Enjoy the best cultural and culinary highlights of Chile and Argentina, including Patagonia
From the spicy centre of Santiago to the colourful Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires via breathtaking Patagonia, let your tastebuds be taken on a whirlwind adventure of a variety of South American offerings, with plenty of urban, historic and natural wonders along the way. In Santiago, turn your city tour into an ‘earthquake’ of bizarre flavour combinations. In Valparaiso, a graffiti exploration will develop into a fresh seafood lunch, and in Buenos Aires, let the locals show you the delights of Asado. Enjoy these classic dishes but even more in Patagonia where the cuisine reflects unique regional variations and European influences. Mushrooms, lamb, trout and craft beer are all standouts to try in the South where you can experience outstandingly fresh food and unforgettable views. Add a pinch of Chilean food markets, a splash of wine tasting in the Casablanca Valley and a dash of ‘Once’ in Puerto Varas, and you’ve got a seriously tasty Chilean and Argentinian experience!
- Drive through the fruitful countryside of the Casablanca Valley and stop by a renowned Chilean winery for a tour and tasting.
- Decipher the hidden messages in the vibrant murals in Valparaiso’s street art scene
- Discover the traditional family meal of a ‘curanto’ – a meat and seafood smorgasbord – in Puerto Varas, learning the ropes from a local chef in their own home
- Traverse the short but spectacular Bariloche circuit, stopping by stunning lookouts, viewing shimmering glacial lakes framed by the snow-capped Andes. If you’re feeling intrepid take an optional trek in the wilds of Patagonia!
- Be treated to an Asado experience in Buenos Aires with your small group – it’ll be one of the best barbecue experiences you’ll ever have!
Day 1: Santiago
Hola! Welcome to Chile’s fiery capital in Santiago. Your Real Food Adventure begins with a welcome meeting. After your meeting, head out with your group leader and travel companions into the bohemian Bellavista neighbourhood to enjoy a traditional Chilean meal. This vibrant area is home to many restaurants and pubs as well as being a hub for the city’s famous street food scene. Tonight’s all about introductions, so wish a warm ‘buena noches’ (good evening) to your new crew! (D)
Day 2: Santiago
Start the day with an orientation walk of old Santiago and visit some of the city’s historic food markets. La Vega market is the largest and this is where you’ll learn about how the ingredients are sourced from local producers. The other markets are full of food vendors who use these ingredients to create traditional dishes. You will sample foods along the way at each stop on this progressive food tour. Continue on to one of the oldest bars in town, La Piojera. Here, you’ll try a popular local drink called ‘terremoto’ (earthquake) – a mixture of a local liquor, fermented wine and pineapple ice-cream all together. It is delicious, but boy it’s potent! Walk off the alcohol with a visit to Plaza de Armas – the main square in Santiago, full of activity and street vendors. Your group leader can recommend some places around to grab a spot of lunch, or you may like to pick up a traditional ‘completos’ (Chilean-style hot dog) or ‘mote con huesillios’ (a spiced sweet drink made from peaches and husked wheat). (B)
Day 3: Valparaíso
Make tracks after breakfast and transfer to Valparaiso. On your way, wind through the Casablanca Valley, where you’ll have the opportunity to learn about Chilean wine and have a tasting at the renowned Vina Veramonte. This beautiful vineyard is set in the midst of rolling hills and its modern cellar door overlooks the vines covering the valley floor. Continue on to Valparaiso and check in to your hotel, then visit the Alegre Hills neighbourhood and Chile’s oldest brewery, Altamira, to enjoy lunch matched with their housemade beers – be sure to try local specialties like pastel do choclo and tuna crudo. Later on, you’ve got free time to explore the surrounding neighbourhoods. Your leader will have some great recommendations for dinner, one being Tres Peces, which focuses on fresh seafood sustainably sourced from local fishermen. Valparaiso is also known for its nightlife, so why not hit the town! (B, L)
Day 4: Valparaiso
You’ll take a cultural and graffiti tour of Valparaiso this morning and get to know some more of the unseen sides of this coastal city. Pass by colourful murals and learn the local history hidden in each of these artworks. The afternoon is free for you to explore the city and your leader can recommend the best local spots for food & drink. (B)
Day 5: Puerto Varas
After stocking up on breakfast, transfer back to Santiago and fly to Puerto Montt (approximately 2 hours). From there, head to lakeside Puerto Varas for a city walking tour and then to an ultra-local eatery originally established to accommodate the city’s taxi and bus drivers with delicious and filling food at an affordable price. Now popular with all locals, this hidden gem is still the best place to learn the tradition of ‘Once’. This meal fits between lunch and dinner and would be considered a Chilean version of a late afternoon tea. With its strong British and German influence in the south of the country, enjoy some coffee and tea with a variety of pies, sweets and kuchen (German for cake), with local breads and snacks. Other specialties of the house are legendary Chilean sandwiches stuffed with marinated pork or chorizo, mañanera (an rich and smokey egg dish) and impeccable locally grown coffee! (B, L)
Day 6: Puerto Varas
Today, take part in a seafood cooking class in a Chilean home. You’ll visit the house of a chef from Puerto Varas and learn to cook one of the most famous Chilean dishes – ‘curanto’. Chilean curanto is a collaborative meal usually shared with the family, consisting of the best seafood of the day cooked up together with platters of potatoes, other meats and accompaniments. While everything is cooking, sit back with a lovely glass of Chilean wine and chat about local culture and food with your hosts in the ‘quincho’ – a traditional type of covered outdoor patio. After getting involved in preparing the meal, taste the fruits of your labour over a lovely afternoon. (B, L)
Day 7: Bariloche
Rise and shine early and leave Puerto Varas by bus on your way to the Argentinian lakeside city of Bariloche. This journey is where you want a window seat, so you can see all of the stunning Patagonian scenery as you traverse past glacial lakes and through lush national parks. Bariloche is famous for its gastronomic delights, including smoked trout, cured meats, cheeses and, of course, chocolate. Tonight, your group leader will choose a local restaurant specialising in the regional dishes of Bariloche, so be prepared for some South American/European fusion with much of the Swiss and German influences surfacing in its regional cuisine. (B, D)
Day 8: Bariloche
Today enjoy a free day to explore Bariloche. The area is renowned for some of the most breathtaking hiking in the world. For those who do not wish to trek perhaps visit the city’s Chocolate Museum or hit up the Kunstmann Brewery, specializing in German-style micro brews and a menu of Patagonian specialties. (B)
Day 9: Baroliche/Buenos Aires
Get to know Bariloche and its surrounding countryside on the ‘circuito chico’ – translating to short circuit, this half-day tour will take you past the best of the best in the area. Pass by breathtaking panoramic views of the Andes and view Lake Nahuel Huapi in all its glory. You’ll see Lake Perito Moreno, the San Pedro Peninsula, Victoria Idland and Llao-Llao, where you can walk up to the gothic-style stone and timber San Eduardo Chapel. Afterwards, transfer to the nearby airport and board a flight to Buenos Aires. Once arrived, the evening is free for you to perhaps find some local specialties like empanadas or alfajores with dulce de leche – your group leader can recommend their favourite places. (B)
Day 10: Buenos Aires
Get under the skin of Buenos Aires with a guided city tour and coffee at Café Tortoni – an institution in Argentina’s capital since 1858! You’ll learn about the history of gauchos and enjoy a tasting of Argentina’s signature Mate drink – a strong brew with subtle woody hints. Later on, shop for local wines with your leader in preparation for the evening’s festivities. Gather together with your pals and have a traditional Asado experience for dinner – think the best barbecue you have ever tasted. This authentic Argentine experience will take place at a local’s home on a beautiful open terrace. This epic, four-hour long progressive food experience will introduce you to the traditional cuts of beef served in courses fresh off of the grill, along with complimentary side dishes and local vegetables served with ‘picada’ and ‘chimi churri’. Buenos Aires is full of life especially at night, so if you have any energy left after dinner why not get a couple of your fellow travellers together and see a late-night tango show? You’re in Argentina, after all! (B, D)
Day 11: Buenos Aires
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time after breakfast. (B)
- Meals:10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
- Transport: Private vehicle, Plane, local bus
- Accommodation: Hotel (10 nights)
Images courtesy of Intrepid Group