Santiago de Chile is the country’s capital and a major metropolis of 5 million people. Just outside the city, there are beautiful natural landscapes, vineyards and hideaway villas–so you can have a town & country honeymoon if you like that kind of thing as much as I do.
You’ve arrived in Santiago and checked into the W. From your room, you can see the Andes mountains rising in the distance, dominating the city’s tallest towers. After a good night sleep, you’re ready to explore the many architectural treasures both historic and modern that survived the 2010 earthquake (8.8 on the Richter scale and 6th most intense quake ever recorded anywhere). Iglesia de San Francisco and Plaza de Armas should be on your must-see list. Standing in the gorgeous San Franciscan cathedral, you’ll be tempted to take your vows a second time, and maybe you should. Dwell magazine has detailed Santiago’s most compelling architecture, and will help you round out your tour.
You’re sporty, right? That’s good, because Chile is known for its whitewater rafting. Not far from Santiago, you can raft the Maipo River. Cascada Adventura is under 40 miles from the city, and well worth the drive. Their guides will tailor your experience to the level of difficulty you’re comfortable with, and as you will notice on the bio page, they are quite handsome–though not so much as your devoted partner. The private base camp offers hot showers, flushing toilets, and multiple-course dining.
If you’re body is aching from yesterday’s adventure, you might be sleeping in today and then hanging around town. Rent bikes for the day, explore the city and and do some shopping in Mercado Central. Meet local artists as you peruse their creations in Pueblito Los Dominicos. Consider having dinner at Picada Ana Maria, reviewed by the New York Times as “quintessentially Chilean.”
Before you check out, indulge yourself at your hotel’s spa, which is considered one of the best in Santiago. MD Spa Skintouch features individual cabins where you book couples appointments for massage, body treatments and mani/pedis. Now that you’re completely relaxed, head to wine country. To get the most out of it, arrange for a Chilean Wine Lovers private wine tour. Your guide will pick you up at the W and escort you through Maipo Valley’s paradise. In the evening, ask your guide to deposit you at the mountain house you’ve rented for the rest of your stay.
The mountain houses in this area are so beautiful and characteristically different from any place you’ve stayed before that you won’t want to rush out in the morning. For lunch, there’s a hillside restaurant called La Tribu, which overlooks the rushing waters below (you can sit on the balcony and really take it in. Notice how LOUD the birds are). The afternoon is your oyster: yesterday you got to know the wineries at a glance, and today you can explore your favorites. Some of the best Cabernet Sauvignons in the world are made here, they are all worth tasting. If you have some time on your hands, La Montana Vineyards has a safe and modern zip line that gets rave reviews.
Gorgeous photography by Sarah’s partner Todd Ristorcelli. Thanks Todd!