This guide will detail how you can enjoy a self guided Maipo Valley day trip from Santiago for as little as $30USD/person. The two vineyards visited will be Viña Aquitania and Viña Cousiño Macul.

But first, what destinations come to mind when you think about wineries in South America? My immediate thought would be of Mendoza, Argentina. But what if you were not travelling to northern Argentina? What if you still wanted to experience the best vineyards that South America has to offer? If Santiago is on your itinerary then you will be spoilt for choice. We can also guarantee that you won’t be left disappointed that you couldn’t get to Mendoza.

Maipo Valley | Self Guided Day Trip from Santiago

The Maipo Valley: After our month in Patagonia, we looked forward to a relaxing day at the vineyards. After conquering the W Trek, we felt it was well deserved! So the truth is out. We occasionally do something other than hiking! We suppose if there was another activity other than hiking to enjoy, drinking wine is not a bad alternative!

Surrounding Santiago are four main wine regions. Maipo Valley is geographically nearest to Santiago, followed by Casablanca Valley, Aconcagua Valley and then Colchagua Valley. We thought it would be more economical to visit wineries of Maipo Valley which are close to Santiago. Admittedly though, tours were proving quite expensive. Private tours were +$100USD/person. The little wine bus (let’s call it the booze bus) looked like a fun full day tour, but would be around $100USD/person. Even just a 4 hour bike tour would be around $65USD/person.

We were almost ready to pull the plug on a day at the vineyards! But then we discovered there was an inexpensive way to enjoy the Maipo Valley. It didn’t even require a tour group and would involve minimal planning to do ourselves. Our plan? Visiting the wineries accessible by the city’s metro system. Although the wineries are relatively close to the city, we promise that you will still feel like you’ve truly escaped the city and are in the depths of the Maipo Valley!

A Brief Overview of Maipo Valley

Quick facts: The Maipo valley is the most well known wine region of the area. This is because of its close proximity just south of Santiago. It is therefore the most frequented. The valley hosts a collection of mostly French inspired wineries with Cabernet Sauvignon it’s pick of the bunch! Peak harvest season is April.

The guided tour of Viña Aquitania in the Maipo Valley.
The guided tour of Viña Aquitania in the Maipo Valley.

The Wineries to Visit on a Maipo Valley Day Trip

Viña Aquitania & Viña Cousiño Macul: To make this itinerary work, you will be visiting 2 wineries in the Maipo Valley. Not only are these 2 estates located conveniently close together, but are easy to reach from Santiago.

Viña Aquitania

Boutique winery: Firstly, you will visit a smaller boutique winery called Viña Aquitania. It’s a 44 acre estate founded in 1984 producing mostly syrah and cabernet sauvignon. Here also is a gorgeous Andes backdrop.

Please note that for the majority of wineries in the Maipo Valley, advanced booking is necessary. This is particularly true for the smaller wineries like Viña Aquitania. We emailed info@aquitania.cl 2 months in advance for the earliest 11am ‘Reserve Tour’ for $14,000CLP/person ($17USD). They replied quickly to confirm.

Viña Cousiño Macul

Commercial winery: Following this Maipo Valley day trip, you till then make your way to the larger Viña Cousiño Macul. It’s a 750 acre estate founded in 1856. It is the only 19th Century Chilean winery still in possession of the founding family. They also specialise in cabernet sauvignon.

You could also book to do the 3pm ‘Traditional Tour’ at Viña Cousiño Macul afterwards for $15,000CLP/person ($18USD). You could email ventas@Cousiñomacul.cl in advance or submit a reservation request on their website. However, they are a much larger winery. Perhaps they may be able to accommodate last minute bookings.

SIDE NOTE: There is no doubt that another tour in the Maipo Valley would have been interesting. But we felt that, being located very close together, the information about the region and wine may have been very similar. It may just be the history of the winery itself and perhaps some subtle difference in wine making processes that would be the only major differences. So we decided we would indeed visit this winery. But we would skip the tour and just enjoy the quaint surroundings. This involved ordering (and devouring) a bottle of wine ourselves from the bar for only $6,000CLP ($7USD)!

Maipo Valley Self Guided Day Trip Recap

Sure, our guide doesn’t take you very deep into the Mapio Valley. But to do so independently is difficult without an organised tour and also expensive. So if you’re wanting to enjoy sensational wineries of the Maipo Valley but without the costs of an organised tour, this guide will definitely help you. Continue below non specific details about how to get to these wineries from Santiago.

Getting to & from Santiago

Flights: You’ll likely need to get a flight to Santiago. We actually flew there from Puerto Montt (Chile) after the Patagonia part of our trip concluded. Using Skyscanner, we had booked a flight 2 months in advance through Trip.com. We flew with Sky Airlines for $53USD/person including checked in baggage.

However, if you’re flying from the UK or USA, we’re sure that you can find deal flights to Santiago. Subscribe to Jack’s Flight Club to monitor these. If you have free membership, you’ll receive 1 email per week which includes lots of deals. But we highly recommend paying for premium membership. You’ll get 4 times as many deals emailed to you. Plus, it’s only ($43USD) and we guarantee that by booking merely 1 flight deal, that you’ll more than earn back the price of membership.

For instance, a London to Paphos flight we booked using Jack’s Flight Club, was around ($49USD) cheaper than the usual fare. So we made our money back, and then some, with that single purchase! For Australians, we recommend using I Want That Flight for a similar flight alert service. Better yet, this flight alert system is for free! So absolutely nothing to lose by signing up to their alerts and newsletter.

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Getting to the Maipo Valley from Santiago

The Metro: Catching the Metro is the first part of the journey to Viña Aquitania on Maipo Valley day trip. To ride the metro, you will need to buy a Bip Card for $1,500CLP ($1.80USD) at the Metro station. You can use 1 card for multiple people. Your fare will be determined by what time of day you travel. Travelling during peak hour (7:00am-8:59am and 6:00pm-7:59pm) is $830CLP ($1USD) for a single trip. However, your journeys will fall outside of this time, so a single trip will be $750CLP ($0.90USD). You will do a return journey, so you will add $1,500CLP/person ($1.80USD). A nice lady behind the counter at the Metro station did all of this for us.

Depending on what metro station you hop on, you will need to eventually get onto Line 4 to alight at Metro Station Quilín. Our journey was from Estación Universidad de Chile in downtown Santiago. We needed to catch Line 3 heading east. Alighting at Plaza Egana, we then changed onto Line 4. Google Maps will tell you what you need to do!

From Metro Station Quilín, you’re more than welcome to walk the 45-55 minutes to get to Viña Aquitania. We would have been late for the tour had we done so. So we decided to catch a 10 minute Uber there from the metro station for $1,914CLP ($2.30USD).

The Andes created an epic backdrop at Viña Aquitania, Maipo Valley.
The Andes created an epic backdrop at Viña Aquitania, Maipo Valley.

We didn’t consider car hire, as obviously we would be drinking!

Viña Aquitania

Our experience: We arrived around 10:30am. Through email, they instructed us to let ourselves in as the gate would be closed. The bilingual guide who took our tour of 6 people was enthusiastic, funny and informative. She walked us around the estate. Our guide explained the history of the winery, how the environment dictates the growing conditions that produce particular types of wine here, and details about the making and storage of the wines. Most importantly, we got to taste test 4 different wines and have a laugh doing so!

The vineyards will create a great setting for a photo particularly with the Andes in the background. Our guide was happy to take photos for us.

Viña Cousiño Macul

Our experience: The walk to Viña Cousiño Macul from Viña Aquitania in the Maipo Valley is only a 20-25 minute walk in the direction of Metro Station Quilín. So when you are finished at Macul, it is only a further 20-25 minute walk back to the station. We were already tipsy at this stage so we had no inhibitions in walking. Plus, it was a lovely day and we like to exercise. Otherwise, an Uber in between the wineries would be super cheap and quick also. For the walking route, see Google Maps below.

As we mentioned earlier, the tour here looked great. But we were happy to sit in the charming courtyard. Here, we drank the delicious produce and took part in people watching. We saw others order by the glass to try different wines. You could go as far as to look up detailed information of the wines you would try on their website. It would be a self guided taste testing! After a busy month hiking in Patagonia, Beck and I really enjoyed the day.

Do you enjoy white or red? At Viña Cousiño Macul, you can have both!
Do you enjoy white or red? At Viña Cousiño Macul, you can have both!

Getting from the Maipo Valley to Santiago

We got ourselves back to Metro Station Quilín and simply reversed our original journey to get here! Your Bip Card should already have the adequate funds required.

Accommodation

Booking.com: Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the Maipo Valley, of course, you’ll need a place to stay in Santiago! We used Booking.com to book a place in downtown Santiago for great value. For 4 nights, we paid around $22USD/night for 2 people. We booked an entire flat called Santiago Downtown Apartments Moneda. Check it out with the link we have provided.

The host is friendly and communicates well. We arrived quite late after getting a flight from Puerto Montt. In this instance, he will explain the process of checking in before you get there. But essentially, when you arrive at the gate of the apartments, you’ll need to buzz in. The apartment reception staff will know about your stay. The host owns a few of the apartments there. So the apartment reception staff will sign you in and give you the key. The actual Booking.com host / apartment owner will be in touch about organising a time for him to meet you at the apartment the next day. This is so you can pay! A heads up though. It’s much cheaper to pay in cash in the local currency. Otherwise there are additional fees.

The set of apartments is quite large. There is a lift you can use to get up to your room. The place has all the essential amenities for cooking. Without A/C, it can get a bit hot though! But there’s a balcony there if the room gets a bit stuffy.

Total Costs

  • Bip Card: $1,500CLP ($1.50USD).
  • The return metro: $1,500CLP ($1.50USD).
  • Uber to the first winery: $1,914CLP ($5USD) for 2 people.
  • Vineyard tour: $14,000CLP/person ($17USD).
  • Bottle of wine: $6,000CLP ($7USD) for 2 people.

= $20,000CLP/person ($26USD)

If you follow our Maipo Valley day trip guide, the costs are relatively minimal. You’ll obviously just need to factor in costs regarding accommodation and any food you pack . We had a fantastic day exploring the Maipo Valley this way and can highly recommend it for those travelling on a budget!

Five Travel Essentials for a Day Trip to the Maipo Valley

Bonus Tips

  • Pack your own food: The staff at Viña Aquitania were really nice and relaxed. After our tour concluded, we even stayed in the lovely garden to enjoy our packed lunches and snacks!
  • Uber: Although technically illegal, the app is very popular here and safe to use from our experience. Ubers will always be cheaper, reliable and more trustworthy than taxis.
  • Ditch the tour company: It’s easy to do a Maipo Valley self guided tour of this wine region. Not only is this cheaper but you can do things at your own leisurely pace. This is our style of travel!
  • All the winery tours are much the same: Doing just one winery tour will give you a general sense of the entire region. So no need to spend money on doing a second, third, fourth tour, etc.
  • Stock up on wine: We discovered that all bottles of wine sold at the wineries were cheaper than the recommended retail price in stores.
  • Explore Santiago: whilst you’re in Santiago, make sure to check out the city. For more information, check out Why Not Walk and their three day Santiago guide.

Who would you go to the Maipo Valley with? Share this post with your travel buddy on Facebook who doesn’t mind wine, saving coin and good times.


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