Santiago de Chile, a sprawling city, combines the sounds and tastes of South American culture with European architecture built by the conquistadors in 1541.
Santiago's downtown feels quite tranquil despite being home to over 6.3 million people. Santiago is a large capital city with plenty of green spaces. You can walk to any of the hills rising out of the city.
Chile's capital is a great place to blend urban life and natural scenery, with the Andes mountain range just a few steps away.
Santiago, a city that blends so many elements, is often overlooked. Many tourists who fly to Santiago head straight for the Atacama Desert and Patagonia natural wonders.
It has felt like Santiago is experiencing a revival in recent years. Many tourists are now stopping by the Central Market to try ceviche.
Take some time to explore the splendid attractions of this place, and make your trip worthwhile. While booking your flights from Las Vegas to Santiago, don’t just fool around restaurants and tall buildings. Instead, take a good note of what’s under the table.
Santiago: Where to Stay
It is the most popular area for travellers. This is the best area in the city for nightlife and beautiful homes.
There are many good hostels. It's a short walk from here to the town centre and Emporio De Rosa, reputedly the best ice cream parlour in the world.
Bellavista's Top Hostels
Rado Boutique Hostel is a popular choice due to its central location (right in the heart of the action), modern, clean design, and, most importantly, its incredible roof-terrace. Privates start at $70, while a dormitory bed starts at $20 USD.
Although technically Hostal Providencia can be found in Bellavista's immediate vicinity, it is only a 10-minute walk away. You have to earn those terremotos! You'll find a friendly staff, comfortable beds, and a great price starting at $10 USD.
Another backpacker favorite is Salvador Hostal & Café, which is located just outside Bellavista. Guests regularly praise the spacious rooms, excellent staff, and impeccable cleanliness. Dorm beds start at $10 USD and private singles start at $20.
Barrio Brasil is a little further from the town centre and takes about twenty minutes to get there by taxi.
Casa Roja is located here, so it's worth paying a taxi ride. Casa Roja, a large, converted nunnery, is a popular hostel for travellers. You can enjoy the pool and bar by the pool, while in winter you can sit at the indoor bar and sip some of Santiago's best wines.
Santiago: Things to Do
Tours for Tips - Walking or Cycling
Santiago's "Tours for Tips" (walking or cycling tours) is a great way of discovering the hidden places of Santiago, especially if time is tight. This is a great thing to do your first day in the city to help you get to know the area.
Friendly and knowledgeable guide (look out for someone dressed up as Where's Wally!) You will be taken to several important places in the city, such as the Mercado Central or Santiago's National Cemetery.
The idea is 'You-Pay-What-You-Want' - or whatever you think the tour is worth. Every day, walking tours depart from different landmarks around the city at 10 and 3 pm.
The morning tour, 'Santiago onbeat', offers alternative perspectives into the city like street art and gastronomy. While the afternoon tour, 'Santiago Highlights' gives you a more traditional cultural and historical perspective. The Tours For Tips website has more information about the tours, and you are encouraged to book your spot! The same company offers tours in Valparaiso, a coastal city.
Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos
The Museum of Memory and Human Rights, a museum that honors victims of human rights violations at the hands of Pinochet between 1973 and 1990, is located in the Museum of Human Rights.
It is a very detailed and comprehensive museum that explains the rise of the junta to power, as well as the events leading to Pinochet’s fall. This museum is more than just a record of Chile's past. It also helps Chile come to terms with that period of its history.
Visit Mercado Central:
The Central Market is famous for its seafood. Here you can try Chile's most popular dish, ceviche. While the restaurants located in the middle of the market offer a more intimate dining experience, you can also eat in the cafés near the entrance if you are looking for value for your money.
The General Cemetery
El Cementerio General, Chile's oldest and largest cemetery, is also one of the most extensive cemeteries in Latin America. It was established in 1821 and is home to more than two million people, including Chile's presidents and the military dictator Augusto Pinet.
You'll see elaborate tombstones that look more like apartments than graves. There are also shrines to saints called 'animitas' where people leave flowers and prayers.
Pablo Neruda was Chile's most well-known poet. He had a remarkable collection of houses that were intricately designed in different parts.
His Santiago home is as unconventional as his personality. It consists of a series of small buildings that are built on a sloped garden and each have a unique function. The audio guide is worth the investment, as it explains the history of the interiors and gives a glimpse into Neruda's character.
Santiago is not only known for its salsa scene, although that is a good thing.
Like many South American cities, nightlife is rarely started after midnight. It ends when the sun rises.
Cerro San Cristobel
Santiago has so many hills called "Cerros" that it is difficult to choose the one with the best view. For its breathtaking view, the Cerro San Cristobal viewpoint is the most sought-after.
A funicular can be taken from Barrio Bellavista's bottom to the top of the hill. There, a tall statue of the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción towers over you while you take photos.
Cerro San Lucia
Cerro San Cristobel is smaller than Cerro San Lucia, but Cerro San Lucia remains a symbol of the city's past as the spot where Pedro de Valdivia, the Spanish conquistador, conquered the city in December 13th 1541. A picturesque, landscaped park is located just below the viewpoint. It provides a peaceful escape from the bustling city below.
Santiago's Top 10 Foods
La Vega Market features a variety of fruits and vegetables from both the native and surrounding countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, and Bolivia. This is a great place to try new and unique foods.
Markets were once so big that they needed to be consolidated. Now, the markets are regulated to ensure quality and quantity. You should try the many stall foods available, including these delicious treats.
Toffee Apples: Trays of fresh, homemade toffee apples are sold from carts along Pio Nono in Bella Vista. They are delicious and so sticky.
Waffle taco wraps - Buffalo Waffles On Merced. There are many sweet and savoury waffle delights.
Italiano Supremo: A hot dog with all the trimmings. "The Lot" includes bun, dog and avocado/guac. Sauerkraut, tomato salsa, sauce, sour cream, and sauce are all included. You will need extra serviettes because it can get messy, but it is totally worth it.
Ice cream - Chileans are the largest ice cream consumers in South and Latin America. Santiago is home to many high quality ice creameries. Emporio la Rosa was my favorite, and I enjoyed the honey and rose ice cream.
Pino Empanada-This Chilean classic empanada is made with ground beef, onions and raisins. It also includes half of a hard-boiled egg.
Sopaipilla is a deep-fried pumpkin dough scallop that can be found at almost every street corner for the modest price of CLP$150
Pisco Sour – The Chilean pisco sour is quite different from the Peruvian. The Chileans love sugar, so this version is sweeter. However, Peruvians use egg whites. This is a sweeter version, which makes it much easier to drink but just as dangerous for hangovers.
Piscola – Similar to the pisco sour, but with a soft drink base. The color of the soda can vary depending on whether it is ginger ale, lemonade, or coke. This well-loved cocktail is celebrated on 8 February, the "Day of the Piscola".
Terremoto - Chile's national cocktail, "Earthquake", is made of cheap white wine (goon for the Aussie contingent), pineapple and grenadine. There are many recipes that can include or exclude pisco, sugar, and fernet. The shaking sensations you experience when alcohol suddenly hits your system are what make this drink so popular.
There are several places to discover and learn more about this place. So, if you’re visiting and taking flights from Los Angeles to Curaçao, then take a stroll of the entire city and find out what’s hidden in those tiny bustling streets. Also, book your tickets with Lowest Flight Fare to avail impressive deals.