Day Trips from Santiago de Chile

Day trips from Santiago de Chile are proving to be very popular, not just among our clients taking extensive tours in South America but also as a one-off, add-on day for cruise clients or people finding our wine tourism site. Chile has a great deal to offer with amazing destinations such as Atacama, Patagonia and Easter Island, but there are also some superb day trips just around the corner (relatively speaking!) from the capital city.

Well-worn paths lead visitors to attractions around Santiago such as the classic day trip combo of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. Pablo Neruda’s house and museum can be visited by those interested in poetry and literature. Wine lovers can sip their way around wine regions less than an hour’s drive from their Santiago hotels, for example, the Casablanca and Maipo valleys. Outdoor enthusiasts can drive up into the Andes, a relatively short distance from the metropolis. There is plenty to do and see on any number of day trips.

However, we are always looking for something new to offer, and a recent trip to the Cachapoal Valley opened our eyes to some delicious and interesting options in this under-the-radar region. While a visit to the Cachapoal area is possible on a day trip, it requires more driving than we normally suggest to our clients. So if you only have one day available then it is enjoyable, but if you have two days open to you the trip would be much better.

History, Cuisine and Water Wheels

One of the main pleasures of travelling is deciding where and what to eat, trying new foods, and enjoying interesting and beautiful venues. So when we visited the Almahue Boutique Hotel for lunch we immediately thought “Why didn’t we stay here?”, well probably because we didn’t know anything about the place until it was recommended to us by the Clos de Luz winery. In our opinion, This is one of the best places to stay if you are in the area for a little more time. It is a lovely experience in the heart of the region, with easy access to the attractions we mention below, serving nice local cuisine accompanied by bottles from the owner’s personal wine production.

This hotel is a stylish step back in time, period furniture adorn the rooms, and colonial-style colonnades and patios provide welcome shade in the blistering summer heat. There are extensive grounds to wander, complete with top-notch horses if that is your thing. Your pulse rate will drop while you are here, that is for sure!

A nearby curiosity is the array of working water wheels drawing water from the many irrigation canals in the area. Today it is quite an unusual sight to see old-age technology in use, especially with modern pumps being fairly inexpensive but it makes total sense. This technique works well and has done so for hundreds of years, so why change it!

Top Class Wineries

There are several wineries in the region, two of which deserve special mention for being excellent visits with superb wine. They are also poles apart in investment level and appearance, hence it would be good to visit both. VIK is a clear example of what can be achieved if you have deep pockets and a clear mission. Norweigan billionaire Alexander Vik doesn’t do things by half, he purchased a whole valley and after extensive soil tests planted vines on very specific plots to gain the best results. He then built a high-tech winery and an incredible 5-star hotel. In less than 10 years his wines were winning plenty of high scores from critics, so the wine is superb and the place is amazing.

At the other end of the spectrum, we have Clos de Luz. This family-run winery is small-scale and rustic, but the wines are also superb. They hold the distinction of having the oldest Carmenere in Chile, planted by their grandmother way back in 1945. Carmenere is now Chile’s flagship grape and the Clos de Luz creation from these old vines is a must-try, a true taste of history.

So, in addition to the classic day trips from Santiago de Chile, such as Casablanca and Valparaiso, you can now add Cachopoal to the list. As we said it requires a bit more driving for a day tour, but its is a lovely area with plenty to do, see, eat and drink.

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