1. Cycling in Three Chilean Wine Producing Valleys
This program, developed in cooperation with Oliven Reiser of Norway, consists of 12 days and 11 nights.
Day 1: Arrival in Santiago de Chile
Welcome to the first day of your 12-day journey through Chile, starting in the vibrant city of Santiago! You’ll begin by exploring the historic center, with its crown jewel – the Presidential Palace, La Moneda. Midday, we’ll immerse ourselves in the charming ambiance of Barrio Italia, where lunch awaits at one of the many gourmet restaurants in this district, known for its artisan shops, local designers, and picturesque low-rise buildings.
After lunch, we’ll transfer you to your hotel in the Las Condes district, a bustling hub of finance and culture. Beyond being home to numerous embassies, Las Condes is a gastronomic hotspot and hosts the Parque Metropolitano, one of Latin America’s largest urban parks.
Following a rest period, we’ve planned a delightful dinner near your hotel to end the first day of your journey on a delicious note. Your accommodation for the night will be the comfortable Hotel DoubleTree by Hilton.
Day 2: Santiago de Chile – Pirque. 38 km.
We venture out of Santiago’s urban bustle and head south to El Recurso, a peaceful locale only 42 km away. As we cycle through rural Chile, the majestic Andes will serve as an impressive backdrop. You’ll find yourself in the heart of the fertile Maipo Valley, a viticulture haven responsible for much of Chile’s celebrated wine production.
After a morning of exploration, lunch awaits, featuring local speciality – empanadas. Energized, we continue our cycling journey, immersed in the valley’s captivating scenery. Upon arrival to our hotel, reward yourself with a leisurely swim in the pool before an appetizing dinner.
Your tranquil retreat for the night will be the charming Hotel Calma de Rita, where serenity embraces Chilean hospitality.
Day 3: Pirque – El Melocoton – San Alfonso. 40 km.
Our cycling journey continues east from Pirque, tracing the banks of the scenic Maipo River to the charming village of San Alfonso. Nestled at the foothills of the Andes, this traditional hamlet is a hub for outdoor pursuits, including river rafting, hiking, trekking, mountaineering, and, of course, cycling.
We’ll punctuate our ride with a visit to a historic railway station, where an old locomotive and an intriguing museum breathe life into tales of yesteryears. Then, we break for a scenic picnic before pedaling onward to our riverside hotel near San Alfonso.
To round out the day, Hector, our local connoisseur, will play host to a wine tasting session. He’ll enlighten us with stories about the region’s unique viticulture, enriching your Chilean wine experience.
Tonight, you’ll rest under the tranquil canopy of the Hotel Cascada de las Animas. As you drift off to sleep, let the soothing sounds of the nearby Maipo River lull you into a peaceful slumber.
Day 4: San Alfonso – Larmahue -Santa Cruz. 62 km.
We’ll embark on a southwestern journey to the city of Santa Cruz, located in the prestigious wine valley of Colchagua. Departing at 8 am, we’ll travel 185 km to this wine lover’s paradise, where we’ll stay for two nights.
We kick off our cycling tour at 11 am, taking in the vibrant green landscapes and cycling-friendly terrains, traversing regions where time seems to have been beautifully preserved. We start pedaling at Azudas de Larmahue, a remarkable 18th-century irrigation system boasting 40 water mills.
Lunch will be a delightful affair at a homely family restaurant, followed by a visit to Jaime Cea, a micro-vintner producing a mere 3,000 bottles of exquisite wine annually. After sampling his unique creation, we’ll secure a few bottles for tomorrow’s ‘asado’ (traditional barbecue) at the hotel.
Tonight, you’ll unwind in the charming surroundings of Hotel El Molino.
Day 5: Santa Cruz – Lolol – Ranguil. 54 km.
We saddle up for another day of pedaling through the undulating landscapes of the Colchagua Valley. Our route leads us deeper into this wine region, with our destination set for the picturesque town of Lolol.
Along the way, we’ll pay a visit to Viña Araucano Lurton. This isn’t just a winery; it’s a testament to sustainable viticulture, with a firm commitment to the philosophy of not taking more from nature than we give. Here, we’ll embark on a private tour, learn about their biodynamic processes, and of course, indulge in a wine tasting and picnic set against the winery’s stunning vistas.
Post picnic, we continue our journey, cycling on to Lolol – a national monument in Chile – and Ranguil. Back at the hotel, our local Oliven team will prepare a traditional ‘asado’, capping off our day of exploration and immersion in local culture.
Tonight, once more, you’ll rest and rejuvenate at the tranquil Hotel El Molino.
Day 6: Lolol – Bucalemu. 43 km.
Today, we’re bound for the Pacific, pedaling north-west through the beautiful countryside. As we move away from the heart of the Colchagua Valley, the neat rows of vines begin to thin, gradually replaced by the rugged beauty of Chile’s coast. You can feel it in the salty air and see it in the evolving landscape.
Upon reaching the coast, the peaceful picture of the ‘Pacific’ Ocean seems paradoxical as we’re met with the roaring waves of Bucalemu, a testament to nature’s dramatic spectacle.
Our day ends in the neighboring town of Pichilemu, known globally as a top-rated surf spot. Here, we’ll find our home for the night, the stylish and comfortable Hotel 8almar. As you unwind, let the distant sound of waves provide the perfect lullaby.
Day 7: Pichilemu – Valparaiso – Viña del Mar.
Today, we’ll give our bikes a rest and switch gears to explore on foot. Starting early, we’ll make a 3-hour transfer to the enchanting harbor town of Valparaiso, located 225km away.
A vibrant UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valparaiso is famed for its stunning murals, intricate mosaics, and historic cable cars. We’ll embark on a walking tour to soak up its captivating charm, making a visit to the Pablo Neruda Museum, where the famous poet’s spirit continues to inspire.
Lunch will be a scenic affair on Cerro Alegre, aptly named ‘the happy hill’, offering sweeping views over the bustling harbor. The well regarded UK newspaper The Guardian, describes Valparaiso as a “mini Berlin by the seaside“.
A short transfer brings us to our neighboring destination, Viña del Mar. The literal translation of its name is ‘the vineyard by the sea’, and this elegant town does justice to its beautiful moniker. Here, we’ll check into our beachfront hotel, leaving ample time for an invigorating afternoon dip in the Pacific.
Viña del Mar, with its colonial charm, pristine orderliness, and the contrast it presents to the expressive Valparaiso, is an interesting exploration in itself. Known as ‘Ciudad Jardin’ or ‘Garden City’, it is adorned with palm-lined avenues, stately palaces, and verdant parks.
Tonight, you’ll enjoy the beachfront serenity at the Hotel Pullman San Martin.
Day 8: Viña del Mar – Vicuña – El Tambo. 32 km.
Today, we journey into a different kind of Chile, travelling north by bus to Vicuña. As we journey through the contrasting landscapes, we pause to savor a local lunch.
Vicuña serves as our gateway to the breathtaking Elqui Valley. Here, towering mountains juxtapose sharply with verdant fields and crystalline rivers, creating a tapestry of vibrant hues. This region also holds a special place in Chilean cultural history, being the birthplace of Gabriela Mistral, the esteemed poet and Nobel laureate, in 1889.
Our cycling expedition begins in the early afternoon, moving westwards to the impressive Puclaro dam, passing through the quaint village of El Tambo. We’ll break for a picnic on the beach in Gualliguaica, soaking up the area’s scenic beauty.
As the day winds down, we’ll retreat to the Hotel El Terral in Vicuña for dinner and a restful night’s sleep, our home base for the next two nights.
Day 9: Vicuña – Diaguitas. 30 km.
Today, we navigate the serene back roads that crisscross the lush landscapes of the lower Elqui Valley. This verdant region is the heart of Chile’s pisco production, and we’ll get a firsthand look (and taste!) at this rich heritage with a tour and tasting session at the ABA distillery.
We’ll continue our journey to the charming village of Peralillo, where we are warmly welcomed by our hosts, Hugo and Paola, for lunch. A dip in the pool might be the perfect appetizer to refresh ourselves before indulging in the delightful food and wine.
Post-lunch, we’re off for a unique local encounter. We’ll pay a visit to a nearby resident who has harnessed the benefits of a special microclimate to cultivate a selection of fruits and vegetables not commonly found elsewhere in the Elqui Valley. This intimate interaction provides a fascinating glimpse into sustainable living and the magic of microclimate farming.
Replete with the day’s rich experiences, we’ll cycle back to Vicuña to relax and rejuvenate at the Hotel Terral, preparing for the adventures that lie ahead
Day 10: Alcohuaz – Paihuano. 34 km.
Our ride today is mostly downhill (with a total altitude drop of 1250 meters), starting from the top of the valley and leading us to the Rio Claro river in Paihuano. We cycle past charming villages like Horcon, Pisco Elqui, and Montegrande, with wilderness and imposing rock formations as our backdrop.
We pause in Montegrande to admire its beautiful church and pay homage at the monument to Gabriela Mistral. Midway, we visit Cavas de Valle winery. Nestled at an elevation of 1,080 meters, it stands as one of Chile’s loftiest wine production facilities.
Elqui, renowned for its 340 cloudless days and nights a year, offers an unmatched opportunity to gaze at the stars. Here, satellites can be seen with the naked eye against the night sky. We’ll take a moment to receive an introduction to astronomical observation, adding another layer of intrigue to our adventure.
We conclude our three-day journey through the valley and mountains in grand style in Pisco Elqui. A celebration of local food and music awaits us where the road ends and the colossal Andes begin.
Accommodation at Hotel El Tesoro del Elqui.
Day 11: Alcohuaz – Santiago de Chile.
By noon, we’ll embark on a one-hour flight back to Santiago, where a few hours of leisure time await. Make the most of these moments to explore the city or simply enjoy some downtime.
As the evening approaches, we’ll be transferred for a special farewell dinner. Picture this: a private garden, a welcoming Chilean family as our hosts, and talented musicians serenading us as we share stories from our journey.
It’s the perfect way to bid farewell to this memorable adventure.
Accommodation at the Hotel DoubleTree by Hilton.
Day 12: Departure from Santiago de Chile
It’s time to bid adieu to Santiago de Chile. Your guide, who has been a part of this remarkable adventure, will accompany you to Santiago International Airport. It’s more than just a transfer; it’s a moment to say our farewells, exchange final laughs and perhaps, even promise to meet again on another journey. Safe travels and cherish the memories of Chile’s charm until we meet again!
Pictures from route inspection by Mr. Helge Pedersen, founder of Norwegian Tour Operator Oliven Reiser AS
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2. Southern Chile and Argentina
Travel from Chile to Argentina on a wonderful scenic journey along lakes, and wilderness, with a backdrop of majestic mountains and volcanos.Sykkeltur Chile og Argentina – Oliven Reiser
Are you a tour operator? Connect with us and let’s create an exclusive cycling holiday in Chile for your customers. At Cycly, we meticulously craft unique cycling experiences that include all logistical considerations, services, and staff. Our package includes local English-speaking guides, coaches, support vehicles with dedicated drivers, bike transportation, and on-site bike mechanics. We emphasize creating an engaging and immersive journey for all our guests. This is achieved through cultural interaction and a host of off-the-bike activities, designed to ensure every moment of the trip is memorable.