Bridging Business and Leisure: Bleisure Chile Transforms Your Travel Experience

We’re excited to introduce Bleisure Chile – a fresh and invigorating concept seamlessly interweaving business and leisure into a singular travel experience.

This innovative venture sprang from the minds of founders Helge Pedersen and Hector Pizarro, who saw an exceptional opportunity to convert ordinary business travel into unparalleled leisure experiences.

Bleisure Chile caters to contemporary travellers who yearn to immerse themselves in new cultures, landscapes, and experiences, but are often bound by tight business schedules. Our tailor-made itineraries blend business commitments with captivating leisure activities, enabling travellers to fully experience the vibrant life, breathtaking landscapes, and rich culture of Chile.

One of the standout features of this initiative is the huge potential of the Santiago metropolitan area. Picture this: You wrap up a business meeting in the early afternoon and, just an hour later, you could be pedaling in our modern e-bikes through the serene Maipo Valley, with the majestic Andes serving as a stunning backdrop. Or perhaps you’d prefer a drive towards the Pacific, to the renowned wine region of the Casablanca Valley. And why not end the day relaxing in a charming hacienda, indulging in local cuisine and wines? It’s an extraordinary opportunity to transform a business trip into a genuine Chilean adventure.

If you have the flexibility to extend your stay, Bleisure Chile can transport you away from the Santiago region to explore even more of what this diverse country has to offer.

Delivering such gratifying experiences requires meticulous planning and logistical expertise. This is where the strength of our team truly shines. Our experience in managing complex logistics is demonstrated in our meticulously curated 12-day cycling itineraries across three wine-producing valleys. We pay attention to every detail, from ensuring safe cycling routes to coordinating unique cultural experiences and accomodation, so that our customers can focus on what matters most – fully experiencing and enjoying their journey. Furthermore, as our clients pedal through the scenic landscapes of Chile, they can take comfort in the knowledge that our dedicated team is never far behind. We provide comprehensive support throughout the journey, using our reliable support vehicles.

Though cycling is at the core of our operations, this rigorous attention to detail extends to every activity we organise for our customers. At Bleisure Chile, we have a dynamic network of specialised partners, the cornerstone of our customised travel experiences. Whether it’s white-water rafting in the invigorating southern rivers, or tranquil bird watching in pristine natural habitats, each partner contributes a unique, niche expertise to our diverse offerings.

Consider, for instance, the Elqui Valley – just a short one-hour flight from Santiago – a place that is thought to emanate mystical energy, attracting those seeking spiritual enrichment and wellness retreats. It’s also renowned for its crystal-clear, unpolluted skies – perfect for mesmerising stargazing experiences – and its serene landscapes, providing an ideal setting for a much-needed digital detox. And how about ending your stay in the Elqui Valley with a thrilling 34 km mostly downhill bicycle ride? We start at the top of the valley in Alcohuaz, all the way down to the Rio Claro river in the lower valley. As we cycle, we’ll pass charming villages such as Horcon, Pisco Elqui, and Montegrande, all set against the backdrop of imposing rock formations. All cycling-related activities are directly facilitated by our team.

To further enrich our activity offerings, we have meticulously curated a selection of boutique accommodation partners, chosen for their distinctive charm, exceptional service, and high-quality amenities.

Bleisure embodies the evolution of travel to meet the dynamic needs of today’s global professionals. With a unique focus on curating experiences that blend professional obligations and personal exploration, we’re excited to redefine the travel experience in Chile.


Our maiden cycling trip in Chile in times of coronavirus

How eagerly I had waited for March 9, 2020, the date the first group of cyclists from Norwegian tour operator Oliven Reiser arrived at Santiago airport. The trip had been announced by Oliven Reiser in July 2019 and finally, there I was, waiting for them in the arrivals hall, trying to identify the individual travellers amidst the crowd, holding a sign with the company’s logo. 

“Hi there!”, first the eye contact, the smile and the handshake (remember that we were at the beginning of March, before the pandemic and the subsequent social distancing measures). Some of them I knew from before. Was it in Cuba, Brazil, Argentina or Uruguay where we rode our bicycles together? Others, the majority, are long-time customers of Oliven Reiser; some of them have made as many as 10-12 trips with this company, several of which to transatlantic destinations. We have a lot to talk about, a lot to see, in the next two weeks.

I also thanked the participants for not having let themselves be carried away by apprehension about Chile, which would have been totally understandable due to the social outburst of October 2019. The TV images they had seen in their country and the newspaper articles they had read since then, showed a serious upheaval in a country that was doing well financially, but was struggling against structural inequality and social injustice. It would therefore have made sense if they had cancelled their booking and not travelled to Chile on holidays at all.

By the time we had travelled through the Maipo and Colchagua valleys, and were about to leave Viña del Mar for Vicuña, in the Elqui Valley, the issue of the coronavirus had definitely settled into the global agenda. The concern in the group had become evident when we read about the outbreak in Italy and about Norwegians who had been infected during their vacation in the Italian Alps. Even a young relative to a couple in our group had tested positive for Covid-19 in Norway. During our breakfasts, the conversation became increasingly concerned about the situation, especially in light of the recommendation by Norwegian authorities to their citizens abroad to “consider returning home”. 

Meanwhile, KLM Airlines cancelled their return tickets, without providing an alternative route. The company simply abandoned all its customers and the same happened with its partner Air France. As a sole solution, KLM offered a return route to Norway from São Paulo which meant that Oliven Reiser had to arrange and pay for the tickets from Santiago de Chile to São Paulo. The return trip was to take place two days later than planned in the original program. 

The fact that things were still quite normal in Chile made it possible to carry out the entire program, with the exception of the farewell dinner, as on March 20, all restaurants had to close by order of the authorities. Our last dinner together was held at the hotel, where we even had to sit one meter away from each other, following the new regulations. 

At the arrivals hall on March 9, we had greeted each other with a firm handshake. At the departures hall, on March 22nd, there was a long, warm farewell hug. We even joked that after two weeks together we were immune to each other. We could not do without a farewell hug!

Cycling together, as a group, definitely does something to us. A special dynamic emerges among people who ride bikes together for several days, who take care of each other, who share experiences, good conversations, who experience a new culture, new places, good food and impressions. This time, we also shared concerns.

All the trips I have made as tour leader on behalf of Oliven Reiser are unique by definition, because they are made up of different participants, even though the program is similar. As the saying goes, “each person is a world”. The inaugural trip to Chile became particularly special, as it was the first time we were on a cycling trip while a world crisis started to unfold. But although the coronavirus became an inevitable backdrop, the group became a good example of stoicism: “we are in Chile on a cycling trip, we obey the advice of our governments and Oliven Reiser is organizing our returns.  We can’t do anything else, so let’s keep riding”. And there was an abundance of immersive cycling in Chile’s three wine valleys: Maipo, Colchagua and Elqui. And, it goes without saying, a lot of sampling of quality Chilean wines in the evenings.

Upon arrival to Norway, the group had to undergo a quarantine in their respective homes.

It is said that crises change history. The world may not be the same when this is over.

Thank you all, again, for an unforgettable journey!

Hector Pizarro
[email protected]

Wine production in the Maipo, Colchagua and Elqui Valleys

As a follow-up to the article on our route “Cycling in three Chilean Valleys”, we would like to provide some information on each of the valleys that we will visit during our journey, namely, Maipo Valley, Colchagua Valley and Elqui Valley, with emphasis on their wines.

1. Maipo Valley

The Maipo Valley, near the capital Santiago, was where it all began, that is, it was in this valley where wine production had its beginnings in Chile. It is the best known wine region in the country, where the most renowned export wines come from. In 1555, the first wine making was officially certified. Another milestone was 1851, with the introduction of French vines. On that note, in 1994, French experts visiting Chile found specimens of the Carménère grape variety, which was believed to be extinct.

The climate in the Maipo Valley is stable, with hot, dry summers and short, mild winters that generally do not exceed 450 mm of annual rainfall. The days are hot and the nights cool, which results in considerable temperature changes within a few hours. For this reason, the red wine grapes, known for their need for sunshine, ripen optimally in this valley, as they develop sugars during the hot days, and tannins during the cool nights. Priority is therefore given to the production of reds such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carménère, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. White wines such as Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillón are also produced, although not on the same scale. The soils of the Maipo Valley are flat, rich in minerals, sandy and clayey, and have good permeability.

The valley is crossed by two mighty rivers: the Maipo and the Mapocho. It is well protected, between the mountain range of the Andes and the coastal mountain range known as Cordillera de la Costa. In this valley, wine production is subdivided into three cultivation zones, depending on climate, soil quality and altitude: Maipo Alto (upper), Maipo Medio (middle) and Maipo Costa (coast). The sunniest of these is Maipo Medio, which is located approximately 550 meters above sea level, and is where the most fruity red wines are produced. In Maipo Alto, located higher up and with a colder climate, more structured and complex wines are produced. Finally, in Maipo Costa, close to the coastal mountain range with its fresh winds, wines with higher levels of tannins are produced.

2. Colchagua Valley

Colchagua is a slender agricultural valley that begins at the foot of the Andes and stretches westward to the Pacific Ocean. It is abundantly irrigated by the Tinguiririca River and has Mediterranean temperatures, with well-protected and sunny vineyards, clayey and mineral-rich soils. The Colchagua Valley became well known internationally as a wine-producing region thanks to the development of high quality wines, as well as its cultural heritage, traditions and customs.

The first Chilean wine route was launched in 1996 in the Colchagua Valley. One of the roads, named Route I-50 for cartographic purposes, is better known as “Wine Road” by the locals. Spread over an area of approximately 910,000 hectares, there are numerous microclimates, types of soil and rugged slopes, ideal for vine plantations. Production is centred on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah, as well as Carménère and Malbec.

A landmark is the small colonial town of Santa Cruz, from where one can visit the vineyards of the area.

3. Elqui Valley

The Elqui Valley is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Chile. Here, the fertile valley cuts through the precordillera (pre-Andean mountain range), a semi-arid region with an appearance very close to a desert.

Located 500 kilometers from Santiago, the valley is the northern border of Chile’s wine regions. The climatic conditions for growing grapes are optimal: A well ventilated valley, where the summer lasts 6 months with very favorable thermal oscillation for the grapevine, which adds to a relative humidity lower than 10%. It only rains 2 to 4 times a year, with an average of 60 mm of water. These climatic conditions, combined with the altitude, favour the cultivation of excellent wines.

The soils of the Elqui Valley are rich in nutrients and capable of storing water, which makes it possible to harvest ripe and sweet grapes, from which pisco, Chile’s national brandy (a spirit obtained by distilling wine), is produced. The vines that are most widely grown in this area are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Carménère and Chardonnay, as well as some hectares used for Syrah.

In the valley, the azure sky is guaranteed practically all year round, due to the extreme scarcity of rainfall. For this reason, several international astronomical organisations have observatories here, for example on Cerro Tololo, La Silla or Cerro Pachón. Another highlight is the city of Vicuña, located 50 kilometers from La Serena, inside the valley, where the lyric poet and Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral was born.

By Cycly staff