The central valley and coast of Chile is a biking idyll. With the soaring peaks of the Andes Mountains providing an inspirational backdrop, you’ll cruise along coastal byways and easy inland routes, from quaint fishing villages to verdant vineyards and rolling foothills of the coastal range. Off your bike, you'll be immersed in modern-day Chilean culture, as well as discover the ancient Incan and colonial Spanish influences that survive today (and are often found in the barrios of Chile’s cities).
You’ll dine on a variety of Spanish and indigenous culinary delights made with fresh seafood, beef, llama, fruits and vegetables native to the area. You’ll also meet locals during wine tastings, catching crabs with local fishermen, guided walking tours with local experts, and of course, our Trip Leaders who are residents. To give you a small window into this fascinating part of Chile, here are five things you’ll love about our new Chile’s Coastal Vistas & Vineyards biking vacation.
Biking the Casablanca Valley
One of our favorite biking routes on this tour is the day you'll spend exploring the Eucalyptus forests and sprawling vineyards of the Casablanca Valley. Despite its proximity to the equator, the rain shadow created by the Cordillera de la Costa—Chilean Coastal Range—and the cool Pacific air, make the climate of the Casablanca Valley the perfect place to grow wine in Chile….and enjoy scenic cycling routes.
Crabbing with local fisherman
Zapallar’s fishermen still catch crab using the same tried and true methods they have for hundreds of years. After a lovely morning ride on Day 5, join some of them as set off to haul in the day’s catch. You'll learn how they set and bait traps and about a rare and delicious by-catch—the rock shrimp native to these waters.
Blending your own wine
Thanks to the Spanish conquistadors, wine has been grown in Chile since the 16th century. During your stay in the Santa Rita Winery, you’ll learn how the unique terroir and climate of Central Chile makes for growing some of the best Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in South America. A professional wine sommelier will answer all your questions during a tasting, and even help you create your own personal wine blend, which you’ll get to bottle and take home.
One of the country’s biggest ports, Valparaiso, also has a unique history. In the late-19th-century, it was a popular stopping point for ships navigating the Straits of Magellan and was a popular place for migrants to stop and resupply on their way to strike it rich in California’s Gold Rush of the 1850s. The city’s population declined in the early 1900’s, as many traders bypassed Valparaiso after the opening of the Panama Canal. However, Valparaiso transformed itself into a center for finance, government—Chile’s National Congress meets in Valparaiso—education, tourism and the arts. You'll enjoy a guided walking tour through the historic center, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its urban design and unique architecture.
Casa Real in the Santa Rita winery
This Tuscan-inspired hotel villa—rated a perfect 5 on Trip Advisor— is nestled in a beautiful natural environment just 45 minutes from Santiago. Located in the heart of a 120-acre park, the regal hacienda is surrounded by the history and traditions of the Santa Rita Winery. During your free time, feel free to explore the numerous gardens and paths on a tranquil walk, take a dip in the swimming pool or visit the hacienda’s small chapel—which was recently restored by a craftsman from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel.
To learn more about this exciting new itinerary, click here: http://bit.ly/VBTChileBike. To request a free VBT catalog and learn more about any of VBT’s other exciting destinations throughout the world, click here. If you would like to reserve a vacation or speak with one of our Tour Consultants, please call 800-245-3868. They are available Monday-Friday from 8:30am to 6:30pm EST and Saturday from 10:00am – 3:00pm.