“A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world.”
Imagine a world where wine is a celebrated cultural icon, the mystical gaucho still exists, and dinner is an anticipated event characterized by a later dining hour and the biggest social scene of the day. This world exists in the colorful countries of Chile and Argentina, and both are captivating destinations for wine lovers, with an astounding range of landscapes, grape varietals and microclimates. The Chilean and Argentinian cultures seem to have an effortless balance to them. We try to mimic this balance by providing a mix of activities and wine exploration.
Our adventure begins in Santiago, Chile, winds through vineyards in the major wine valleys of Chile (including a night on the sea near the legendary city of Valparaíso), crosses the dramatic Andes, and finishes in Mendoza, Argentina, after sipping our way through the wine valleys surrounding this friendly city. We visit several different wine areas in both countries and have private tastings in some very special places.
We also have a variety of activities planned, making sure you get as much – or as little – exercise as you want each day. Our vineyard hikes offer a variety of difficulty levels and we are often accompanied by a local winemaker before, during or after. We also bike in both countries, mostly flat on a valley floor where the grapes are grown. In Chile’s Aconcagua Valley, we have the opportunity one afternoon to either horseback ride or hike. We also hike at the base of Mt. Aconcagua, the highest point in the Americas. And in Argentina, you can choose to hike, raft on the Mendoza River, or take a thrilling zip line circuit in the foothills of the Andes.
Learn from winemakers why Carmenere is particularly suited to Chile and why Malbec grows so well in Argentina. Savor seafood from Chile’s coastline and asado from Argentina’s famed beef herds. And say “hola” to the Chilean and Argentine way of life.
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Trip Favorite Moments & Reviews
Yet another fav was dinner/wine tasting at In Situ winery. The view was truly unbelieveable, it was like a movie set- the director saying, cue river, cue horses, cue sunset! I was amazed and photos can’t quite capture the beauty as seeing it in person, memories of a lifetime!Rochelle T.
Amazing experience—challenging physical activities with lots of choices for varied levels of interest and fitness, well planned itineraries, excellent meals, opportunities for independent diversions.Janet F.
- Dates: November 3 - 10, 2019
- Cost Per Person: $3,700
- Optional Single Supplement: $950
- Private Tour Minimum: 6
- Activities: Hiking and Biking with other optional activites
- Difficulty: All Ability Levels
- Guides: Luis Laciar, Sonya Mapp
Other Info: THIS TRIP IS LIMITED TO 18 PARTICIPANTSBook this Tour
- Exploring five wine areas in Chile (Maipo, Apalta, Colchagua, Casablanca, and Aconcagua) and three in Argentina (Maipú, Uco Valley and Luján de Cuyo) and diverse terrain from beaches to vineyards to the peaks of the Andes
- Hiking at the base of Mount Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Americas
- Meeting the wonderful people of two sophisticated South American countries and getting into the groove of their relaxed pace of life
- Hiking through vineyards with breathtaking views of entire wine valleys, and riding bikes on beautiful side roads surrounded by acres of grapevines
- Opportunities to horseback ride, and then either river raft, kayak or take a zip line across the Mendoza River!
- Staying in lovely hotels, eating outstanding food, and tasting exquisite wine!
We meet you this morning in the upscale neighborhood of Providencia in downtown Santiago. This is an ideal base for exploring, and hopefully you arrived in Chile at least a day early to visit the markets and other interesting locations the city has to offer. We being our day with a private tour and tasting at Undurraga in the Maipo Valley, the closest wine valley to Santiago. Undurraga produces a variety of wines, including some sparkling wines we love. From there, we head south to the Colchagua Valley, stopping along the way at a fun German restaurant for lunch, and ultimately to our well-appointed spa hotel right outside the wine town of Santa Cruz, the “Napa” of Chile. We’ll celebrate our arrival with a round of Pisco Sours (the national drink of Chile) then enjoy a wonderful wine-paired dinner at our intimate hotel surrounded by vineyards.
We spend most of our day in the Apalta Valley, a subvalley of the Colchagua, at a winery you may have never heard of: Viña las Niñas, a boutique winery run by women. Here we have the option to do a relaxed hike through the vineyards or a more strenuous hike to the very top, where we can perch on a mountaintop with an astounding view of the entire valley below. Returning to the winery, we have a fabulous outdoor tasting and lunch at a lovely picnic area under the Eucalyptus trees. You’ll have free time this afternoon to take a siesta, visit one of South America’s best museums, take a dip in the pool or explore town a bit before we depart for a wonderful dinner in the town of Santa Cruz.
This morning we will check out of our hotel and explore the area by bicycle, ultimately ending at Montgras Winery for a tour, tasting and Chilean BBQ for lunch. We then head north for the cooler Casablanca Valley. This stretch of open coastal land ringed by forested hills has become Chile’s top white wine region and we get to sample a few during a visit to one of its premiere wineries. Afterwards, we continue onward to the Pacific coast, the city of Viña del Mar, and our hotel overlooking the beautiful harbor. Dinner tonight is on your own and you might choose to take the 15-minute taxi ride to the nearby and colorful city of Valparaiso, or order room service and watch the sun set from your hotel room. Cheers!
After a morning spent exploring either Viña del Mar (we recommend a walk along the beach) or nearby Valparaiso on your own (visit the house of Chile’s favorite son, Pablo Neruda, or take a fun funicular ride up the hill, or simply walk and wonder at all the colorful buildings), we will depart for our final (and prettiest, we think!) wine valley in Chile: the Aconcagua. Today you can choose to hike or horseback ride through the vineyards of Viña San Esteban to an area of ancient Incan petroglyphs. With a backdrop of snow-capped Andes and the grape-laden vines spread out in front of us, you will wonder if you will ever see a prettier vineyard! Our walk or ride takes us to one of the most scenic wine tasting settings you will ever experience, a shelter (or quincho) that overlooks the valley floor with the Andes looming on the other side. Maria Jose will lead us through a magnificent tasting. Dinner tonight is at a small private wine estate called Flaherty and our hosts will ensure it will be one of the trip’s most memorable.
We say adios to Chile today and get an early start for our spectacular drive over the Andes via Los Libertadores Pass. We stop to gawk at the beautiful Laguna del Inca at the ski resort of Portillo, and again near the top of the pass to take a short hike at the base of impressive Mount Aconcagua, the highest point in the Americas. We then make a beeline straight to our first wine tasting in Argentina at Bodega Caelum, located in the Lujan de Cuyo valley just outside of Mendoza. Malbec – the iconic varietal of Argentina – reigns supreme, but excellent Cabernet Sauvignons, Chardonnays and Torrontes are also produced, keeping both red- and white-lovers happy. After reaching Mendoza and checking into our hotel (where we will stay for three nights), we will dine at a wonderful restaurant within walking distance of our hotel. Welcome to Argentina!
Today we head south to visit the wine-producing region of the Uco Valley, the highest altitude vineyards in the province, at nearly 6,000 feet, with the massive dormant volcano Tupungato staring down at us! Our first stop is at El Manzano Histórico, an historic location where José de San Martín (their equivalent to our George Washington) is said to have slept. It is here we meet our bicycles and begin our ride. The first 17 kilometers are on a decline, so the pedaling is easy. We continue through agricultural areas, small towns and vineyards. Our final destination is internationally acclaimed chef Francis Mallmann’s restaurant, Siete Fuegos. We enjoy plenty of wine while watching the “artisans of fire” in the open kitchen as they prepare asado (roasted meats – including Argentina’s famous beef – and vegetables) for us. We also tour the property’s unique “build-your-own vineyard” concept and operation. Afterwards, we return to Mendoza, and dinner tonight is on your own. We recommend a visit to the lively Aristides Street, where all the hip Mendocinos go!
Today we drive back towards the Andes to the cordillera, the pre-Andes mountains, for a morning of adventure where you can choose to do a thrilling Class III raft trip on the Mendoza River, an exciting zipline circuit that takes you high across the Mendoza River (and back), take a serene kayak trip on the Potrerillos Reservoir, or go for a mountain hike. Afterward, we will stop for a wine tasting before returning to our hotel and the heart of the city this afternoon. Our farewell dinner is a fantastic family-style dinner of local foods at Cava de Cano, as well as plenty of bottled (but not labeled) wine from their cellar.
This morning you can choose to join our guide on a walk through the sprawling and beautiful General San Martin Park, or simply relax before checking out and departing for home or other parts of South America.Book this Tour
NIGHTS 1 & 2 >> HOTEL NOI BLEND / PALMILLA, CHILE
Our first night is spent in a high-end small lodge with a contemporary twist. This charming and tranquil hotel is surrounded by vineyards of the Colchagua valley and is equipped with a pool and wood-fire heated hot tub.
NIGHT 3 >> MIRAMAR HOTEL / VINA DEL MAR, CHILE
Our accomodation for tonight is a 5-star hotel that directly overlooks the water. You'll enjoy the beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean from your hotel room, with shopping and a public beach just a few blocks (or a quick taxi ride) away.
NIGHT 4 >> INCA HOTEL / LOS ANDES, CHILE
Our final night in Chile we spend at a brand-new but simple hotel in Los Andes, a fun market town in the Aconcagua Valley on the way to Argentina.
NIGHTS 5 - 7 >> PARK HYATT / MENDOZA, ARGENTINA
Our five-star luxury hotel is located in the center of Mendoza, Argentina's central wine town, and directly across the street from the Plaza Independencia, which makes it a perfect base for exploration.Book this Tour
Arrival & Departure
We meet you in Santiago, Chile on the first morning of the trip, so you should fly into Santiago (airport code SCL). You can choose to arrive early that morning, but we recommend arriving at least a day (or even two) before to explore Santiago before meeting us at Hotel Torremayor.
On the last day, we will end in Mendoza, Argentina. You should make your return flights out of Mendoza (MDZ). The Mendoza airport has direct flights to Santiago, Buenos Aires, and several smaller Argentinean cities. Upon booking, we will send you more information on your travel logistics.
- One American Zephyr guide and one South American Zephyr guide accompanies each trip.
- Double occupancy lodging is included. If you are traveling solo, we will match you with another traveler of the same gender. However, you may pay a single supplement to have your own room.
- All of your dinners (except one, when we provide a late lunch) and breakfasts are included. Gratuity for these meals is also included. In general, we leave lunches open so that you have time to explore and enjoy the local flavors en route.
- All your transportation is included once you meet your guide(s) on the first day.
- Formal wine tastings are included.
- Bike rental on biking days is included, as are other activities such as horseback riding, rafting, kayaking or ziplining.
- NOT INCLUDED Beverages, desserts, lunches, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
Chile and Argentina are large countries and even though we are only seeing a small portion of each, we do cover a lot of ground on this trip! We prioritize exploring several wine valleys in Chile (Maipo, Colchagua, Casablanca, and Aconcagua) and then spend a better part of one day traversing the Andes in our private shuttle when we move from Chile to Argentina (with time at the top of the pass to get out and hike to a viewpoint of the mighty Mount Aconcagua). While we would love to be able to snap our fingers and magically appear at our next destination, this is not possible and it means we spend more time shuttling than either you or we would probably like. The tradeoff is that we get to see and do a lot. We think the road time is worth every amazing sight and sip of this trip! If your idea of a vacation is to stay in one place, this may not be the best trip for you!
This trip is rated For All Abilities. We do have a good mix of activities and wine exploration, so it is not a full day of physical activity as you would get with some of our other tours. You'll still get your blood pumping and certainly break a sweat, but it will just make our wine tastings that much sweeter.
Changes to Your Itinerary
While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.
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