Doug’s trip to Santiago, Mendoza & Valparaiso
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Doug’s trip to Santiago, Mendoza & Valparaiso

Mr Hudson Trip Design

Duration 7 days

Mr Hudson Trip Design

Santiago, Mendoza & Valparaiso

Mr Hudson Trip Design

2 Travellers

Doug, what a wonderful vacation you've got ahead of you! You will start your sojourn in Santiago de Chile, a city of syncopated cultural currents, madhouse parties, expansive museums and top-flight restaurants. It's a beautiful place for strolling; each neighbourhood has its unique flavour and tone, and with a growing economy, renovated arts scene and plenty of eccentricity to spare, Santiago is an old-guard city on the cusp of a modern-day renaissance. Your next stop is Mendoza, a name synonymous with wine, and the place where you will base yourself for touring the vineyards and taking a few dozen bottles home. For the last leg of your trip, you're going back to Chile, to spend a few days in Valparaíso, located 1.5 hours north of Santiago on the Pacific coast. A historic city nestled in the hills, Valparaíso is the heart of Chile's bohemian culture. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003, it is a special place with historical significance. We are confident that the trip we designed for you has the sightseeing, local culture, rest & relaxation, and being active you're after in spades. We hope you have a lovely time!

Santiago

Santiago

Tucked between the majestic Andes Mountains and the Chilean Coastal Range, Santiago promises a little bit of everything—from world-class museums to thought-provoking street art to leafy neighbourhoods dotted with sidewalk cafes. Santiago’s comfortable Mediterranean climate provides the perfect atmosphere for an amble through one of its many stately hillside parks. And of course, wine lovers won’t want to miss a stop at any of the dozen or so nearby vineyards, where you can sip on top-rated Carmenere and Cab Sauv—yet still make it back to the city centre for dinner. In stark contrast to the oppressive Pinochet years (when homosexuality was suppressed entirely), Santiago now has a large, open and diverse LGBTQ community, with LGBTQ organizations and activists continuing to fight repression to achieve equal rights.

Accommodation

Given your preference to stay close to the action, we recommend you base yourself in or near the Bellavista neighbourhood, the heart of the city which lies between the Mapocho River and San Cristóbal Hill. Bellavista is known as Santiago's bohemian quarter, with hip restaurants, boutiques, and avant-garde galleries occupying loft spaces and lordly mansions that punctuate tree-lined streets awash with colourful antique homes. Many of the city's esteemed intellectuals and artists live in Bellavista, following in the footsteps of its most famous denizen, Pablo Neruda. Most of the city's gay nightlife is also to be found here.

Nightlife

Santiago has never been highly praised for its nightlife. However, in recent years there has been a visible increase in bars and clubs bringing the city to life. Don't forget that Chile is home to pisco sour and is a world-famous producer of excellent wines. Bombero Nuñez is the street in the Bellavista neighbourhood where you'll find the majority of gay bars and clubs in town, conveniently close to your hotel.

Day 1

Experiences

Your first day in Santiago is all about exploring the city on foot, getting a sense of its vibe, and taking in some of its main cultural attractions. Don't miss La Chascona, once the house of Pablo Neruda and now a quirky museum. We also recommend you go on an LGBTQ walking tour of Santiago to discover places of significance to the local gay community.

Shopping

Your retail therapy for today consists of a Chilean menswear designer who opened his first shop in 1976, a leading local purveyor of cutting-edge men's fashions and accessories, and a unique book shop that doubles as a gallery.

Food & Drink

Bellavista and its surroundings are not short of places to wine and dine – with restaurants and bars on every corner, there’s plenty of variety, from hearty Chilean cuisine to European and Japanese fare. Walk the colourful streets laden with street art and choose one of Bellavista’s many fine restaurants.

Day 2

Experiences

Your second day in Santiago packs in more local culture, with an emphasis on modern art. Venture out of the centre to the San Miguel district to discover some of the finest murals in the city. For a local souvenir or gift, travel East to Pueblito Los Domínicos, known for artisan crafts. It has an air of faux-authentic about it but is still worth a visit.

Shopping

Today is all about scouting for original gifts and souvenirs at two markets and a gallery showcasing local creative talent.

Food & Drink

If you happen to be in Santiago on a Sunday, don't miss brunch at the W Hotel. Other Food & Drink options for today include a local LGBTQ favourite in Bella Vista, and Boulevard Lavaud Restaurant - a little out of the way, but special and authentic enough to be worth the schlep.

Day 3

Experiences

Your third day in Santiago represents the perfect opportunity to take a day trip out of town. Opt for a visit to the Cajón del Maipo in the Andes, or a Maipo Valley wine tour.

Food & Drink

Splurge on a truly memorable meal during your final night in Santiago by taking your pick from these 3 excellent fine dining options. Please note that all of these restaurants require a reservation made (well) in advance.

Santiago Map

Transfers

The next destination on your trip is Mendoza. Mendoza is the capital city of Mendoza province in Argentina and is 364 kilometres from Santiago. It usually takes five to seven hours to drive, depending on traffic and waiting time at the border crossing. If you decide to travel by road you can either take a bus or book a private transfer. If you prefer, it is also possible to take a flight with LATAM Airlines, which gets you there in just under an hour.

Mendoza

Mendoza

Mendoza is a large province (nearly the size of Illinois) that is home to 75% of Argentina’s vineyards and Malbec is the region’s most celebrated grape. Of course, this wasn’t always the case. Malbec’s rise to international fame began in the early 2000s when the country’s political and economic situation stabilised long enough for the wineries to begin investing in improvements once again. Since the 2005 vintage, several producers have garnered top scores for their Malbec wines. So, suffice it to say, Mendoza Malbec isn’t just a pleasant 'mid-week drinking wine', it’s serious business.

Accommodation

Mendoza equals wine. Take the opportunity to stay rural and relax in a destination hotel with top-class wines and formidable food pairings, while still being within striking distance of Mendoza City.

Day 4

Experiences

It will come as no surprise that your first day in Mendoza will be about only 3 things: wine, wine and more wine. Select your favourite from 2 different all-day wine tasting tours.

Food & Drink

To round off your first day in Mendoza in style, we have lined up 2 delectable dining experiences.

Day 5

Experiences

Today will take you to the highest mountain in the Americas: Aconcagua. Let the fresh air and stunning landscapes clear away any cobwebs you might experience as a result of all the wine the day before. The tours we selected for you are similar, but the first one is private whereas with the second you're part of a small group. We haven't included any dinner options for today, because we suggest you eat at your hotel and get an early night - you have a long day ahead of you travelling from Mendoza to Valparaíso.

Mendoza Map

Transfers

You can travel back to Santiago the same way you came to Mendoza and carry onwards to Valparaíso, which is about an hour and a half by car or bus. Alternatively, it is possible to take a direct bus between Mendoza and Valparaíso, which takes about 8 hours and is said to be a very scenic drive.

Valparaíso

Valparaíso

Syncopated, dilapidated, colourful and poetic, Valparaíso is a wonderful mess. Pablo Neruda, who drew much inspiration from this hard-working port town, said it best: 'Valparaíso, how absurd you are…you haven't combed your hair, you've never had time to get dressed, life has always surprised you.' But Neruda wasn't the only artist to fall for Valparaíso's unexpected charms. Poets, painters and would-be philosophers have long been drawn to Chile's most unusual city. Along with the ever-shifting port population of sailors, dockworkers and prostitutes, they've endowed gritty and gloriously spontaneous Valparaíso with an edgy air of 'anything goes.' Add to this the spectacular faded beauty of its chaotic cerros (hills), some of the best street art in Latin America, a maze of steep, sinuous streets, alleys and escaleras (stairways) piled high with crumbling mansions, and it's clear why some visitors spend more time here than in Santiago.

Accommodation

Valparaiso is famous for being easy-going and open-minded. As such, gay travellers shouldn't have any problems booking a double bed in hotels here. All our hotel recommendations are in or near our favourite part of town: Cerro Concepción. An area known as “Valpa” to the locals, it boasts a vibrant and eclectic arts scene with kaleidoscopic graffiti visible at every turn, and it is supposed that hundreds of years ago, mythical creatures lived harmoniously here at the top of the hill.

Nightlife

People in Valparaíso, or 'Valpo' as referred to by the locals, have an open mind, so most bars are very gay-friendly and welcoming.

Day 6

Experiences

Valparaiso is Chile’s art capital, as a walk through the city’s cultured streets will demonstrate. What distinguishes Valparaiso’s contemporary art scene from elsewhere, however, is its strong political undercurrent. Valpo’s artists are fiery, engaged, and articulate, and the walls of its various exhibition spaces bear witness to their nature. Dig a little deeper and you’ll discover a thriving and opinionated art underworld.

Shopping

Pick up some sweets today in a cute candy store, and browse original and affordable souvenirs and gifts from two local galleries.

Food & Drink

Valparaíso isn't necessarily a mecca for foodies, but there are lots of authentic, affordable places with character, that serve up tasty local cuisine at affordable prices.

Day 7

Experiences

We figured that on the last day of your holiday a trip to the beach is in order. In case you prefer to continue exploring Valparaíso instead, or if the weather isn't playing along, we've suggested two alternatives including a fun Chilean cooking class.

Food & Drink

For your final evening on vacation, we recommend one of the higher-end options in Valparaíso, both with incredible views to complement a scrumptious meal. What could be more romantic?

Valparaíso Map

Bastiaan Ellen
Your trip was designed by Bastiaan Ellen

We hope you have an amazing trip! Please do let us know about your experience, and how we might do better in the future

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