Yes, it’s true! We are expecting a guest, and that guest is CC’s mum – so we have been busy planning an itinerary and thinking up some things for her to do while she is here. Yes – it’s like being travel agents and tour guides all rolled into one! 🙂
CC’s mum’s special, custom-made, personally escorted tour of Chile will start and end in Santiago, and because we are a professional travel-organising outfit, we have created an official schedule for her trip. Here it is…….
Coastal sights and culinary delights
Join us on a delightful tour of coastal Chile whilst sampling some of the finest foods on offer – including some uniquely Chilean delights. This trip includes a free tasting sheet for you to keep notes of your gastronomical experience.
DAY 1 – Arrival in Santiago
After your overnight flight to Santiago, you will be met at the airport by your friendly holiday reps CC and PB. They will be your personal guides throughout the duration of the trip. Due to an Easter timetable on the Santiago metro, your guides may not be able to be present when you arrive at the airport. Please wait patiently in arrivals and they will be with you shortly. Note that Santiago airport has a ‘shortcut’ exit for arriving passengers. Please don’t use this exit as your guides will be waiting at the main exit, and using this exit may cause delays to your transfer.
Transfer via airport bus and metro to your luxury AirBandB apartment in the heart of Santiago – Chile’s capital and a thriving metropolis. We offer a complimentary luggage carrying service for the steps up and down to the metro stations so you can have a relaxing stress-free transfer.
On arrival you will be issued with your tasting sheet, and the culinary experience begins right away with a tasting session of Chilean bread (Hallulla variety).
The afternoon activity is a walk to Plaza de Armas taking in various churches and cathedrals, and more culinary delights including the world famous Chilean delicacy Mote con Huesillos (Peach with wheat in sweet juice).
Round the day off with an evening on the rooftop terrace taking in views of the Andes before enjoying a traditional Chilean dinner of Porotos Granados (at home from a tin).
DAY 2 – Santiago
Hit the streets of Santiago for a hectic day of sightseeing, starting with Cerro Santa Lucia – also known as the ‘little hill’. From here there are good views of the city. After descending the hill, enjoy a delicious fish lunch in the Lastarria district of Santiago – taking in your first taste of ‘pebre’ – another Chilean speciality.
After lunch we continue by metro to the Gran Torre Santiago, also known as the Costanera Tower – the tallest building in South America. Enjoy sweeping views over Santiago and savour the anticipation of waiting for the clouds to lift so that you can see the Andes properly.
Return to the apartment for a delicious home-cooked dinner cooked by CC, one of your friendly tour guides.
DAY 3 – Santiago
Today you will tackle the ‘big hill’ – also known as Cerro San Cristóbal. After a walk to the Bella Vista area of Santiago for another delicious fish lunch, take the funicular railway to the top of the hill. Enjoy mixing with locals and tourists alike as you spend an enjoyable hour waiting in the line for tickets.
Once on the hill, engage in some bird-spotting with Chilean Mockingbirds commonly sighted. Take the walk of the 7 crosses and enjoy commanding views of Santiago and the Costanera Centre.
Descend the hill using the cable car, and after a short walk return to the apartment via metro to enjoy another gourmet home-cooked dinner preceded by twilight on the rooftop.
DAY 4 – Santiago
On your final day in Santiago start the morning with a walk to La Moneda Palace – the seat of the president of Chile. Continue to the Central Market to try a Santiago speciality for lunch – ‘caldillo de congrio’ – conger eel chowder.
After lunch take in some local colour by crossing the river to visit the Patronato district, La Vega central market, and Tirso de Molina market.
Enjoy your final evening on the roof terrace before another delicious home-cooked dinner.
DAY 5 – Transfer to La Serena
Transfer via metro to the Santiago Alameda bus station for the 10.15 bus to your next destination – La Serena. Enjoy a relaxing journey through the Chilean countryside looking at cacti through the bus window.
On arrival, transfer by taxi to your not-quite beachside apartment for check-in. Enjoy a sunset stroll to the beach and view the famous La Serena lighthouse.
DAY 6 – La Serena
Start the day with a gentle stroll to the centre of La Serena, the second oldest city in Chile. The morning activities include the renowned historic stone churches and the municipal market where your culinary experience continues with an authentic empanada lunch washed down with a little bit of history – Chile’s two oldest soft drinks – Bilz and Pap – a national institution.
Enjoy the afternoon strolling in the beautiful and historic Japanese gardens where you will see black-necked swans and herons amongst other wildlife. Finish the day with another delicious home-cooked meal.
DAY 7 – Humboldt Penguin National Reserve (from La Serena)
Enjoy a full day excursion to the Humboldt Penguin National Reserve to see penguins and other native wildlife in their natural environment.
Your day starts with an early morning stroll to the street in La Serena where the daily bus to Punta Choros leaves from. We will aim to get there early in order to bag the best seats (and to ensure that the journey is spent sitting down and not standing).
The two hour minibus ride takes you through the Choros Canyon with spectacular desert-like scenery and ample opportunities to view cacti. You will also get a glimpse of some Guanacos – wild relatives of the llama that like to wander on the roads in this area. The last part of your journey is on a gravel road taking you to the coastal fishing village of Punta Choros.
On arrival at Punta Choros, your friendly guides will take care of the paperwork required for this excursion (boat ticket and national park entry), and you will board a small boat to head out to the islands. After a short journey at sea, you will arrive at Choros Island where the boat will search for wildlife, and you will have the opportunity to view Humboldt penguins, Red-legged cormorants, Guanay cormorants, Sea otters, Peruvian pelicans, Peruvian Boobies, South American sea-lions, Risso’s dolphins, Turkey vultures and Chilean Skuas.
The next stop on the excursion is Damas Island where you will disembark from the boat and enjoy an hour on the island with a delicious packed lunch of an avocado and cheese sandwich and some biscuits. You will ascend to the island viewpoint where you can see over the whole island and take in the island’s unique flora – especially the cacti.
The boat will then return to Punta Choros for the return bus to La Serena. You will have the opportunity to reflect on your day’s activities during the evening stroll home, where once again you will enjoy a delicious home-cooked dinner (that has been prepared earlier and heated up)
DAY 8 – Coquimbo (from La Serena)
Today’s trip is to the bustling town of Coquimbo – known as the ‘ugly twin’ of La Serena. Only a 15 minute walk is required to get to the minibus stop to board your bus to Coquimbo.
On arrival we will proceed to the fish market area and beach where you can spot herons and sea-lions, and take in views of the Cross of the 3rd Millennium and the Mosque of Coquimbo.
We will then head to the main square and Barrio Inglés, and for lunch you will try another Chilean delight – the Completo Italiano – at a local restaurant.
After your hearty lunch we will tackle the ascent to the Cross of the 3rd Millennium. This involves a climb of around 150 metres to the hill that it sits on. We will take you through colourful backstreets with plenty of stops for rest and refreshment as we make the ascent.
At the cross you will visit the museum and both viewing areas for outstanding views over the city of Coquimbo and beyond. We will descend by an alternative route, and with one final look at the sea-lions, and a trip to the supermarket, we will board a minibus to return home.
Tonight you will enjoy a special treat, as you will try humitas and pastel de choclo – both renowned Chilean delicacies. In the event that these dishes don’t taste very good, please feel free to note this on your tasting sheet.
DAY 9 – The Elqui Valley (from La Serena)
Start your day with a scenic stroll to the bus station, where we will board the bus to Vicuña in the heart of the Elqui Valley. The Elqui Valley is renowned for its sunny weather, so if it has been cloudy in La Serena you are in for a treat!
Enjoy the lovely mountain scenery of vineyards and cacti as the bus makes its way slowly up the valley. After a journey of one hour you will disembark from the bus in Vicuña and take a stroll around the quiet streets, taking in the famous bauer tower and the craft market.
Enjoy delicious homemade empanadas and dessert on the main square before boarding your next bus, which is to the small village of Pisco Elqui.
Pisco Elqui and the whole valley is famous for its production of Pisco – a Chilean type of brandy, and you will have the opportunity to take a tour of the MIstral distillery where the pisco is made. The tour includes a tasting of two piscos – don’t be afraid to try the pisco – it doesn’t bite!!!
After your tour, relax with your two friendly guides with some pisco-based cocktails whilst taking in the lovely mountain scenery. Snacks will be provided on the return bus journey if required.
DAY 10 – La Serena
This is a chance to catch up on your souvenir shopping as we head back to La Serena for any last minute purchases required. During your time at the local tourist market we will enjoy a fish lunch and another chance to enjoy some pisco with the opportunity to try the legendary cocktail of Chile – a Pisco Sour.
DAY 11 – Transfer to Viña del Mar
A bright and early start today with a stroll to the bus station for the 8.30am bus to Santiago. On arrival in Santiago we will change buses and head to Viña del Mar where we will be staying in another luxury apartment with roof terrace.
We will take an evening stroll to the seaside to catch the magnificent sunset, before heading to a local restaurant for some delicious pizza.
DAY 12 – Viña del Mar
We will take a stroll around this lovely city, with visits to the floral clock, the shopping centre, and a stroll along the famous beach. Lunch today is a special treat and a break from the Chilean Delights, as we will be having Indian food.
Churros filled with Manjar are a MUST when in Viña del Mar, so we will make sure that they are provided in the afternoon, to keep you going before your usual delicious home-cooked dinner.
DAY 13 – Valparaiso (from Viña del Mar)
Travelling by metro, we will visit this world-heritage city and take in the various viewpoints that the city has to offer. You will also travel in the world-famous ‘ascensors’ – funiculars that take passengers up the city’s steep hills.
Lunch will be in the renowned Hotel Prat – famous for its large and exceptionally good value ‘Menú del día’.
After an afternoon coffee high up on one of the terraces overlooking the city, we will return to Viña del Mar with a short stop at Portales beach for a drink.
DAY 14 – Reñaca (from Viña del Mar)
Today we will take a short minibus ride to Reñaca, a resort area just north of Viña del Mar with one of the nicest beaches in the region. After a stroll along the beach we will stop for a coffee in one of Reñaca’s posh beachside restaurants, before proceeding for a stroll around town in search of the best empanadas for lunch. After lunch we will return to the beach area where you may sight grey gulls.
On our return to Viña del Mar we will revisit the churros area for one last chance for you to taste these delicious beach-side snacks.
Back at the apartment you will taste the Chilean summertime speciality – a fanshop – this has to be tasted to be believed! Round of the day with another delicious home-cooked dinner.
DAY 15 – Transfer to Santiago
After a short stroll to the bus station, we will board our bus for our two hour journey to Santiago. On arrival at the bus station, we will sample local cuisine (salchipapa) by having lunch at the bus station food court. This also allows us to arrive at check-in time at our next apartment.
The final apartment of your stay is conveniently located near the main bus station, and is located on the 12th floor for commanding views of the city. After check-in we will visit the local Lider supermarket and your friendly guides will arrange provisions for the last few days of your holiday. To keep your energy levels high, we will eat a sopaipilla from a stand outside the supermarket, before returning home for yet another delicious home-cooked dinner.
Today is also a day of celebration for you, as you will have tried all the foods on your Chilean delights food list. CONGRATULATIONS!
DAY 16 – Cajon de Maipo (from Santiago)
Today we will take the metro and bus to San José de Maipo, a lovely village in the foothills of the Andes mountains. Note that due to today being a saturday, you may encounter football fans shouting and jumping up and down on the metro train to shake the carriages. In this case, your friendly guides will relocate to another part of the metro train.
Arriving at San José, we will take a stroll around the village and your friendly guides will source some delicious empanadas for lunch to eat around the main square.
After lunch, another bus ride will take us to San Gabriel, where we will relax by the riverside and enjoy the surrounding scenery of cactus-covered hills and Chileans eating picnics and dancing.
We will return to Santiago in the late afternoon, stopping again in San José for ice-cream. Back at the apartment, your usual delicious home-cooked dinner awaits.
DAY 17 – Transfer to airport
Today you will enjoy your last trip to the local supermarket for lunch supplies. Back at the apartment, lunch will made by your friendly guides, before heading off to the airport for your 5.45pm flight back to London.
You will have plenty of time to pack in the morning, and your holiday includes an escort to the airport via airport bus, with your two friendly guides.
WE HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR STAY WITH CC/PB TRAVELS!
You might notice that it’s a very precise document? (also available in handy PDF format for easy printing: CC’s Mum’s holiday itinerary…) 🙂 Yes, that’s because ‘blog world’ and the ‘real world’ are on different planes of time, so we can in fact create things afterwards and talk about them as if they were created before…. confused? Yes, so are we…. but we can still give the impression that we planned every detail of CC’s mum’s trip beforehand….. 🙂
You may also notice that there is a LOT of food tasting involved in this itinerary 🙂 YES, we did give CC’s mum a ‘tasting sheet’, and we made sure that she filled it out… 🙂
CC’s mum’s verdict on the Chilean culinary experience will be published at a later date…. (yes, I know you are excited, but you’ll just have to wait….)