Glittering glass buildings surrounded by architectural wonders and snowcapped mountains…
…sound like somewhere special? Santiago, the capital of Chile, is a perfect gem of a city nestled within the Andes Mountains.
The city’s incredible mix of ancient tradition, European influence and beautiful wonders of the natural world, leave you with plenty of things to see and experience. Feeling a little overwhelmed? Take a look at these nine sights to see in (and around) Santiago to help get your trip started.
1.) Enjoy the views at Valle Nevado
If you love skiing and snowboarding you’ll be thrilled to know that there’s an incredible spot just 90 minutes outside Santiago! It is said that Valle Nevado offers some of the best skiing in the Andes… but that’s for you to decide. 🙂
Whether you’ve got crazy skills in the snow, or if you’re just starting out, Valle Nevado as something appropriate for every level (thank goodness for them blue slopes). In the summer months, don’t forget the opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding through the mountains.
2.) See the impressive views from Costanera Center
Rising high above the rest of the city is the glittering glass Costanera Center, a pretty epic skyscraper! For one of the best, and certainly the highest, views in Latin America, go to the Sky viewpoint. Nearly 1,000 feet (304 m) tall, the Sky centre offers 360-degree views of the city below, as well as the surrounding Andes.
Just remember that it’s not for those with vertigo!
3.) Enjoy palace life at La Moneda Palace
The seat of the President of the Republic of Chile is housed at Palacio de La Moneda, and is one of the many beautiful buildings found in the capital itself. The neoclassical design was created by an Italian architect named Joaquin Toesca in the late 1700’s.
Visitors are allowed to freely wander through the inner courtyards, as well as reserve a free tour through the palace. Tours are offered multiple times per day and can be reserved by either emailing the palace yourself or asking your hotel (or your amazing Airbnb) for some assistance.
4.) See the incredible natural beauty of Cajon del Maipo
About 15 miles (25 km) south-east of Santiago, you will find a massive gorge on the Rio Maipo. It is here that many residents of Santiago come to for their outdoor adventures and a perfect place to enjoy a local’s favourite!
You’ll be able to enjoy camping, hiking rafting, skiing, and cycling at Cajon, as well as visit the delicious winery nearby. Keep in mind, Chile is in the Southern Hemisphere, meaning their seasons are opposite those of the Northern Hemisphere. Especially if you’re planning on skiing during your Christmas holidays.
5.) Enjoy the city’s beautiful Cerro Santa Lucia
Cerro Santa Lucia is a small, intimate hill-park in the centre of Santiago. Don’t let the word ‘small’ fool you; this park offers some pretty big views, as well as a lot of beauty. As you stroll up the hill, make sure to stop and see Fuente Neptuno and Castillo Hidalgo, two impressive structures located within the park. The park was formerly a rocky, unkempt hill until the 19th-century mayor Mackenna turned it into a perfectly manicured piece of beauty.
The park was formerly a rocky, unkempt hill until the 19th-century mayor Mackenna turned it into a perfectly manicured piece of beauty for everyone to enjoy!
6.) Discover ancient artworks at Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
The best place for finding artworks and artefacts from pre-Columbian Central and South America is at Santiago’s Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino. Artistic sculptures, textiles jewellery, and other amazing artefacts can be found within the museum that is open daily.
7.) Ride the funicular at Metropolitan Park
Those looking for the best views of Santiago should head to Metropolitan Park, where cable cars will take visitors to the top of the San Cristobal Hill. Also featured in the park is a funicular, which dates back to 1925, a zoo, botanical gardens, a religious sanctuary, and a children’s park. What else could you possibly hope to find within one park?
What else could you possibly hope to find within one park!
8.) Take a rather macabre tour of Cementerio General de Santiago
Established in 1821, Santiago’s main cemetery is one of the largest in Latin America. In the space of 210 acres (85 hectares) located in the northern section of Santiago, approximately 2 million bodies are buried, and with room for more still! join in on a night tour of the cemetery! A two-hour long tour takes you through the entire cemetery, and for only the price equivalent of $5 USD. Night tours are offered on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays to people 18 years old and older.
A little macabre, you can actually join a night tour of the cemetery! A two-hour long tour takes you through the entire cemetery! Night tours are offered on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays to people 18 years old and older.
9.) People watch in Plaza de Armas
Right in the centre of the Chilean capital, among its old colonial streets, sits the heart of the city: the Plaza de Armas. Established in 1541 as the city’s main area for religious events and political news, today it is mainly used as a gathering spot and a great place for people-watching.
It’s a great place to start your wanderings around this incredible city!