Visitors to Santiago can take a trip back in time just by walking through the doors of the famous Iglesia San Francisco de Borja. This iconic church ranks among the city’s oldest—and most beautiful—religious structures, and dates back to the original Spanish settlements. Marvel at the bold and imposing red exterior, then enter to find soft yellows, blues and whites decorating the interior. Learn from your guide about the legend of the statue of Virgen del Socorro and savor the silence of the church, where you can spend some time in quiet meditation or prayer before returning to the hustle of Santiago city streets.
Built in 1925, Chile’s National Library is home to an extensive collection of rare books and valuable manuscripts that date back to the early 1800s. Its luxe interior spans two floors, which boast marble staircases and ornate sculptures of some of the country’s most famed artists. The impressive French neoclassical building is also home to the nation’s National Archives.
Travelers who visit the vast open rooms lined with historic texts and open study tables say the iconic building in the center of Santiago offers a rare opportunity to travel back in time. And the silent stacks prove a stark contrast to the electricity of the city streets that lie right outside its doors.
This historic church is one of the oldest remaining Domenican churches in the city of Santiago. Built in 1747, Santo Domingo Church is the fourth site erected here, since major earthquakes destroyed earlier buildings meant to house the congregation. Its impressive gray bell towers and classic façade were designed by Juan de los Santos Vasconcellos and it has become a staple of the Santiago city skyline. The church was declared a national monument in 1951. Travelers can arrive for Mass, or wander the halls and observe the altars of this breathtaking religious structure with an ornate interior. It’s the perfect to participate in quiet contemplation, prayer or silent reflection before returning to the bustling streets to tour the city.
Cajón del Maipo, a narrow canyon where the Maipo River flows, begins just 16 miles (25 kilometers) southwest of Santiago, but its picturesque scenery, fresh air and charming mountain towns feels worlds away. Santiago residents often escape to Cajón del Maipo on the weekends for hiking, rafting, horseback riding, climbing, cycling and skiing. Rafting season lasts from November through March, while winter sports take over from June to September.
At the heart of Cajón del Maipo lies San José de Maipo, the biggest city in the canyon. Founded during a 1792 silver rush, the town maintains many of its colonial adobe structures as well as an eighteenth century church in the Plaza de Armas in the center of town. Hot springs scattered throughout the canyon offer opportunity for relaxation, while roadside stalls sell fresh-baked bread, Chilean empanadas, honey and other food items to stave off hunger pangs during a day of exploration.
Matetic Vineyard is located in the San Antonio Valley, a Chilean wine region about 120 kilometers west of the capital Santiago. With its abundant sunshine, cool breezes from the Pacific Ocean and irrigation by fresh water from the Andes, the region offers the perfect climate for growing wine. Additionally, high temperature fluctuations between day and night force the roots of the vines to penetrate deeply into the soil to provide themselves with nutrients, a fact that gives the grapes grown in the valley a strong and distinctive flavor. Matetic’s wines are known for their elegance as well as the intensity of the pure fruit and several well-known vintages are produced here, such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir.
The winery was founded by the Matetic family in 1999 and due to the high quality standards and the specialization in biodynamic farming, Matetic Vineyard managed to soon become one of the leading wineries in Chile.
Estancia el Cuadro is maybe most well known for being the convention center for wine tourism in the Casablanca region and hosting a wide variety of cultural as well as wine-related activities. Apart from the sizable restaurant and meeting rooms, which are often used to accommodate weddings and big corporate events, there is also a rodeo field, a chapel, a wine garden and Casablanca’s first wine museum. The latter offers a glimpse into the wine making process with original wine-making machinery and displays showing the different stages of distillation. Surrounding the property is a 4.7-acre park that includes numerous walking trails, perfectly pruned trees and a fish pond with a water fountain.
There are several tours visitors can sign up for, ranging from the usual wine tastings teaching flavors, textures and aromas to tours about history, traditions and enology.
Located a one hour drive from both Santiago and San Antonio, San Antonio Valley is one of the youngest wine growing regions in Chile. It was at the turn of the century when high quality wines started getting produced here with increasing success: elegant Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays and the otherwise rare Pinot Noirs. The proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the Humboldt Current are responsible for cool mornings, warm days and a significant temperature drop during the night. Spring frosts happen with regularity as well, all of which leads to a longer ripening period of the grapes. The result are especially aromatic grapes that are well balanced in sugars and acids.
Despite its rising popularity, San Antonio Valley is still very small compared to the other sprawling centers of the Chilean wine production and hosts only a small number of producers. Instead of mass producing, these wineries have each found their specializations in the beautiful hilly terrain.