Have you ever wondered how travel agents learn about so many vast and varied destinations around the world? Well, the answer is, because we invite them! Contours Travel hosts regular ‘fam’ (familiarisation or educational) trips to South America for our best agents! So they can experience first-hand the magic of this stunning region. Rod just returned from an incredible ‘fam’ trip to Chile and Argentina. Three destinations, three stories to tell. Here we go!
First stop, Vik Chile.
The trip started with a direct flight from Melbourne to Santiago with LATAM airlines. After a night at Holiday Inn Santiago Airport Hotel, the group travelled south to Vik Chile, located in the wine region near Santiago. With Rod there was also Trish O’Brien from Travel Counsellors, Raelene Caltsounis from Travel Focus, Jacqui Ingram from Flying Colours Travel, Joy Zulic from Lifestyle Travel, Andrew Lewtas from Travel Connections and Hugh Tilley from Black Rock Travel. They spent one night at Vik Chile where they enjoyed horse riding, small trekking circuits, cycling, wine tasting and delicious food. And some even took advantage of the infinity pool! Rod recommends a minimum of 2-3 nights at VIK Chile.
Next up, Chile’s cosmopolitan capital.
Next day, they were transferred back to Santiago and enjoyed a walking tour of the city. And quite a walk it was! The tour rook them through the Central Market, La Vega, Bellas Artes, Forestal Park and Barrio Lastarria. Here, they climbed Cerro Santa Lucia to take in a panoramic view of the city and Andes Mountains. So they definitely earned their dinner! Chilean ceviche, pastel de choclo (corn pie), Chilean wine and Pisco sours helped them to regain their strength for the following day!
After breakfast, they travelled through the Curacavi and Casablanca Valleys to get to the UNESCO World Heritage Listed port city of Valparaiso. On their way, they stopped at Santa Emiliana winery to sample some organic wines. Yes, it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!
In Valparaiso they wandered the steep and colourful streets and checked out the famous murals. Returning to Santiago at sunset for dinner in Barrio Bellavista, one of the iconic neighbourhoods of the Chilean capital.
On their last day, the group continued their exploration of Santiago. They visited the government house La Moneda, strolled around Plaza de Armas, had a coffee at a cafe con piernas and rode the Metro for a local experience. That night, they had a food & wine pairing dinner at Bocanariz, a very popular wine bar and restaurant where Rod and everyone else loved the food.
Time to head south!
Next morning, they flew to Punta Arenas, Chile to embark on a 4-night cruise through the Patagonian fjords. And they were lucky enough to sail onboard the stunning Ventus Australis ship. But we’ll get to that in our next installment!
If you’re keen to join us for our next ‘fam’ trip to South America, get in touch! We love working with knowledegable travel agents! And the more you know about Latin America, the more we’re likely to work together!