With Santiago Adventures, you are guaranteed an authentic, personal, and extraordinary experience from start to finish. We are Chile’s leading operator for wine tours, ski tours, and bike tours, with the broadest trip portfolios available anywhere in the country.
Here’s what sets us apart:
Personalized Service & Expertise
Our experienced team has an intimate knowledge of each of our destinations and trips and works individually with each client to provide informed, personalized recommendations to help build the absolute best adventure. Our guides and drivers have on average 8 years of experience in the industry and specialized expertise in varied fields such as wine, gastronomy, history, culture, biking, skiing, and trekking. We offer tours in English and Spanish, as well as German, French, and Portuguese.
Santiago Adventures gets you up-close-and-personal with winemakers, ski gurus, local chefs, and more in ways not available anywhere else. Only with Santiago Adventures can you experience the traditions of winemaking in the Chilean campo as the personal guests of fourth-generation winemaker Julio Bouchon at his family’s private hacienda. Only with Santiago Adventures can you share an expertly prepared meal with a well-known local chef in her home. And only with Santiago Adventures can you shred over 10,000 vertical feet of fresh powder at Ski Arpa, South America’s only snowcat skiing center.
Santiago Adventures is a U.S. American-owned local operator based in Santiago. This provides us the unique perspective of understanding what international travelers need and want while also having the advantage of the up-to-date knowledge, personal contacts, and insider tips of being locally-based operator.
Since its first tour, Santiago Adventures has established a strong reputation with clients as an attentive, reliable provider delivering awe-inspiring travel experiences. What’s more, Santiago Adventures is a trusted partner of some of the most important and reputable organizations in the industry. Read more about our reputation in the “Client Testimony/Press” tab above.
At Santiago Adventures, we strive to be environmentally, economically, and culturally sustainable in all that we do. We run carbon-free tours in the Central Region of Chile and utilize carbon offsets wherever possible. We partner with local entrepreneurs and service providers to ensure our trips benefit the communities we visit. We donate time, supplies, and funds to support the local organizations Hogar Domingo Savio and Fundación Mi Parque. Above all, we make every effort to minimize our impact in the places we travel in order to preserve for years and years to come the incredible beauty and culture we are so fortunate to experience on every one of our adventures.
“As the mayor of San Francisco and a private citizen, I have had an opportunity to travel to many wonderful countries…but our trip to Argentina and Chile this year has become one of the best ever. Your expert guidance and assistance with every phase was invaluable. Every day’s events and activities felt like they were specific to our particular interests and not part of a conventional “package.” And the food and wine were magnificent in city neighborhoods and out in the countryside. The personnel you selected as guides and drivers at each location were obviously well informed as well as most trustworthy. When the spouse of our companion couple was taken ill and required hospital treatment, you and our guides were with us every step of the way like family. We will be back soon!” – Art Agnos, Former mayor San Francisco, California
“Please convey once again to all your colleagues our great pleasure in being so well taken care of. Our guides in Puerto Montt, Coyhaique and Santiago were excellent and accommodating, and our pilots were skilled and gracious” — David Rockefeller
“We rarely give 5 stars, but Santiago Adventures earned every star… Santiago Adventures is a class act and we highly recommend them” – Joyce G., San Francisco
“I can speak for both of us in saying we have a great admiration for Chile/Argentina, the people we met and places we visited. Going with Santiago Adventures was the best thing we did. You and your staff made the trip relaxing and stress-free right from the start, and truly more special than I think either of us thought it would be. I’ve already told several people about the trip and how your services added so much to it. We honestly can’t think of anything we would change…well, except staying longer!” — Kathly Elza Brown, Baltimore, MD
“Mr. Pearson, you are to be complimented for establishing such a great tour company which gave us such a nice taste of the many facets of the life and history of Chile during our brief one week stay. We will certainly recommend your company to any friends or acquaintances who are planning a trip to Chile. Best of luck in the future.” – Norbert and Eileen Mathias, Gettysburg, PA
“Well, the passage of a few days has in no way dimmed my love of our trip and I know that’s a feeling all who were on the trip agree on. I feel the need to repeat myself about your efforts. Both the trip planning and particularly the winery selections were the key to its success. Thanks again. And don’t forget that whenever you need it, a strong recommendation is available here.” – Austin George, Trip Leader, International Wine & Food Society of Baltimore
“Brian Pearson’s Santiago Adventures provided a trip through Chile’s wine country that exceeded our most optimistic expectations in every respect. From Brian’s interest and commitment to helping us plan every detail of the trip, to his choices of venues and the quality and friendliness of his staff, everything was absolutely first rate. Our week tour with Santiago Adventures was one of the very best we have ever spent on a vacation.” — Dick West, Reno, NV
“Brian, I want you to know that we are telling EVERYONE we know that they need to use your services when they travel to Chile. We could not have been happier.” – Angie Parker, Prescott Valley, Arizona
“This was the greatest ski experience I have ever had. It was worth every penny. Thanks a million.” — Johan Carsten, Santiago (Ski Arpa)
“We had a wonderful time thanks to your expert guidance and commitment to a quality tour. We also appreciated your creativity and flexibility when things had to be changed around and you did it with a smile. We were very impressed and appreciative and will be delighted to recommend you to friends.” – Ellen Werner, San Francisco, CA
Santiago Adventures in the Press...
National Geographic Traveller – “50 Tours of a Lifetime.” April 2013
Condé Nast Traveller – “Take a road trip through Chile” by: Laura Fowler. April 23, 2013
Los Angeles Times – “Go wine sipping, then hit the rapids in northern Patagonia” by: Mary Forgione. April 22, 2013
The Sydney Morning Herald – “A vine view of the Andes” by: Anthony Dennis. April 20, 2013
CNN Traveller - “5 Luxury Vacations in Chile” by: Gabriel O’Rorke. April 15, 2013
Condé Nast Traveller - “The Experts.” April 2013.
Upscale Magazine – “Melting Pot” by: Nina Hemphill Reeder. March 2013
Saveur - “Hot Chile” by: Chantal Martineau. January 2013.
NZ Herald on Sunday – “Valparaiso” by: Rob McFarland. December 16, 2012.
Escape.com.au – “Chile’s Weird but Wonderful Wineries” by: Craig Tansley. Dec 2012.
Jaunted.com – “Hell Yes, Helicopters! Three Extreme Excursions in Chile.” October 1, 2012.
Jaunted.com – “Wine Tasting Without Leaving the City.” September 26, 2012.
Dallas Voice - “Chile Today” August 2012.
Wall Street Journal – “Hit the summer slopes” by: Brigid Mander. June 15, 2012. (Feature on Ski Arpa.)
The Tasting Panel Magazine – “Chilean Today, Cool Forever” by: Elyse Glickman. June 2012.
Lucire Magazine – “Where Land’s End is Just the Beginning” by Elyse Glickman. June 2012.
TravelPulse.com - “Three Days in Santiago” by: Brian Major. April 8, 2012.
TTG Luxury — “Turning Heads” by: Gabriel O’Rorke. Spring 2012.
Snow Magazine — “Dreaming Big” by: Leslie Anthony. Spring 2012. (Feature on Ski Arpa.)
Wall Street Journal - “So Far So Good” by: Sara Clemence. January 21, 2012.
Peter Greenberg — Mentioned in nationally syndicated radio spot about wine lodges in Chile
Eco-Travel Examiner — “Destination Santiago” by: Doug Bardwell. September 6, 2011
Escape.com.au — “Chile Winemakers Going Upmarket” by: Rob McFarland. September, 2011.
Ski Arpa Snowcat Skiing: South America’s only snowcat skiing operation. Located just 2 hours from Santiago, Ski Arpa includes two valleys stretching over 4,000 acres of terrain in the shadow of Mt. Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas. Skiers and snowboarders can cover 10,000ft of vertical per day of fresh backcountry powder. Since 2005 Santiago Adventures has operated the commercial office for Ski Arpa. Santiago Adventures integrates Ski Arpa packages with other ski resorts in Chile such as Valle Nevado and Portillo as well as cultural excursions in Chile’s central region.
Puma Lodge: Located three hours south of Santiago (or a 30-minute helicopter ride), Puma Lodge is in a class of its own. Not only is it one of the best heliski centers in the world and a 5-star hotel and spa, but also it encompasses more than 3,000 square km of majestic mountains, deep valleys, cypress forests, mighty rivers, clear streams, and a diverse array of native flora and fauna. Santiago Adventures has partnered with Puma Lodge to offer the Ultimate Skiing & Riding Tour, the only tour of its kind, which combines heliski, cat-skiing, and resort skiing in one amazing itinerary.
J. Bouchon: With a history dating back to 1892, the J. Bouchon winery has garnered international recognition for its consistently excellent wines rich in color and flavor. Fourth generation wine maker Julio Bouchon personally welcomes wine lovers for overnight stays at his family’s historic Hacienda Mingre, where traditions of the “campo” combine with outstanding wine and the best of Chilean hospitality. Visits to J.Bouchon are arranged exclusively through Santiago Adventures.
MOVI: Established in 2009, the Movement of Independent Vitners (MOVI, for short) is an association of small Chilean wineries sharing a common passion to create meaningful vintages on a personal scale. MOVI pledges to advance the Chilean wine trade and promote its reputation for distinctive, high-quality wines on the world stage. The founding members are: Bravado Wines, Clos Andino, Erasmo – Caliboro Reserve, Flaherty, Garage Wine Co., Gillmore, Hereu, I-Wines, Montsecano, Polkura, Rukumilla, Sigla, Tipaume, Von Siebenthal.
WineFlite.com: A safe and easy way to ship your wine home. WineFlite is the first online, worldwide wine shipping service for the international wine tourist. WineFlite will pick up your wine purchase at any winery, wine shop, hotel, etc, and ship it directly to your home. The company guarantees no breakage. In the event that wine is lost or broken, WineFlite will replace it with the same wine you purchased. WineFlite is a Santiago Adventures partner, and we are happy to arrange wine shipping service upon request.
Turismo Chile: A nonprofit organization uniting public and private efforts to promote Chile as a travel destination in international markets. Areas of focus include recreational tourism, building knowledge of Chile as a destination, promoting traditional, special-interest, and adventure tourism, and developing regional projects to promote specific regions of Chile. Santiago Adventures is a member of Turismo Chile and frequent partner for their promotional activities in Central Chile.
Patagonia Sur Reserves: Patagonia Sur is a for-profit venture which invests in and protects scenically remarkable and ecologically valuable properties in the Chilean Patagonia. Its investors include individuals from Chile, the United States, and around the world. Patagonia Sur has also established the Patagonia Sur Foundation with a mission is to encourage conservation and to promote social and economic development.
Frequently Asked Questions
Building your unforgettable adventure is easy!
First, browse through our destinations and activities to find your favorites. Add your selected itineraries to your suitcase using the “Add to suitcase” button next to the corresponding trip. This will save the trip to your suitcase. Once you are ready, submit your suitcase, travel dates, and contact information to us. Our team will follow up with you via email, sending a passenger profile form for you to complete and return to us. This will help us get a better understanding of your specific interests and needs, allowing us to build a customized trip that’s perfect for you. Once built, we will send you a detailed itinerary for your approval as well as finalized costing. A 50% deposit is required to confirm booking, and the balance is due 60 days prior to departure. For trips starting less than 60 days from the time of booking, 100% payment is required at the time of reservation. Changes made to a booked itinerary may incur additional charges.
As you explore the trips on our site, you can easily add itineraries to your suitcase by clicking the “Add to Suitcase” button. Once you are finished browsing, click “My Suitcase” in the upper-right corner of the web page. You will arrive to the “My Suitcase” page, where you have the option to alter the order of your selected itineraries using a drag-and-drop feature. You can also choose to keep as is without changes or request that our team determine the order for you based on optimal connections between itineraries. To remove an itinerary from your trip, click the “Remove” button. Next, select a start date and end date for your trip. Then, enter your email address and a password to create your unique user account and save your trip. Finally, click “Submit Suitcase” to send your selections to us. You will receive an email from firstname.lastname@example.org confirming receipt of your submission, and our team will contact you shortly thereafter to continue planning your custom adventure.
No problem! We are happy to customize itineraries based on individual client specifications and, in fact, it’s one of the things we do best. We are known for our high-quality, one-of-a-kind experiences tailor made for each of our clients.
In many cases, we do get preferred rates in hotels and wineries. More importantly, though, Santiago Adventures experiences are unmatched elsewhere due to our strong, long-standing relationships with winery owners, hotels, restaurants, guides, and drivers. In several instances, certain activities are available exclusively through Santiago Adventures.
We are happy to work with individual travelers to customize trips. Most itineraries can be adapted, though costing may be affected, with some destinations proving better options for individual travelers than others. We suggest that solo travelers contact us directly and we will provide recommendations to optimize a solo trip.
Meals included in the cost of the itinerary will be specified in the finalized itinerary sent to you for approval. All meals not listed on the itinerary are on your own. We are, of course, happy to provide restaurant recommendations. A list of what is included and not included in each tour is available on the “What’s Included” tab.
If for some reason the hotel is unavailable, we will confirm a reservation for you in a hotel of equal or greater value.
We make every effort to provide you with the wine tour program as it is presented in the itinerary. However, certain unexpected events at wineries can mean the cancellation of a visit – for example if a large distributor decides to make an unexpected visit. In such a case, we will substitute with a tour at another winery of similar status.
The degree to which connections between itineraries affects total trip cost often depends on the specific connection. For example, traveling between countries via air is often more expensive than staying within the same country and using ground transport. After you send us your selected itineraries, we will send you an estimated cost before you pay anything, at which point you can approve and move forward or start again.
We are happy to assist in booking your international flights. Please note that while we do not work with your frequent flier miles, we can advise you how to use them.
Our office hours are Monday through Friday 9:00 – 18:00 local Santiago time (GMT -4hrs).
Any requested modification to your final itinerary is subject to a $150 change fee change each time a modification is requested plus any additional costs related to the change.
Once you choose to purchase your proposed itinerary, a deposit of 50% of the total trip cost is required in order to confirm reservation. Payment in full is due 60 days prior to departure. If for any reason you need to cancel your trip, the reservation deposit will be returned minus a trip cancellation fee. For this reason, we strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance (click here for a quote: Travel Guard Chartis). All cancellations must be in writing. The following cancellation fees apply:
- Minimum fee: $150
- 60-41 days prior to departure: 25% of the trip cost
- 40-31 days prior to departure: 50% of the trip cost
- 30 days or less prior to departure: 100% of the trip cost
- Airline tickets changes and cancellations are subject to the terms and conditions of the airline
While tipping is ultimately at the discretion of the individual, there are certainly cultural guidelines for showing gratitude for services provided. In Chile it is customary to leave a tip of 10% of the bill in restaurants – usually CLP$1.000 – $2.000 (about US$4-6) is appropriate per person for lunch and CLP$3.000-$4.000 (US$8-10) is appropriate per person for dinner. Hotel porters are usually happy with a CLP$1.000 peso bill (approx. US$2). You do not need to tip taxi drivers, but people often round off the fare in driver’s favor. For tours, a tip of CLP$10.000 (US$20) per day is appropriate for a private guide and CLP$5.000 (about US$10) per day for a private driver. The Spanish word for “tip” is “propina.” Argentina and Uruguay follow very similar tipping guidelines.
Once You've Arrived
Please ensure that all passports are valid for at least 90 days following your return date. Passport holders from Australia, Canada, Mexico and the United States do not need a visa to enter Chile, Argentina, or Uruguay for a stay of up to 90 days.
In the event that your passport is stolen, you should immediately contact your home country’s consular office. A good precaution is to always carry a copy of your passport personal information page and of any visa documentation and keep them in a safe location separate from your original passport.
Once you land – and before proceeding through immigration and customs – passport holders from some countries are required to pay a Reciprocity Fee. While we provide details below, we strongly recommend consulting your destination country’s embassy for the most up-to-date information.
Chile: Australia (US$ 95), Canada (US$ 132), Mexico (US$ 23), the United States (US$ 160). The fee is payable in cash or by credit card. A receipt will be stapled to the last page of your passport and is valid for multiple entries for the life of the passport. For citizens of Australia and Mexico, the receipt is valid for multiple entries for a period of 90 days from the date of issue.
Argentina: Australia (US$ 100), Canada (US$ 75), United States (US$ 160). The fee must be paid online prior to entering Argentina (http://www.migraciones.gov.ar)). Travelers must then bring proof of payment with them and present it when they enter Argentina. For US citizens, the payment is valid for multiple entries for a period of 10 years from the date of issue, for Australian citizens it is valid for 1 year, and for Canadian citizens it is only valid for 3 months, although it is possible to pay a higher fee that will remain valid up to 3 months before the passport’s expiration. These fees now apply to every point of entry into Argentina (excludes those travelling via cruise ship).
Uruguay: Currently there are no reciprocity fees for travel to Uruguay.
At the Santiago International Airport our drivers will be carrying a sign with the Santiago Adventures logo. Leaving the customs area, turn to your left to find the rental car counter. We tell our drivers to meet their clients in front of the rental car counters, close to exit door n°3.
No immunizations are required to enter Chile, Argentina, or Uruguay. However, we recommend consulting your health-care provider and informing them of your travel plans, as they will determine if you need any vaccines or medications based on your personal health and immunization history. Visit the CDC website (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list.htm) for detailed travel health information.
In Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay, the electricity standard is 220 volts/50Hz. Electrical sockets have two openings for tubular pins. For most electronic devices, both a converter and a plug adapter will be necessary.
As in the case of all international travel, it is advisable to give your stomach time to become accustomed to a new area’s food and water. With that said, we recommend drinking bottled or boiled water, and minimizing your intake of raw fruits and vegetables, for the first few days you are abroad. Argentina’s water is safe to drink in most areas. In the northern region, including Salta and Iguazú, however, we strongly recommend drinking bottled water or boiling water before drinking. Chile has high standards for drinking water, and tap water is safe to drink. In Santiago, it might have somewhat of a chlorine taste. It is also safe to drink tap water in Uruguay.
Argentina’s currency is the Argentine peso. Banknote denominations are 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 Argentine pesos. Coins are in denominations of 5, 10, 25, 50, 100 centavos (100 centavos = 1 peso). Exchange rates vary on a daily basis, but in recent years the ratio has remained relatively stable at US$1 = approx 3 Argentine pesos (AR$).
Chile’s currency is the Chilean peso. Banknote denominations are $1.000, $2.000, $5.000, $10.000, and $20.000. Coins are in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, and 500 pesos. Exchange rates vary on a daily basis, but a quick ballpark estimation is US$1 = approx 500 CLP.
Uruguay’s currency is the Uruguayan Peso (Ur$). Banknote denominations are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1000 pesos. Coin denominations are 50 centavos, 1, 2, 5 and 10 pesos. Exchange rates vary on a daily basis, but a quick estimate is US$1 = approx 20 Uruguayan pesos.
The general recommendation when traveling is to avoid exchanging currency at the airport unless it is absolutely necessary. Whether to exchange cash, use traveler’s checks, or an ATM depends on where you travel and your comfort level. Remember that there are fees associated with exchanging currency, international charges, and cash machines.