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Valle De Guadalupe is wine country of Mexico, with over 60 wineries and some great places to stay, it's a great weekend getaway for those in San Diego, Orange County, and Los Angeles. Fortunately living in Southern California, it's only a few hours drive. If you plan on taking a trip to Mexico, be sure to bring your PASSPORT!
Here is a map of all the wineries, hotels, and favorite restaurants:
1. Own Vehicle
Driving your own vehicle you will need Mexican Insurance be sure to get full liability. Estimate daily cost is $40/per day. Get a quote from:
There are 3 toll stops on the way, so be sure to carry enough cash and coins with you. Its about 35 - 40 pesos per stop and be sure to keep your receipt as that is proof you paid and if you get in an accident on the road you will need to show your receipt. Also returning back to the U.S. without SENTRI access can be a long wait. Check for the border wait times here.
You can walk across the border into Mexico from Tijuana and from the app select valleX (4 passengers) or valleXL (6 passengers). Base fare for valleX is about 810 MXN Pesos and for every hour of wait time is 200 MXN Pesos. The base fare for valleXL is 1125 MXN Peso and for every hour of wait time is 300 MXN Pesos. You can split the fare between passengers which is a nice perk and a great option.
3. Rental Car
Another way to get to Valle de Guadalupe is to rent a vehicle. You may have to check around for which rental car agencies will allow you to take the vehicle to Mexico and you will need to purchase additional Mexican auto insurance. Another way to rent a car is from a rental car agency at the Tijuana Airport. Here are some additional rental locations options:
4. Take a Tour
I've used two san diego tour services in the past and this is another great option for a day trip without having to worry about renting a car or taking your own vehicle. Here are some options to check out for a tour.
VINEYARDS / WINERIES:
While there are over 60 wineries to choose from, if you are taking a day trip you only have room to visit a handful and here are the ones I would recommend:
Finca la Carrodilla
La Cocina De Dona Esthela (Breakfast)
Deckmans en el Mogar
Adobe Food Truck
Contemplacion Boutique Hotel
Six months pregnant and traveling! Whew! What a trip it was. My husband, mother and I went on a Birthday/Mothers Day international trip to Scandinavia, Sweden & Denmark to visit some cousins I had found on Ancestry.com & MyHertiage. We found out that you cannot buy alcohol in Sweden on Sundays. We wanted to buy a bottle of wine to bring over to our cousins house but the liquor stores are regulated by the government, so we ended up buying some flowers at the grocery store. It is also customary to take your shoes off before entering a Swedish and Denmark home. Renting a car in Stockholm is expensive, be prepared to drive a manual vehicle as rental car prices for an automatic vehicle is $100+/day. I highly recommend if you are going to visit museums, to buy the city pass in Stockholm and Copenhagen, they saved us some money and made public transportation a lot easier. The top floor rooms at Stockholm Sheraton had amazing views of the city, with a balcony. The hotel is centrally located next to shopping, restaurants, central station, and walking distance to old town. They were very accommodating, dropping off chocolates to my room the day I arrived and even surprised me with chocolate cake and truffles in our room on the day of my birthday! Our RailEurope Train from Stockholm to Copenhagen cancelled midway through out trip due to an electrical issue. We had to change trains 4 times to get to Copenhagen. When we finally arrived at Copenhagen Central Station our AirBNB Host was very helpful giving us directions and being patient with us as our train came in late. The Apartment was located in the meatpacking district of Copenhagen, with easy public transportation by S Train and Bus near by close enough to the Center where all the action is. The only thing I wish we would have done was have dinner in Nyhavn, where there are 14 Michelin Star Restaurants. Oh yeah, and pack your walking shoes!!!
Below is our itinerary and some of the highlights of our trip:
Thursday May 3, 2018 - Friday May 11, 2018
Day 1 / 5.3.18 / Thursday:
LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal Check in 12PM
Norwegian Air DY7088 - 4:14PM PDT - 11:40AM CEST
Length of Flight: 10 HRS 23 MIN
Day 2 / 5.4.18 / Friday:
Arrive Stockholm 11:40AM
Arlanda Express from Airport to Stockholm Central
Check in: Stockholm Sheraton (Room 817)
Pick up Stockholm City Pass
Day 3 / 5.5.18 / Saturday:
Drottningholm Palace & Boat Tour
Stockholm Old Town
Traditional Swedish Meatballs, Mashed Potatoes, Pickled Cucumber, and Lingonberries
Stockholm Canal Tour
Day 4 / 5.6.18 / Sunday:
Rental Car: Sixt Stockholm
Family Visit Day in Strängnäs, Sweden
Day 5 / 5.7.18 / Monday:
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!!!
Stockholm Royal Palace
Lunch: House of Burgers
Shopping - Swedish Candy Store / H&M / Barnbutiken
Day 6 / 5.8.18 / Tuesday:
RailEurope - Stockholm to Copenhagen
Check In: AirBNB Copenhagen Apartment
Day 7 / 5.9.18 / Wednesday:
Pick up Copenhagen City Pass
Tivoli Food Hall
Denmark National Museum
Copenhagen Grand Canal Tours
Dessert: Conditori La Glace
Dinner: Grocery Store - Lasagna & Salad
Day 8 / 5.10.18 / Thursday:
Lunch: Rib House
Day 9 / 5.11.18 / Friday:
Check Out AirBNB Copenhagen Apartment 9AM
Train Station to Airport
Priority Pass Lounge
Norwegian Air DY7091 - 12:10PM CEST - 2:20PM PDT
Living in San Diego, CA I have the opportunity to access several airports. San Diego International, John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana/Orange County, Long Beach Airport, LAX in Los Angeles; but lately when I travel to Mexico and for my first trip to South America, my fiancé and I decided to travel out if Tijuana Mexico Airport and let me show you why we chose this airport and our journey.
My fiancé and I headed to Puerto Vallarta for my birthday in May 2017. The airfare from TIJ (Tijuana international Airport) vs SAN (San Diego International Airport) is nearly $175 more. See the price comparison below.
If you plan to drive to Cross Border Xpress the parking per day is $17, another option is a $10 CBX shuttle that runs from Downtown San Diego Santa Fe Train Station every 2 hours from 8:30am to 8:30pm and on demand till 2am.
2. Purchase a Cross Border Xpress Pass, you can do this through Volaris or other airlines websites when booking your flight, or you can purchase through the Cross Border Xpress website or at the location itself. A one way adult ticket costs $15 and you can also purchase a round trip ticket for $30. I find it's easiest to purchase directly from Cross Border Xpress on their website and print the tickets from home. You can also print your boarding pass when you get to Cross Border Xpress. At this time, they don't have a ticket that can be scanned from an electronic device.
3. This one is an easy one, but also very important. Don't forget your PASSPORT! You will not be able to cross without one. You will also need to go to the counter to request a Mexican Visa form also known as a tourist card. I highly suggest you bring your own pen, because the pens there are similar to the community DMV pens, they are cheap and most of them don't work.
4. Tourist Card/ Temporary Mexican Visa Form; a tourist card is required for all tourists from US and Canada. The form is easy to fill out and takes a few minutes. The following is needed to be filled out for the TOP and BOTTOM portion. You can download the PDF form here or go to the ticket counter to get one, they are free. www.inm.gob.mx/fmme/publico/en/solicitud.html
The Cross Border Xpress attendant will check for the following 4 items before allowing you to cross over:
- Cross Border Xpress Ticket
- Airline Boarding Pass
- Mexican Visa Tourist Form
What to expect when you get to Border Cross Xpress:Once you get to the location, there is a drop off/pick up area, much like the airport, they have security our front, and cars are not allowing to be waiting in that area, but there is usually tons of street parking just right outside the CBX location, if you have a friend going to pick you up. Also, the parking lot of $17 per day is literally right across the entrance way.
The lobby area is much like an airport check in counter, there are kiosks to print your boarding pass and several airline ticket counters if you needed to purchase an airline ticket there.
The CBX attendant will scan and check your ticket, boarding pass, tourism form, and passport then you will pass through US customs, you must put your bag through the X-ray scanning machine before going up the escalators to the enclosed pedestrian bridge. It's about a 5 minute walk.
Going down the escalators, you will approach Mexican Customs where you show your completed tourist card and passport. You must get in line to press a button that either turns the light red, which means you were selected for random bag search where you put your bag through the X-ray scanning machine again, or turns the light green which allows you to bypass this process and allows you into enter the Tijuana airport terminal.
Once entered in the terminal, you can check your bags at the ticket counter and proceed through security to your gate. I would suggest giving yourself plenty of time for this, I happened to wait in line over 30 minutes because there wasn't enough staff at the ticket counter to check everyone's bags, the line got very long.
One checked piece of luggage at Volaris used to be free, now starting March 1, 2017 there is an extra cost to and from Mexico and Puerto Rico. It's cheaper to add a checked bag under 55 lbs. during the time you book your flight vs buying it at the airport. ($15 vs $18).
We had an amazing trip exploring North & South New Zealand. There were so many highlights of our trip, Auckland and Hobbitton in the North, and Whale Watching in Kaikoura, Glowworm Caves in Charleston, Franz & Fox Glacier, Queenstown, and Milford Sound in the South.
To view our full Itinerary, check out my post: New Zealand 2018 Itinerary
We definitely want to go back some day and spend more time in the south island. On this trip I was 16 weeks pregnant, so we didn't schedule anytime for wine tasting. Traveling during my pregnancy was easy, I didn't have any issues with morning sickness or sleeping. My favorite wine is New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, and it was torture to be on vacation and not be able to drink it while I was there. NEXT TIME! We had a few hiccups on the trip, there was a road closure in Kaikora and we had to take a 7+ hour detour to our campsite. On the way we encountered a flat tire and we didn't get to our next RV campsite till midnight, we had to cancel our kayak tour which we were bummed about. The rest of the trip was fantastic! RV camping in New Zealand is such a great experience to see the entire island. Driving on the other side of the road takes some getting used to. We announced publicly on Facebook/Instagram to our friends, family, and coworkers that we are pregnant. It was one of the best vacations I could ever dream of we had a fantastic time!
New Zealand HERE WE COME! With only 15 days including flight, my husband and I will be making the best of our New Zealand trip with a jam packed schedule. It took me an entire weekend to put this itinerary together. I spoke with countless of friends and also made sure to check out other blogs, articles, and instagram accounts to create the best vacation New Zealand can offer and here it is! After talking with several people, the best way to experience New Zealand is by RV, many people may not know this but there are over 500 Freedom Camping Locations in New Zealand, there are some campgrounds you need to pay for based on location and amenities that charge per person. Also, we will be visiting New Zealand end of February to March, which during that time is the end of Summer in New Zealand. We are very excited!!!
Monday February 19, 2018 - Monday March 5, 2018
Check Out My Custom Google Map: https://goo.gl/7MFc9h
Renting an RV for New Zealand
Day 1 / 2.19.18 / Monday:
LAX Tom Bradley International Terminal Check in 9PM / KAL Lounge
Length of Flight: 13 HRS 20 MIN
Day 2 / 2.20.18 / Tuesday:
Day 3 / 2.21.18 / Wednesday:
Arrive Auckland 9:20AM - Baggage Claim 10AM
Est. Downtown Auckland UberX Fare $31 - 41 NZ 20km / 24 Min
Hilton Auckland : 147 Quay St. 1010 New Zealand
Dinner: Sky Tower / The Sugar Club
Day 4 / 2.22 / Thursday:
Hobbitown Movie Tour $298.66 NZ (2)
Kiwi Fun Tours on +64 27 214 8000 / email@example.com
10AM: 40 Darby St / Westpac Bank / Return 7:30PM - 8PM
*Stop at a Cafe / Lunch in Matamata / LOTR Tour / Green Dragon Inn
Dinner: The Grill by Sean Connolly or Elliott Stables
Day 5 / 2.23 / Friday:
Check out: Hilton Auckland 9:30AM
Est. Auckland Airport UberX Fare $31 - $41 NZ 20 km / 24 Min
Auckland Airport Check in 10AM
JetStar Flight 11:30AM / 1 HR 25 MIN / $372 NZ (2)
Arrive Christchuch 12:55PM - Baggage Claim 1:30PM Pick up RV 2PM
Grocery Store: PAK’nSave Hornby (15 Min Drive) 15.5km 2:30 - 4PM
*Grocery List / Pick up Lunch & Dinner - Stop for Gas If Tank is Not Full
(2.5 Hr Drive) 178km 4PM - 6:30PM
Kaikoura Peketa Beach Holiday Park $44 NZD
Day 6 / 2.24 / Saturday:
Check Out Kaikoura Peketa Beach Holiday Park 10AM
(10 Min Drive) 8km 10AM - 10:30AM
Whale Watch Kaikoura 10:30AM - 1PM $300 NZ
Lunch in Kaikoura: Beach House Cafe 1PM - 2PM * Gas Stop Kaikoura
(2 Hr 15 Min Drive) 157 km 2PM - 4:30PM *Gas Stop Blenheim
Havelock Holiday Park Check in 4:30pm $38 NZ
Dinner in RV / BBQ
Day 7 / 2.25 / Sunday:
Check Out Havelock Holiday Park Check Out By 10AM
Pelorus Eco Adventures 9AM - 1PM $360 NZ
(1 HR 10 Min Drive) 75km 1PM - 2:15PM
Lunch in Nelson: Harbour Light Bistro 2:30PM - 3:30PM *Gas Stop
(3 HR 15 Min Drive) 233km 3:30PM - 6:45PM
Charleston Motor Camp $35 NZ *Booked: CMCamp@xtra.co.nz PAY THERE
Dinner in RV / BBQ
Day 8 / 2.26 / Monday:
Check Out Charleston Motor Camp
Underworld Adventures Underworld Rafting 9AM - 1PM $370 NZ
Lunch at Underworld Cafe 1PM - 2PM
(30 Min Drive) 30km - Punakaiki / Parking Lot 2:PM - 2:30PM
Pancake Rocks & Blowholes (20 Min Loop Walk) 2PM - 2:30PM
(40 Min Drive) 44km - *Gas Stop in Greymouth 3:10pm
(2 Hr 15 Min Drive) 173 Km 3:15PM - 5:30PM
Rainforest Retreat & Holiday Park $44 NZ
Dinner: Monsoon Bar & Restaurant
Day 9 / 2.27 / Tuesday:
Check Out Rainforest Retreat & Holiday Park 10AM
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk / Bike Trail 10AM - 12PM
(34 Min Drive) 31km 12 - 12:30PM
Lunch in Fox Glacier: Matheson Cafe 12:30 - 1:30PM
Fox Glacier Top 10 Holiday Park Check in 2PM $52 NZ
Fox Heli Hike Tour 2:50PM - 6PM $900 NZ
Dinner in RV / BBQ
Day 10 / 2.28 / Wednesday:
Check Out Fox Glacier Top 10 Holiday Park 8AM
*Gas Stop (1 Hr 26 Min Drive ) 119km Haast / Johnston Motors OR
*Gas Stop (2 Hr 18 Min Drive) 199km Makarora / Allied
Fox Glacier - Queenstown (4 Hr 15 Min Drive) 328km 8AM - 12:15PM
Lunch in Queenstown: FergBurger 12:15PM - 1PM
(10 Min Drive) 8km 1:15pm (Check in 45 Min Prior)
Shotover Jet Tour 2pm - 2:30pm $298 NZ (2)
*Gas Stop Caltex Queenstown
Skyline Queenstown Gondola & Luge $98 NZ 3PM - 5PM
(2 Hr 10 Min Drive) 173km 5PM - 7:15PM
Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park 7:15PM $57 NZ #80611
Dinner in RV / BBQ
Day 11 / 3.1 / Thursday:
Check Out Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park
Gas Stop : Lakeside Service Centre RDP Te Anau
(1 Hr 45 Min Drive) 117km 10AM - 12PM
Real Journeys Scenic & Discovery Cruise $240 NZ 1:30PM - 4PM
Lunch on the Scenic Cruise - International Buffet
Milford Sound Lodge Check in 3pm $60 NZ
Day 12 / 3.2 / Friday:
Check Out at Milford Sound Lodge 10AM
(20 Min Drive) 32km 10:00 - 10:30AM Park At the Divide
Routeburn Track: Key Summit Track (3HR) 10:30AM - 1:30PM
Lunch RV 1:30PM - 2:30PM
(1 Hr 10 Min Drive) 85km 2:30 - 3:40PM
Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park 3:30PM $55 NZ
Real Journeys Te Anau Glowworm Tour (2Hr 15 Min) 4:30PM - 6:45PM $166 NZ (2)
Day 13 / 3.3 / Saturday:
Check Out Te Anau Top 10 Holiday Park 10AM
Gas Stop : Lakeside Service Centre RDP Te Anau
(4 Hour Drive) 307 km 10AM - 2PM
Gas Stop: Mobil Dunedin / Lunch Stop
Portobello Village Tourist Park $40 NZ
Bike Ride to Royal Albatross Center (2 Hours Bike Ride) 3PM - 6PM
Dinner at Albatross Cafe
Day 14 / 3.4 / Sunday:
Check out Portobello Village Tourist Park 9AM
(4 Hour 50 Min Drive) 362km 9AM - 2PM ***Clean RV***
Drop off Christchurch (25 Min Drive / 21km)
Chateau on the Park - Doubletree Christchurch Check In 3PM
Dinner - Christchurch Tramway Restaurant
Day 15 / 3.5 / Monday
Breakfast at Hotel
Check out Chateau on the Park - Doubletree Christchurch 8:30AM
Est. Downtown Christchurch UberX Fare $17-23 NZ 7.6km / 12 Min
JetStar Flight #JQ234 10:40AM / 1 HR 25 MIN / $372 NZ
Arrive Auckland 12PM - Baggage Claim 12:30PM - Lunch
Check In AA Flight #82 3:20PM / 12 HRS 15 MIN
Day 16 / 3.6 / Tuesday
Arrive at LAX 6:30AM - Customs/Baggage Claim 8AM
Rest / Unpack / Laundry
When it comes to travel, there are definitely some MUST items I can't do without. Take a sneak peak in my bag of the OCD traveller for business and pleasure. Besides my iphone and ipad, these are the apps and products that have changed the way I travel forever! (Links are affiliated).
1. SPG Amex Credit Card - Being a traveler NOT loyal to airlines mainly using the most convenient airline that has a direct flight. Only issue with not being loyal to an airline is my points are all over the place, so I decided to settle with a hotel credit card. Not only do they have a great sign up bonus of 25k points but I also get 5 points for every dollar I spend with Starwood Hotel. The other perk I love about this card is that it gives me access to Boingo Wifi. This is important for me when traveling in airports.
2. Away: The Bigger Carry On - Unless I am going on a long vacation, I HATE checking in my bags. I try to carry on as much as I can, the process of having to wait for a bag after a flight feels like a waste of time. In business, I want to jump off the plane and get to my rental car center or UBER as fast as possible. So I need the maximum carry on as possible. At first, I was using Brookstone's carry on from 2008, and its definitely got its use of 9 years, but the built in battery and the TSA lock had me at hello and it was time for an upgrade. $245 Well spent! Click on the link and get $20 off your order!
3. Victorinox Backback - These are the best backpacks for business and personal travel. They have so many pockets and can store everything I need; they also look professional. I've had my backback for 5 years now and the quality is amazing. When its time to get a new bag, I will look to Victorinox to replace.
4. Herbivore Botanicals - All Natural Rose Hibiscus Hydrating Face Mist : This is one of my favorite product lines of all time!!! I use it before the flight, during the flight, and after the flight. I also spritz before I go to bed, and after I jump out of the shower. $21 on Amazon! Also, if you like to use bath soaks, try the Herbivore All Natural Coconut Milk Bath Soak (Not Travel Friendly Unfortunately).
5. Fishers Finery - Fringe Throw Blanket - 100% Pure Cashmere - Dark Gray - If you are like me and get very cold on planes, I would suggest investing in a nice travel blanket. I can't get enough of my Cashmere Throw. Its so soft and it keeps me warm. When I am not using it I like to put it behind my back for lumbar support.
6. Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones - By far I have gotten the most use of any headphone I have ever used. The sound is amazing and so comfortable that you can fall asleep with them on. I originally had the QuietComfort 15 but Bose discontinued them, they are my spare set and still work great! If you don't believe me, check out the reviews from Review.com they were rated best bluetooth headphones on the market.
7. Flonase Sensimist Allergy Relief Nasal Spray - If you have allergies, you know that traveling can make your allergies flare up even more. The constant recycled air on the plane, the dust from hotel pillows and mattress. I also have asthma and this gives me relief with my sinuses. I spray before each flight.
8. TripIt (FREE)- I love free travel apps and this one organizes my travel itineraries by pulling them from my email inbox. The PRO version $48.99/year allows you to get flight status alerts, knowing right away when there is a delay or cancellation, check-in reminders (great for southwest flyers), alternate flights (life saver when dealing with delayed or cancelled flights), seat tracking, reward tracking, fare refund monitoring, automatic trip sharing, and VIP Perks (4 Month free trial with CLEAR, and $25 One time Credit with Lounge Buddy).
9. Belkin 3 Outlet Surgeplus Mini Travel Swivel Charger Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports - This has got to be the best invention, since I have so many things I need to charge when I travel (laptop, ipad, iphone, headphones), I need multiple outlets and hotels usually only give you one outlet to use next to each bedside table which leaves me to charge my iphone in the bathroom sometimes (not ideal). If you are a tech geek traveller like me I would invest in one of these puppies.
10. Audible - I love to read, but reading puts me straight to sleep, audible was the perfect option since traveling I can listen in the car, plane, or hotel. I made it new years resolution to read 12 books a year to better myself, motivate, and educate. There are some great books and for $14.95/mo and your first month free, you can listen to not only books but podcasts as well. I love audible. Best invention ever!
Vidanta Grand Luxxe is one of my favorite properties in Puerto Vallarta. We loved it so much that Kyle and I went twice in 2017. The highlights of our trip was the Tequila Tasting Tour at the Ameca Social House with Luis. We were greeted with a Margarita, and we ended up getting an amazing deal on a bottle Don Julio, better than the price at Costco! The food was hands down the best, tacos, and we made guacamole and roasted salsa ourselves; of course the meal was paired with tequila shots! We also went on an ATV tour that was a lot of fun, but they didn't allow us to go crazy fast and we had to stay behind a guide. The resort is on the beach so you get the best of both worlds of Beach and Pool, they serve food and drinks at both. My husband plans to go back for a golf trip in June 2018 but unfortunately I will foregoing this adventure as I will be pregnant. Here are the highlights of our trip:
Since we were in Santiago, Chile, I wanted to spend a few days in Mendoza, Argentina. I love wine, and an Argentinian Malbec is probably one of my favorites. Its a quick flight from Santiago to Mendoza (45 Min - 1 Hour), just right over the Andes mountains. Roundtrip airfare for two through SKY Airlines cost us $245 USD total. Its a small town with a population of about 115,000 people. Similar to the size of the Santa Barbara. The temperature in late February was hot, in the 90s. There are two major wine regions in Mendoza, Lujan de Cujo & Uco Valley. They are opposite of each other and its best to spend one day in each region. If I ever go back again, I will stay in the Uco Valley Region the entire time.
We stayed at the Park Hyatt Medoza Casino & Spa. The rooms were very nice and updated and we had a nice view of the city. I got to check out the Casino for a bit, there is quite a selection of games but they didn't have a Craps table and thats the only casino game I really play. The hotel gave me a voucher to play some games so I played the slots until I ran out of money.
Things To Do:
Wine tasting of course!!! I can't say enough about the experience with Mendoza Journeys. They picked us up from our hotel and drove us to several wineries in Uco Valley, they were very accommodating and would use them again and again in the future. Its about a 2 hour drive from the city center of Mendoza so be prepared to spend the entire day in Uco Valley. After watching Chef's Table on Netflix, I was dying to go to Siete Fuegos at the Vines Resort & Spa. Although very expensive, if I were to go back to Argentina, I would stay at this resort the entire time. We also visited the following wineries: Andeluna, La Azul, & Finca Sophenia.
We also went White Water Rafting with Potrerillos Explorer. They picked us up from our hotel and we drove through Lujan de Cuyo towards the mountains. We had the BEST time. They set you up with all the gear you need and all the safety protocols. You can buy the GoPro videos and pictures at the end of your excursion. Kyle almost fell out of the raft!!!! Watch one of our rafting videos below.
We ended our trip going to another Francis Mallmann restaurant in Mendoza called 1884 Restaurant. Its a bit hidden, so we weren't sure if we got to our destination when we got to the parking lot. You must have a reservation to enter and there are two large doors and security to get the front door of the restaurant. The food was fantastic!
Having to spend a week in Santiago, Chile, I wanted to share my adventure with everyone who plans or wants to view what the city has to offer: Transportation, Accommodations, Shopping, Restaurants, and Top Things to Do.
Santiago is the capital and largest city in Chile, with a population of nearly 5.5 Million, February in Chile was definitely a great treat when it came to weather, it is summer there during that time and the temperatures ranged from 80 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and temperatures ranging 60 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the evening.
The currency used in Chile is the Chilean Peso. At the time I visited Chile 2/21/2017 the exchange rate was $1 USD to $639 CLP at an Apex located in the Providencia Region as you see in the Google Maps below. I highly recommend exchanging in the city, its a better rate than at the airport.
Transportation: From the airport in Santiago, Chile (SCL) also known as Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport is the busiest airport in Chile and about 9.3 miles from Downtown Santiago and about a 20-30 min drive.
You can rent a car from one of the following companies at the airport: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Econorent, Hertz, Europcar, Rosselot but WARNING if you are going to drive in Santiago, nearly every car is manual NOT automatic.
You can take a regular Taxi at the airport as well, they are lined up right at the exit doors.
I highly recommend using UBER and when using this link you will get $15 OFF your first ride. CAUTION: If you use UBER at this airport, its not technically legal and the taxi cab companies are against them. The designated meeting spot for UBER at the airport is the parking lot across the street from the airport, next to the Holiday Inn.
The cost of going to Downtown Santiago Providencia Area from the Airport was $14,744.00 which at the time with the exchange rate came to be about $23 one way.
We stayed at this hotel: Hotel Torremayor Providencia it was a great location in the center of everything with the Costanera Shopping Mall close by. There is a roof top pool and a great area to relax and enjoy the view.
Shopping: I highly recommend going to the grocery store in the Costanera Center called JUMBO. You will find everything you need here from drinks to snacks. There are also other local grocery stores but I find the quality not as good for a higher price.
If you are thinking of bringing back a souvenir from Chile, I suggest Lapis lázuli; It is a beautiful deep blue semi precious stone. What makes this stone so unique, is the majority of where it is mined are only in several areas around the world: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lake Baikal in Russia, and the Andes Mountains in Chile.
I purchased some beautiful earring sets from Piedras Australes located nearby the Providencia area.
Another great gift gift to bring home is Pisco. It's a Chilean liquor, you can find a great recipe to make a Pisco Sour here.
Peztoro: A great italian place for tapas and pizza. We spent our first evening in town eating here and its was delish! They have two locations, and we took an UBER to the Lastarria location.
La Burguesía probably the best burger I had in Santiago. Rated #23 restaurant on Tripadvisor, with a great beer selection, veggie options, and great burgers, you can't go wrong here. Closed on Sundays, and also closed from 4pm - 7pm, located in the Providencia area.
Uncle Fletch was another Burger place, and its a great location if you are looking to grab a bite and going to visit Pablo Neruda's La Chascona Museum House or Cerro Crisobal Hill. Rated #13 restaurant in Santiago, I felt Laburgesía was a better burger. The burger came with fries or cheesy polenta. They also have a great selection of cocktails and beers.
Mercado Central is a great way to spend your afternoon having lunch and looking at all the vendors that sell fresh fish, although most of the floor space inside the mercado are restaurants. We happened to make a stop at Donde Augosto for lunch, the menu is 8 - 9 pages long, too much to display, but make sure you select a restaurant you want in advance, once you arrive there the restaurants are very aggressive to try and seat you. One thing to note, do not use google maps and type in Central Market, it will not take you to the incorrect location. Warning, its seafood, so its going to smell a little stinky, there isn't any air conditioning and it may be also a bit muggy .
Things to do:Skycostanera is the tallest building in South America. At the top of the 62nd floor you have a spectacular 360 view of the city. Open Monday - Sunday, the best day to go is on a Wednesday for a discounted rate. Last ride in the evening is 9pm.
La Chascona Museum House is one of the top sites to visit the home of a famous poet, Pablo Neruda. General admission is $7000 Chilean Pesos per person and offer a student/senior discount of $2500 Chilean Pesos which gives you an audio guide system in multiple languages. You do not need to make reservations ahead of time, tours are served on a first come first serve basis.
One of my favorite sites in the city was visiting Cerro San Cristobal you can easily spend an entire day there, don't go on a Monday, as everything is closed for maintenance. You can visit the National Zoo , Parks, Ride the Cableway, Take the Funicular, they also have a Public Pool located there during the pool season.
Cajon Del Maipo is a must if you like the outdoors. Hiking, Rafting, Zipline, Horse Riding, and Bungy are just a few options you can do while you are there. There are also some great wineries in this area, you can read my post about Concha y Toro and my experience wine tasting in the Maipo Valley.
There are also many many museums and other sites to see in the city, these are just some of the things I did while I was there and would suggest the same for anyone planning to vacation there.
Check out our trip to Mendoza, Argentina!