Our Travels to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina

For any of you who know me well, you know that I have a serious case of wanderlust.  As a birthday present to myself, I cashed out my credit card points for airline miles, and was able to take us on a few adventures over the course of a year.  This, and, carefully monitoring Travelzoo.com for discounted travel deals helped me to score these trips (subscribe to Travelzoo.com’s weekly deal newsletter- I highly recommend it!)

I’ve been asked how I choose a location to travel to.  Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina, were on my bucket list because I had never been to South America before.  This, coupled with the fact that I love to explore different wine regions, propelled me to book the trip.  Since it is summer in South America during North America’s winter, I was excited to depart from the snow for a brief stint of sun.

The trip began in Santiago and ended in Mendoza.  In addition to touring both cities and the winery tastings, we also found a few other unique spots to visit. Here are some of the highlights from this trip…

Side note: some of the below images were taken from my cell phone because my Nikon was too bulky to deal with!

Day 1 was exploring the pockets of neighborhoods near the hotel.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
On Day 2 we decided to put on our running shoes and explore parts of the city further away. I had no idea what we were in for that day! We began the run at our hotel, which was about 1.5 miles to the right of the tallest building that you see in the image below. Our run took us through the city and up a mountain,  much higher than what you see in the picture below. We ran to The Immaculate Conception monument- one of the top sites to visit in Santiago. Most people get there by cable car.  We decided to run.  These next few pictures show you pictures as we charged up the mountain.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

At the top! This pup loved the view, also.

A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

Once at the top, we had to climb more steps to view the monument.

 

A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

This monument was probably 50 feet tall, and you can see it from all points in the city.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

On Day 3 of our trip, we embarked on a wine tour, which took us to some lovely local wineries.  We tasted Cab Franc, Cab Sav, Sav Blanc, and Malbecs to name a few.  (Note: cell phone pictures at the wineries.)
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
On Day 4 of our trip in Santiago, we rented a car and traveled to the port town of Valparaiso, which is known for the artistic graffiti throughout the city.  The graffiti is quite amazing!  I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it, or the views of the ocean from the rooftop restaurants and bars that we enjoyed.

Most streets were up hills, which helps to explain the many layers of the city.

A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
The hilltop cemetery was fascinating.

A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
Some of the artistic graffiti.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
This slide is a fun idea
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

Beautiful artisan craftsmanship lining the streets

A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

We happened upon a lovely, historical hotel with a rooftop bar. The bartender introduced us to the traditional drink of the country, a Pisco Sour.

A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

We took an incline to the bottom of the city, which sadly was filled with vacant storefronts and buildingsA vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

On one of our last nights in Santiago, we ate at a restaurant that was close to the riots that are presently taking place there. The police were maintaining the protests using tear gas, and we actually smelled it from our restaurant.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

On Day 5, we flew to Mendoza, rented a car, and drove to our B&B, which is shown below.  The staff of the B&B made dinners nightly upon request, and we sat under the stars and strung lights, conversing and eating delightful Argentinian fare.

A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

A typical breakfast in Argentina, including tomatoes, cheese, eggs, toast, granola, yogurt, and pastries to name a few. The yogurt is not solid- it is served as a thick liquid!  I def gained some lbs on this vacation.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

The every day street in Mendoza
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

In Mendoza, some of the wineries looked so discreet from the road, that we thought they were just a residence!  You can see the difference in the atmosphere at each winery.  The really small ones didn’t have an official tasting room, and had labeling and bottling equipment in their barrel room.  The larger wineries had decorative tasting rooms, and provided a more formal experience.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
The labeling station
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.


A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A winery where we had a 7 course pairing lunch. Well, I opted for the 3 course, Barry had the 7 course.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
Lunchtime winery views
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

Local snaps…
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
The rain from the night prior flooded the road! Fortunately, our little rental car was up to the task of crossing.

A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

The last day in Mendoza was probably one of our favorite experiences.  We visited a working Gaucho ranch, hiked towards the Andes mountains, and ate a traditional Gaucho meal.  When I asked Juan, our guide, about the chef who prepared our food, he told me that they don’t hire a chef, it was the Gaucho’s wife that prepared our meal.  Best meal that we ate on the trip, hands down.

The Gaucho establishment
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A wild horse had to ensure that our car was permitted to be on the property.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
Inside the ranch’s establishment
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
Pictures from our hike…
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
We passed through many gates during our hike. It is a Gaucho courtesy to ensure that any gate that you open is immediately closed behind you, so the cattle and horses can’t eat the crops.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
Ya know, just your every day decay
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

My favorite pictures from the entire trip- mostly because they are of wild horses in front of the Andes… and me trying to interact with them.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
Sadly, I couldn’t win this stallion over.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
Same stallion. He was interested in me, but wouldn’t take the leap to allow me to pet him.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

The food that was served at the Gaucho ranch was the *best* meal that we ate during our trip- it was our most authentic experience.

Traditional Gaucho sweet bread
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
Juan and Barry discussing Mate, which is a traditional tea that Gauchos drink and share in the same cup with their Gaucho buddies
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

Mugs that Gauchos drink the mate out of. These are made out of ceramic, leather, etc. and the tea is drank through a metal straw
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.
Our lunch food- the most amazing empanadas, grilled vegetables and asado.  A traditional Gaucho meal.
A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.A vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

The cups napkin rings, and coasters were made of leatherA vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

The view as we ate lunchA vacation to Santiago, Chile and Mendoza, Argentina in January 2020.

And then we headed home- which ended up being a full 24 hours of travel back to snowy Pittsburgh.

Thanks for stopping by to take a gaze of our trip to Chile and Argentina!

L~ F~: