We have two days in Santiago before the Tauck Patagonia tour begins. What do you recommend as best tours and/or day trips. How best to spend our time in Santiago and vicinity? TIA
Can only be of partial help here becsise I can’t remember the finer details. My notes are on my other iPad. We arrived a day early, dropped our bags off at the hotel and set out for a walk up to the hillside where there was an incredible view of the city and mountains in the background. We went to a little museum that was the home of a famous poet, we enjoyed the place. The next morning we went on a Viatour trip to a vineyard than came back and ate lunch at a great wine bar behind the hotel. I probably did a review here on the forum in November 2018 Patagonia tour. Be warned. The traffic is terrible for miles around Santiago, so if you go to a Vineyard for example, it will take you a long long time.
Another quick tip, do not wear any jewelry and only a cheap watch, especially in Buenos Aries, our TD put great emphasis on this,
We did a day trip to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar which was a nice trip, though a bit pricey, IMO ($400 for 3 people). Arranged it through the hotel concierge. I don't recall the company, but it wasn't Viator. They provided a van, driver, and English speaking tour guide. Also went through wine country on the way. There should be some older threads about this on the forum, so do a search. That's where I got the idea for the day trip. One caveat - the concierge quoted us a price in USD and when the tour company came to the hotel, they charged my credit card in pesos. Their math was a little "creative" in their currency conversion, but they did ask for approval before processing, so just check the numbers. It will be a big number with 700+ peso per USD.
We also spent a day wandering around Santiago (walking). I recall a healthy climb up walkway/stairs in a park with a big hill and large building at the top (with a bunch of dogs following us around, lol). I don't recall its name.
We went to an excellent restaurant on the north side of the river, about a 20 minute walk from the Singular called Restaurante 040. It was a fixed price and menu (very reasonable for what it was) and they brought course after course. The walk takes you through some interesting neighborhoods (safe).