Things To Do In Santiago
The old and new exist side by side in Santiago If you stand from a local viewpoint called Santa Lucia Hill, you will marvel at how the old and new exist side by side in the capital city of Chile - Santiago. A fort was built on the hill by Chile’s Spanish conquerors who founded the city in 1541. Santiago is Chile’s largest city and one of the main industrial cities of the region. Its main port, Valparaiso serves Santiago which lies 60 miles inland with progressive industries that are focused on iron, steel, textiles and chemicals.
When To Go:
The city revels in a Mediterranean atmosphere with four overall characterized seasons. The climate is practically identical to that of central and southern California. Despite the season, sunblock is determinedly prescribed for even the most limited relaxed walk. Springtime falls in the middle of September and November, a gentle and calm time of year and also the most ideal time to tour the city, plus, this is the time when the plants, flowers, and trees are thriving. Temperatures range from at least 6 degrees C (43 degrees F) to 23 degrees C (73 degrees F).
Summer season starts from December to February, a period of year described by hot and dry temperatures ranging from 12 degrees C (53 degrees F) to a high of 34 degrees C (93 degrees F) amid the day (with detectable chilling off during the evening).
Here the top things to do when in the city of Santiago.
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Museum of Memory and Human Rights
The Museum of Memory and Human Rights is a mandatory stop in Santiago. It shows how cruel the military dictatorship was in Chile. It is an important point of interest to understand a bit of Chilean history and other countries that also suffered from the regime. It tells the story of the military dictatorship in Chile from the point of view of the victims. It has an audio of President Ignacio Allende, who later died during the seizure of power by the military. The atmosphere is heavy and tense, but it is certainly one of the best museums in Santiago.
Pinochet seized control from the democratically elected socialist leader Salvador Allende in 1973. While Pinochet was in power, thousands of people who opposed his government left Chile, died in civil war, or were imprisoned. Others disappeared or were tortured. A democratically elected government replaced Pinochet in 1990, but he remained head of the armed forces.
The museum aims to educate everyone about the history of Chilean dictatorship. The videos about the taking of the Palacio de la Moneda are very dramatic and chilling. This place also highlights the objects of prisoners and the missing persons, reports of who were against the military coup and kicked out of the military, list of survivors, and an iron bed that serves as an electroshock machine which shows the brutality of the regime. The collection is fantastic and helps to honor the people who died or disappeared while fighting the military regime. In addition, the memorial helps everyone to not forget the horrors of a ruthless dictatorship rule. Entrance to the museum is free, but the audio guide comes with a fee. The museum can be easily accessed by the Metrotrain if you take the ride down by the Quinta Normal Station.
Indo Pro Chile
One of the exciting things to do in the city is to make a visit to the wineries located in Santiago. The package tour to the wineries offered by the Indo Pro Chile is the ideal example of excellence in service. With this tour you can explore three wineries. First in line is the Valle Nevado where you will be welcomed by a good guide named Mr. Francisco who is just too attentive, funny and very friendly. Besides making a stop in Valle Nevado, you can stop by the road to take pictures, see some foxes along the way, and learn some tips about wine processing and tasting.
The second tour involves a visit to the Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, also equipped with friendly and attentive staff. The third stop happens at the vinery of the Concha y Toro where you can explore how wine is processed and preserved.
The wines here are sampled carefully by the winemakers to see if it has matured properly. Chile has been producing wine since the 1500’s and today exports it all over the world. The experience of going around the vineries is very enlightening. The guides talk a lot and give great valuable tips about how to pick a good Chile wine and to know the distinction of each. Despite time and destinations defined, the staff and guides are very flexible.
Andes Mountains (Andes Explora)
The Andes is a place that everyone should have an obligation to know. Santiago is hemmed in by the majestic Andes Mountains. These mark as a fault in the Earth’s crust which causes volcanic eruptions and earthquakes – both Santiago and the Valparaiso have been devastated by earthquakes before. The package tours offered by the Andes Explora will make your tour of the Andes Mountains a worthwhile experience. The Andes is a place that everyone should have an obligation to know while in the city of Santiago. Be prepared with warm clothing as the altitude is very high.
The trek begins with taking the trails to see the Laguna Negra with the staff of the Andes explores the place is simply amazing and worth every second of effort.
It takes a marvelous amount of stamina to traverse the approximately 8km walk (4 of which are steep) with snow to the knee, cold and thin air, but the place is all worth it. The staff of the Andes is super attentive and very well prepared. Included in the package is transporting, picking up at the hotel, food and trekking. It is important to get geared up with the appropriate attire; trekking shoes, extra warm clothes, cap and a walking stick. It is highly recommended to rent the boots and waterproof pants, as well as bringing snack and enough drinking water inside your backpack. There are plenty more to invest in what really matters once you are up there like; the cable car ride, hut rentals, restaurant dine-ins, and ski lessons.
In Santiago, there are many things to see and this house shared by renowned poet Pablo Neruda and his wife Matilde is one of those. Even if you're not a fan of the poetry of Pablo Neruda, it will capture your interest and a visit is required to understand what La Chascona is all about. There is an accompanying audio guide and like most places of interest in Santiago, this house is closed on Mondays. Surely, the La Chascona is not like the house of Isla Negra (the second house of Pablo in Chile), but the charm of the neighborhood Barrio Bellavista and the uniqueness of this house make a visit to this casita of Pablo Neruda here in the capital city mandatory.
It’s a nice place and you can feel the presence of the poet, and of course much of the history of Chile.
The visit is interesting and helps every guest understand better who Pablo Neruda was beyond his famous books and poems. This is the house where he spent the last years of his life with his partner after a painful divorce from his wife. The house is all in all modest about his reputation, fair and quite an eye-opener about who the man really is. It stands in a very quiet area, filled with beautiful rooms and an all glass windows where you can imagine Pablo Neruda sitting in his chair and reading a book.
The Barrio Bellavista is a small community located between the Mapocho River and the San Cristóbal Hill area, near the center and is characterized by places to eat and buy handicrafts. It is ideal to combine the tour with a ride to the lower funicular hill and have lunch here. The heart of the place is the Patio Bellavista with good places to eat and shop but not too cheap.
This barrio is famous for its discos and restaurants. The cosmopolitan area is surrounded by cafes; restaurants, museums, and theaters. An area full of life but in the evening, the day is very calm. There are plenty of restaurants and meeting places of all kinds, a lot of youth, and many street performers who play their instruments.
Museo Interactivo Mirador
The Museo Interactivo Mirador is a very fun place to go with family, especially with younger children, as it is very entertaining and educational at the same time. In this place you can find many things to discover, both for the kids and adults and stands very close to the Mirador. There are play and learning areas for kids starting from ages 6 to 7 years old. The well maintained aquarium is also worth the visit. If you feel famished, there is a large food court where you can enjoy a nice lunch or buy snacks with.
This museum is a great place to take your children and introduce them to the fascinating world of science. It has multiple opportunities for exploration, to experience sensations, play, let their imagination fly, etc. You can see various industrial processes, physical or chemical, attend workshops, watch 3D cinema, play games and learn while having fun.
If you have the opportunity to visit the Parque Araucano, or if you ever want to surprise your family with a picnic, this is the right place. There is a wide space ideal for strolling, all green, picnic area, and playgrounds to let your child run free.
It is a great place to explore, sit in the grass, see people walking dogs, teens playing skates, and many people taking pictures with the Santiago skyline as their background. It is Chile's central park, very safe, full of flowers and plants, quiet, and clean. This park is a real “green lung”, with places to meet and relax, and play/exercise machines for children; it is a place that is full of entertainment for all.
The Barrio Lastarria is the best street in town for a relaxed dinner in the evening because of its many terraced restaurants. However, it's more of a bohemian neighborhood street lined with beautiful houses. It stands close to the Museum of Fine Arts and the Parque Forestal. It is one of the most characteristic neighborhoods of the city where you can find fine dining restaurants, shopping centers, and clothing stores. They also organize various cultural events and celebrate it at the central part of the community. It is a point of interest in Santiago that must not to be missed.
The Patio Bellavista is a tourist and commercial center par excellence characterized by a large number of nightclubs, bars, restaurants and shops. It is ideal for the outputs of the weekend, but also for those midweek gatherings and dining out experience. It is near the zoo in Santiago, the house of Pablo Neruda and the Cerro San Cristobal.
The vibrant nightlife of Santiago is here. It is a place where you can meet lots of people and have a wide variety of dining alternatives concentrated in a small square. There are craft shops, souvenir stalls, and outdoor concerts to watch every night. It is quite expensive but very safe and located in the heart of the city.
Cerro San Cristobal
To have a better understanding of the Cerro San Cristobal, take the cable car ride. The view of Santiago is breathtaking from the top of the hill. There is a large statue of the Virgin at the top and a statue of the Blessed Pope John Paul II. Chileans love the late Pope John Paul II and remember him with utmost respect.
At the viewing platform you can see the entire stretch of the Andes Mountains and the smog images of the city amidst the tall and modern buildings. Take the time to climb the hill, the view is not only magnificent, it also exudes a special energy. It's interesting to walk and climb back down the funicular.
Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
The Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana) is located in the historic center of the city. No problem, you can go inside, come as tourists and locals alike, to pray and find time for contemplation. It was built in neo-classical style, and everything is well kept. The interior is impressive, especially the ceiling that uses a lot of colors and decorated with mosaics. It stands adjacent to another famous attraction in Santiago, the Plaza de Armas which is equally beautiful.
It is one of the few attractions of Santiago that you must definitely look into. It has very beautiful interiors and good organ music played during the Holy Mass. Also on the walls of the cathedral are many wonderful frescoes but taking pictures of it is not allowed. It is a cozy spot where you can see a temple in very good condition and where the influence of the Spaniards who arrived many years ago remains visible. For the lovers of architecture, it is a place to meet and admire the architecture of the cathedral and also the excellent state of preservation.
The Parque Bicentenario is a nice park suitable for jogging and all outdoor activities. They say it is one of the only parks in Santiago, but in fact there are several. This, however, is a paradise, and just a few steps away from the residential area that is quiet and neat, with fish in the ponds and birds of all kinds. There are excellent and elegant restaurants where you can stop for a bite during times of lunch or dinner.
The Bicentennial Park was opened a few years ago, but it is a great example of how you can create a green lung that is useful not only to the city, but also to the many tourists that visit the area.
Meanwhile, it is well-kept with paths not only for both the exercise buffs who like to go jogging and biking on its premises, but also with wide green spaces where you can relax or take a walk. In most parts of the park there are also dedicated areas for children where they may play in tranquility. It should be emphasized that there is also a space for children with disabilities, and where they can play like everybody else.
The La Moneda is the official residence of the President of the Republic that sadly came to prominence at the time of the coup of General Pinochet. Today, the old building is completely restored and has become a cultural center that attracts many tourists. It is located on the central avenue of Santiago called the Alameda Bernard O'Higgins.
La Moneda is in the heart of Santiago and regarded as a famous landmark, in addition to housing the seat of the ruling government. The building is beautiful and in some days of the week you can see the ritual of the Changing of the Guard, which is pretty cool. Just in front of the Moneda waves a beautiful and huge flag of Chile. A very touching sign as it gets unfurled by the winds of the now quiet, free, and safe nation.
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