Essence of South America

Fellow travelers,

My husband and I will be traveling on Oct. 7, 2012 --arriving a day and 1/2 before the tour starts. We were considering a wine trip, but don't want to duplicate the winery that the tour will take on day 1. Is it possible to find out which winery we will visit on our first day??? Also we are contemplating the trip to Valparaiso and wondered if we would have enough time on the day the welcome dinner starts??? One tour takes 9 hours and another 7 hours??

Thanks, Mama JoJo


  • My husband and I were on this tour this past March. The winery we visited outside of Santiago was Vina Tarapaca. We had tastings (lots of them!!) of several different wines. The wine and food were very good. Unfortunately we were not able to go inside the area they process the wine because of the earthquake that had occurred in Chile late last year. We did go inside a small museum and also saw the area where they store their many barrels of wine. The area around the winery is quite nice. I don't know if you will go to this winery, maybe someone at Tauck could let you know. We also went on an independent trip to Valparaiso the day before the tour began. We used the company Santiago Adventures for this trip and it was excellent. The trip was close to 11 hours long, as our guide showed us many different areas that weren't originally on the schedule. The guide's name was Reto and he was fabulous. I highly recommend you checking into this company. We also did a more comprehensive independent city tour of Santiago with Santiago Adventures. Our guide's name was Patricia and she was very enthusiastic. This tour gave us more insight into Santiago as compared to the brief city tour that Tauck does. We did this tour the morning of the opening dinner. It was about 5 and a half hours long, which gave us time to freshen up and relax a little before the opening dinner. Our opening reception/dinner began around 6:00 PM. Enjoy your trip. Chile and Iquazu Falls are spectacular.
  • Thank you for your helpful comments. I will take your advise and talk to a Tauck rep to understand what winery is on the schedule for us. I also think I will contact Santiago Adventures to see if they could customize a shorter trip for us on the day of the welcome dinner.

    Again we appreciate you taking the time to reply.

  • I went on a 'hop on/hop off' tour of Santiago on my free day in Santiago. Concierge can help with that. The stop to pick up the bus is only a block or 2 from the hotel. It was an easy way to see different parts of the city & spend as much time as I wanted at museum, cathedral, town square, etc. As someone else pointed out, the Santiago day doesn't really spend much time touring the city.

    Also, there are a couple of cash machines within 1/2 block of the Ritz in Santiago. One of them is in the local police 'station' (really more of a stand). I got money on my first day in Santiago. It turned out to be more than I needed so ended up exchanging Chilean currency for Argentinian after crossing the border.
  • We are also going on the Tour starting on October 9 and will arrive in Santiago late on the night of the 7th. A friend has recommended checking out Valpo and Vina del Mar. Mama JoJo -- Has Santiago Adventures put together something for you?

  • Which winery did Tauck include in the tour? We are in Santiago a day early for the 18 Nov version of the trip and would appreciate suggestions regarding things to do!
    (If you have received inputs from Tauck, they are not posted?)
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