Excursions of Central Chile, Vina Del
Mar, and the Chilean Wine Country from Latin Trip, the best Excursions
at the best prices from people who know Chile best.
For your convenience in addition to
our Internet reservation and information request form
we have a toll free number to contact our tour professionals to help you
select just the right tour for you at 1-800-811-8829 fom the USA or Canada.
From other countries 1-786-272-9768.
LA SERENA AND COQUIMBO CITY
TOUR Code:LSC401.$37 Per Person*
Craft shops, Entrance fee for museum.
Itinerary: The tour starts on La Serena’s
elegant main avenues, streets like Francisco de Aguirre Boulevard, which
center is essentially one giant garden lined with trees and full of marble
statues. The city, the second oldest in the country, has been miraculously
well preserved. Ponder past cultures by studying the city’s 29-plus colonial
churches the stone San Francisco Church, constructed during the 17th century,
is a prime example and visiting the Archaeological Museum, which has a
particularly fine collection of Diaguita (that’s pre-Inca) artifacts. Take
time to shop a little at Mercado La Recova, a great place to find regional
crafts, musical instruments, woolens and dried fruits from Elqui Valley,
then stop at the view-point of the University of La Serena to view the
city, Coquimbo Bay, and the harbor beyond. Visit the Monumental Lighthouse,
the official symbol of the city, then continue along the coast-hugging
Avenida del Mar, past Peñuelas beach to Coquimbo, a port once overrun
with pirates but now outgrowing its narrow, bustling streets. Drive through
the city, along Costanera Avenue, around the Plaza de Armas, to beautiful
La Herradura beach. Return to La Serena.
STARS OF THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE,
LA SERENA, Code:LSC402.$80 Per Person*
Frequency: Daily, year-round.
(car or minibus),Guide.
Itinerary: With almost a dozen
observatories within 90 miles of La Serena, this is one of the most important
centers for astronomy in the world. At sunset, journey inland to Elqui
Valley and the Mamalluca Observatory, one of the few such centers open
to the public (by reservation only). A lecture and slide presentation will
offer insight into this science, the wonders of the universe and the stars
of the Southern Hemisphere in particular. A 12-inch telescope allows for
nonpareil stargazing. Guides will be on hand to narrate, pointing out and
providing information about all visible stars, planets, and galaxies. Return
to La Serena.
ELQUI VALLEY AND PISCO DISTILLERIES,LA
SERENA Code:LSC501 $80 Per Person*, Lunch Included
Entrance fees for museums,Lunch.
Itinerary: The tour begins
on the banks of the Elqui River, the lush setting for villages like Agarrobito,
which is famous for its especially beautiful church and ancient olive groves;
Altovalsol, seat of the Inca population during their domination of the
area; and idyllic El Molle, where archaeological evidence of the Molle
culture was first discovered. The tour proceeds through fields of olives,
avocados, papayas, lúcumas and chimoyas (the last, a pair of unique
local fruits) and El Tololo, the main observatory of the Southern Hemisphere.
In Vicuña, visit the Gabriela Mistral Museum (this, after all, is
the hometown of the Nobel Prize-winning poet) and learn the ins and outs
of making pisco, a type of brandy made from a Moscatel-like grape, at one
of the many pisco distilleries in town. Continue inland through the hills
to Monte Grande, the village where Mistral is buried. Finally, picnic lunch
on a hill overlooking the valley in Pisco Elqui, a quiet pisco-producing
town formerly known as La Unión. Return to La Serena.to La Serena.
VALLE DEL ENCANTO
AND THE NORTHERN VINES, LA SERENA Code:LSC502 $111 Per Person*
(car or minibus),Guide,Lunch.
Itinerary: Depart in the morning
and follow the coast south past the beaches of La Herradura, Las Tacas,
Morrillos and Guanaqueros. Turning inland, pass a number of ranches and
farms en route to the Valle del Encanto, or Enchanting Valley. This idyllic
site was home to a hunter-gatherer civilization 4,000 years ago, but researchers
believe it was the Molle culture, around 700 B.C., that left their mark
on the landscape with more than 30 petroglyphs, which are stone images,
either etched or painted (snakes, for example, and fish, sun symbols and
heads with what appear to be antennas or tiaras), and a number of piedras
tacitas, which are intriguing indentations in stones. From here, continue
south to the Limari Valley, just past Ovalle, and Chile’s northernmost
vineyard, Francisco de Aguirre. This may be pisco territory, but since
1993 this winery has been successfully producing fine wines, cabernet sauvignon,
chardonnay, and cabernet franc, among them. Tour the facilities, learn
about the winemaking process, and sample the goods. Return to La Serena.
ISLA DAMAS NATURAL
RESERVE, LA SERENA Code:LSC503. $228 Per Person*
Duration: Full day.
Frequency: Daily, year-round
Included:All private transport,
including launch to island,Lunch,Entrance fee for national reserve. Itinerary:Head
North out of La Serena some 75 miles on the Pan American Highway to Caleta
Punta Choros. Here, take in the views of Gaviota, Chañaral, Choros
and Damas islands, the later three of which are part of the Humboldt Penguin
National Reserve: a protected territory covering some 2,000 offshore acres
where the Humboldt penguin has been known to nest. Settle into a motor
boat and sail escorted, most likely, by a leaping, lurching colony of bottle-nosed
dolphins along the rocky shores of Gaviota and Choros islands, happy home
to sea lions, sea gulls, pelicans and the like. Disembark on Isla Damas,
enjoy a picnic lunch, and spend the afternoon relaxing on the white-sand
beaches of La Poza and Tijera. Return to La Serena.
Code:SCL401 From $40 Per Person*
to Sunday, year-round.
fees to museum,Craft shops.
Itinerary:Begin at the city’s
civic center, which focal point is the neoclassical La Moneda Palace. Completed
in 1805 (after more than 20 years of off-and-on construction), the building
was the home of Chilean presidents until 1958 and today is the seat of
the government. Continue through narrow streets of downtown to the Pre-Columbian
Museum, which is considered one of the world’s best with a permanent collection
of more than 1,500 ceramics, textiles, and other remnants of ancient cultures.
Proceed to the Plaza de Armas, a picturesque square surrounded by the 18th-century
Cathedral Metropolitana, the National Historical Museum, and the central
post office. Nearby, housed in an exquisite 19th- century wrought-iron
building, is the Central Market, a colorful conglomeration of seafood,
fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Stroll along Parque Forestal, past the
Fine Arts Museum to Santa Lucía Hill, which was the site, in 1541,
where the city was founded and is now a sanctuary of gardens and fountains
. Head back to the old district on Bernardo O'Higgins Avenue, admire the
grand houses on República Avenue. Finally a visit to a craft shop.
Return to the hotel.
PANORAMIC SANTIAGO Code:SCL402.$38
Itinerary:The excursion begins
by touring the main avenues in the city’s civic center. Highlights include
La Moneda Palace, which was completed in 1805 (after more than 20 years
of off-and-on construction). The neoclassical building was the home of
Chilean presidents until 1958, and today is the seat of the government.
Continue exploring narrow streets, eventually arriving at the Plaza de
Armas, a picturesque square surrounded by the 18th-century Cathedral Metropolitana,
the National Historical Museum, and the central post office. Leaving downtown,
head toward Parque Forestal, which leads to the Fine Arts Museum, and Bellavista,
the artsy, bohemian center of Santiago. Ascend Santa San Cristóbal,
a beautiful public park whose peak the perfect place for a panoramic shot
of the city is crowned with a 118-foot statue of the Virgin Mary. Descend
and travel the other direction to the neighborhoods of Pedro de Valdivia
Norte, Las Condes and Vitacura, the modern commercial districts and great
places for shopping. Return to the hotel.
COUSIÑO MACUL OR CONCHA
Y TORO WINERY AND MAIPO RIVER CANYON Code:SCL403.$68 Per Person*
(car or minibus),Guide,Wine tasting.
Itinerary:Drive South out of
Santiago past La Florida, a new suburb, in the southern districts of Santiago.
The excursion includes a visit to one of the two winneries described below:
Cousiño Macul winnery: Founded in 1856, at the foot of the Andes.
The winnery is one of the most traditional and still owned by the direct
descendants of Matias Cousiño, after six generations. The main construction
is one of the most beautiful and was designed by a French architect. Concha
y Toro winnery: Founded in 1883, the country’s largest wine exporter. A
complete guided tour of the facility begins in the vineyards, some of which
were planted by its founder (and noted winemaker) Spanish nobleman Don
Melchor de Concha y Toro himself, covers every step of the wine-making
process and includes a wine tasting. The excursion continues with a drive
through Maipo Canyon, a great place to examine the Andes in all their stunning,
eternally snow-capped glory. Return to Santiago.
VIÑA DEL MAR AND VALPARAISO
Code:SLC501.$75 Per Person*
Itinerary:Travel out of Santiago
past the vineyards, farms, orchards and olive plantations of Curacavi and
Casablanca valleys. At the coast, drive along the beaches of Las Salinas
and Reñaca to Viña del Mar, a town Chileans refer to as Ciudad
Jardín (Garden City) due to its parks, flower beds and gardens.
The beach is the resort’s main draw, and visitors and locals alike make
use of Costanera Avenue and the oceanfront promenade in the shadows of
the imposing Casino Municipal. Follow España Avenue to neighboring
Valparaíso, a port christened by the Spanish in 1536. Climb up,
down and around these narrow twisty streets the city is balanced on some
40 hills and pause at the water front to watch the ships, boats and fishemen
in the bay. The tour proceeds to the heart of the city, the Plaza Sotomayor,
a pleasant sanctuary, opposite the Maritime Authority. Inside the plaza
is the Monument to the heroes of Iquique, a memorial for those killed during
the War of the Pacific. Just beyond this is Muelle Prat, the pier complete
with small crafts market. Lunch (not included) can be at one of the many
restaurants that border the beach; the perfect opportunity to sample the
port’s famously fresh fish and seafood. At the afternoon, visit La Sebastiana,
another of poet Pablo Neruda’s homes-turned-museums, ride one of the city’s
many elevators, an effective mode of moving about this largely vertical
port back at the turn of the century. Ascendor Artillería, built
in 1898, is one of the oldest still in operation and offers a beautiful
view of the ocean. Finally, enjoy a drive through the financial and commercial
districts before setting out for Santiago through the Curacavi Valley,
where traditional Chilean sweets and snacks are for sale.
ISLA NEGRA AND THE HOME OF PABLO
NERUDA Code:SLC502.$98 Per Person*
and Saturday, year-round.
fee for museum.
Itinerary: Enjoy the ride out
of Santiago, through the beautiful Central Valley. Hit the coast at San
Antonio, a busy port town check out the market if time permits then head
northward to Cartagena, a town which hills fall abruptly to the sea, Costa
Azul, Las Cruces, and El Tabo. Last stop: the peaceful Isla Negra, a small
resort made famous by its most famous inhabitant, the renown poet Pablo
Neruda. Neruda won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971. He passed away
in 1973, and this, reputedly his favorite of his three houses, is now a
museum, an eclectic assembly of the poet's many collections miniatures,
vessels, colored bottles, fine glassware and seashells, to name a few as
well as his manuscripts. The house and its ocean view served as an everlasting
source of inspiration for Neruda, and both are absolutely enchanting. Enjoy
a relaxing lunch (not included) at one of the restaurants in town. Return
to Santiago in the afternoon through the seaside resort of Algarrobo.
A DAY IN THE COUNTRY: OLMUE
Code:SCL503.$90 Per Person
Includes: Private transportation
(car or minibus),Traditional Chilean lunch at a home in the country,Guide,Entrance
fees for national park or protected area.
Itinerary:Head North out of
Santiago past Tiltil, a village that owes its existence to the nearby discovery
of gold, La Dormida Hill and a number of olive and prickly pear (or tuna)
plantations. Stop at Olmué, a tiny agricultural town. The main road
leads to the town square where it is possible to buy fresh fruits, marmalades,
crafts and ceramics and visit with the artists and locals, as well. Proceed
to La Campana National Park and walk through its extraordinary native forest
of grand boldos, peumos, maitenes, lingues and canelos. From there, stop
at a small bodega and try a little chicha, a coarse type of brandy made
from apples or grapes, then be welcomed into an Olmue home and settle down
for a traditional, leisurely Chilean lunch, complete with fine Chilean
wine. Return to Santiago in the afternoon through a different, though equally
THE WINES OF COLCHAGUA Code:SCL504.
Frequency:Wednesday and Sunday,
(car or minibus),Lunch,Guide specializing in wine,Entrance fee for museum,Wine
Itinerary:The wine circuit
of Colchagua Valley is a must for any wine enthusiast. The wines coming
from this region, about an hour and a half south of Santiago, differ remarkably
from those produced in Aconcagua Valley north of the capital. Taste the
wines and tour the vineyards of Pueblo Antiguo, which was founded in 1978
by Don Sergio Torreti Rivera, and La Posada, which was bought by Spaniard
José Díaz in 1905. The vineyards sat idle, however, until
1960 when Eduardo Díaz Escandón began working with grapes.
Fine La Posada wines were finally produced in 1985. After the tours, stop
at the Museum of Colchagua, an esteemed private museum created in 1994
and renown for its pre-Columbian artifacts, gold pieces from the Moche
culture, amber exhibit, and historical documents. Return to Santiago.
EL TENIENTE COPPER MINE Code:SCL505.$
90 Per Person*
specializing in mining,Entrance fee to the mine,Lunch.
Itinerary:This is a unique opportunity
to learn about the second most important mine in Chile and the largest
underground copper mine in the world: Codelco-Chile’s El Teniente. Explore
inside the mine the caves of Los Cristales (14,000 years old crystals),
the hall of Crushing, the Civic Quarter and the exterior as well Sewell,
Caletones Foundry, Acid Plant and the truck loading facility. Return to
ARTS AND CRAFTS SANTIAGO Code:SCL506.
Duration: Full day.
Frequency: Daily, year-round.
(car or minibus),Craft shops,Lunch.
Itinerary:Learn about some
of the arts and crafts of Chile by touring artist studios and workshops
in Colchagua Valley. Leave Santiago and head south, stopping first at the
foothills of the Andes in the village of Doñihue, which was once
the seat of the Incas and is now famous for its unique hand-woven blankets
and clothing. Proceed to Pelequén, a small community that grew out
of a number of stone quarries. The region is noted for the unusual pink
stones of Rigolemu (volcanic). From here, shift artistic gears to wicker
and the town of Chimbarongo. Here, furniture, utensils and various wicker
pieces are made and sold right on the shoulder of the Pan American Highway.
La Lajuela is next, and here witness the transformation of the wooven hats
(cut, dried and braided). Finally, stop at Lihueimo, for admiring elaborate
figures of clay depicting scenes of local customs and everyday life. Return
COLONIAL CHILE AT HACIENDA LOS
LINGUES Code:SLC507.$170 Per Person*
(car or minibus),Guide,Lunch.
Itinerary:A very interesting
and original tour to an authentic colonial hacienda, in the pleasant land
of Chile’s Central Valley. Hacienda Los Lingues is located 78 miles south
of Santiago; Los Lingues covers 1.000 acres of fertile land and 8.000 acres
of rolling hills. The visit gives tourists a chance to see the beautiful
and harmonic Chilean architecture completely furnished with over 300 years
old furniture, a colonial family museum, the house chapel, and the horse
breeding stables one of the most prestigious in the Americas. The lunch,
served under the beautiful old trees of the hacienda (or at their winter
dinning room) includes a delicious menu without forgetting the famous Chilean
wine and other country drinks. A Chilean Rodeo exhibition will complete
THE ANDES BY HORSEBACK Code:SLC508.$120
Frequency:Saturday and Sunday,
specializing in horseback riding, Lunch.
Itinerary:From Santiago, journey
inland to Cajón del Maipo. The hour-and-a-half drive passes vineyards,
craft shops, and men on horseback a forerunner of things to come. White
flags, as well, signal stands and shacks that offer everything from berries
and almonds to jars of honey and freshly baked empanadas. At San Alfonso,
a charming village and site of Santuario Natural Cascada de las Animas,
a stable of fine Chilean horses (these are shorter and stronger than common
English breeds) awaits. A specialized guide will pair up horses and passengers,
depending on one’s riding experience, and saddle up (the saddles, by the
way, are also Chilean) the animals. The ride starts in an orchard then
continues on a narrow steep path used by muleteers. The first plateau,
about 4,000 feet above sea level, offers splendid views of Maipo Valley
and its many waterfalls. The journey proceeds to the gorge of Manzanillo,
then up the slope of Campana Hill, a peak buried by snow in the winter
but a noted site for observing condors in the spring. Return to Santiago
in the afternoon.
SEARCHING THE CONDOR (ON FOOT)Code:SLC509.
Frequency:Saturday and Sunday,
Itinerary:From Santiago, journey
inland to Cajón del Maipo. Drive (for about an hour and a half)
past vineyards, craft shops, men on horseback and many stands and shacks
(look for the white flags) offering everything from berries and almonds
to jars of honey and freshly baked empanadas. The walking begins at San
Alfonso, site of Santuario Natural Cascada de las Animas. Cross the Maipo
River on a suspension bridge, hike through orchards then onto a steep narrow
path usually trodden by multeers.The first plateau, about 4,000 feet above
sea level, offers splendid views of Maipo Valley and its many waterfalls.
Admire the regional flora and fauna and observe the muleteers at work.
Daring hikers can continue up another 1,200 feet to Morra's view-point,
a great place to observe condors. Walk back to the Cascada de Las Animas
for lunch, then return to Santiago.
THE COAST BY WAR PLANE Code:SCL404.$
Private transportation (car or minibus),Guide, Air tour, Professional pilot.
Itinerary:Leave Santiago and
drive to rural Olmué for an adventure custom designed for those
who dream of a bird’s eye view of things. This is no average air-tour,
however, because this is a flight in a WWII fighter plane. Don regulation
wartime bomber jacket and cap and enjoy the fresh air while flying over
the exquisite landscape of the coastal mountains and the Pacific coast.
It is an incredible front-row view: the plane is a tandem two-seater, and
the pilot sits behind. The flight lasts about an hour.
HOT AIR BALLOONING Code:SCL405.$180
(car or minibus), Hot air ballooning ride.
Itinerary: One unforgetable way to
experience Chile’s breathtaking landscape is from above via hot-air balloon.
Travel from Santiago to the quaint agricultural town of Olmué and
prepare for lift off. With the help of a strong, smooth wind, the balloon
rises and floats gently over the central swathe of the country and its
glorious farms, vineyards and valleys. oon
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