When on short notice we decided to spend a month in Chile we were looking for a place that was affordable for our budget, would offer spacious living quarters so we would not feel claustrophobic after a week, has a full kitchen to allow us to stay on our special diet, and be a good base for excursions to Santiago, the wine region, and to the ocean. We found Quinta Escondido and our host Natascha, and found a lot more than we could have dreamed of.
A large and comfortable apartment on top of Natascha’s house, a large and fully equipped kitchen, a sunny terrace overlooking a swimming pool nestled amidst a huge garden full with organic fruits and herbs (which Natascha offers for a modest price) and most important a knowledgeable and very helpful hostess – “we came as guests and we left as friends” maybe the best description.
At first sight Limache looks like a non-descript town, but if you talk to Natascha for even a few minutes you get introduced to all the hidden treasures, starting from the organic market at the local Waldorf School on Fridays, a selection of small cafes and restaurants hiding in the side streets, the Chilean-Italian club where local families gather for true Italian food and companion ship, the large Sunday market, and many more, to the Yoga studio in the same building and the amazing healer Rosa Puga practicing there. And if anything unusual and interesting happens in Limache, like a free live concert by the famous Inti-Illimani Historico, you can be assured that Natascha let’s you know about it. In the 4 weeks of our stay we made a lot of friends in this town and hope this will not be our last visit.
Limache is perfectly located and can serve as an excellent base camp for many excursions. Valparaiso can be reached by a 45-minute metro ride that runs every 15 minutes, Santiago is easily reachable by Pullman buses, and a nearby national park (reachable by public transportation) offers challenging and very rewarding day hikes. And Natascha is always there to point out time schedules, places to go, things to see. During our trip we went to Santiago several times, staying overnight as the last return bus was a bit too early for the events we wanted to attend, we shuttled down to Valparaiso many times, mostly just for day trips and once for an overnight stay, and we took 5 days off from Limache to fly to the Atacama desert to visit a friend and take in the amazing vistas of the area. And when we returned, it was like coming home.
And all this without ever missing a car. The only time we rented a car was when we wanted to visit the Cassablanca Wine Valley. Here having a car afforded us to set our own schedule and spend long times at the most interesting estates rather than being raced from one place to the next. This allowed us to go well beyond the basic tour and tasting visits and explore Casa del Bosque on bicycles, stopping for a picnic on the way, or to take in a full informational tour on biodynamic wine making at the Emiliana Winery followed by an out-of-this world tasting of top wines paired with the perfect chocolate (highly recommended!). All this was much cheaper than buying a packaged tour out of Valparaiso where the schedule would have been too crammed for our taste.
And since for some reason we could only rent a car for a minimum of three days we could include an excursion to the coastal region discovering the beauty of the small villages and the stunning display of contemporary architecture along the coast.
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