Santiago vs. Buenos Aires for "Gift of Time" Day

We're booked for this tour in Feb 2016. I'd like some thoughts as to how to use our gift of time day. My inclination is to use it at the start in Santiago, since it appears that we will have most of the final day free in Buenos Aires (flights leave in the evening).

So, if you've done this trip, I'd like your thoughts. Also, what did you do on your own in these two cities that you enjoyed? Anything you would avoid in hindsight? Thanks in advance for your help!

Comments

  • We just returned yesterday from this trip, and I have several suggestions for you.
    1. Read all the posts on this forum. There are not that many of them, and they are helpful.
    2. Use your gift of time in Santiago. We did a day trip to Emiliana Winery, about an hour away from Santiago. It is a totally organic winery, very interesting, and good wine to taste. We wanted to see more than that, so we added some sightseeing. Our driver took us to the top of the park in the city that is really close to our hotel. I am so glad we used the driver since we avoided all the crowds that go up the funicular and saved a lot of time. There are great views from up there. Several people on our group went to the beach/port town. It is probably twice as far and not that much to see or do. I think we made the better choice.
    The first night that you arrive, go to the little street near the hotel that is pedestrian only and have dinner there. Lots of places to choose from. I think we went to Casa Lastaria. Good and not too expensive.
    The company we used for our excursion was Private Tours of Santiago---www.privatetours.cl. I found it on the internet, and they were very, very helpful and customized our trip to our liking.
    3. You have a whole day in Buenos Aires. Our flight did not leave until 11:00 p.m. You WILL want to sleep in. We hired a guide named Carla Meije who works with Tauck as a day guide. Her email is [email protected] We spent 4 hours with her and the driver seeing things that we did not see on the brief Tauck intro tour of the city. She is delightfully nice and very knowledgable. Another couple that we met on the trip went with us and shard the very reasonable cost. Very well worth it.
    I set up the tour before we left for the trip, and I am glad I did. Of course, the concierge could probably help also. We were back at the hotel at 6 to get ready for the transport to the airport at 7. you ned to be at airport 3 hours ahead of your flight.
    4. This trip is VERY, VERY demanding and challenging. Practically every day is a very long day. Many days were had to get up at 5:30 to be at breakfast at 6:30 to depart at 7:30. We often did not return to the hotels until 7 or 8. Then a late dinner and in bed at midnight to start over again at 5:30.
    5. There are great distances covered and lots of time spent on the coach.
    6. It is not all that cold, but the wind blows and blows like 40-50 mph. Not that a strong all the time, but the wind is a constant factor in the activities. Our first excursion on the lake in Puerto Natales could not be completed as planned because of the wind.
    7. I am always cold, so I took polyester long and top base layers, a fleece pullover, a down puffy jacket, and a water and wind proof outer jacket. I bought a pair of pants fro REI called Mistral that are wind an water proof. They were wonderful. Plus a cap and gloves.
    8. It is really warm in Santiago and BA, and humid in BA. So you need some lightweight things for there, but mainly cold weather things.
    9. Personally, I liked Argentina better than Chile. The scenery was better, and the day trip to the estancia was lots of fun.
    The tango show was amazing. Their skills are phenomenal, and it was like a front row seat at Dancing with the Stars.

    One more thing--- Marcos, our tour director was great. He was extremely helpful in every way.
    This may be lots more than you wanted to know, but I hope it helps. Enjoy the trip!!! It is quite an adventure.
    Nancy
  • What a great informative review Nancy, congrats!
  • Wow! Thanks Nancy for taking the time with your well thought out suggestions. Much appreciated!
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