A Travellerspoint blog

Sunny days in Sanhattan

Exploring Santiago, the Chilean capital

View South America on loscaracoles's travel map.

Continuing our journey with Frankie and Geoffrey (Stuart's parents), we caught a bus to Santiago, the capital of Chile. Stu and I were very excited to see the size of the hotel rooms and that it had a rooftop pool too (we would make good use of this over the next few days). Not very typical on a backpacking trip!


Stuart and I were very excited to find a perfect running park near us with lakes and mountain and city views so we enjoyed running early each morning while we were here. We've really noticed our fitness levels plummet during this trip, despite all of the hiking so we're hoping to take every opportunity to run when we can, now that we are in places with parks and it feels a little safer.


After checking in, we decided to travel to the Costanera Centre, the tallest building in Latin America, where they have an observation deck with amazing 360°views of the city and surrounding mountains. It was a great introduction to Santiago and we enjoyed a drink while looking at the view. Later that night, we went out for a really good curry and some drinks. We are being spoilt rotten with amazing food and copious amounts of Chilean wine on this part of our trip! (Thank you Frankie and Geoffrey!)


The next day, as is our tradition, we took part in a walking tour of the old town. Our guide, Diego, took us around a number of buildings and districts, teaching us about the history of Chile, particularly the politics and dictatorship of the 70s and 80s. It was really interesting and quite shocking how little I knew about what went on here in such recent history.


We returned to a couple of the recommended museums later in the week; the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, and the Museum of Pre-colonial Art. The first of these was quite shocking and depressing, hearing about the suffering and torture of so many Chileans by the (Pinochet dictatorship) government, because of their political views. There were photos of many victims and memorials to them, as well as objects and video testimonies of survivors' experiences.


The second museum had lots of examples of art from different tribes across Chile before it was Chile. It was interesting to see the wide range of styles and how many different tribes there were in this area.


In the afternoon, we took the funicular up to Parque Metropolitan, and rode the cable car across the park admiring the views. It was beautiful but quite hazy so we sadly couldn't really see the mountains. We enjoyed a glass of wine in the park cafe before returning to the hotel.


That evening, we had another really nice meal in a Peruvian restaurant, where we were bribed by the waiter with pisco sours to give him a 5* review on Google (which of course we did!)


On our other day in Santiago, we decided to leave the city and see some of the Andes scenery in the Cajon del Maipo valley and the El Yeso Reservoir. Once more, we were treated to amazing views of mountains, a glacier, waterfalls and a bright blue lake. I'm not sure we could ever get fed up with these views… We also had some cheese, wine and snacks by the waterfall for our lunch which was a nice additional touch to the tour.


On the way back, we visited the Casa del Chocolate, an interesting wooden building with beautiful gardens, where we enjoyed an ice-cream before getting back on the bus.


We've enjoyed our time in Santiago. It doesn't feel much like the rest of South America which we've visited so far, more like a fusion of US and European buildings and cultures, but a nice city.

Our next destination was Mendoza in Argentina so we took an 8 hour bus journey across the Andes. The scenery was impressive but the border crossing took a very long time and was the most confusing so far. We were a little worried as we didn't get any passport stamps, but the bus driver assured us that this is normal when entering Argentina. I guess we'll find out when we next get a plane or cross back into Chile…



Posted by loscaracoles 14:59 Archived in Chile

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

Comments on this blog entry are now closed to non-Travellerspoint members. You can still leave a comment if you are a member of Travellerspoint.