Arrive in Santiago at any time. There are no planned activities so check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Santiago is Chile’s largest city and capital, with internationally recognized vineyards and Andean ski resorts very close by. Explore the many museums and parks, and visit the vibrant neighbourhood of Bellavista to see some handicrafts and trendy cafés. Day trips include a trip to Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, Chile’s premier beach resort, and to Isla Negra, Pablo Neruda’s seaside home. Although Santiago covers an immense area, the central core of the city is relatively small. It is a roughly triangular shaped region, bounded in the north by the Río Mapocho, in the west by the Via Norte Sur and in the south by the Avenida del Libertador General Bernardo O'Higgins (more commonly known as the Alameda). The apex of the triangle is the Plaza Baquedano, where O'Higgins forms a junction with two of Santiago's other main thoroughfares, Avenidas Providencia and Vicuña MacKenna. The centre of this triangle is the Plaza de Armas, the chief plaza of Santiago, bounded on its northern side by the main post office and on the western side by the cathedral. The streets between the Plaza de Armas and O'Higgins are wall-to-wall shops, restaurants, snack and fast food bars, cinemas, expensive hotels and office blocks. The Presidential Palace, La Moneda, is on Avenida Moneda, facing the Plaza de la Constitución. Near the Plaza de Armas is the National Congress building. One of Santiago's main parks, Cerro Santa Lucía, is in the triangle facing O'Higgins. The other main park is Cerro San Cristobal, or Huelén, in the Mapuche tongue. It is a large hill that rises dramatically from the plain to the north of Avenida Providencia. Between this avenue and the mountain, on either side of the Avenida Pío Nono, is Santiago's 'Paris quarter', the barrio Bella Vista. Here you find beautifully landscaped parks and gardens, artists' colonies and impressive views over the city, including the snow-capped peaks of the Andes (when the weather and thick smog permit).
Explore the local wineries both in and around Santiago. On day 2, head out on a full-day excursion to the Maipo Valley area for an in-depth look at the region that produces such fine quality wines. Chilean wine is top-notch, with only France and Italy selling more wine worldwide. Visit some of the vineyards that are not only well-known internationally, but best-equipped for attending to visitors and situated in the midst of stunning scenery. Learn more about the process from local experts, taste a range of wines including the Carmenere, one of Chile's specialties, and accompany your wine with a fabulous, gourmet meal. There are no included activities on Day 3. You could spend the day exploring the enchanting city of Santiago or head out to the Colchagua Valley to take another winery tour. You could also visit the beautiful coastal towns of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. There are lots of optional activities to keep you occupied so make the most of it.
Take a spectacular trip across the Andean Range to the picturesque wine-growing region of Mendoza, where we visit several vineyards and choose from the many optional activities Mendoza has to offer. Enjoy several winery and vineyard visits, topped off with a cooking class to learn about--and sample--typical Argentine cuisine. The wine-tasting, cooking class and dining, in conjunction with the local experts’ knowledge, comprise the perfect Argentine food and wine cultural experience. Mendoza is a lovely city, known worldwide for its fabulous wine; it is home to 1221 wineries producing almost one billion litres of wine yearly, many taking advantage of the crystalline waters of the Rio Mendoza fed by the melting snows of the Andes. The Mendoza valley is most famous for its Malbec variety, grown between 750 and 1100 metres above sea level, and benefitting from the desert-like climate of less than 20cm of rainfall per year. Established where the libertador José de San Martín set out to cross the Andes and aid in the liberation of Chile, Mendoza is a university city with wide sidewalks, tree-lined streets and numerous plazas. The city's beautiful setting, temperate climate and many museums combine to make the perfect atmosphere for wandering and exploring. Mendoza is also the provincial capital, and outdoor activities such as whitewater rafting and skiing/snowboarding are plentiful depending on the season.
Fly to the capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires, the city of Tango! On Day 8, we'll travel west of Buenos Aires to visit one of our Planeterra projects. Here you will learn how to cook fresh pasta and bread alongside a group of Argentinian youth at this organic farm and restaurant. At the project, the youth are taught essential life skills in a loving and idyllic subsistence farm environment. Well-known chefs from Buenos Aires visit the farm to teach the kids menu planning, food preparation and cooking skills. Return to your hotel in Buenos Aires to spend the night. Buenos Aires is the ultimate cosmopolitan city. Travellers find that it has more in common with the cities of Europe than the rest of South America. Nearly 40 per cent of Argentina's 33 million citizens live in Greater Buenos Aires, and the Porteños are justifiably proud of their home. The city is comprised of a number of distinct neighbourhoods, some of which have become top tourist draws. For many, the highlight of their time in the capital is a visit to San Telmo for the weekend antiques market and street artistís displays. La Boca was originally settled by the successive waves of immigrants that contribute to the capital's unique character. Its brightly coloured walls and buildings draw Porteños and tourists alike, and it is here that the world-class football team, Boca Juniors, plies its trade. A Sunday afternoon match at the fabled Bombonera is not to be missed. Posh Recoleta, with its cafes, museums and cemetery, is a pleasant place to spend an afternoon. During colonial days Buenos Aires was the seat of the Viceroy of La Plata. Almost completely rebuilt since the turn of the century, the heart of the city is the Plaza de Mayo, with the historic Cabildo (Town Hall), where the Independence movement was first planned, the Casa Rosada (Government Palace) and the Cathedral where San Martín, the father of Argentine independence, is buried. When you are done exploring, settle your weary feet and enjoy a drink in one of the many sidewalk cafes and restaurants and you will begin to understand the contemplative Argentine way of life. On Day 9 enjoy free time in Buenos Aires before getting together for one last meal—and a final bottle of wine! This will be your last chance to try Argentina's succulent bife and parrilladas, so dig in and enjoy!