Chile's capital city was founded in 1541 at the foot of the 226-foot high Santa Lucia Hill, close to the foot of the Andes Mountains, nestled in the flat part of the Central Valley. The central area of Chile is the hub that concentrates the country's economic, administrative and cultural activity. The country's largest cities are located here (Santiago, the capital, Concepción, the second most populated, and Valparaso, the main harbor), as well as most of the universities and the majority of the country's industries, along with the best ski resorts and the finest beaches. Chile's fertile agricultural lands are also here with their vineyards which are famous the world over both for their traditional wines and their new products. The vineyards of this area can be visited, the whole winemaking process seen and the en products sampled in tasting supervised by experts.
Santiago has turned into a leading metropolis where the remains of many historic colonial buildings, such as the 16th. Century Cathedral, city hall and venerable Post Office, blend with a new high-rise gleaming architecture. Comfortable high standard hotels, including full resort facilities, are available within walking distance form the many bustling shopping arcades and for a wider selection of goods, the modern underground subway covers in just a few minutes the distance to Providencia, where hundreds of exclusive small boutiques and modern malls are found, dotted with a great variety of restaurants from elegant to formal dining where Chile's excellent wines are a must.
Sports-minded visitors will also enjoy Santiago's outstanding golf and tennis clubs, horseracing at unique Club Hipico and little more than one hour drive from Santiago, the Andes mountain range offers excellent facilities for winter sports at Valle Nevado, Portillo, Farellones or El Colorado and further south spectacular Termas de Chillan.
All fields of art are also covered in Santiago, several museums with an extensive collection of paintings, objects of the American culture and sculptures, ballet, opera, symphonic and philharmonic orchestras stage at the famed 18th-century Municipal Theatre.
The city is covered by many bus and metro lines that connect every corner. We would encourage you ride the metro at least once. It offers impeccable carts and metro station decorated with local people's art.
A panoramic sightseeing of Santiago is as follows: departure from your Hotel towards the heart of the finance and political centre of Chile: Civic Center, La Moneda, Presidential Palace, seat of the Presidency of the Republic; Plaza de Armas, originally — and following Spanish customs — an open space where open air markets would be held, it was not until 1860 that the first flower gardens were planted together with trees shading it to this day. The Cathedral, and the Main Post Office, erected in 1882, using some of the walls remaining from the former Governor's Palace of colonial times; the pedestrian streets of Huerfanos and Ahumada, indisputably busiest social, commercial and financial axis of Santiago; Union Club prestigious social club, the National Library; and Santa Lucia Hill, site of the foundation of Santiago on February 12, 1541. Towards the Bella vista district, Santiago's night and artistic life centre is lined up with galleries, open-air cafes and restaurants, and San Cristobal hill has the best panoramic views from the top. Its tallest peaks, rising 880 m above sea level, drive towards the residential districts of Vitacura, Las Condes and Providencia, boasting modern high-rise buildings and exclusive shopping malls.
Just an hour and a half northwest of Santiago, neighboring Viña del Mar and Valparaso are like two sides of a coin and both worth while a visit! We will show you the magic and fantasy of the traditional port of Valparaiso, famous for its steep streets, funiculars, and its view points from the surrounding hills. All of these are important elements of the identity and culture of this fascinating and poetic city of Chile.
Valparaiso is also the main port of Chile, built on the shores of a sweeping bay and on a crescent of 40 hills. The lower part is the seat of banking and commerce activities, centered on Prat and Esmeralda streets, featuring Pedro Montt Avenue with its many cafés and theatres. Above in the hills, a fantastic agglomeration of colorful houses with laundry hanging to the wind and winding streets with the funicular railways still in use to connect the lower and upper levels of the port. Valparaso, immortalized in the words of Pablo Neruda, is one of South America's most charismatic and historic ports, with its charming ascensores (funicular railways) and colorful hillside constructions.
Viña, "the Garden City," is one of Chile's premier beach resorts, hotels and shopping malls, set upon a low rocky coast, formerly at the turn of the century, a large vineyard owned by a prominent Chilean family, which has now turned into an elegant and sophisticated summer resort with fine hotels, high-rise condominiums set in beautiful gardens, avenues filled with flowering trees and palms mirrored in the Marga Marga lagoon.
Located in the Maipo River canyon, planted with grapevines of the most noble French stock such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Pinot Noir and others. Founded in 1883 showing today a most modern technology in cooling equipments, stainless steel tanks, filters and oak casks which has lead to the making of exceptional wines such as Don Melchor, Cabernet Sauvignon, Casillero del Diablo, third in sales surpassed only by France and Italy.
Departure from the Hotel towards Santa Maria de Manquehue, an up market suburb with modern houses and lush gardens, once the land of the Manquehue vineyards and from where you will also have a beautiful view of the city, proceeding along Pedro de Valdivia Avenue, passing by our National Stadium, house of the 1962 World Soccer Championship, en route towards the Cousiño Macul vineyard. It exists on the lands presently owned by Cousiño Macul since Spanish colonial times, and still holds the traditions from the Chilean vineyards of the first half of the century — the making of excellent wines, in limited quantities, from their own vineyards. Today, their trellised Cabernet-Sauvignon, Merlot, Semillon, Riesling and Chardonnay vines cover 265 hectares in the Andean piedmont.
Depart from your hotel and drive along Route 68 towards the town of Pomaire, nestled in a picturesque valley at the foot of the Mallarauco range, with its traditions preserved in their famous clay pottery. Proceed towards famous Viña Undurraga, founded in 1885 by Mr. Francisco Undurraga Vicuña, an avid connoisseur of Europe, on one of his many trips. He brought Riesling stock back from Germany and Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet- Sauvignon, Merlot and Pinot Noir, from France. In 1881 under the supervision of M. Pressac, a native of France, the first seedlings were planted. The wood was oak from Kentucky and Bosnia that had been used in the boxes, sold as junk, in which the Krupp canons purchased by the Chilean army had been packed. Since those faraway days of 1885, five generations of the Undurraga family have directed the vineyard; nevertheless, today it is an open corporation.
If you would like us to make reservations or request more information, please contact your Travel Consultant.