Shopping, nightlife, museums and mountaintop views of the city; Santiago de Chile is so much more than just a stopover.
Chile’s capital city, Santiago, may evoke a different sense of Latin American passion compared with vibrant Buenos Aires or the samba spirit of Rio de Janeiro, but this modern cosmopolitan city is just as interesting and intriguing once you get under its skin. There are also day trips to the wine region or ski resorts on offer, stunning mountain views, exclusive boutiques where you can ‘shop till you drop’, and no end of fine restaurants to enjoy; far more than simply a convenient stopover en route to Patagonia or the Atacama Desert!
Though the Andes mountain range is always in view during your stay in Santiago de Chile, it is climbing to the viewpoints of Cerro San Cristobal and Cerro Santa Lucia that offers the ultimate panoramic vistas of the city, setting it within its picturesque valley context. Here, you can witness a capital which is protected on all sides by its natural Andean location, a fact which attributes Santiago its own mini weather system as well as providing a superb view to fill the horizon!
Plaza de Armas is widely considered the historical part of town and is well worth a leisurely stroll to take in the local atmosphere, something which can also be found in the many indoor food markets and taverns. The museums of Memory and Human Rights, Pre-Columbian and Contemporary Art, as well as Natural History, all offer real cultural insight into Chile’s past and present; while shopping boulevards, the national theatre and many pedestrianised streets filled with bars and restaurants will satisfy every taste, as well as introducing you to the nightlife and music of the capital. If looking for a day trip, the Central Valley wine region of Chile is within touching distance, as are ski resorts of the Andes and the artistic coastal town of Valparaiso, all of which is nicely wrapped up in the typically civilised and welcoming way of life here.
Walking tour of Santiago
A walking city tour is the best way to really dig under the surface and learn all about Santiago, getting to know its people, the way of life and interesting history. Explore everything from old colonial streets to shopping hubs, the beautiful Plaza de Armas to bohemian neighbourhoods. Most importantly, a climb up the Cerro San Cristobal will reward you with views over the city to the Andes, so you can get your bearings and take in Santiago from the rooftops.
The Andes for a day
With the mountains framing the backdrop of Santiago, there’s a constant reminder that adventure is never far away. You can hot-foot it to the Andes on a day trip, heading to one of the ski resorts for some winter sports on the snow-carpeted slopes, or summer activities such as hiking, depending on the season. Whatever the time of year, this setting is the perfect place to escape the city for a day and enjoy the adventure.
Wine tasting from Santiago
Santiago is within easy reach of Chile’s irresistible wine region, making tasting tours all too impossible to turn down. Revel in the vine-clad valleys as you visit superb wineries that provide an in-depth explanation of their particular methods of production, not to mention exquisite varieties to sample – and if you’re impressed, why not take home a bottle or two!