Thursday, July 28, 2011


(does not include Patagonia, Santiago & Valparaiso)

Adventure Life – 800-344-6118;; camping-rafting trip on Futaleufu River.

San Felipe
Termas Jahuel Hotel & Spa – Jahuel; 011-56-2-411-1720 or 011-56-2-411-1721;; central Chile’s spa tradition dates back to 20th Century’s turn, but Termas de Jahuel is only spa resort that has renovated its facilities for 21st Century; nestled in Andes’ foothills; built in 1912 with Oregon Pine that had been used as ballast in cargo ships sailing to Valparaíso from US; frequent visitors to spa resorts in US will be disappointed by mediocre accommodations; worth paying extra for new wing lodging, even if you sacrifice valley view (ask for suite in Casa Patronal); state-of-art spa facilities and Olympic outdoor pool, which is actually hot springs with mineralized water; short trails wind around resort, affording stunning valley views.

Hacienda Hotel Vira Vira – 22 Parcela; 011-56-45-292-0640;; 21-room retreat for riding, yoga, fishing, hiking, etc.; restaurant & 6 junior suites in main building; hacienda includes owner residence and 3 double rooms; Ruca Suite (nicest) and villa suites are in separate building; lovely.

Casas del Bosque – Hijuelas; 011-56-2-377-9431;

La Casona at Matetic Vineyards – Fundo Rosario; 011-56-2-232-7191;; renovated 100 year-old estancia set around central courtyard; pink adobe walls and columned walkways; set in beautiful gardens with formal topiary; outdoor lap pool; vineyard views; 7 guest rooms, decorated simply but elegantly; 1 luxury suite, which has whirlpool bath; restaurant specializing in Chilean cuisine; spacious living room, pool table and bar; winery tour and wine tasting included.
Puro Caballo – Fundo La Vega; 011-56-9-359-0485;; Moya family ranch where real huasos (Chilean cowboys) rodeo and lead horseback rides though coastal moutains; this humble restaurant has packed dirt floor.

Hotel Refugia – San José Playa (217 Casilla); 011-56-65-772-080 or 011-56-65-772-081;; island retreat; elegant and modern.

Chiloe Archipelago
Sights & Sites
Chiloe National Park – Chanquín (Cucao, on Chiloe Island’s west side); 011-56-9-820-5353 or 011-56-9-597-8310; or; 106K acres, spread over 3 areas; 1st is Chepu sector (20K acres); 2nd is Anay sector (in Castro, Conchi & Dalcahue communes, 87K acres); 3rd is Matealqui Islet (123.5 acres); main anthropological aspect is native community that is direct Huilliches people descendant; Evergreen Forest is dominant vegetation; regional insular character allows development of special variety, including Darwin’s fox (zorro chilote), Chilean deer (pudú), and 2 shy marsupials known as little mountain monkey (monito del monte) and Chilean shrew opossum (comadrejita trompuda); regarding birds, of special interest are rock cormorant, large seagull (gaviota grande), rufous-legged owl (concón), common diuca finch, and chucao tapaculo; in coastal area, sea otter and common sea lion, as well as kelp goose (caranca), Magellanic flightless steamer duck (pato quetru no volador), and various penguins; highlights are: in Chanquín Sector, Lake Cucao, forests by sea, coastal dunes, and extensive beaches that run for many miles by Pacific Ocean; Lake Huelde; Cipresal River (attractive sailing route within virgin forest environment); Cole-Cole (great beach); Anay; Abtao; Lar River-Refugio and Metalquí; notable trails include El Tepual Trail (Sendero el Tepual), 2K' (40 minutes), with detour to remarkable craftsman home where manufactures rebales (violin type); Dunas de Cucao Trail (Sendero Dunas de Cucao), 3K' (40 minutes), past dunes; Playa Cucao Trail (Sendero Playa Cucao), 0.9 miles (45 minutes), past coastal forest and dunes; Chanquín Trail (Sendero Chanquín), 7.5 miles (3.5 hours one way), highest peaks in park and includes sailing 45 minutes on Cipresal and Huelde Rivers.
Parque Tantauco – 350 Avenida La Paz (Quellón); 011-56-6-568-0066 or 011-56-6-577-3100;; privately-owned park open to public; among world’s 25 biodiversity “hot spots”; home to foxes, otters, and whales.

O’HIGGINS REGION (VI Region; includes Cachapoal)
Clos Apalta Winery & Exclusive Guest House – Colchagua Valley (Santa Cruz); 011-56-72-321-803;; state of art winery above Casa Lapostolle vineyard, with lodge and 4 1K square foot casitas on forested hillside; each roofed in indigenous rauli wood with 25' ceilings, comfortable beds, vast bathrooms, hot tub for 2 overlooking Apalta Valley, and terrace with valley views; horseback riding; library; good food; go November-December for “delicate spring foliage,” and March-April for grape harvest; book Casita Carmenere, which has grandest view.
Lapostolle Residence – Ruta I-50 km 36 (Camino San Fernando a Pichilemu, Cunaquito, Santa Cruz); 011-56-72-953-360;; 4 casitas on winery grounds; includes all meals, tour, visits to other wineries, and wine tasting.
Residencia Historica de Marchihue – Fundo los Maitenes (Colchagua Valley, Marchihue); 011-56-9-307-4183;; former Jesuit monastery.
Ruca Lodge – Camino Puertecillo km 5.5 (Navidad, Puertecillo, Cachapoal); 011-56-99-633-1357;; located 5 minutes from beach; fly-fishing destination.
Vina Vik – Fundo Millahue (San Vicente de Tagua Tagua, Cachapoal); 011-56-2-248-2218 or 011-56-99-534-9437;; 1 cabin and 16 room hotel.

Casa Parron – Ruta I-50 km 36 (Camino San Fernando a Pichilemu, Cunaquito, Santa Cruz, at Lapostolle Vineyard); 011-56-72-953-360;; in old adobe house.
Rayuela Wine & Grill – Carretera del Vino km. 37 (Santa Cruz, Colchagua, at Viu Manent Winery); 011-56-2-840-3180;; simply grilled fish and meat.

Sights & Sites
Tren del Vino – runs between Santa Cruz and San Fernando Station (Santiago); 011-56-72-470-7403;; great way to explore wine; 1913 steam engine that leaves from San Fernando every Saturday morning (transfers are also available from Santiago), and chugs through scenic Colchagua Valley, home to wineries; as well as making vineyard visits and tasting wine on board, can stop for lunch at Santa Cruz Plaza Hotel and/or visit Colchagua Museum; trains leave San Fernando Station at 10 am and take around 90 minutes to reach Santa Cruz; (if transferring from Santiago, minibuses leave from Hotel Galerias at 8 am and must prebook by phone or online).
Vina Viu Manent – Carretera del Vino (Santa Cruz); 011-56-72-858-751;; vineyard offers tours, hot-air balloon rides, and recently opened chic Andean handicrafts boutique.

Bakeries, Coffee, Ice Cream, Juice & Tea
Agua Bendita – 255 Avenida Ortuzar; 011-56-9-8776-5986; ice cream, pastries, and tea.

Bars & Nightclubs
Costa Luna – 878 Avenida Costanera (Infiernillo); 011-56-9-9333-9146; indoor and outdoor fires; great pisco sours.
Secreto – 139 Eugenio Diaz Lira 139 (La Costanera); 011-56-9-8459-1475;; enjoy beach view.

8 Al Mar Bed & Breakfast – 1345 Avenida Costanera; 011-56-9-743-4881;; chic but easygoing, on own little cove; glass and wood structure overlooking Pacific Ocean; large studio lofts; free Wi-Fi and breakfast included; this is area’s 1st choice.
Hotel Surazo – Avenida Matanzas (Matanzas, in front of beach); 011-56-9-9277-8706;; 12 rooms facing sea; excellent restaurant and small spa.

Agua Bendita – 255 Avenida Ortuzar; 011-56-9-8776-5986; breakfast and lunch.
Costa Luna – 878 Avenida Costanera (Infiernillo); 011-56-9-9333-9146; indoor and outdoor fires; great ceviche; you will want to have every meal here.
Secreto – 139 Eugenio Diaz Lira 139 (La Costanera); 011-56-9-8459-1475;; seafood while enjoying beach view.
Hotel Surazo – Avenida Matanzas (Matanzas, in front of beach); 011-56-9-9277-8706;; excellent restaurant noted for ceviche.

Puma Lodge – Fundo Sierra Nevada KM 22; 011-56-72-741-486;; primarily focused on heli-skiing but open all year.

Vina Casa Silva – Hijuela Norte; 011-56-72-913-091;; exquisite and old world.

Vina Casa Silva – Hijuela Norte; 011-56-72-913-091;; exquisite and old world.

Sights & Sites
Cuevas de Mármol – Lago General Carrera (in Nature Reserve Chile Chico); 011-56-2-3224-2835; Marble Caves, Marble Chapel & Marble Cathedral are unusual geological formations located at lake center.

Villarrica Park Lake Hotel & Spa – Camino Villarrica Pucon Km 13; 011-56-45-450-000;; majestic views surrounded by national parks, nature reserves, and hot springs.

VIÑA DEL MAR (includes Concon & Zapallar)
Bars & Nightclubs
Bar Spartako – 90 Avenida Valparaiso; 011-56-32-297-0883;; open 2 pm to 3 am.
Café Journal – 4 Variante Agua Santa; 011-56-32-266-6654;; electronic dance music on 3 floors.
Ovo – Avenida Peru at Avenida Los Heroes (at Casino & Hotel del Mar); 011-56-32-284-6100;; weekends only disco.

Playa Amarillo.
Las Salinas.

Casino & Hotel del Mar – Avenida Peru at Avenida Los Heroes; 011-56-32-250-0800;; 1930s era; 60-room property with spa and several restaurants; unbridled luxury, exquisite taste, and superlative amenities; city’s finest hotel; sweeping terrace curves like amphitheater above ocean; spectacular glass-enclosed indoor pool with Roman pillars affords panoramic ocean views; guest room aesthetic is sober and understated, decorated in neutral tones of gray, chocolate, and mahogany; all rooms have balconies; city’s best restaurant, Savinya, is here, too.
Hotel Isla Seca – Camino Costero, Ruta F-30-E (Zapallar); 011-56-33-741-224;; 38 rooms.
Hotel Monterilla – 65 Avenida Dos Norte; 011-56-32-297-6950;; boutique hotel off Plaza Mexico.
Sheraton Miramar – 15 Avenida Marina; 011-56-32-238-8600;; 142-room, waterfront property, all rooms with ocean views.

El Chiringuito – Caleta de Zapallar (Zapallar); 011-56-32-741-024; razor clams and fish soup.
Donde Willy – 353 Avenida Seis Norte (Pasaje Borgoño); 011-56-32-269-7971;; lunch-only, family-run; traditional food such as cazuela de vacuno (beef slow-cooked in corn, potato, and pumpkin stew) and merluza frita (fried hake in cilantro, onion, and tomato sauce).
Restaurante La Gatita – Avenida Borgoño at Higuerillas (Concon); 011-56-32-811-352; built on rocky outcrop looking over ocean; bueno, bonito, barato (“good, pretty, and cheap”); no reservations so, in season, 2-hour wait.
Ristorante San Marco – 597 Avenida San Marco; 011-56-32-297-5304;; Italian and seafood.
Saviña – Avenida Peru at Avenida Los Heroes (at Hotel del Mar); 011-56-32-250-0800;; supposedly, among city’s best restaurants.

Sights & Sites
Castillo Wulff – Avenida Vina del Mar; Germanic, turreted granite castle set on rocky point.
Museo de Bellas Artes – near Plaza Parroquia (in Parque Quinta Vergara); converted, 1910 Venetian-style palace, the former home of historical heavyweights the Alvarez/Vergara family, now converted into a fine arts museum; striking Italianate Palacio Vergara built by Blanca Vergara; now houses family’s baroque European paintings collection.
Parque Quinta Vergara – near Plaza Parroquia; compact but absolutely lovely park; spaceshiplike music amphitheater; originally 19th Century hacienda site; acquired by Portuguese shipping magnate Francisco Alvarez and his wife Dolores in 1840; Dolores was keen botanist and in between bouts of pre-Raphaeilite languor, she transformed gardens into exotic Eden featuring many plants brought from Asia and Europe by her seafaring son, Salvador.

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