“We couldn’t decide how to go from one private tasting to the next: by chauffeured Rolls Royce, or on horseback over vineyard trails. So we opted for both.”
Our Chilean Regional Director writes:
The first of my many love affairs with Chile began years ago, when my research for luxury vacation possibilities took me to the country’s Lake District. The first day I stood in wonder, taking in snowcapped volcanoes, crystalline lakes, glacier-fed rivers and green fields dotted with Jersey cows. On the shores of Lago Llanquihue, I revelled in the natural beauty and quirky Swiss history. I walked peaceful trails to hidden lagoons, rafted the Rio Petrohué (for my research, of course), enjoyed amazing bike rides (to scout routes for clients) and discovered the joys of horseback riding and fly-fishing with local guides (okay, that part was for me).
A short flight north brought me to the Colchagua Valley, where my focus shifted to wine and cuisine. I’d tasted some outstanding Chilean wines, but now I wanted to walk the vineyards. As lazy afternoons among the vines blended into memorable evenings with leading winemakers, I saw – and tasted – firsthand why Colchagua was being hailed by aficionados as the Napa of South America.
My next stop was the Atacama Desert, reputedly the world’s most arid – and also stunningly beautiful, rich in indigenous culture and dotted with rejuvenating hot springs. It was the perfect place to satisfy our clients’ desire to bike, walk and ride thoroughbreds – or maybe fly by helicopter up to volcanic lakes dotted with flamingos. And perhaps the desert’s best-kept secret is that despite nearly constant sunshine, cooling breezes sweep down most days from the Bolivian Altiplano.
The last leg of my journey was a flight to Easter Island. The world’s most remote inhabited island is of course known for its mysterious moai, the huge figures of carved stone that gaze out to sea. But in addition to showing me the statues and sharing what we know about their history, my hosts also opened my eyes to the current way of life in a place that is a satellite of Chile but remains distinctly Polynesian.
Back in Chile proper, I began weaving together the geographical and cultural diversions I felt would make a perfect bespoke adventure. For 16 childhood friends and their partners, we created a private itinerary combining Chile’s natural diversity with ideal biking, walking, horseback riding and fishing. We even threw in some backcountry heli-skiing and ski touring based from their own private mountain hideaway. When I heard later that our clients called it the trip of a lifetime, I certainly understood why – and felt I’d been with them every step of the way.
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