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Casas del Bosque

Casas del Bosque

Santiago has it all. In addition to recently establishing itself as one of South America's busiest financial centers, this wildly cosmopolitan city offers a growing contemporary culture scene and picturesque neighborhoods, such as Lastarria and Brasil, that are worthy of hours of exploration. Its location by the Andes (the mountain chain's snowy peaks are visible from most points in the city) means that fabulous—and sometimes grueling—adventures are never too far away. Right now it's autumn in South America, so skiing isn't yet a possibility, but visits to nearby vineyards to sample some of the country's best varietals couldn't be better timed.

Just 50 miles from Santiago, you'll find the Casablanca Wine Valley, Chile's premier white wine producer. Do a tasting tour at House Casa del Vino (sample the spicy pinot noir), Loma Larga Vineyards (the first to bring red grapes such as syrah to the valley) and Casas del Bosque (for fragrant, mineral-rich sauvignon blancs). Afterward, break for a meal at Casa Botha for Chilean-Italian fusion.

Take a photo tour of the stylish Lastarria neighborhood with Foto Ruta and experience Santiago's stunning architectural heritage. Then grab a late lunch at Café del Museo before tackling the collection at Museo de Artes Visuales next door. Finally, stroll through Parque Forestal with a cone of homemade ice cream from Emporio La Rosa; try one of the refreshing flavors such as rose or orange-ginger.

Take a morning hike up San Cristóbal Hill for awesome city views. Then head off to Cajón del Maipo, an hour from the capital, where urban dwellers commune with the outdoors via natural hot springs, horseback riding, zip-lining and more. Cap off the night with some stargazing at Observatorio Pailalén—Chile has some of the clearest skies on the planet.

Stop in at the famed Mercado Central for fish, La Vega Central for fresh local fruits and Pueblito Los Dominicos for handcrafted souvenirs. In the buzzing Italia neighborhood—heaven for design enthusiasts—find authentic piece such as hand-painted furniture made with wood from old Indonesian fishing boats at Dora Decora.

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