I received a message on Instagram asking me to host “The Gay Harvest” in Santiago, Chile. When I first received the message from Pride Tours I didn’t know what to think. Santiago was never on my radar for cities to travel too, so I began to do my research. After a few mutual connections and an opportunity I couldn’t say no to, I decided I needed to go!
The First Day: Travel time to Santiago took about 16 hours from NYC to SGO. I was a little tired but it was a Saturday so how do you not go out? I was greeted at the airport by these 2 mystery men who have been messaging me and working so hard to organize the best week possible. Ivan and Freddy took my under their wing and immediately took me to a popular gay bar on Saturday nights called Station. I learned that their famous liquor that everyone drinks there is Pisco. I later learned that most of the time when I asked for my regular tequila shots the bartenders were still just giving me Pisco. For those who have never tried it or maybe never even heard of it its very similar to rum. People often mix it with coke. For anyone who doesn’t know me that well you know my food palate is that of a 5 year old. After a few shots and peer pressure from my new friends I decided to try empanadas. They were AMAZINGG! After our first night out and feeling comfortable with Freddy and Ivan I decided I needed to get some rest for the big week we had a head.
The City Tour - Ivan and Freddy brought a group of us around the whole city. It was a beautiful walking tour filled with sites and knowledge learning about the history of Santiago. My favorite spot was seeing road with color. It used to be a Main Street that was recently constructed to be a path where artists paint murals on the walls, people bike, run, and just enjoy the colorful murals.
The Andes Mountains - The city of Santiago sits in a Vally surrounded by the Andes Mountains. We drove about 2 hours deep into the Mountains where I could see snow covered mountains. The roads were small and narrow that could only fit one car at a time. It was a crazy journey to get there. Once we made it I saw this massive reservoir that lies in the middle of the mountains called El Yeso. It was the most incredible site I think I have ever seen because I had no idea what to expect. The water is glacial run off water so it was extremely cold but that obviously didn’t stop me from taking a speedo picture. Ivan and Freddy organized a cute picnic with meats, cheese, and wine. We even had a surprise visit from a heard of goats.
Valparaiso - Valparaiso is a port city that is about an hour west the city of Santiago. It is best known for their colorful homes and street art. When we pulled up to the city it was beautiful to see neon colored houses. I later learned that the houses were constructed from the shipping containers that were left at the port which is why they are so colorful. Between the street art and the local snacks you can adventure the winding streets and you are greeted by everyone that walks by.
Casa Del Bosque Winery - Casa Del Bosque winery is most known for their white wines because it lies on the Casablanca Valley. We got to experience how they harvest and make the wine. We were able to cut our own grapes and dump them into the tank. We then ventured off to try all the various wines this winery had to offer. We ended with Lunch by the man made pond where we laid, drank, and of course took some bum pics :)
Vina Haras de Pirque Winery - When we arrived at the winery, we were greeted by La Bicicleta Verde. They gave us an hour bike tour of the whole winery where we could see the hills, try the grapes, and of course took some pics :). We then got an inside tour from Enzo, where he showed us everything from the procurement to the finished product in the cellar. We tried glasses upon glasses of wine in what was honestly the coolest cellar I have ever been thrown in. The roof was the glass floor of their fountain in in courtyard. It created the most gorgeous lighting and really elevated the whole experience.
The harvest - The harvest was an amazing festival located in the wine country just outside the city of Santiago. It was filled vendors who were selling clothes, snacks, and most importantly wine! You pay for a glass and drink tickets and you walk around what seemed to be over 75 tents just trying everyones wine. From basic wines to premium it was so great to dance drink and be with all the local people. I even smashed grapes with my feet for those you might want to drink my toe wine!
Bars: The prominent "gay-borhood" is Bellavista. You can find numerous LGBTQ bars there. Checkout some of my favorites;
Station Bar - I went here the most for sure. They had great bar food and it was an outdoor lounge scene. This is a place I would suggest starting your night at. They are open everyday except Sundays.
Fausto - A very popular bar for gays of all ages. It has 2 floors and I ended my night here a few times. They played great music, had dancers, and each floor played different music. Fun fact: it is the oldest gay club in Santiago!
Ex Bunker - I guess you can call this more of an event space. Bunker hosts parties, and one I went to was a circuit party. The amount of guys this place fit was insane and I was there until I don't even know what hour. This was one of our favorite gay parties in Santiago.
Circuit Scene: So if you a circuit queen or just love a good party there are 2 main companies in Santiago that throw the best parties. Zion & Taurus. I would suggest looking them up on Instagram in the weeks prior to your arrival and chances are you will be there for a party.
Thank you Pride Tours for giving me an opportunity to see your city! For anyone interested in seeing Santiago whether you are gay or straight Freddy and Ivan really took everything about me and created a weeks worth of excursions that really tailored to me. Hopefully the bum leads me back to the country soon.