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Good day trips from Santiago ?

Seattle
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Good day trips from Santiago ?

I'm already planning side trips to the Cascada de las Animas for horseback riding, to Vina del Mar and Valparaiso, and Isla Negra. I'm also interested in a wine tour of the Central Valley although I haven't settled on one just yet. (Suggestions welcome!)

I've also seen an ad for a stargazing trip to the Andes although no one from that outfit has returned my email as yet.

My questions:

I love mountains. Can I find a bus going into the Andes that affords a great view of snow capped peaks but takes no more than 5-6 hours ROUNDTRIP from Santiago?

Does anyone recommend Cascada de las Animas as a fun way to spend the day?

Also, what else would you recommend as a day trip?

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Santiago, Chile
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1. Re: Good day trips from Santiago ?

You will be able to see snow capped Andes from right here in Santiago if it rains tomorrow and doesn't get too hot again before you arrive. We're surrounded by them! It is a little early in the year for constant snow caps.

Your day at Cascada will get you into the mountains a bit and you should get some good views on the ride. I think going to Cascada will be fun.

You seem to have a nice mix of day trips. Would you be stopping at vineyards in the Casablanca valley on your way to the coast?

Two of the oldest vineyards are very close to town: Cousiño Macul and Concha y Toro. The architecture is as interesting as the wine and Concha y Toro has beautiful grounds.

Seattle
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2. Re: Good day trips from Santiago ?

Hi dancingmolly,

Thanks for your help!

I haven't decided on any winery tours yet. Do you recommend the Casablanca wineries above all others?

As for the mountains, I really want to hike in them if possible. What about the Valle Nevado Ski Center which I understand is just 46 km east of Santiago? It seems that hiking is available there in April, but whether I have to be a hotel guest or not I'll have to find out by emailing the hotel. Not sure about transportation from Santiago either. I'm just wondering whether anyone has been there in the off season and whether it's still a lovely place with little or no snow.

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Good day trips from Santiago ?

Turistour, one of the largest local operators has a day trip to the mountains that takes 7-8 hours, a little longer than what you had planned, but quite complete.

You can download their brouchure here: http://www.turistour.com/scl06_pdf/scl.pdf

Your hotel concierge wil be more than happy to set you up with them (or you can call direct, the rate's the same). They also have alternatives for wineries and other sights.

Cascada de las Animas is a very good alternative to get in touch with nature. Hiking and horseback rides are available. I suggest the latter, as you will be able to climb higher than on foot. You'll still get a chance to stop and stretch your legs while taking in the view.

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4. Re: Good day trips from Santiago ?

And, sorry, but I just had an afterthought....

What about Hacienda Los Lingues as a day trip? (not an overnight stay). I understand they offer hiking and horseback riding there for day visitors.

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5. Re: Good day trips from Santiago ?

Thank you hueveo! We posted around the same time so I didn't see yours while I was composing my last one.

Excellent suggestion. The 7-8 hour round trip covers the Valle Nevado area, so this sounds like just the tour for us.

Madrid, Spain
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6. Re: Good day trips from Santiago ?

As per hueveo's suggestion, Touritur is you best bet for daytrips.

The Casablanca Valley is Chile's primary source of white wines. There are quite a few vineyards, many with excellent restaurants (Indomita, Morandé, Vina Mar) and some with tours.

The Colchagua Valley (best for reds!) offers the best tourist infrastructure throughits wine route "Ruta del vino" -http://www.rutadelvina.cl, which regroups 14 vineyards (and 2 olive oil producers!). Viu Manent offers an excellent guided tour and buggy ride through their vineyard. There's a wonderfully quaint cafe on site! Montes, an excelent example of Feng Shui architecture offers a tour with an excellent view of the valley from their lookout. If you have a choice, keep Montes for the afternoon as the view would be spoiled by any morning mist. For lunch I would recommend the Hotel Plaza Santa Cruz downtown Santa Cruz (around US$30) or PanPan VinoVino - a restaurant in a former colonial bakery.

In general, the tour operators can offer you a selection of vineyards to chose from. In case you hear about the "wine train", the Ruta del Vino has disassociated itself from it as it was spewing out too many inebriated tourists into their vineyards!

One last note - Vina Organic Emiliana (VOE) is also on the route. It is the only certified Organic and Biodynamic vineyard in Chile - try the Coyam regardless of where your are eating!

Tours to Colchagua are normally all day - as Santa Cruz is a good 2-3 hours South from Santiago.

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7. Re: Good day trips from Santiago ?

Wow, Beenthere07, that was extraordinarily helpful!!! My husband and I are primarily red wine lovers and we are also interested in trying the VOE. The Colchagua tour sounds perfect for us.

I assume there are no restrictions on a 12 year old tagging along?

One question of mine that seems to have gotten overlooked, (unless y'all are stumped for an answer, which I rather doubt ;) )

What about the Hacienda Los Lingues? Is it worth a day trip (not overnight stay) for horseback riding or anything else?

Madrid, Spain
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8. Re: Good day trips from Santiago ?

Hacienda Los Lingues would likely be a fine day trip. To be sure, my wife and I have not yet gone (its on our to-do list).

If you're fine on driving back and forth out of Santiago, you can easily do Los lingues and then come back to Santa Cruz (Colchagua) the next, which is an additional 45kms away.

Am I correct in guessing that you won't be driving, but rather taking buses? If you care to drive, the roads are wonderful (with tolls) and I can recommend a couple of car rental agencies that won't fleece you.

One program could be to go to Los Lingues for the day (horseback), continue onto either Casa Silva (hotel set in a colonial estate about 10-20 Kms south of Los Lingues - also - arguably one of the best vineyards in Chile) or Hotel Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz. Next day you would have a headstart on a number of vineyards in Colchagua.

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9. Re: Good day trips from Santiago ?

I was hoping to avoid renting a car, but perhaps I should change my mind? My husband is used to reasonably calm Seattle driving and I worry that even just the experience of getting in and out of Santiago (not the ex-urban roads, which I'm sure are pleasant) might be enough to put a damper on the day. I also retain a vivid memory of driving in Rome, which is not for the faint of heart.

I have all our nights (8) booked at the Hotel Bonaparte. But I suppose we could consider a night at the Hotel Santa Cruz. Hmmm.... decisions, decisions.

Also: is there such a thing as a scenic and tranquil beach not too far from Santiago (not for swimming in this season, of course) which is not as overrun or touristy as I presume Vina del Mar is?

Santiago, Chile
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10. Re: Good day trips from Santiago ?

Porpora, could you post your tentative itinerary for Chile? Include how you hope to get from place to place and, roughly, in what order. That way it will be easier to see how best to help you make the most of your time.