Sunny Santiago – after being in the snow and coldness of Bolivia; I was so happy to arrive in Santiago and it felt like a British summer. It’s been a while since I felt the sun shine on my face and for it to actually warm up my face!
I was so lucky to have met a young Chilean couple on the plane and they were kind enough to drop me off at the hostel as they had a car and they took me around to see some of Santiago’s best sites too. Their hospitality has given me faith in humanity and another reason why I LOVE CHILEANS!!
I actually really enjoyed the hostel I stayed at as it was centrally located, looked over the square, people I met were cool and they had a cool chill out area. This is a good place to stay in a hostel or they have private rooms too if you are travelling with a partner (or want to get frisky with someone ;))
- Free walking tour – includes some markets, history of Santiago and end up at the Cemetery. The cemetery is quite interesting as it’s so different to Britain as well as our guide gave us a political history talk that hit the heart.
- Museum of Fine Arts – this is a small museum but it’s full of some good sculptures and pieces. As it’s small, you’ll see everything within an hour but worth popping into and then if it’s sunny, chilling on the gardens.
- San Cristobal Hill – where Mary stands and looks over the city of Santiago. It’s quite safe to walk up here or get a cable car. I met another Chilean and another British traveller so we walked up the hill at night to get the top and saw the night sky.
Where I stayed you ask? At a Plaza de Armas Hostel which is centrally located (it’s on the fourth floor) and the building has a mix of places. This is a super good location and modern with a good breakfast. There is a lift in this building but just so you are aware, the Plaza an get dodgy where a lot of theft happens here and there are prostitutes that rent rooms in this building to have a quick seven heaven thing… but they are not on the floor of the hostel so don’t be put off. The locations, price and breakfast makes it all worth it with some pretty good views in the evening.
Then I came back during the day and saw the view during daylight hours –
- Santa Lucia Hill – A small and pretty hill in the centre of Santiago where you can see the East and West sides.
The hill was used as a strategic place to overlook the city and in the 19th century, the La Marcó and Castillo Hidalgo (Hidalgo Castle) fortifications were added but now serves as an escape for the city’s hustle and bustle. If you go to the top, you’ll see the west and east side of Santiago where you can notice the difference in architecture and styles.
- Sky Costanera – tallest building in South America; OF COURSE this is a place to go to and beautiful views especially if you go before sunset so you can see the skyline between the mountains and the city. This is located in a shopping mall and is about 15 minutes walk from the nearest underground stop.
- Parque Bicentenario – a stylish and modern park located in the business district of Santiago (or Canary Wharf) which has a man made lagoon and has some sculptures by local artists. A nice stroll on a sunny day with a beautiful backdrop of the mountains.
- Museo Chilean de Arte Precolombino – a very modern museum filled with pre colombian artefacts and artwork. I learnt that they were doing mummification before the Egyptians which is very grim but yet interesting at the same time.
- Hidden Bar – the hidden speakeasy cocktail bar with the infamous mixologist Nicholas Cornell. This is a prohibition style where the entrance is located behind a bookcase in a hotel. You use the phone to ring and say a password that frequently changes. Follow them on Twitter and Facebook where you can find the password and see what’s behind the bookcase. Or make a reservation. One thing is for sure though that the cocktails are quite pricey here compared to other bars in Santiago.
- TIO WILLY – famous and freshest seafood restaurant located in the market. A visit here where you can have some tasty fruit smoothies and get all your bits and pieces in this market hall.
- Le Bistrot Viet – Vietnamese food is becoming a very popular cuisine in Chile. Being a Vietnamese person who has gone months WITHOUT Vietnamese food hurts me. Vietnamese food represents home for me and it’s the one thing I need to help me carry on travelling. The food here is a fusion blend of Vietnamese and French cuisine which is fresh and tasty. The Madame of this fine establishment is French and Vietnamese who has brought her cooking style to Chile. But not the 100% authenticity I wanted like my mama’s cooking. The decor is colonial French style with a twist of modern and the photography represents the people of Vietnam. I really enjoyed dining here and worth a visit
- Clubbing – there are a lot of places and I wasn’t here long enough to experience all the clubs. I met some locals and we ended up in a techno trance club named ACID.
Oh and if you are out at a bar, try a Piscola – it’s a popular drink in Chile made with Chilean Pisco and mixed with cola. You can order a blanco which is Piscola mixed with lemonade instead.
There are a few supermarkets dotted around the city centre and YOU MUST POP in as the bottle of wines and bottles of sparkling wine is very cheap! (Compared to the UK). You can get a great quality of wine homegrown in Chile or a few dollars or a few pounds. You could literally sample so many different grapes that are grown in Chile for less than $50 USD. That’s cheaper than wine tasting classes that only gives you 3-4 glasses.
Just make sure you carb up as it is a messy evening ahead.