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


Oliven Reiser announces its Chilean cycling route

On March 9th, 2020, the first group of Norwegian cyclists will arrive in Santiago for their 2-week cycling holiday in Chile.

Oliven Reiser has now announced the first date for its Chilean route, developed by Cycly. The announcement was made on Oliven Reiser’s newsletter, in an article written by its founder, Helge Pedersen. Here is the translation from Norwegian:

Chile, our new cycling project in Latin America!

It will be to your liking.

Argentina and Uruguay were well received by Oliven Reiser customers in 2018-19. We believe that Chile, too, in every aspect, will be a success. Hector and I made the final adjustments to the route in March, when we drove or pedalled the track.

We would like to invite you to this exceptionally long country, to cycle through three mighty and scenic valleys. A lush landscape blessed by the fertile lowlands, which provide a wealth of products, while enabling visits to the vineyards and delicious lunches with enthusiastic local producers. We are very pleased with the accommodations we found. We will cycle through relatively easy terrain, which we have classified as a moderate route.

First night in Santiago

We will begin our journey in the Maipo Valley, south of Santiago, starting at Pirque and then moving southeast along the Maipo River. We will spend two nights in the area.

The Colchagua Valley, in the heart of the O’Higgins region, reveals itself 200 kilometers to the south. It is an iconic valley for Chilean winemaking. We will stay in the colonial city of Santa Cruz for two days, riding along peaceful rural roads on the wine route. The grape harvest, which takes place in March, is an attraction in itself.

Combination of cultural and natural landscape

We will then travel north to visit the cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. We will witness the legacy of Pablo Neruda and a myriad of artistic murals on the facades, and stay in a hotel by the sea. One night.

Then we will travel north to the region of Coquimbo and the Elqui Valley, on the southern edge of the Atacama Desert. Few have seen anything like it, I dare say. We will certainly need a few good days on the bike to process the impressions.

And what a sky! For those who want to observe the night firmament, there is practically no better place in the world. We will get an introduction to astronomical observation. Four nights in the area, in Vicuña and Alcohuaz, respectively.

Last night in Santiago.

Date of travel to Chile: March 8 to 21, 2020

By Helge Pedersen, founder, Oliven Reiser AS. “

I was delighted to read Helge’s description on the company newsletter. When we were travelling through the slope, as part of his inspection, he would sometimes stop to have a good look at spots of particular natural beauty and write a note. Somewhere in the Elqui Valley, after contemplating the colossal mountains against the blue skies, the green fields and clear rivers, he told me: “You know, I’ve been all around the world, but I have seen few places this beautiful”. I made this short video while cycling with Helge in Diaguitas, in the lower part of the Elqui Valley. And here is a 2-minute professional video production. You will get the idea!

March 8th 2020 will indeed be a fantastic day for me, when I welcome the Norwegian cyclists as tour leader for the group. Here you can see the full tour description. Looking forward to it!

Hector Pizarro

Screen captures of the newsletter:


Valparaíso – “The jewel of the Pacific”

Built on 43 hills, Valparaíso is a bohemian city, vibrant and colorful, with murals everywhere, that fascinate the foreign visitor.

Located between the sea and the mountains, 120 kilometers from Santiago, Valparaíso is a city whose houses climb the surrounding hills, covering the landscape of hills and cliffs on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. It is Chile’s main port and the seat of its legislative power, Congress.

The lifts

The city can be described as a labyrinth of cobblestone and steep streets, which does not pose a major problem, given an adequate road infrastructure, with good public transportation services, in addition to its famous funiculars, also known as elevators.

In 2003, the historic center of the city was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, that decided to highlight several exceptional aspects of Valparaíso, in particular its living industrial heritage, the elevators, which are unique in the world.

The lifts and funiculars of Valparaíso make up a functioning transportation system. In 1883, it was decided to create a new means of transportation to facilitate the mobilization of the city’s inhabitants, who day by day had to climb dozens of steps to go down or up to their respective jobs and homes. Around 30 lifts were created in this way, and scattered throughout the city. A total of 16 elevators are still active today, all of them declared National Historic Monuments, but of this group only 7 are in operation.

Murals – all the streets, a museum

Valparaíso can also be described as an open-air museum where historic buildings and European architecture dwellings coexist with countless murals. Artists of all kinds meet in the city, in a festive atmosphere that captivates the visitor.

Murals are one of the distinguishing features of this harbour city. Everywhere; walls, facades and stairs, corners and alleys, the visitor will find works of street art. If you wish, you can paint one, although a municipal permit is required.

Such is the relevance and character of the street murals, that in fact there is the Open Sky Museum of Valparaíso, in Bellavista. One of the most unique attractions of the city, consisting of a route through the 20 most famous paintings.

Architectural heritage

It is worth visiting the lively Plaza de Sotomayor, also known as Plaza Cívica, which marks the geographical point where the Pacific entered on land until the pier was built. In the square come together different architectural styles and emblematic buildings such as the old Post Office or the one that housed the first Commercial Exchange of Chile. There is also the imposing monument to the Héroes of Iquique, a naval battle, and the Prat pier on the coastal edge.

Cerros with countless tales

The cerros (hills) Alegre and Concepción are the most visited, due to their visual appeal and the museums and cultural heritage they house. There are also art galleries, churches, plazas, shops and handcrafted jewellery stores where copper, silver and gold are the raw materials of original designs.

On the hills there are also stately mansions, such as the Astoreca Palace, now a luxury hotel, and the Baburizza Museum, an art deco mansion easily recognisable by its green roof and which today houses an important art collection.

Sitting on a side of Cerro Concepción is the peculiar Hotel Brighton, one of the oldest and most traditional of the city, recognizable by its colonial architecture with orange facade and its distinctive green roof.

On Cerro Bellavista you will find La Sebastiana, one of the houses of the poet Pablo Neruda, now a museum that offers magnificent views over the Pacific.


Valparaíso is also known for its great gastronomic variety. In its hills there are plenty of restaurants and cafes, some with live music.

Being a seaport, in Valparaíso the visitor will find a great variety of fish and seafood. The caldillo de congrio (cod soup, to which Pablo Neruda even dedicated an ode), machas a la parmesana (clams with melted cheese), empanadas de camarón (shrimp empanadas) and ostiones al pil pil (scallops with garlic and chilli), are some of the most characteristic dishes, not only of the city, but of the whole country.

So, why “Jewel of the Pacific”?

“La Joya del Pacífico” is a popular waltz composed by Chileans Víctor Acosta and Lázaro Salgado. It has become an antonomic expression for this city. It was recorded in 1966 by the local singer Jorge Farías, who later popularized it all over the hills of Valparaíso, making it an icon of its inhabitants.

I recommend this excellent article on Valparaíso published by The Guardian. “Think mini Berlin by the seaside“…. well, that says a lot.

We invite you to visit Valparaíso with Cycly. Certainly, the city’s shape and relief makes it advisable to park the bicycles this day and rather explore it on foot. You will get the exercise anyway, promise!

By Cycly staff


Santiago, a captivating city

Santiago is much more than the entry point to Chile for visitors on their way to the icons of Chilean tourism, such as the Torres del Paine, the Atacama Desert or Easter Island.

The Chilean capital is a cosmopolitan city that captivates. The old and the modern harmoniously converge in it. It is a vibrant city that encourages the use of its public spaces and green areas, inviting residents and visitors to explore it.

With the Andes Mountain Range as a backdrop, it is a city with large parks, such as the Bicentennial Park, where you can appreciate one of the best views of modern Santiago; Quinta Normal, with its artificial lagoon, pedal boats and two great museums, the Natural History Museum and the Railway Museum. There is also the Park O’Higgins and Cerro San Cristóbal, which can be accessed on foot, by car, bicycle, cable car or funicular; and Parque Padre Hurtado, to name but a few of the largest and most frequently visited by tourists; not to mention Cerro Santa Lucía – in fact an inactive volcano – situated in the city centre.

We cyclists have been pleased to note that bicycle lanes in the metropolitan region have increased by 74% in the last five years, with 200 kilometres of new lanes. In total, there are 346 kilometres of bicycle lanes in Santiago, linking 33 the city’s 34 communes. The popularity of the bicycle, as a means of transportation that promotes physical activity and helps decontaminate the environment, is increasing every day, not only in Santiago, but throughout the country.

Santiago de Chile is a city that was founded and grew at the foot of the longest and second highest mountain range on the planet, the Andes, and is located just over an hour’s drive from the best sport winter centres in South America. The beautiful coastline, with its excellent beaches and natural scenery, is also within an hour’s drive along modern motorways.

Santiago has changed considerably in recent years, readying itself to receive an ever-increasing number of foreign visitors. This growing popularity as a tourist destination is supported by some of the most important publications in the world. Today, Santiago is the third most popular tourist destination in South America, behind Rio de Janeiro and Machu Picchu, according to Imagen de Chile, a government agency that promotes the country’s positioning abroad.

Chile’s capital is also a modern international business hub with a wide and varied first-class hotel network – with more than 8,000 rooms in 70 four- or five-star hotels -, restaurants, and convention centres, with access to multiple visitor services.

The National Geographic Traveler magazine chose it as one of the 21 recommended destinations to visit in 2018 – placing it in 12th place in the rankings -, which were chosen under strict criteria that prioritize heritage preservation, cultural commitment, environmental conservation and the possibility of offering visitors exciting itineraries.

Meanwhile, the well-known reference guide for independent travelers, Lonely Planet, placed Santiago as the number one destination in its Best in Travel category for 2018.

Santiago de Chile is the smartest city in Latin America, according to an analysis conducted by IESE Business School’s Globalisation and Strategy Department. In the study, Santiago ranks 66th worldwide among the smartest cities. The study’s positions are assigned based on 96 indicators, distributed into nine main areas, among which the following stand out: human capital, social cohesion, economy, governance, environment, mobility and transportation, public management, international outreach and technology. In the sixth version of this ranking, the city catalogued as the most intelligent in Latin America is Santiago de Chile (66), followed by Buenos Aires (77), and completing Montevideo completing the podium (92).

In the field of the arts, Santiago’s offering is usually of international quality in museums, theatres and concert halls. Additionally, anyone who has walked the streets of Santiago has witnessed the street art performances that break the routine, to the delight of inhabitants and visitors.

The typical gastronomy is well represented in municipal markets, among which La Vega Central stands out. The gastronomy site The Daily Meal listed the 45 best markets in the world where La Vega Central ranked fourth behind La Boquería (Barcelona), Borough Market (London) and Noryangiin Fish Market (Seoul).

In sum, Santiago offers a great international gastronomic diversity that combined with the well-known Chilean wines result in unforgettable experiences for the palate. Wine, which is a chapter we will cover separately, has been present in Chile’s history since colonial times, and has earned a prominent place in the nation’s cultural and heritage environment. About fifty vineyards near Santiago or within the city are open to tourism. Some are very large and century-old, and their products are found in many parts of the world. Others are small boutique vineyards that produce very high quality wines.

Santiago is a captivating city indeed.

By Cycly staff