We decided that to get to Santiago quickly our best bet was an overnight bus, arriving in the morning so that we could spend the day with Lisa’s sister Rebecca who was diverted to Santiago. We opted to splurge a little bit and take a bus with seats that recline to an almost horizontal position, known as a “bus cama.” Though we are both very bad at actually sleeping on buses, the combination of the reclining seats, well-paved road, and relatively straight journey allowed Lisa to get a little bit of sleep on our trip down. Unfortunately, Kevin was not so lucky and drifted off a couple of times but was never able to fall completely asleep. As such, when we reached Santiago we were hopeful that we could do an early check-in and get a little bit of rest before meeting up with Rebecca. Sadly, the hotel where we were staying allowed for early check-in but for a hefty fee. We decided instead to store our bags and get some coffee (and an energy drink for Kevin) to keep us going.
We walked the city for a couple of hours before meeting Rebecca for lunch and a tour of the Museo de Bellas Artes. After lunch we headed back to our hotel to check in and take a quick nap. That afternoon we went to the Human Right’s museum where we learned about the history of Chile and the suffering that occurred during the reign of Pinochet.
The next day we went to pick up a rental car and head out to the coast. We drove towards the beach town of Valparaiso, spending the afternoon visiting a handful of wineries in the Casa Blanca wine region. The cool coastal climate make it an ideal location for growing Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Noir. This is a very young wine region which only began planting its vines in the 1980s. Because the wineries are so young, all of the tasting rooms have also only been built in the last 20 years or so. The wineries and their tasting room were some of the most beautiful that the three of us had visited.
After a great afternoon at the wineries we continued west to the coastal town of Valparaiso to spend a few nights. Our first day in Valparaiso we opted to take a walking tour to learn about the city and history of the region. Valparaiso was a coast city that rose to prominence during the gold rush as a rest and resupply point for boats heading around Cape Horn and up the coast to San Francisco. After the opening of the Panama Canal, boats no longer had to go around the southern tip of South America to access the Pacific Ocean, and the city began to decline. After our tour we made our way to the neighboring city of Vina del Mar to wander around. Vina del Mar felt like a smaller version of Miami and did not hold the same charm for us that Valparaiso did, even though it looked much more developed and more expensive to stay.
On our way back to Santiago we visited some of the other wineries in the Casa Blanca region that we had skipped on our way to Valparaiso. We had a beautiful sunny day touring the wineries and having a picnic before we dropping Rebecca off at the airport in the evening.
Below are a collection of photos from the different wineries that we visited.
We have the rental car for a few more days so we will take advantage and make our way south and see a little bit more of the central region of Chile.