Viña Cousiño Macul and Viña Aquitania are two outstanding wineries in Maipo Valley near Santiago in Chile. Given the closeness of both Viña Cousiño Macul and Viña Aquitania to Santiago, it’s easy to visit each vineyard on a day trip. Indeed, it’s quite simple to independently organise your own Maipo Valley wine tours at these wineries from Santiago.
In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting Viña Cousiño Macul and Viña Aquitania, independently, on a self-guided day trip from Santiago. By doing so, you’ll save lots of money, compared with doing an organised winery group or private tour from Santiago!
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Maipo Valley: A Brief Overview
The Maipo Valley is one of the most well-known wine regions in Chile. That’s because of its close proximity to Santiago. Indeed, the Maipo Valley sits just south of Chile’s capital city. So, lots of people visit the wine region, particularly from Santiago.
The valley hosts a collection of mostly French-inspired wineries. You’ll find cabernet sauvignon is one of the most famous wines from the region. The peak harvest season at Maipo Valley is in April. So, visiting around this time is ideal.
Sure, many people would think of Mendoza in Argentina when it comes to visiting vineyards in South America. But, what if you’re not travelling to northern Argentina? Don’t worry, if Santiago is on your itinerary, then you can simply visit Maipo Valley to experience some of the best wineries on the continent. By visiting the Maipo Valley from Santiago, we guarantee you won’t be disappointed that you couldn’t get to Mendoza!
Self-Guided Maipo Valley Day Trip
Surrounding Santiago are four main wine regions. As mentioned, Maipo Valley is nearest to Santiago. The next closest wine region is Casablanca Valley, followed by Aconcagua Valley and then Colchagua Valley. Truth be told, we thought it would be cheaper to visit the wineries in Maipo Valley because they’re closer to Santiago. Admittedly though, organised tours of the Maipo Valley from Santiago are quite expensive. Private tours are around $100–250USD/person. The little wine bus (AKA the booze bus) is a fun full-day tour. But, again, it’s around $100USD/person. Even just a 4 hour bike tour is around $65USD/person.
Admittedly, after spending a month hiking in Patagonia, we were looking forward to a relaxing day at the vineyards. After conquering the W Trek, we felt it was well deserved! But, we were almost ready to pull the plug on a day at the vineyards given the high costs of a tour. After all, we’re shoestring travellers at heart!
But, then we discovered there was a much cheaper way to enjoy the Maipo Valley. We could organise our own day trip by visiting the wineries accessible by the city’s metro system. This would include visiting Viña Cousiño Macul and Viña Aquitania. 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!
Visiting Viña Aquitania and Viña Cousiño Macul
If you’re travelling to Maipo Valley independently, we recommend visiting Viña Aquitania and Viña Cousiño Macul. Not only are these two estates located conveniently close together, but are easy to reach from Santiago. At each of theses vineyards, you can do Maipo Valley wine tours, which, given their close proximity to Santiago, will feel like Santiago winery tours!
To get the ball rolling, we recommend visiting the smaller boutique winery called Viña Aquitania. It’s a 44 acre estate that was founded in 1984. As you’ll learn from this Maipo Valley wine tour, Viña Aquitania mostly produces syrah and cabernet sauvignon. At Viña Aquitania, you’ll also enjoy a gorgeous Andes backdrop.
Please note that for the majority of wineries tours in the Maipo Valley, advanced booking is necessary. This is particularly true for the smaller wineries like Viña Aquitania. We emailed firstname.lastname@example.org to book in advance. But, it’s also possible to book online on their website.
After catching the metro, we arrived at Viña Aquitania at around10:30am. Through email correspondence, they instructed us to let ourselves in as the gate. The bilingual guide who took our Maipo Valley wine tour of six people was enthusiastic, funny and informative. She firstly walked us around the estate, showing us the premises. Our guide then 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 storing of the wines. Most importantly, we got to taste test four 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
After seeing Viña Aquitania, you’ll then visit Viña Cousiño Macul, which is a much larger commercial winery. By doing a tour of Viña Cousiño Macul, you’ll learn all about the winery. In short, it’s a 750 acre estate founded by Luis Cousiño in 1856. In terms of Viña Cousiño Macul history, interestingly, this winery is the only 19th Century Chilean winery still in possession of the founding family. This vineyard also specialise in cabernet sauvignon. Indeed, you may have heard of their famous Antiguas Reservas cabernet sauvignon. Other well-known wines from this estate include the Finis Terrae red blend and Isidora reisling.
Viña Cousiño Macul offer many types of tours, including bike tours and private tours. Although, most people do the standard ‘Traditional Tour’, which is the cheapest. To make a booking in advance, simply visit their website or book on GetYourGuide. Albeit, they’re a much larger winery compared with Viña Aquitania. So, Viña Cousiño Macul may be able to accommodate last minute bookings.
Because Viña Cousiño Macul and Viña Aquitania are located so close together, we thought the information about the region and wine, that would be discussed on a Maipo Valley wine tour, would have been very similar. Sure, the history of the winery itself would be different and there would be some subtle difference in wine making processes. But, personally, we decided to 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)!
As we mentioned earlier, the tour of Viña Cousiño Macul in Santiago, Chile, looked great. But we were happy to simply 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.
UPDATE: one of our readers has commented to say that drinking wine on the premises, after purchasing, is no longer allowed due to licencing restrictions.
Maipo Valley Self Guided Day Trip Recap
Sure, this self-guided day trip 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.
Let’s look at how to get to the Maipo Valley from Santiago.
Getting to the Maipo Valley From Santiago
Catching the Metro is the first part of the journey to Viña Aquitania. To ride the metro, you’ll need to buy a Bip Card, which are usually around $2USD at the Metro station. You can use one card for multiple people. In terms of the journey cost, 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 slightly more experience than travelling outside this time. Either way, the journey will cost around $1–2USD each way. A nice lady behind the counter at the Metro station organised our ticket 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.
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 only $1,914CLP ($2.30USD)!
From Viña Aquitania, you’ll then need to get to Viña Aquitania. Personally, we walked from Viña Aquitania to Viña Cousiño Macu, which only took 20–25 minutes, in the direction of Metro Station Quilín. So, when you are finished at Viña Cousiño Macul, it’s 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! Besides, it seemed a safe area, particularly during the day. 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 here.
Getting From the Maipo Valley to Santiago
We got ourselves back to Metro Station Quilín and simply reversed our original journey to get back to Santiago! Your Bip Card should already have the adequate funds required if organised in advance.
Other Maipo Valley Wine Tours (Santiago Winery Tours)
Of course, if the thought of getting to the Maipo Valley independently doesn’t interest you, then an organised tour might be the way to go. You’ll find many different Maipo Valley wine tours, which include pickup from Santiago. Indeed, an organised Maipo Valley wine tour does take the stress out of planning transport to and from Santiago. Let’s have a look at some popular Maipo Valley winery tours, which includes pick-up from Santiago.
If you’re looking for the best budget Maipo Valley tour options, we recommend either the Concha y Toro and Undurraga Vineyards Tour with Ruta Chile or the Concha y Toro Winery Tour with Smart Tour. To be honest, the Concha y Toro and Undurraga Vineyards Tour with Ruta Chile is better value for money. That’s because you’ll visit two wineries instead of one, and it’s cheaper!
If you’re looking for a mid-range option, then consider doing the Maipo Valley Winery Tour From Santiago with MTO Tour Chile. This tour usually visits three wineries in the Maipo Valley. These often include Viña Cousiño Macul,
Viña Aquitania, Concha y Toro, Santa Rita or Undurraga.
For a private tour, we recommend Boutique Alto Maipo Valley Wine Tastings from Santiago with Chile Dream Tours. You won’t visit Viña Cousiño Macul or Viña Aquitania on this tour. But, you’ll visit the equally impressive boutique wine vineyards of Haras de Pirque and El Principal.
If you’re doing a winery tour from Santiago, of course, you’ll need a place to stay in the capital city! We used Booking.com to book a place in downtown Santiago for great value. 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.
Getting to Santiago
You may need to fly to Santiago to explore the Maipo Valley. 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 keep an eye out for deal flights. If you have free membership, you’ll receive one email per week which includes lots of deals. But, we highly recommend paying for premium membership. You’ll get around four times as many deals emailed to you. We guarantee that by booking merely one flight deal, that you’ll more than earn back the price of membership.
Five Travel Essentials For Visiting Viña Aquitania and Viña Cousiño Macul
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack – a convenient way to store your belongings throughout the day.
- Travel wallet – safely store your money or any other important documents.
- Nikon D3400 Digital SLR Camera – a great entry level DLSR camera to help capture your day at the wineries. But be mindful if you become forgetful when drinking! You wouldn’t want to leave this behind.
- Ray-Ban Polarised Clubmaster Square Sunglasses and a hat – the sun shines bright in the Mapio Valley
- 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.
- 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: other than doing Santiago winery tours, make sure to explore 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 wouldn’t mind doing winery tours from Santiago.