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Arrive in Santiago and picked up by Hughie. Lunch in a restaurant in the heart of Las Condes. Afternoon at leisure with an option to visit Pueblo Los Dominicos. Dinner in a super restaurant, hugely popular with local Chileans.
After breakfast we start our explorations of Santiago including La Moneda, the Presidential Palace, the Cathedral, the Plaza de Armas and up to the top of San Cristobal Hill. We will drive South after lunch to the Colchagua Valley, the largest wine producing area in Chile to Vina La Playa where we spend the next 2 nights. There is a swimming pool to cool off in after the journey. Dinner in the vineyard.
We shall wander through the vines for a tour of the estate, vineyards and an explanation of the wine distillery process, labelling and bottling. After that we all meet up for a Chilean asado lunch by the pool. In the cool of the late afternoon there is the choice of tennis, a bike through the vines or a walk to the banks of the Tinguiririca river. Wine tasting before dinner, with a selection of the Viña’s iconic reservas. Dinner in the vineyard.
Depart after breakfast to spend the morning in what has been voted one of the top 6 museums in the world. There is a moving exhibition of the Chilean Miners of 2010. We then make our way South for an hour into fruit country and the Curico valley. We arrive at the home of a charming Chilean family for a quite exceptional lunch before we head towards the Andes and the tucked away home of Vicente and Ruth Escobar at Mapuyampay, where we shall be staying for 2 nights. Ruth is a terrific cook and from their own kitchen garden and fruit orchard they harvest their ingredients. The house has a wonderful garden and swimming pool. Dinner at Mapuyampay.
There will be an early morning walk around the neighbouring fruit farm. Ruth specialises in culinary instruction and for those who are keen the morning will be spent in her enchanting kitchen having a hands-on cooking demonstration and lesson. She will be concentrating on Chilean and Latin American cuisine which will be served at lunch. An alternative morning is to spend the day relaxing in the quietness of the garden by the pool. In the early evening a ride can be arranged for those inclined otherwise you can either bike or walk to Chile’s oldest rodeo ring. Dinner at Mapuyampay.
The day will be spent at Mapuyampay amidst the calm and tranquillity of the pool. Late morning there is a very special wine tasting conducted by Ruth who works for Concha y Toro. After a lunch we shall drive to the airport in order to break up the journey the following day. We stay in a comfortable and functional hotel at the airport.
We take a two and a half hour flight from Santiago to Balmaceda in Northern Patagonia. There is a wild and dramatic feel to the area with an abundance of volcanoes, rivers, lakes, and glaciers, less visited than the better known Torres del Paine but equally as impressive. Here we have found a beautiful yet rustic lodge where we stay in their log cabins. Some of the cabins are shared and they are allocated as bookings are made. All rooms have their own bathroom. It is a five hour drive from Balmaceda along the Austral Highway, after the first hour the tarmac runs out yet the journey continues through remarkable countryside. We shall stop regularly to marvel at some of the more spectacular views and have lunch on the way. Arrive at teatime with dinner at the lodge.
After breakfast we set out on a four hour, 7 ½ mile hill walk out and back to Mallin Colorado Lagoon and a viewing point of the glacier. There is also the option to ride the same route. We shall be going at a sensible pace although the terrain here is more adventurous than that at Mapuyampay. There is also the opportunity of walking a shorter route. Lunch back at the lodge and after a siesta a walk to the shore of the lake before dinner.
In the morning we go out onto the vast Lake General Carrera to visit some extraordinary and quite remarkable marble 300 million year old caves, remaining in the boat at all time, we return for lunch to the lodge. There is also the opportunity to fish in either the Baker river or Lake Bertrand.
We visit the confluence of the Baker and Neff Rivers. The Baker River is the fastest flowing in Chile and is an impressive sight. We drive through the little village of Puerto Bertrand whose crystal blue waters are just mesmerising. The afternoon is free to walk to the beach and a last chance to enjoy the landscape and views of this incredible scenery.
After an early breakfast we make our way up the Austral Highway with a picnic lunch en route to catch our flight back to Santiago. Afternoon at leisure in Santiago and back to the comfort of the hotel, before a final farewell evening together in Las Condes.
Continue on your holidays aided by us or fly home from Santiago airport. We can make recommendations and bookings for any onward travel you might want to do such as the Atacama, Argentina, Brazil or Ecuador & the Galapagos.
It has been wonderful to discover that there remain places like this in the world, where one can find peace amid wild nature. This has been the highlight of our stay in Colombia and we look forward to telling our friends about it.- ZA, Colombia