare within South America and this price is listed separately from our base tour costs. You are responsible for booking international flights to Chile.
Q: Will I get more information on packing, vaccines, currency, electricity, etc.?
A: After booking you will receive a link to our online trip portal which includes all of the need-to-know information that is specific to your itinerary.  This includes packing lists, restaurant recommendations, tipping guides, FAQs, vaccine recommendations and currency information. Your Adventure Travel Coordinator will also be a great resource for any other information you may need.
Q: How will I do laundry during the trip?
A: Patagonian hotels charge very affordable rates for doing a guest’s laundry. You will also have access to laundry facilities on most days in major cities. Some of the Patagonian experiences will be true ‘wilderness’ style camping with only a river or lake as a water supply. Some locations have washing facilities where guests may do laundry. Bring biodegradable soap if you wish to do your own laundry. Please refer to the full itinerary or contact us for details.
Q: I’ve heard Patagonia is very remote. What if I have a medical emergency on the trip?
A: Some of our trips take passengers into some primitive wilderness areas. Our guides are trained in wilderness first-aid. To ensure the safety of our travelers, our guides are linked with outside services 24 hours a day in all locations to provide assistance when necessary. Though our guides carry extensive first aid equipment for minor ailments, injuries and accidents, they cannot handle serious medical conditions, and passengers are advised to obtain health or travel insurance that covers medical evacuation. There are small hospitals in the Patagonia region, some with 24-hour medical assistance that can deal with minor injuries and illnesses. In the rare event of an accident or broken bone, passengers would be evacuated from the wilderness area (probably by horse) and continue on the long drive out. Helicopters are available for emergencies but cannot fly during high winds. Any passengers with a medical condition or using medication should discuss this with us prior to travel.