Uncover the dramatic and diverse cultural panorama of Chile on two terrific tours. Enjoy an enriching exploration of three places on two separate mornings with this flexible tour option. Set out to visit the sublime sites of Santiago on a 3-hour sightseeing tour; cruise past the glamorous finance district in an air-conditioned minivan, passing the picturesque Moneda Palace and the beautifully bohemian neighborhood of Bellavista. Ascend to the summit of San Cristobal Hill to enjoy panoramic city vistas and immerse yourself in the bustling atmosphere of Mercado Central to peruse stalls bursting with exotic produce.
Venture to the distinct destination of Viña del Mar and Valparaiso on the second part of the excursion; see beautifully sculpted gardens and impressive historical monuments in the ‘Garden City’ before continuing onto the winding and wondrous labyrinth of Valparaiso. The tour requires a minimum of two people to operate and detailed itineraries are provided below.
Santiago City Tour (3 hours):
After hotel pickup, drive with your guide by the towering skyscrapers of Sanhattan, the city’s high-end finance district; head to Republica, formerly home to the 20th-century elite; and pass by Club Hipíco, a thoroughbred racecourse founded in 1869 that was modeled after Longchamp in France. In the historic civic center, admire the neoclassical La Moneda Palace, the current seat of government, while learning its history, including the 1973 overthrow of President Allende that took place here.
Wander through the main square of Plaza de Armas, dotted with palm trees, and set eyes upon more beautiful examples of 18th-century architecture, including the Metropolitan Cathedral and Correo Central, the old post office. Continue to Cerro San Cristóbal in Metropolitan Park to admire sweeping city views. Explore the hilly and bohemian district of Bellavista, the former stomping grounds of Pablo Neruda, now buzzing with trendy eateries and galleries. Wrap it up at Mercado Central, a bustling wrought-iron fish market named by National Geographic as one of the world’s top 10 food markets.
Enjoy a variety of options to conclude your city tour: You can spend more time at Mercado Central and make your own way back to your hotel, ask to be dropped off at a mall to satisfy your shopping fix, or get a lift back to your hotel right away.
Viña del Mar and Valparaiso Day Trip (8 hrs):
From Santiago, take a 2-hour drive with your guide toward the coastline to Viña del Mar, making a brief stop en route at Reñaca beach to stretch your legs and capture beautiful views. Upon arrival in Viña del Mar, a seaside resort popular with the well-heeled residents of Santiago, enjoy lunch (own expense) at a restaurant of your choice.
Afterward, see for yourself why locals nicknamed Viña del Mar ‘Garden City.’ Head down the landscaped boulevard of Liberty Avenue lined with stately mansions; pass by Las Salinas beach, the 1930s casino Presidential Palace; and stand before a gigantic moai statue from Easter Island.
After Viña del Mar, continue to Valparaiso, a port city dating back to the 16th century, built on 43 hills. In this sloping labyrinth of cobblestone streets, crumbling mansions and historical funicular sit along winding streets that you climb to find Cerro Concepción, home to the city’s first funicular. Your guide shares naval history at Plaza Sotomayor, and you can marvel at panoramas of the harbor from the lookout point of Mirador 21 de Mayo. In the evening, take a scenic drive back to your Santiago hotel.