Feb 2019 – The central coast of Chile is simply stunning. We started our second day of the tour with visiting two neighboring seaside cities: “Viña del Mar” and “Valparaíso” which were approx. an hour and 40 mins drive from Santiago, the capital of Chile. Viña del Mar city, often known as “Ciudad Jardín” means in Spanish the Vineyard of the Sea. It is a popular seaside resort town of Chile. We saw the picturesque “Reloj de Flores” which is a working clock made of flowers and was Switzerland’s present when Chile was chosen as a venue for the World Cup in 1962. Then we walked on “Avenida Perú” which is the main promenade along the seaside with some beautiful views of the Wulff Castle, hotels & places in shapes of ships and whales. We saw the traditional “Casino” (copy of castle from Monte Carlo) and its elegant “Hotel del Mar”, which is the first one of Chile established in 1930 and the pink building which is presidential summer house.
Next, we drove to “Valparaíso”, which was declared a “World Heritage Site” by the UNESCO. It is also known as the cultural capital of Chile, a Commercial Port and Chilean Navy, University City and Bohemian city. It is a city with a charming, picturesque and historic port. It has a beautiful Pacific Ocean view and is called the “Jewel of the Pacific”. The journey continued with a panoramic view of the “National Congress”, the “O’Higgins Park” and “Italy Park”, the “Victoria Square”, “Plaza Sotomayor Square” and the “Muelle Prat”, located in the same port. Groups coming in after win against Bolivia were recognized by the President in the Victoria Square.
Plaza Sotomayor is one of the main city squares located next to the Port area and has the Chilean navy headquarters there along with the oldest Hotel Reina. While driving back, we also saw the solidarity monument, one of the landmarks here made out of copper, signifying the mining industry here.
Then we visited the freedom monument which was built after freedom from Spain. Across the street was a 120 year old huge magnolia tree. It was huge (see the pic. below).
Our Travel to Chile wouldn’t be complete without visit to one of its wineries. From here we drove to “Casas del Bosque” which is one of the wineries in Casablanca Valley.
Situated about 45 minutes west of Santiago, Casablanca Valley is one of Chile’s famous wine region. The sight of stretches of grapevines with the mountains in the background was spectacular.
We got a personal, dedicated staff who took us on a guided tour of the vineyards and winery. The tour started with a short film in their auditorium telling us the story which began many years ago with Juan Cúneo Solari, son of Italian immigrants, who lived with the hope to have his own vineyards in order to make the highest quality wines.
Our guide explained all about the history of the vineyard and the production process and then conducted a tasting showcasing the different wines currently being produced along with foods they are best paired with.
Casas del Bosque has approx. 1 sq mile of white vines, Chardonnay, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, and red wines, Merlot, Carménère, Syrah and Pinot Noir which are best suited to the climate of the region. Additionally, there are more in the Rapel Valley, with Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines, many of which are 35 years or older. We got to taste few different ones – Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in the ultra-premium range, followed by lunch at Tanino, the winery’s on-premise restaurant.
The whole package in one place – tour, scenery, gorgeous gardens, restaurant was a nice experience along with the some of the good wines which we tasted.
Our next hop and stop in Chile – Chilean Lake District.