Chile and Argentina in Ten Days
The massive Andes mountain range separates Chile and Argentina. Still, they share that unique South American feel. Argentina is the second-largest country in the subcontinent after Brazil, and it covers extensive flatlands from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean. Chile comprises a thin strip of land between the Pacific coast and the Andes.
Exploring the two countries will give you a peek at what South America is all about, from its rich history to its delectable cuisines. Here’s how to experience Chile and Argentina in ten days.
Day 1, arrive at Santiago
Welcome to Chile’s capital. Santiago is a massive metropolis home to around seven million people. The city is in perfect balance between colonial and modern architecture. There are 174 heritage sites, from monuments to historical buildings, so there’s always something exciting to see near you.
Start your visit at Plaza las Armas, a significant square surrounded by impressive buildings, including the Metropolitan Cathedral and the Sacred Art Museum.
Before you find a nice spot for dinner, take a cab to the Gran Torre Santiago, the city’s tallest skyscraper and see Santiago 980 feet above the ground. This is hands down the best view of the city. The complex is also home to the largest shopping mall in Latin America, so you might want to do some shopping.
Day 2, enjoy the impressive sights
Dedicate some time to get to know Santiago’s green spots. There are two hills right in the heart of the city, the Cerro Santa Lucía and the Cerro San Cristóbal. You can walk both parks, and each offers a unique view of the city from up high.
You’ll find the picturesque Bellavista neighborhood right between the high-elevation parks. The bohemian quarter is one of the best areas in the city to enjoy a proper Chilean meal, walk around and have a few drinks. If you’re here on the weekend, don’t miss Bellavista’s handicrafts market.
Day 3, explore the vineyards
Chile is a significant wine producer, and some of the finest vineyards are just outside Santiago. The wineries are always happy to receive visitors for wine tours and tastings, so dedicate a day to exploring the country’s vinous efforts.
Concha y Toro is amongst the largest wineries in Chile, and you’ll find it in the Puente Alto neighborhood, south of the city. If you’re a foodie and enjoy wine, this will be one of the highlights of your trip! Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Sauvignon Blanc are the most successful wine grapes in Chile.
Day 4, get inspired by the Pacific coast
Wake up early and take a day trip to Valparaíso, one of Chile’s most vibrant coastal cities and a popular tourist destination. Take a one-and-a-half-hour bus ride from downtown Santiago to the ‘Jewel of the Pacific’ and arrive just in time for a wonderful sea-scented lunch.
There’s lots to explore in the hilly coastal town. Walk along the coast, visit the colorful Cerro Alegre neighborhood and don’t forget to explore Pablo Neruda’s house; the Nobel Prize winner and surrealist poet has an immense significance in the country.
Spend the night at Valparaíso to experience its charming night scene before heading back to Santiago for the next leg of your journey.
Day 5, cross the Andes
It’s time to say goodbye to Chile. Spend the morning doing some shopping, try the local specialties and head to the city’s International airport prepared for a two-and-a-half-hour flight to Mendoza, Argentina, right across the Andes.
This is a flight to remember, so get a window seat and enjoy the view. Cruising the endless snowy peaks is overwhelming — the impressive mountain range is amongst the most extensive in the world.
Welcome to Argentina! Get settled and have a delightful meal and a good night’s sleep because the country has much to offer, and you’re still 600 miles from your final destination, Buenos Aires.
Day 6, walk downtown Mendoza
Mendoza is a charming, small town in the foothills of the Andes; the clear skies and clean air, but most importantly, the people’s laid-back lifestyle makes the city a must-visit in South America.
In spring, Mendoza is a thriving skiing destination, but it’s lovely any time of the year. Walk around the town center, around the Plaza Independencia, and visit the astounding San Martín Park. For a lovely meal, Paseo Sarmiento is a pedestrian street with many restaurants and cafes.
Day 7, discover Mendoza’s wineries
Mendoza is known worldwide for its wine made with Malbec, and the wine increases in quality as you go uphill towards the Andes. The entire western Mendoza is dotted with wineries, all fantastic estates to visit.
If you’re not all that interested in Mendoza’s wine, visit the thermal waters at Termas Cacheuta a few miles into the Andes. The outdoor baths are beautiful, and the experience is just relaxing and incredibly rewarding. Treat yourself to a day in these all-natural spas!
Day 8, the Atlantic coast
It’s time to travel 840 miles across Argentina to the sunny Mar de Plata, so fly over the country’s flatlands or ‘Pampas’ to arrive at the important fishing port and beach resort; a popular destination in the country for locals and tourists alike.
Seventeen miles of coast await, including some of the most popular beaches in South America. For a dose of history and architecture, the Provincial Hotel and neighboring Casino de Mar del Plata are must-visits. The complex was built in the 1930s and are testaments to the country’s grandeur of the early 20th century.
Day 9, arriving at Buenos Aires
Enjoy the morning sunbathing in Mar de Plata’s blue shores or explore its streets one last time before taking a five-hour train ride north along the coast to arrive at Argentina’s capital city.
The city’s eclectic European architecture, its inspiring cafes and restaurants specializing in grilled meat are legendary. Expect to see tango dancers in the streets and a multicultural vibe.
Your first stop should be the Teatro Colón, a beautiful opera house known around the world for its magnificence. The Cervantes theater is close by, and it’s equally impressive. There are 280 theaters in Buenos Aires! The Metropolitan Cathedral and the National Library are splendid landmarks to visit as well.
Day 10, saying your goodbyes
Spend your last day in Argentina walking the city’s streets and markets, have a hearty char-grilled steak with a side of empanadas and red wine, and get tickets to an awe-inspiring tango show.
Two days in Buenos Aires will never be enough to discover the city’s many charms, but whatever you get to see will be enough to give you a feel of what the majestic city is all about. Everyone who visits Buenos Aires eventually returns.
Watch the sunset on top of the Hotel InterContinental, a perfect spot to say your goodbyes to the city overlooking the Silver River. This is the best way to end a ten-day tour through Chile and Argentina.