Chile: Hiking, Biking, Wining & Dining

From Sensational Santiago to the Arid Atacama

DESCRIPTION

Can't decide whether to partake in a hardcore gay bike holiday, or an elegant wine country affair? This trip offers both, for an unforgettable taste of South America's wild west. We kick off with a visit to vibrant Valparaiso, a couple days in wine country, then visit Atacama Desert - the driest place ON EARTH - with great bike rides and a trek thrown in. We'll also get a taste of Santiago, Chile's sensational capital and the heart of Chile's gay scene.

QUICK FACTS

Duration: 10 Days / 9 Nights
Starts In: Santiago, Chile
Group Size: Min 4, Max 16
Ends In: Santiago, Chile
Deposit: $750 USD
Accommodation: 4-Star +
Physical Rating: 3.5/5

DEPARTURES & PRICES:

March 13, 2020 to March 22, 2020 - 6295.00 USD

HIGHLIGHTS

• Sample local pisco with a master distiller
• Taste some of Chile's finest vintages
• Cycle the country's acclaimed wine regions
• Trek unforgettable landscapes
• Photograph vibrant Valparaiso, Chile's famous coastal town
• Stargaze from the driest place on Earth
• Visit Chile's largest salt flat
• Appreciate local wildlife at the National Flamingo Reserve
• Explore the El Tatio geysers and soak in Puitama natural hot springs

Hola! Welcome to Chile! Upon arrival at Santiago International Airport, meet your guide and head to the hotel. Chile's capital is a vibrant city full of character with thriving arts and culture, a trendy restaurant scene, and lively nightlife. Tonight, as part of our complimentary Welcome Dinner, we'll sample pisco - a local brandy - with Master Distiller Rodrigo Bauzá. Rodrigo is the grandson of Pisco Bauzá, who founded the distillery in 1925.

The day begins with a gorgeous 90 minute drive towards the coast through lush agricultural valleys and vineyards. We'll arrive in Valparaiso (locally known as "Valpo"), a colourful UNESCO World Heritage city right on the Pacific coast. Together we'll enjoy a walking tour of the city and learn about its importance in South American trade and commerce. We'll be transported up steep hills via century-old hillside ascensores (elevators) into a labyrinth of streets and brightly coloured buildings, bohemian cafes and elegant restaurants. In the afternoon we'll visit one of poet and diplomat Pablo Neruda's three homes-turned-museums, La Sebastiana. To end the day, we'll enjoy dinner at one of Valpo's top restaurants nestled in the hills before taking a private transfer back to Santiago.

Meet your guide after breakfast - we're off to Maipo Valley. Chile's second-oldest wine region is among the most traditional, hence its glorious Cabernet Sauvignon (the Carménère is also divine). At 8:30am we'll saddle up on bikes for a gentle cycle through this region, finishing at Casa Silva for lunch and a wine tasting. This fifth-generation family-run winery honours the people, traditions, and environment of the Colchagua Valley (each wine must be unanimously approved by a five-member tasting panel). To conclude the day we'll dine at a fantastic regional restaurant. Today's Distance: 20 miles / 32 km. Pedaling Level: Easy-Moderate

Rise and shine! A full day of wine tasting awaits! Beginning at Estampa winery, we'll enjoy a short tour and tasting. Architecture fanatics will adore the winery's avant-garde design, which houses cutting-edge winemaking equipment. Next we'll cycle to family-run Viu Manent winery founded in 1935. We'll enjoy a leisurely lunch here. After we're properly fuelled we'll jump back on our bikes to cycle a short distance to one of the region's oldest vineyards, Neyen Winery. The vines here date as far back as 1890 and represent some of the region's original Bordeaux stock. Tonight you're free to explore on your own. Dinner is optional. Today's Distance: 17.5 miles / 28 km. Pedaling Level: Easy-Moderate

Today we rest our weary legs and lean into the vintages. The first winery has won acclaim in local and international press since opening in 1993. For an unforgettable souvenir you can even blend, label, and cork your own bottle. Up next is lunch at a winery owned by Alexandra Marnier Lapostolle (of Grand Marnier fame). It produces some of Chile's best values. After a lovely day together you have the choice of either joining your guide for an optional dinner or taking time to yourself.

This morning we fly from Santiago to Calama, then transfer to San Pedro de Atacama (just over an hour away). The cost of today's flight isn't covered by your departure fee, however, our team will advise you which flights to book. Take the day to explore this oasis amidst the world's DRIEST desert. In the afternoon we'll reconvene and take a private transfer to the National Flamingo Reserve which we enter through the Chaxa Lagoon. The scenic surrounds make for incredible camera fodder. Keep your eyes peeled for the three species of flamingo that call the lagoons and lakes home. On the way back we pass through the tiny town of Toconao where you'll have a chance to pick up some artisan handcrafts (llama wool, cactus wood, volcanic rock etc). We'll end the day with an included meal together.

Today's bike ride brings us to lagoons north of the Atacama Saltpan. We'll float in Laguna Piedra, thanks to its salt-dense waters, then walk a few minutes to Cejar Lagoon for a box lunch. In the afternoon we'll take a private transfer toward Calama and the Cornisas lookout point which offers a spectacular view of Valle de Marte. Our local guide will point out the region's incredible volcanos. NOTE: This excursion is not recommended for people who suffer from vertigo or balance problems. STAR GAZING: As the driest place on earth, the star gazing from Atacama Desert is second to none. Why not spend tonight observing splendid nebulas and constellations while wine, hot cocoa and sweet snacks are served? Today's Distance: 22.3 miles / 36 km round-trip. Pedaling Level: Moderate-Difficult.

Today we trek by foot along a dirt road towards Tatio Geysers, one of the highest geothermal fields in the world. We'll enjoy a picnic lunch before heading back towards Termas de Puritama. Upriver along the Puritama, we discover how the riverbed is the ideal environment for a range of plants, like the Foxtail, Ojalar, Tikara and Cardon cactus. The trek ends at the Puritama Thermal Springs. Be sure to unwind in the mineral-rich, 33°C (90° F) water while a symphony of birds like the Andean Ibis and Yellow-Finch serenade you. En route you'll also see Guatin Canyon, where a lukewarm stream flows.

After breakfast we'll fly to Santiago (2hrs flight) for one last night in the city and our Farewell Dinner. The cost of today's flight isn't covered by your departure fee, however, our team will advise you which flights to book. Our Farewell Dinner will be at an exceptional restaurant and we'll be joined by the former president of Fundación Iguales, an inspiring LGBT organization.

As the last day of our tour, there is nothing planned. Please confirm departure transfers with your trip leader, and safe travels home.

• Group leader from beginning to end of tour
• Professional, bilingual local guides
• Airconditioned vehicle with bottled water on bus
• Arrival & departure transfers to/from Out Adventures’ joining/finishing point hotel
• 9 nights hotel

 

• 9 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches & 5 Dinners
• All wine and pisco tastings mentioned in itinerary
• Bike and equipment rentals
• Porterage
• Gratuities for drivers, hotel staff and porters
• Gratuities at included meals
• Entrance fees to parks

• International Airfare
• Domestic Airfare during tour
• Meals & Activities not mentioned in itinerary
• Drinks during included meals, unless otherwise indicated
• Travel insurance – mandatory for all travellers. Visit www.outadventures.com/insurance for more details.

• Optional activities
• Gratuities for Local Guide ($75-$100)
• Visas required

OUT Adventures is all about good times with likeminded guys. Whatever's on the itinerary - from fireside camping to five-star decadence - our goal is to make the experience magical. We're also committed to supporting the communities we visit by hiring local guides, staying at locally-owned accommodations when possible, and celebrating local cuisine. It all adds up to a great way to immerse yourself in the culture.

VISA: Canadians, Americans, and most Europeans don't need a visa. Australians must pay a reciprocity fee, and South Americans need only an ID card. For all visitors, a 90-day Tourist Card will be issued. There may be exceptions, and all visas are the traveller's responsibility. For more info, click here.

CULTURE SHOCK: Chile is one of South America's most highly developed nations, with a thriving GDP, but it also has a major chasm between rich and poor. Most economic and industrial development was in the last thirty years, so their newfound prosperity is beginning to have an impact.

LOCAL LGBT SCENE: Queer rights are progressing in this once socially conservative but still Catholic country. Same-sex couples have had legal protection since 2015, but still cannot marry. They can also apply to adopt, but only one partner becomes a legal parent. There are no service bans for the military, and transgender people can change their sex and name.

Community and nightlife thrive in the capital of Santiago, especially in Barrio Bellavista. To make the most of it, bear in mind things don't get rolling until late in the night (the Latin way).

WEATHER: November through February is summer in South America - that makes it the ideal time to visit Chile's Patagonia region. There's great skiing to be had from June through August on local mountains. And like all great cities, Santiago is alive all year round.

REQUIRED VACCINATIONS: Based on the entry requirements, there are no immunizations needed for entry, except to Easter Island (a yellow fever vaccine is required when arriving from certain tropical countries). To determine if you should take preventative measures to reduce the risk of illness, consult with your doctor or a travel medical clinic. OUT Adventures cannot provide vaccination recommendations.

ELECTRICITY: Chile uses C- and L-type sockets. Click here for more info.

CONNECTIVITY: All of our hotels will have Wi-Fi access. Feel free to check your email and post away on social media.

Virtually all meals are included in this itinerary. Beverages during meals are not included, unless otherwise indicated.

If you are happy with services throughout your trip, a tip is recommended. Tipping details will be provided in your final trip documentation, however we recommend budgeting approximately $225-$300 USD.

The local currency is the Chilean Peso. Use local currency for small purchases, however credit cards are accepted at most upscale restaurants and hotels.

NOTE: We recommend carrying approximately $400 USD to be used in case of an emergency, or if your credit/ATM cards are placed on hold. This should be in addition to any spending money.

Most Out Adventures entail carrying your own luggage on occasion. And while you'll never schlep far, things can quickly get costlier than a celebrity breakup if you don't keep your baggage under 20kg/44lb thanks to costly surcharges on domestic flights. You should also bring something smaller for day trips to carry water, your camera, and any souvenirs you find along the way.

The following packing list is a guideline, not gospel. Our Out Adventure Specialists are happy to answer any specific questions about how much or little to bring.

Travel Documents:

  • Passport/Visas/Flight Itineraries/Travel Insurance
  • Pre-trip packet
  • Credit/ATM card

General Personal Items:

  • Eye mask/ear plugs
  • Smartphone/camera/tablet/charging cords/International travel plug.
  • Daypack
  • Luggage lock
  • Personal Wipes
  • Guidebook/Phrase book/Reading material
  • Protection for your devices from water
  • Travel-size towel

Clothing/Gear:

  • Shoes
  • Socks (Preferably both hiking and quick-dry socks)
  • Hiking shoes or hiking boots (Worn-in)
  • Sandals or Water shoes
  • 'Nice' shoes for dinners

Bottoms:

  • Underwear (Preferably sweat-wicking briefs)
  • Pants (Preferably lightweight hiking pants with zip-off legs)
  • Shorts
  • Swimwear
  • 'Nice' pants for dinners

Tops:

  • Short-sleeved shirts (Preferably sweat-wicking)
  • Long-sleeved shirts (Preferably sweat-wicking)
  • Sweaters (Lightweight)
  • 'Nice' shirts for dinners

Jackets:

  • Light jacket for cool evenings
  • Waterproof jacket/poncho

Other:

  • Sunglasses/Hat
  • Small Umbrella
  • Refillable water bottle(s)
  • Walking sticks/poles (optional)

Health-related Items:

 

  • Small First aid kit including ibuprofen, acetaminophen, zinc oxide tape and small scissors, blister pads, diarrhea tablets, dioralyte rehydration packs
  • Personal Medication
  • High protection sunscreen/lip balm
  • Insect repellent/bite cream/antihistamine
  • Antibacterial gel/wipes
  • Toiletries including toothbrush, toothpaste & deodorant
  • Vaseline to prevent chafing skin and heel friction blisters
  • Blister pads such as Band-aid or Dr. Scholls blister cushions

We love when groups of friends join us on an OUT Adventure, whether you're celebrating a major milestone, or you just love to travel together. However, since we have travellers that will be flying solo, or as a couple, we would love your help ensuring everybody feels welcome and has an epic time. Here are some ways you can give us a hand, while also getting to know and befriending your fellow travellers:

Sit with (and get to know) different people at different meals
Mix up walking partners on excursions
Invite solo travellers to join you for an optional excursion or meal
Enjoy inside jokes in privacy, or let the group in on the secret ;)

If you'd rather relish an exclusive escape with just your own party, we also offer private departures. This is a great way to create and manage your own holiday guest list, while possibly saving money as well. Please contact one of our Adventure Specialists if you're interested in a customized quote.

For everybody's peace of mind, medical travel insurance is required on all Out Adventures tours. At a minimum, your travel insurance must provide cover against personal accident, death, medical expenses, emergency repatriation and personal liability, with a minimum medical coverage of US $50,000.

For more details, visit www.outadventures.com/insurance.

Luciano K Hotel
Merced 86, Santiago, Región Metropolitana

Standard check-in time is between 2PM and 3PM. We are unable to arrange early check ins, however you are able to store your luggage and explore the central area near the hotel while you wait. If you would like a guaranteed early check-in, you will need to reserve a pre-tour night of accommodation.

All OUT Adventures are led by a gay (or gay-welcoming) guide. Whenever possible, we hire destination locals. And we can also connect you with the right people if you'd like to delve deeper into the local culture. If you're pleased with your guide, we recommend a tip of US $5-10 per person, per day...they'll certainly appreciate it!

OUT adventures are a great way to meet people from around the world and all walks of life. Bear in mind that everybody's there for a good time, so mutual respect will go a long way. Please be on time for any meet ups, empathetic to the needs of others, and ready to roll with whatever the adventure brings.

Although we can't tell you who your fellow travellers will be for privacy reasons, we can tell you many great friendships began with an OUT Adventure. And just because we're a gay tour operator doesn't mean we're exclusive: friends and family are always welcome to join the fun.

If you've never travelled on your own, it's an amazing way to get to know yourself while making new friends along the way. We can arrange for you to share a room with people in your age range at no charge, or you can pay a supplement for your own room. If there's an odd number of solos, we'll rotate a single room on a random basis.

The itinerary is correct at time of publishing. If anything, it will only improve with feedback from prior travellers and our own research. It's best to reference your final trip documents, rather than our website, in case there have been any changes that affect your departure.

All Out Adventures guests must have a good level of health. All tours, regardless of activity level, involve uneven steps, stairs, walking tours, and you will be required to carry your own luggage from time to time. Unfortunately, we are not able to accommodate individuals with limited mobility unless they are willing to absorb the cost of a private guide/assistant which varies by country and is only possible on a case by case basis. It is also your responsibility to advise Out Adventures of any pre-existing medical conditions that may increase the risk of you requiring medical attention, or that may affect the normal conduct of the tour and the enjoyment of the tour by other participants.

Below is a breakdown of our Physical Rating guide.

1 - Relaxing

  • Very little or no hiking
  • Light activities such as walking, bike tours, paddling or swimming are completely optional
  • Low altitude
  • Suitable for all fitness levels

2 - Light

  • Light walking and hiking (2 hours or less per day and at low altitude)
  • Light activities such as bike tours, paddling or swimming are completely optional
  • Suitable for most fitness levels

3 - Average

  • Light walking and hiking (3 hours or less per day, rarely at high altitude)
  • Some activities such as biking, paddling or swimming. Active days are mixed with relaxed days
  • Suitable for an average fitness level

4 - Demanding

  • Walking, hiking is a component of the tour (can range from 2 hours to 6 hours per day, at various altitudes)
  • Activities such as biking, paddling or swimming may be mixed in
  • Suitable for a good fitness level

5 - Challenging

  • Walking, hiking, biking, paddling or kayaking are the vast majority of the trip (can range from 2 hours to 8 hours per day, generally at high altitude)
  • Activities will likely happen day after day with limited rest days
  • Suitable for above average fitness level