Chile November 2014

Palafritos (Stilt Houses)Staff Member: Susie Youn
Travel Dates: November 2014
Destinations Visited: Santiago, Aconcagua Valley, Chiloé Island, Dalcahue, Castro, Chiloé National Park, Casablanca Valley

This area is a great starting point before your tour to Patagonia or visit to Easter Island.

Day 1 – Santiago

Arrival – We arrived in a bit tired in Santiago, Chile after our overnight flight from JFK. Being a bit bleary-eyed, we were delighted to be met by our transfer agent who helped us with baggage claim and getting Chilean pesos from the ATM. We drove about 30 minutes to our hotel and checked-in early.

Errazuriz Winery

Errazuriz Winery

Afternoon excursion – After unpacking and resting a bit, we went on a group Chilean Wine Tour to the Errazuriz Winery, located in the Aconcagua Valley, 100 kms north of Santiago. The weather was lovely as it was a beautiful sunny early summer afternoon. And sampling Chilean wines was a pleasant and relaxing introduction to Chile.

Dinner and Overnight at Sheraton San Cristobal Tower – This luxury hotel is located near the Providencia business district and the Costanera shopping center.

Day 2 – Santiago

A view of a Stop on our Bicycle Tour

A View of a Stop on our Bicycle Tour

Afternoon bicycle tour of Santiago, Chile – Although the riding was easy as the route was flat, navigating the traffic proved more of a challenge, but the tour guides made sure everyone stayed safe and together. Seeing Santiago on bicycle definitely made us feel more like locals.

Dinner at Osadia restaurant – We had a marvelous meal, designed after Pablo Neruda’s poems, in the romantic outdoor courtyard.

Day 3 – Santiago to Chiloé Island

Mid-day flight to Chiloé Island (connecting through Puerto Montt) – Our Chiloé Island guide picked us at the Mocopulli, Dalcahue airport. He provided us with some local hazelnuts and drinks to try during our approximately 20-minute transfer to the hotel and provided a useful overview of the island.

Tierra Chiloé Hotel

Tierra Chiloé Hotel

Lunch, dinner, afternoon excursions, and overnight at the Tierra Chiloé Hotel

  • After lunch at the hotel, we took a beautiful horseback ride around the property. The hotel is situated on a lush, remote-feeling, hill overlooking the water, and we had fun getting the lay of the land on horseback. Our hotel excursion guide made sure we were comfortable on the horses chosen for us. Upon our return from riding the spirited, but well-behaved horses, I chose to explore the property on mountain bike, which the hotel had available for guest use. We also relaxed in the hotel’s indoor spa that contained a hot tub, sauna, steam room, and shower.
  • We had the most sumptuous meals at the hotel. The hotel’s chef presented local cuisine, prepared to high cuisine standards. We agreed that the best meals on our trip were at Tierra Chiloé.
  • Our rooms were lovely at Tierra Chiloé, an all-inclusive luxury hotel, and the hotel clearly thinks about the details that make a hotel stay special, down to providing us with cozy wool slippers.

Day 4 – Chiloé Island

Dalcahue Wool and Handicrafts Market

Dalcahue Wool and Handicrafts Market

All-day excursion – We took Tierra Chiloé’s boat across the bay to visit the wool and other handicrafts market at Dalcahue. After visiting the market, we enjoyed a marvelous lunch on the boat. Then we kayaked back to the hotel, marveling at the view of the birds (parakeets and black-necked swans) and gliding past a mussel farm.

Transfer to Hotel Parque Quilquico Hotel and Dinner at the hotel – We were sad to leave Tierra Chiloé, but it was time to see more of Chiloé Island, so our island tour guide picked us up and took us on a short 15-minute drive to our next marvelous hotel, the Hotel Parque Quilquico. We spent the afternoon relaxing in the hotel’s outdoor hot tubs. And the hotel kindly arranged for me to get a massage. After our strenuous afternoon (not), we had a tasty dinner at the hotel restaurant. But we needed the down time to prepare for our busy next day.

Day 5- Chiloé Island

Palafritos (Stilt Houses)

Palafritos (Stilt Houses)

All-day excursion – Our island tour guide picked us up mid-morning for an all-day tour of Chiloé Island.

  • Our first stop was the seafood market in downtown Castro, always good for interesting pictures and to explore local food products. Make sure to try ulmo, the local honey, a creamed honey with hints of vanilla, aniseed and floral jasmine. After the seafood market, we hopped back in the van to see the colorful palafritos, houses built on stilts over the bay. Our last morning stop was to see the Castro church, one of the sixteen UNESCO World Heritage churches located on the islands in the Chiloé archipelago. These sixteen UNESCO World Heritage churches are recognized for being built out of wood and fusing European and indigenous cultural traditions.
  • We enjoyed lunch at a local indigenous person’s house. We sat outside on her porch at a large picnic table and enjoyed the view, while she made us fresh food using local ingredients and greens picked from her own garden.
  • After lunch, we went to Chiloé National Park, located on the west coast of Chiloé Island. There, we explored the park by walking along the El Tepual Path, which took us through the rain forest and peat bogs. Our guide told us about the local environment and amazed us with a demonstration of how much water spaghum moss could hold.

Dinner at Hotel Parque Quilquico

Day 6 – Chiloé Island and Santiago

Morning and lunch at leisure at Hotel Parque Quilquico

Transfer to airport – Our island tour guide picked us up after lunch for our flight back to Santiago, where we checked back into the Sheraton San Cristobel Towers.

Dinner at Bocanáriz – For our last dinner of the trip, we went to Bocanáriz, a wine bar in the historic Lastarria district in Santiago. Bocanáriz has an extensive wine list of about 400 bottles and has been recognized by the Wine Spectator as having one of the best wine lists in the world. But even after Bocanáriz, we weren’t done drinking wine just yet!

Day 7 – Casablanca Valley

Loma Larga Vineyards Cave

Loma Larga Vineyards Cave

Wine tasting and lunch in the Casablanca Valley – To finish our trip, our tour guide picked us up mid-morning for our approximately one-hour van ride to two wineries in the Casablanca Valley.

  • First we visited El Cuadro Winery, where we enjoyed watching a horse riding demonstration and traditional dance show. Then, we went on an educational carriage ride and walking tour through the vineyard and the wine museum. And of course, no visit to a winery is complete without a wine tasting. But sorry folks, these wines are only available at El Cuadro Winery. We ended our visit by enjoying lunch in their large dining room.
  • After lunch, we visited Loma Lorga Vineyards and took the most unique tour of the winery – by horseback.   Viewing the winery from horseback gave us a more elevated view of the beautiful rolling hills where the winery’s grapes were planted. We finished our visit to Loma Lorga Vineyards by sampling wines and were relieved to find that these excellent wines were available in the U.S.

Transfer to airport – Upon leaving Casablanca Valley, our tour van dropped us off, after about a 45-minute drive, at the Santiago International Airport. We were sad to say adiós, but are busy planning our next trip to Chile.

This entry was posted in Chile, Trip Journals. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *