Enclosed with mountains, Santiago is Chile’s valley capital as well as the first and final stop on our Chile Grapes, Grit & Stargazing tour. If you’re considering an extra day in the charming city, here are our tips to get the most pound for your Peso.
Where to Stay
Lastarria is Santiago’s trendiest neighbourhood, popping with galleries, restaurants and bars. If you’re feeling hoity-toight, book a spacious room in the neighbourhood at Hotel Luciano K. It was built in the roaring 20s and maintains its lux art deco decor.
If you like the neighbourhood but prefer posh to prohibition, stay at Singular Lastarria where neo-classic reigns supreme.
Prefer local experiences? An abundance of B&Bs are a Google away. That said, with its unpretentious decor, friendly staff and comfortable rooms, our top recommendation is CasaSur Charming Hotel.
Where to Eat
Boragó is the bee’s knees. Helmed by Chef Rodolfo Guzman, the Vitacura restaurant was listed as a World’s Top 50 restaurant for its modern take on Chilean cuisine and continues to win accolades and international acclaim.
For another authentic bite into Chilean cuisine, try Peumayen which draws inspiration from the Mapuche, Rapa Nui and Atacameños.
For lunch, make sure you try a chacarero, the city’s famed sandwich served with thinly sliced churrasco-style steak, tomatoes, green beans and chili pepper. Fuente Alemana, Bar Liguria and Taberna el Hoyo all sling exceptional chacarero. Alternatively, Santiago has a long history with fuente de soda (“Soda Fountain”, think 1950s American diner) and none are as impressive as chef Juan Pablo Mellado’s Fuente Las Cabras.
Finally, be sure to swing by Pisco Bauzá for a guided tasting of the country’s famous liquor. The master distiller, Rodrigo Bauzá, may even be on hand to discuss the different varietals and vintages himself.
Where to Go Out
You’ll want to sashay over to Bellavista, the city’s bohemian quarter and gaybourhood. Specifically, stroll the Bombero Nuñez strip.
Start your evening at Station Bar, where crowds begin elbowing in at 6pm. Plan to have dinner here as their liquor licence prevents them from serving a table without food.
In regards to late night bars and clubs, the selection gets divisive. On a Saturday, Bunker is a mainstay, blasting the usual radio-friendly thumpers. Club Soda is a small venue that regularly attracts a sizable crowd for reggaeton and Latin pop. Illuminati is popular amongst trendier circles while Blondie has the largest mixed LGBTIQQ2S crowd. And while there’s plenty of other clubs worth mentioning we wanted to give a special shout-out to Il Divino, not only the largest gay club in Santiago, but in Latin America.
What to Do
No matter your interest base, Santiago is brimming with sights and activities.
Our top recommendation is hopping on a cable car/gondola up to Cerro San Cristóbal aka Metropolitan Park. Expanding across 722 hectares, the park has the best views of the city and features gorgeous gardens, statues and plenty of quiet places to sit and take in a sunset.
After you’ve enjoyed a birdseye view of the city, hit up individual neighbourhoods. “Sanhattan” is the city’s financial district and a good place to begin. Lastarria is upscale and trendy while aforementioned Bellavista is beautifully bohemian.
Delve into Chile’s colourful art scene by slotting time for Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. Observe a vast collection of vases, textiles, paintings and more. Centro Gabriela Mistral – so named after the first Latin American author to win the Nobel prize – is both a stunning architectural feat as well as a great spot to catch any number of live performances.
Historian? Head to Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos where the renowned museum takes an unflinching look at the country’s dark history. The museum commemorates the victims of the civic-military regime led by Augusto Pinochet between 1973 and 1990.
Where to Shop
With 200 artisan and craft stalls, Pueblito Los Domínicos is your best bet to pick up a souvenir. You’ll find leather work, wood crafts, alpaca wool, jewellery and medicinal herbs as well as some traditional Chilean treats.
That’s all we’ve got!
If you have any questions about sensational Santiago, never hesitate to get in contact. Interested in joining Out Adventures in the narrowest country on Earth? Our Chile Grapes Grit and Stargazing expedition departs January 2019.
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