As winter begins to settle in as a definite reality and the cold takes a center stage, Chileans find comfort in tradition.
Among the many options that can make any gray day seem sunnier or bring warmth to a night, a cup of vino navegado (“sailed wine”) and a visit to Chile’s hot springs are the perfect pair of cold-defeating liquid pleasures.
Legend has it that the drink earned it’s name – which literally means “sailed wine” – because someone once compared the floating orange slices to ships in the middle of the ocean. Indeed, after a few cups, you can imagine the Pacific Ocean in your cup, stirring ts powerful currents on a stormy night.
This drink is a popular winter staple, and it is not uncommon to find it in folkloric peñas or cultural hubs as well as in traditional events in southern Chile. Pair with a tasty sopaipilla – a fried pumpkin dough traditionally eaten on rainy days!
A litter of red Chilean wine
Three to four spoonfuls of sugar
Eight to ten cloves
One to two oranges, sliced
Option: cinnamon sticks
In a deep pot, pour the wine and add the cloves and the sugar. Boil at low heat. Once it boils, add the oranges in thin slices – with the peels but without the seeds. Boil again, always at a low heat and that’s it! If you wish, you can add some pisco or aguardiente.
Tip: Don’t boil for too long after adding the orange, because the alcohol will evaporate and the liquid will become bitter.
Thermal baths and hot springs
Hot springs are a great way to escape the cold, and shake off some of the weekday stress with a nice, relaxing soak. Hot springs abound from north to south; here, a few possibilities:
If you are going to visit the north of Chile, you can visit the Termas de Puritama, which are only 30km from San Pedro de Atacama. The pools are located in a mountain enclave on the way towards the Tatio Geysers. The eight pools are filled with water that can reach 90ºF (32 C°) and are connected by wooden trails.
South of Santiago and near the border of the Biobío region, the Termas de Quinamávida date to 1876, although indigenous groups used these curative waters long before then. Here, you can enjoy mud massages and wine therapy, as well as the hot thermal baths.
One of Chile’s most elegant options, the Termas de Puyuhuapi are located on the Carretera Austral. Here you will find a luxury hotel on a fjord with an incredible view and hot springs, both indoors and outdoors, as well as a natural pool, and a complete spa where you can enjoy beauty treatments and relaxation.