For a quick escape from Santiago, everyone will tell you to go to a winery and the coast (unless they’re telling you to go to the mountains, in which case, here’s an idea). But which winery, or at least which wine valley, and which beach?
As it happens, there are a number of wine-producing valleys near Santiago, and between Santiago and the coast. Three main ones attract most of the wine tourism, which are the Colchagua, Maipo and Casablanca valleys, and any of them are ripe for a visit, particularly if you either hire a tour or have a designated driver.
But the center of much of wine tourism in the central area of Chile is located in the town of Santa Cruz in Colchagua valley, which has one of the most famous and well-visited vendimias (wine harvest festivals). Santa Cruz is well-visited at most times of the year, with luxurious hotels with spa services included.
But if you want to combine a winery visit with a trip to the coast, you could do worse than continuing on past Santa Cruz after lunch, and down the coast to Pichilemu, which is a small surf town with South America’s best left break for surfing, good restaurants and a beautiful beach on which to walk. You can rent surf equipment, take lessons or just wander along the crashing surf, or go up to Punta de Lobos
Lodging in Pichilemu varies, but you can easily find a stylish hotel with a bubbling outdoor hot tub to luxuriate in under the stars. And if you’ve brought a bottle of wine from your trip through the Colchagua valley, then you can accompany your dinner with a delicious glass of the wine of your choice. And everyone will agree you’ve made a great choice.