I often find that my journeys, with slight modifications, can readily be followed by you. This was certainly the case with my recent trip to Chile and Argentina, which included visits to top wineries, the urban delights of Santiago and Buenos Aires and stays at several delightful resorts.
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Arrive in Santiago, Chile, and check in at The Singular Santiago, a new hotel in the lively and pedestrian-friendly Lastarria neighborhood. After you've unpacked and refreshed yourself, walk to the Parque Forestal to see the National Museum of Fine Arts, home to engaging rotating temporary exhibitions. If you have the energy and time, ascend the Cerro Santa Lucía, a leafy hill with panoramic views. Return to the hotel for, perhaps, a restorative treatment in its Ayurvedic spa, followed by dinner in the hotel’s fine restaurant.
I recommend engaging a guide for exploring Santiago. The itinerary should include the Mercado Central, Plaza de Armas, cathedral and Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, which has a wonderful collection of pre-Columbian art and artifacts collected between Mexico and Patagonia. Lunch at Bocanáriz, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant with a superlative list of Chilean wines by the glass. In the afternoon visit La Chascona, the rambling home of Nobel-winning poet Pablo Neruda on a hillside in the bohemian neighborhood of Bellavista. For dinner, try Casa Lastarria, set in a Tudor-revival building near the hotel. The roof terrace is lovely in the evening. If your palate runs to the more adventurous, consider heading instead to BORAGó, Santiago’s answer to Copenhagen's celebrated noma and Chile’s most innovative restaurant. The delicious and creative tasting menu focuses on unusual seasonal Chilean ingredients paired with exciting local wines.
Depart Santiago with a car and driver and head to the historic Santa Rita winery. Tour the facility and have lunch in its Restaurant Doña Paula, classified as a national monument. Continue to Viña Vik, a visually striking contemporary hotel on a hilltop surrounded by vineyards. Settle in, relax by the infinity pool overlooking a broad valley, and dine in the hotel’s market-driven restaurant.
Take these days to relax at Viña Vik, going horseback riding around the hilly vineyards and small lake populated with a variety of waterfowl, touring the winery, hiking the extensive grounds, riding mountain bikes and/or indulging in a treatment in the professional spa. Leave time to lounge by the pool with a novel and a glass of wine, taking in the sensational views.
Those with more time should add two or three nights at Lapostolle Residence, a gracious four-room hideaway I discovered on my last visit to Chilean wine country, with easy access to wineries such as Montes and Neyen. Otherwise, return to Santiago and fly south to Puerto Montt. From here you will make the memorable three-hour trip to a remarkable resort: Tierra Chiloé. You will pass through beautiful rolling countryside and take a 45-minute ride on a ferry, from which we spotted sea lions and penguins. The resort commands dramatic views, sweeping down a pasture to the Gulf of Ancud.
This gracious hideaway is set among vineyards above the architecturally striking Clos Apalta winery in the Colchagua Valley.
This unique hotel is in a magnificent unspoiled setting on the Rilán Peninsula, a 30-minute drive from downtown Castro, the island’s capital.
Spend at least two days exploring the as-yet unspoiled island of Chiloé. The activities arranged by the resort are unforgettable. One day, we sailed aboard Tierra’s large wooden yacht to a nearby archipelago for some kayaking. We also hiked in two beautiful areas, one a private temperate rain forest bursting with life and the other a coastal walk along steeply rolling sheep pastures and towering sea cliffs plunging into the Pacific.
Explore Chiloé's capital, Castro, including two wooden churches that have been designated UNESCO World Heritage sites. Castro’s palafitos (stilt houses) are equally charming, and the town has excellent handicraft shopping.
Fly from Castro back to Santiago, change planes, and continue on to Mendoza, a short but scenic 45-minute hop across the Andes. Check in at Cavas Wine Lodge, an exotic Andalusian-style complex amid vineyards and Mediterranean gardens.
I recommend doing a tour and tasting at Viña Cobos, one of Mendoza’s best wineries and a short bike ride (or drive) from the hotel. Just down the road, Ruca Malen serves a delicious five-course lunch paired with wines in its indoor-outdoor restaurant overlooking vineyards and the mountains. Return to Cavas to relax by your private pool.
Transfer by private car and driver south to The Vines Resort & Spa, visiting, on the way, the 19th-century winery of Terrazas de los Andes (which is owned by LVMH), and the experimental winery of Catena Zapata, housed in a Mayan-inspired pyramid. Check into a villa and take the rest of the afternoon to relax on your patio or by the pool. The resort’s restaurant, Siete Fuegos, is overseen by Argentine celebrity chef Francis Mallmann.
Spend the day on the resort’s property. Start perhaps with a horseback ride in the vineyards, followed by a tour and blending session at the on-site winery. Have a relaxing lunch at the Gimenez Riili winery adjacent to the resort. It serves upscale Argentine home cooking at outdoor tables shaded by individual pergolas made from grape vines. A spa treatment in the afternoon might be just the thing.
Tour two of the Uco Valley’s most important and architecturally dramatic wineries. Start with Clos de los Siete, a set of seven wineries overseen by renowned winemaker Michel Rolland. There, I recommend doing a tour and tasting in DiamAndes. Another 30 minutes to the south, the architecture of highly regarded O. Fournier is just as striking.
Return to Mendoza and fly 90 minutes to Buenos Aires. With broad boulevards, tree-shaded squares and grand neoclassical buildings, it can easily make you feel you are in Europe. Stay in one of my recommended hotels in La Recoleta, the city’s most elegant and fashionable district. Dine at Fervor, a short walk from all Harper-recommended hotels in Buenos Aires. A European-style bistro with black-and-white tile floors, dramatic chandeliers and tables set with crisp white linens, Fervor attracts an elegant crowd. Although it is a place to see and be seen, the food is the real draw. Fine meat dishes and seafood grills are the highlights.
Spend these days exploring one of South America’s loveliest cities. Visit famous attractions such as La Recoleta Cemetery, where elaborate tombs provide the final resting places for notable figures such as Eva Perón; the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s historic executive mansion; and Esquina Carlos Gardel, a touristy but superb venue to watch tango. I also recommend exploring San Telmo, a more bohemian neighborhood known for its delightful Sunday flea market, and shopping for fine leather at Casa López. For a typical Argentine parrilla (grill), try La Cabrera, tucked away in the Palermo Viejo neighborhood. It has a comfortable, low-key atmosphere with dark wood, exposed bricks and a congenial (if noisy) bar. Start with the arugula salad, then go for the bone-in sirloin.
Well-located in the leafy and chic Recoleta neighborhood, this atmospheric 10-suite property is in a 1912 French classical-style limestone mansion.
This atmospheric Old World hotel is situated in the heart of the fashionable Recoleta district near many of the city’s best restaurants and shops.
Take another day to continue exploring Buenos Aires, doing any last-minute souvenir shopping, and depart in the evening on your flight back to the United States.
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