Chile & Ecuador

Savor the rich culinary heritage of Chile & Ecuador.

Country Information

Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands

Chile

Chile & Ecuador Enrichment Series

(Countries Visited)

Ecuador & The Galapagos Islands

,

Chile


(Interest Type(s))

Adventure Travel

,

Recommended


(Tour Length)

12 Days


Tour Highlights

Starting at: $12,260
  • Explore sophisticated Santiago, its history, art, culture and  renowned cuisine
  • Travel into Casablanca Valley, where vineyards have growing since 1875
  • Discover Colchagua Valley, the heart of Chile’s wine country and  traditional “Huaso” (Chilean cowboy)
  • Enjoy touring and dining in the vibrant city of Quito, Ecuador
  • Delve into the rich traditions of Ecuador’s indigenous communities of Zuleta

Day 1: Santiago, Chile
Upon arrival in Santiago, your driver and guide welcomes you and transfers you to your boutique hotel in downtown Santiago. The hotel is a Chilean national monument due to its original, exquisite French architecture.  After some time to freshen up, you will embark on a city tour of historic Santiago that begins in the city’s Central Market, a colorful cornucopia of fresh food – seafood, fruits, vegetables, and flowers, all housed in an exquisite 19th century wrought-iron building, designed by Gustave Eiffel, the famous designer of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.  Continue to the main avenues of the civic center and the seat of government, the neoclassical La Moneda Palace, built in the 1700s. The Plaza de Armas, Santiago’s beautiful main square, is surrounded by 18th-century architecture – Catedral Metropolitana, National Historical Museum, and the Central Post Office.  Leaving downtown, you travel towards the Parque Forestal, leading to the Fine Arts Museum and Bellavista, the bohemian artsy center of Santiago.  Enjoy lunch at the Bocanariz Restaurant in the Lastarria district. Bocanariz is a wine bar as well as an innovative restaurant, where the cuisine paired with their extensive collection of wines much as this old restored house has been paired with today’s technologies to provide the best of both plus excellent service. Served by its owners and a trained team of sommeliers, the ambiance is warm and casual.  After lunch, explore the newly re-opened Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art, dedicated to the study and display of pre-Columbian artworks and artifacts from Central and South America. The museum houses the private collection of pre-Columbian artifacts acquired by the Chilean architect and antiquities collector Sergio Larraín García-Moreno over the course of nearly 50 years. The museum first opened in December 1981 and closed in late 2011 for renovation. After our visit to this fascinating museum, your driver and guide will escort you back to your hotel, where you have the rest of the afternoon at leisure. This evening, you enjoy dinner at one of Santiago’s best restaurants, Astrid & Gaston.  Owned and operated by Lima-based chef Gastón Acuria and his German wife, the menu features creatively prepared Chilean seafood as the highlight. You can pair your dish with one of Chile’s finest wines. After dinner, you return to your hotel. Le Reve Boutique Hotel (L,D)

Day 2: Santiago
After breakfast today, join your guide and driver to discover Bellavista  district and La Chascona, which is one of the former houses of Pablo Neruda, Nobel Prize winner in literature.  Neruda designed much of La Chascona himself, continually changing the architect’s original blueprints to create spaces for specific objects that he had collected. The result is an unconventional and extraordinary house.  In addition, his then lover, who later became his third wife, personally  selected and planted every plant in the garden. Note: Museum closed on Mondays. Then you take a short walk through the Bellavista neighborhood to the studio of Ximena Mandiola, one of Chile’s most famous artists.  Her paintings are characterized by the use of numerical codes, a language of signs and symbols based on the concept of repetition. Her unique works have been featured in expositions throughout South America as well as in New York City and elsewhere, and has won worldwide praise. Here we will have the opportunity to see her work as well as that of other established Chilean artists.  Then you head for lunch at La Mar Restaurant to enjoy some of Chile’s traditional dishes such as  ceviche and sample a classic South American drink, the pisco sour.  After lunch, take a short trip to the handicraft village of Los Dominicos in a beautiful colonial-style building, with handicrafts in pottery, copper, stone, wood, wool and glass.  You can watch the crafts people working with the Andean mountains as a backdrop.  After this visit, you will return to your hotel, where you will have the rest of the evening at leisure.  Le Reve Boutique Hotel (B,L)

Day 3: Casablanca Valley / Valparaíso
This morning after breakfast, you and your driver and guide will head west to Casablanca Valley between the coastal mountain range and the Pacific Ocean.  Vineyards have growing here since 1875, but only in the 1980s was the true potential of the valley discovered. The soils and the conditions are in many ways similar to the Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California.  This valley is in a temperate climate zone with semiarid tendencies, characterized by alternating short, relatively rainy winters with long, continually dry summers.  The valley is oriented in such a way that daily ocean breezes cool the grapes on the vine and result in intensely fruity wines.  The tallness and massiveness of the coastal range create a unique topography that causes striking daily and seasonal air current changes in the valley thus generating a very special microclimate.  Additionally, favorable sunlight conditions influence the grape ripening process, creating unique conditions that provide its wines with special features.  Here, we will visit the Kingston Family Vineyards, a boutique winery on the ranch that has been in their family for more than a century. They feature Pinot Noir, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc in small lots using custom equipment and techniques brought from California.  Until the 2009 harvest, they exported virtually all of their wines.  Tour the vineyards, watch the process of making artisanal wines, and enjoy a tasting of their Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Syrah, while enjoying a gourmet picnic overlooking the sweeping views of the Casablanca Valley. Next, continue to the coast and the port city of Valparaíso. Upon arrival, enjoy a leisurely walking tour of the city, which begins at Errazuriz Street to see examples of early 20th century, British-influenced architecture.  Admire the panoramas from a popular viewpoint at “21 de Mayo” with its excellent vistas of the colorful hillside houses, the port and across the bay.  Take the “Artilleria” elevator (funicular) and descend to get to the trolley that leads you to “Cerro Concepción” and more gorgeous views. You will descend via the “Los Perales” elevator that leads to Sotomayor square.  After this tour, your driver and guide will take you to your hotel in the heart of Cerro Alegre, facing an impressive view of the bay of Valparaíso.  This boutique hotel is in a carefully restored 1920s mansion offers a delightful combination of modern comfort and warm elegant echoes from the past. After check-in, you have the rest of the evening at leisure.  Casa Higueras (B,L)

Day 4: Valparaíso / Viña del Mar / Zapallar / Valparaíso
This morning after breakfast, your driver and guide will meet you at your hotel and take you to the neighboring city of Viña del Mar, where we will enjoy a leisurely walking tour of the city known as the ‘Garden City’.  Founded in 1874, Viña del Mar has grown into Chile's most luxurious beach resort town. The city has its share of sleek, modern buildings, but the character of the town is still set by its many charming colonial houses.  Stroll along the beachfront and visit the popular Caleta Abarca beach. You also see Viña del Mar´s casino in the heart of city´s main attractions and some castle-like mansions from the early 20th century. Continue on to the coastal town of Zapallar and Cachagua Beach. From here, you enjoy a 45-minute walk along the beachfront, which faces an island with an active penguin colony.  This little resort town is the choice of Chile’s elite. Nestled between surrounding hills and the vast ocean, the town has the charm of Santa Barbara in California and Positano in Italy.  After the walk, you are ready for lunch at Chiringuito Restaurant, with its spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean.  After lunch, return to your hotel in Valparaíso, where you will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure.  Casa Higueras (B,L)

Day 5: Colchagua Valley
This morning after breakfast, your driver and guide take you south to the Colchagua Valley. This region is the heart of Chile's wine country as well as the center of the traditional "Huaso" (Chilean cowboy). This area saw Chile’s earliest settlers during the late 1500s, at a time when agriculture was the main economic activity of the Spanish colony.  Visit the Clos Apalta winery. This revolutionary winery produces Casa Lapostolle’s world-class, iconic wine Clos Apalta. The winery is 100% gravity-fed spanning five levels, three of which are buried into the granite of the Apalta hillside to provide a natural cool temperature environment for cellaring and ageing. This rare vertical design allows the wine to flow naturally downward during every stage of the production, eliminating the need to pump, which can adversely affect the subtle flavors of the wine. Tour their organic and biodynamic winemaking facilities, and later enjoy a special lunch in their restaurant, where you will savor each course prepared with the best local ingredients, and paired with one of estate’s outstanding wines. Next on the agenda is the Neyen de Apalta Winery, where you will find the perfect blend of tradition and modernity. The Rojas family founded the winery in 2002 on the site of one of the area’s pioneering wineries dating back to the late 19th century.  The vineyards enjoy a privileged location within the horseshoe-shaped Apalta Valley: a small valley protected by the nearby Coastal Range from the winds that blow through the Tinguiririca River Canyon.  See their facilities followed by a special tasting of Neyen’s wine and locally produced chocolates.  A trained oenologist will show you the best ways to savor artisanal local chocolates that are paired with vertical tasting of Neyen’s wine to give you a totally unique taste sensation.  Your driver takes you to your hotel. With the Andes Mountains as the lovely background, your hotel offers lodging in a beautiful environment next to an old family winery with dining in elegant surroundings. Surrounded by their own vineyard, the hotel is footsteps away from the Laura Hartwig Winery and the Vino Bello Restaurant. The hotel has 19 tastefully decorated rooms, one of which is a master suite.  Each room has its own balcony with a splendid view. The rest of the evening is at leisure. Terraviña Hotel (B,L)

Day 6: Colchagua Valley
After breakfast, your driver and guide meet you for exceptional culinary experience in the Colchagua Valley.  This morning a Chilean chef, who trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris, serves as your specialist  guide for this class.  The chef leads you to discover the new flavors and aromas, learn how to choose ingredients inspired by the wines and seasons, develop your senses and experience the alchemy and passion for cooking – all with the unique scenery of Colchagua and its surrounding by vineyards.  In your class, you prepare a menu of three courses plus a dessert with recipes inspired by the food of Chile - high quality and seasonal ingredients mostly from local farmers.  While cooking, you taste each course with a fantastic selection of wines from the valley.  After lunch, visit the Viu Manent Winery, a family-owned vineyard since 1935, to learn more about the history and tradition of Chilean wines.  Don Miguel Viu Garcia and his two sons established “Bodegas Viu” in Santiago and have acquired three vineyards in the Colchagua Valley, where their wines are now exclusively produced.  Viu Manent balances tradition and innovation, with centennial vineyards alongside more recent plantings and traditional barrel cellaring with state-of-the-art winery operations.  You learn about the different varieties of grapes grown in the vineyard  Along with the tour and tastings, you also take a ride through the vineyard in a horse-drawn carriage.  Later, return to your hotel, where you will have the rest of the evening at leisure. Terraviña Hotel (B,L)

Day 7: Colchagua Valley / Santiago / Quito Ecuador
This morning your driver and guide help you check out of your hotel and take you to the town of Santa Cruz with its well-preserved colonial architecture. Sights include the Plaza de Armas, which is home to Santa Cruz church and Santa Cruz Hotel.  Also noteworthy is the Museum of Colchagua, with exhibits  about the pre-Columbian inhabitants of Chile and South America, the first European settlers and their way of life.  Later, visit the Montgras Winery, where you have a unique opportunity to try your hand at winemaking. Play with flavors and aromas of different varieties, creating your own favorite blend.  This activity will allow you to blend three different grape varieties to stamp your identity and personal taste, obviously taking into account the guide´s advice and expertise.  Enjoy lunch at the winery´s restaurant before setting out to Santiago’s international airport for your onward to Quitio, Ecuador. In Quito, You are greeted are the airport and transferred to the hacienda on the outskirts of the city.  The remainder of the day is at leisure.  Enjoy dinner tonight in the hacienda’s dining room, hosted by the owners, the Count and the Countess Jijon y Caamaño.  Chillo Jijon Mansion – Double Standard (B,L,D)

Day 8:  Quito
This morning, the hacienda’s renowned chef, Esteban Tapia, who specializes in organic foods and is part of the Slow Food Movement, accompanies you on a visit to the colorful food, fruit and vegetable market of Sangolqui.  During the visit, you will learn about local foods and how to prepare them.  After the visit, continue on to hacienda la Alegria, where you will enjoy a cooking lesson in the organic garden of the hacienda hosted by the chef.  During the lesson, Esteban will introduce you to the history of the Ecuadorian cuisine and will share with you secrets to preparing some of the most traditional Ecuadorian dishes.  He pairs the dishes with the finest Chilean wines that you will enjoy with the lunch you and chef have prepared.  In the afternoon, you can enjoy a short ride around the estate before heading back to Chillo Jijon.  Enjoy dinner at the hacienda.  Chillo Jijon Mansion – Double Standard (B,L,D)

Day 9: Quito
The day starts with a special treat… a private visit to one of the most important artisan chocolate businesses in the city. Here, the renowned chocolatier Jeffrey Stern, a graduate of L’Academie de Cuisine culinary school in Gaithersburg, MD, shares with you a detailed explanation about the Ecuadorian cacao, detailing the different cacao growers and brands as well as the types of cacao. You will also learn more about local cooperatives and about certifications such as the Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance. During this visit, you will savor a delightful chocolate tasting of some of the finest chocolates coming from the best local producers.  Following the tasting session, you will take a tour with Jeffrey to one of the most important chocolate factories in the area, where you will be able to see the how the process of creating these amazing chocolates.  Then, return to Chillo Jijon for lunch.  This afternoon, you are at leisure to relax or enjoy a walk in the hacienda’s park.  This evening, you will be met at the hacienda for a drive to Quito in a deluxe classic car to enjoy a visit in the old city with its artistically illuminated historical buildings. Then, continue on to La Compañia de Jesús Church, the most beautiful church in the city and one of the best examples of Baroque style in South America. Enjoy a private tour of this fantastic church to learn about and admire its treasured art masterpieces.  You will relish a gourmet dinner at the chef’s table of the Alma Restaurant, one of the finest in the city.  Return to Chillo Jijon after dinner.  Chillo Jijon Mansion – Double Standard (B,L,D)

Day 10 – Quito / Zuleta
Set out early this morning from Quito to the Northern Andes, passing through beautiful valleys and fields, and next to Cayambe Volcano (5,790 m/18,997 ft).  Then continue on to the Indian market of Otavalo. This ancient market is thousands of years old and famous throughout the Andes for its handicrafts, textiles and tapestries.  Visit the handicraft market and then the food market, where you learn more about how the to prepare some of the most traditional dishes.  Lunch will be served at a local hacienda.  This afternoon, you travel to the hacienda Zuleta. Dating from the late 16th century, the hacienda lies in the spectacular Andean mountain range and is a colonial working farm of 2,000 hectares/4,000 acres that for more than a century has belonged to the family of Mr. Galo Plaza Lasso, a former president of Ecuador. Before the hacienda, the region’s original inhabitants were the peace-loving Caranquis, an agrarian-based culture that thrived with the rich in volcanic soils. They were there from about 800 A.D. until the arrival of the Incas in the late 1470’s.  Within the grounds 130 Caranqui Mounds, which were constructed around 1200 A.D.  These earth mounds were necessary to protect buildings such as huts, sheds and temples from the humidity of the ground. The hacienda’s 14 beautifully decorated bedrooms each feature their own fireplace. The cuisine is prepared with organic vegetables, trout and dairy products produced on the hacienda. This evening, you have dinner at the hacienda.  Zuleta is known for serving some of the best regional cuisine in the Ecuadorian Andes.  Hacienda Zuleta - Double Deluxe (B,L,D)

Day 11: Zuleta
Today you have many options to enjoy a full day at the hacienda Zuleta and the surrounding areas. Among the activities available are hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and excursions to the embroidery workshop, the condor-raising project, the dairy and cheese factory, and the organic garden.  The hacienda has about 100 horses, some pure Andalusians and some polo horses, and a mix of Andalusian, quarter horse and thoroughbred. Hacienda Zuleta - Double Deluxe (B,L,D)

Day 12: Zuleta / Quito / Depart
Visit one of the most important roses’ farms in the Cayambe area. Learn more about the growth and export procedures of the Ecuadorian roses.  Lunch will be served at hacienda La Compañia, one of the oldest haciendas in the area and still a private property. In the afternoon, transfer directly to the airport to board the international departure flight. (B,L)

Land price, per person, double occupancy: From $12,260

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