Taste of Chile, Argentina & Uruguay
Day 1 Santiago
Arrive any time. Arrival transfer included. The day is free to spend at your leisure exploring the city until our welcome meeting this evening. There is a lot to do and see, in and around Santiago, we highly recommend booking pre-nights if you want time to explore. Santiago is Chile’s largest city and capital, with internationally recognized vineyards and Andean ski resorts very close by. It is one of the few capital cities in the world which has easy access both to ski slopes (just 50 Km away) and beaches (just 100 Km away). Explore the many museums and parks, and visit the vibrant neighbourhood of Bellavista to see some handicrafts and trendy cafés. 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. anta Lucia Hill in the city center is an important historic landmark. It was here, at the foot of this hill formerly known as the "Huelen", that the Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia founded the city of Santiago on February 1 2th, 1541. He planned the city according to the traditional Spanish checkerboard layout which is still evident in the downtown area today. The Metropolitan Cathedral, on the western side of the plaza, stands on the same spot where the first church in Santiago was once built; to the north are three important buildings: the Post Office, the National Museum of History and the Townhall of Santiago. By the 1930s, modern Santiago, with its green areas and architecture had come into being. The growth and development which have taken place during the past years are evident in the facilities which the city offers the visitor. The other main park is Cerro San Cristobal. 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).
Days 2 Santiago (1B)
Enjoy a full day exploring wineries with tastings in the Maipo Valley. Option to visit exceptional restaurants in the Bellavista neighbourhood. 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.
Day 3 Mendoza (1B)
Cross the Andes into Argentina and arrive to Mendoza, in the heart of the wine growing region. 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.
Days 4-5 Mendoza (2B,1L)
Spend two days exploring the Mendoza region and its wineries. Enjoy a full-day wine tour including a visit to three different wineries, a gourmet lunch, and an included cooking class. There will be free time for optional hiking or cycling.
Days 6 Buenos Aires (1B)
Fly to Buenos Aires and take an orientation walk with your CEO. Option to take a city tour or enjoy a tango dinner show. Known as the ‘Paris of the Americas’, Buenos Aires is a vibrant city full of life. Visit the districts of La Boca, Recoleta, and San Telmo or catch a tango show at one of the many famous tanguerías. Wander the pedestrian walkways and see some dancing in the streets. Whatever you do, Buenos Aires is sure to leave lasting memories. The capital city of Argentina, Buenos Aires is the ultimate cosmopolitan city. Nearly 40% 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.
Day 7-8 Uruguay Estancia (2B,1L,2D)
Catch the ferry to Colonia, Uruguay, take an orientation walk through this beautiful town. Continue to the rural estancia, our guest ranch for the next two nights. Enjoy homemade meals from local ingredients and delicious barbecue while acquainting yourself with the gaucho (cowboy) lifestyle. Free time for optional hiking and horseback riding.
Day 9-10 Buenos Aires (2B,1L)
Return to Buenos Aires and enjoy some free time to explore on your own. On Day 10, we visit a community project outside the city to see the empowerment and apprenticeship of youth through culinary arts. Enjoy a cooking demonstration and lunch at the school. Travel one hour out into the countryside of Buenos Aires to an organic farm home to a loving couple who are raising a group of youth who 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 using organic produce directly from the farm. Here we learn the skills of cooking local dishes with a professional Chef, assisted by young students. Rest 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. And since Buenos Aires will be your last chance to try the succulent bife and parrilladas, dig in and enjoy!
Day 11 Buenos Aires (1B)
Depart at any time.