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Trip Report Chile/Mendoza Trip Report

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My wife and I just returned from a 7 day trip to Santiago, Valparaiso and Mendoza. Even though it was short, we enjoyed it very much, and have decided, especially for Chile, it is a destination to put on our "return" list.
We arrived in Santiago early morning and took a pre-arranged taxi to Hotel Orly, which we found to be very good value--well located, quiet, nice room, and helpful staff. We stored our bags and walked to El Centro and explored that entire area. Had a seafood lunch at the major market and enjoyed all the activity and people watching--can't remember the name of the place, but it was located at "Local 16" stall. We had dinner that night at a restaurant located two doors down from the Orly, take a right out the door and look for the one with the yellow coloring. Very good meal and a great wine, the Chocolan reserve Carmenere. The next morning, we walked around the area, took the metro to Pueblitos Dominicus and spent some money at the Chliean craft shops there.

We flew to Mendoza mid-afternoon and took a taxi to the Sheraton. This is a new hotel and I would recommend it highly. The rooms were large and very nice, the beds great, and the staff professional and helpful. Well located--only about two blocks from the pedestrian street and 4-5 blocks from the main square. We had arranged for a guided day trip to the Andes and also for a trip to Malbec country. Our guide for both was Aida Sandoval, whom I would highly recommend She can be reached at aidalauras@yahoo.com.ar. Did a short hike to get great views of Mt. Aconcagua, had lunch on the trail, and stopped at several sites on the return to Mendoza, including the Inca Bridge. The weather was absolutely perfect that day.That night we had dinner at Mallman 1884 restaurant, and, while I would not consider it a great meal, the food and service were good and we had a very nice evening. The next day, Sunday, was very quiet--spent the afternoon walking around San Martin Park. Very enjoyable. I had 4 people warn me to be careful with my camera, but we felt safe the entire time. I appreciated their concern.
Monday we visited wineries--Catena Zapata, Achaval Ferrer, and Maco Rulen. All appointments were arranged by Aida, the guide, but I believe you can do so on your own also. The lunch at Maco Rulen was very nice--five course meal with wine pairings for each course and great vies of the Andes.
The next morning we flew back to Santiago, took the airport transfer bus to Pajaritos bus terminal and took a Tur-Bus to Valparaiso. Very nice trip and very easy. We stayed at Hotel Acontraluz, a new boutique hotel. I would highly recommend it. The room was terrific, great views of the harbor and a very nice terrace. The family who owns the hotel was very helpful and staff well-trained and pleasant. Good location and quiet. We did what you should do in Valparaiso---walked all over to see the colors, architecture, murals, and people. Very enjoyable. We had a great meal at Cafe Vilini--traditional Chilean food very close to the hotel. We enjoyed the empenadas at the small markets and coffee on the streets. We did have one of the shop owners warn us about walking on a street up the hill from Plaza Sotomayer. He suggested a different, safer route. Very nice.
We saw only slight earthquake damage in Santiago and Valparaiso and nothing that disrupted any activities. A very nice trip--we plan to return some day.

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