Santiago, also known as Santiago de Chile to distinguish it from other cities of the same name, is the capital of the country. The population in 2014 reached just over 7 million. Although founded in 1541 by Pedro de Valdivia, it was not until the late 18th. century that Santiago acquired the category of major city and especially the last few decades, have marked a great period of expansion. Today, Santiago is considered the most sustainable city in Latin America, -said by the Inter- American Development Bank-, and one of the most important tourist destinations in the South American Continent. Although without beaches, but because of its modernity, dynamic trade and tourist attractions Santiago is also known as "The Miami of South America" by visitors from bordering countries.
"Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez" is the International Airport of Santiago, also connected to the major cities of the country, meets the highest safety standards and is the most important point of arrival of international passengers. By land, there are many border crossings connecting Chile to the neighboring countries, the most important and closest to Santiago being "Paso Los Libertadores", also known as "Cristo Redentor", 153 km from Santiago, in the Cordillera de Los Andes (Andes Mountain Range), altitude of 3,200 Mts., connects with the province of Mendoza, Argentina.
|Santiago, the most sustainable city in Latin America according to the Inter- American Development Bank.|
Places to visit in Santiago:
Palacio de La Moneda
|"La Moneda" Presidential Palace, Chile - Photo: Pixabay|
Plaza de la Constitucion
The Plaza de la Constitucion is located in the Barrio Civico of Santiago, surrounded mostly by buildings intended for government offices, and a minority for trade. Until the early 1900s the place was a residential area, in 1925 began the construction of two large buildings, which until today belong to Ministries. Other buildings around the Plaza belong to "Palacio de la Moneda" (the Government Palace), the Municipality of Santiago, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Justice, the Central Bank of Chile and the Minister of Labour. It is located within walking distance of the Metro Stations Universidad de Chile and La Moneda.
The Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago is the main Catholic temple in Chile. Its current building dates back to 1748, but before this church there were other edifices, destroyed by fires or earthquakes. In fact, the current building is the fifth erected on the site for the same purpose. The Cathedral is located in the heart of Santiago, on one side of the Plaza de Armas, place today known as the "Km. 0 of Chile". Since 1952 the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago de Chile is a National Monument, it also has an incalculable historical value for the country because here lie the remains of many bishops of the Chilean Catholic Church, other great personalities and is the place to celebrate the most important commemorative ceremonies of the Nation, as the "Te Deum Ecumenico" of the Independence Day.
One of the most traditional places to eat in Santiago, declared Historical Monument, 3 blocks away from Plaza de Armas, much visited by tourists. This is one of the most representative places of Chilean popular culture, you can go to many typical restaurants that specialize in serving both national and international travellers, with rich gastronomy based on fish and seafood. There is also a large variety of handicraft stores, meat, fish and vegetable stands, etc.
San Cristobal Hill and Metropolitan Park
|San Cristobal Hill - Photo: Pixabay|
A relic and Historical Monument of the Metropolitan Park is the "Manuel Foster" Astronomical Observatory, more than 100 years of existence (since 1903) with its almost original equipment. Other attractions in the park are the Tupahue and Antilen swimming pools, Restaurants, Convention Centers, Anfiteatro de las Naciones y las Artes "Pablo Neruda", Plaza de Juegos de Niños "Gabriela Mistral", botanical gardens, lookouts, numerous trails frequented by sportsmen, etc.
Santiago Cable Car
Reopened at the end of 2016, this tourist transport is located at Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, the largest urban park in Latin America, with 46 last generation cabins, a capacity for six passengers each, some of them adapted for people with reduced mobility and strollers, special demarcation for blind people and bike racks to carry four bicycles each. In total there will be three stations that make up this renewed transport network: Cumbre, Tupahue, and Oasis. Since its reopening, the Teleferico de Santiago is again becoming one of the most favorite tours for both local and tourists.
Cerro Santa Lucia (Santa Lucia Hill)
|Photo Rights: www.filmcommissionchile.org|
Situated at the center of the city, very close to the Metro Station of the same name. It is a small hill (69 mts. height) called Huelén by the pre- Columbian natives, the History of Santiago is reflected here from its birth until now. Its main importance lies in the fact that precisely here, under the shelter of the hill, was founded the city of Santiago on February 12, 1541. On the southern slope, carved in stone, is the reproduction of the letter sent by Pedro de Valdivia, founder of the city to the Emperor Carlos V, reporting enthusiastically about the new conquered lands and the advantages of settling in Chile. During the colonial period, the hill served as a watchtower and fortifications with their defense batteries were built atop the summit. In 1872, on the initiative of the Mayor of Santiago, Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna, begins a complete remodeling plan to transform the area into a public promenade. Since then until today, Cerro Santa Lucia is one of the most visited places in Santiago for its easy access, exceptional location and beautiful environment. An old tradition is the cannon shot fired daily exactly at twelve o'clock to announce noon.
Iglesia de San Francisco (San Francisco Church)
The Iglesia San Francisco, located on Avenida Libertador Bernardo O' Higgins, in the heart of Santiago is the oldest architectural monument in Chile. Adjacent to the temple there is a museum with valuable religious relics of colonial times. Since 1951 it is a National Monument and in 1998 was presented by the Chilean authorities to UNESCO to be considered a World Heritage. This monument also represents an extraordinary example of architectural solidity, since its thick walls are part of the first construction, dating from the late sixteenth century. Not even the earthquakes that throughout the history have ravaged the city, have been able to destroy them.
This urban park has to date over one hundred years of existence since it was created in the early twentieth century, however it continues to be one of the main green lungs of Chile´s capital. It is located in the northern area of the commune of Santiago, flanked on the North side by the Mapocho River. On the south sidewalk of the park there is a continuous facade of elegant buildings, these residences of the fifties and sixties are today highly prized for its view of the park and its central location. Along the park, from the Pio Nono Bridge on the East to the Mapocho Cultural Center, you can tour significant and emblematic places such as Lastarria and Bellas Artes Quarters, the Centro Historico, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Fuente Alemana (German Fountain) and other important monuments of the city. One of the biggest attractions during the tour through the Parque Forestal is the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts). The neoclassical building designed by the Chilean- French architect Emile Jequier displays an interesting sculpture collection made by Chilean artists. Behind the Museum is located one of the sites of the Santiago Museum of Contemporary Art.
|Loreto St. in Barrio Bellavista - Photo: latercera.com|
Museums, Culture in Santiago
The Chilean Capital is not just a busy city, of great economic dynamism but there is also a good space for a diversity of Museums and cultural activities. Santiago offers a wide variety of galleries to learn more about the culture of the country, its people, history, art and natural wonders. For information about culture in Santiago visit my page Museums and Culture in Santiago.
Chilean National Zoo
Occupying an area of 4.8 hectares on the SE slope of Cerro San Cristobal (San Cristobal Hill), Metropolitan Park of Santiago. It is the main Zoo in Chile, with more than a thousand animals. For almost a century, since 1925, it has been a traditional place to visit, among others, for its beautiful natural surroundings and prime location within the city. It is worth mentioning that the complete tour of the Zoo is quite tiring, as the hill has many different levels and one is going up and down continuosly. In summer you should be prepared to beat the heat (in my first visit when I was a child I suffered severe sunstroke).
Summer Hours: 10:00 to 18:00 Hrs.
Winter hours: 10:00 to 17:00 Hrs.
|Buinzoo, near Santiago - Photo: Pixabay|
Hours: Monday to Friday: 9:00 to 18:00 hrs.
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: 10:00 to 19:00 hrs.
Parque O' Higgins
76 Hectares urban park in Santiago's downtown, with picnic areas and artificial ponds, formerly called Parque Cousiño. Here each September 19 are commemorated the Glories of the Army with a large military parade in the "ellipse" of the park. During the days of Fiestas Patrias (Independence Days) September 17, 18 and 19 many popular celebrations are held in dozens of venues that open especially for the occasion, called "fondas" and "ramadas". This area of the Park is known as the "Pueblito del Parque O'Higgins". The gastronomic offer here is varied, although the most representative product is the "Chilean empanada", either fried or oven, of meat, shellfish and other varieties, also the different types of wine, "chicha" and prepared drinks, some of them wittily called according to the national idiosyncrasy as the "Terremoto" ("Earthquake"), the "Replica" ("Aftershock") or "Tsunami". Other attractions of what was the "Pueblito" (Little Village) are the Feria y Plaza de Artesanias (Crafts Fair), the "Museo del Huaso", a complete exhibition dedicated to the countryside man of Central Chile and his environment, the Aquarium (Acuario del Parque O'Higgins), showing the underwater world with more than 1,000 specimens of over 70 species. There is also the Museo de Paleontologia (Paleontology Museum of Chile) to learn from the past of life on earth through a fascinating display with replicas of dinosaurs, fossils of leaves, stems and marine life, a small sample of amber, resins into which there are insects of forty million years, remains of bones and dinosaur eggs, part of a meteorite that fell in Russia in 1933, etc. A few meters away is the Museo de Insectos y Caracolas (Museum of Insects and Conches) that offers a very interesting exhibit of the entomological diversity throughout Chile and other parts of the World, with more than 1,500 native and exotic species like giant Butterflies, Rhinoceros Beetles, large Phasmatodeas from India and many others, all with didactic explanations and where one can appreciate the complete metamorphosis process.
There is also the "Centro Deportivo y Recreativo" (Sports and Recreation Center), with excellent facilities for the practice of various sports and the recently inaugurated heated Olympic Swimming Pool, with a really wonderful infrastructure, this being the first of many innovations expected for the coming years.
Financial District of "Sanhattan"
Sanhattan (merging of the words Santiago and Manhattan) is the denomination that receives the financial district of Santiago, capital of Chile, located in the vertex formed by the communes of Las Condes, Providencia and Vitacura, area of the city known as the "Barrio Alto" (well- off neighborhood) of Santiago. The place has a large number of modern buildings, among them the Costanera Center, the highest skyscraper in Latin America. Since the end of the twentieth century, Sanhattan is considered the main financial center of the capital, displacing the traditional Santiago's downtown. But at the same time, it is a very welcoming neighborhood for tourists, since it possesses great commercial dynamism. This feature also makes it a great center of attraction especially for visitors from neighboring countries like Argentina, Brazil, etc.
|Parque Bicentenario at sunset - Photo: radiozero.cl|
Parque Padre Hurtado
Address: 8105, Francisco Bilbao Av., Santiago de Chile. Formerly called Parque Intercomunal de La Reina, with its 500,000 m2 is one of the largest recreational green areas existing in Santiago, capital of Chile. It was renamed in memory of Father Alberto Hurtado, Chilean saint of the Catholic Church. Currently, the park is divided between the communes of Las Condes and La Reina, separated by Padre Hurtado Avenue, so its sectors are called "Parque Poniente" and "Parque Oriente". In the West (Poniente) sector there is a picnic area, "Quinchos" (sheds to prepare and enjoy the Roasts), playgrounds, bike rental and paths, pony horses, mini golf, a little wheeled train that runs through the park, a "Medialuna" ("half- moon" to practice the Chilean Rodeos), a skating rink, a cafe, fitness trail, an amphitheater for 10,000 persons approx. which is used during the year for various events, a 1700 m2 artificial lake and bathrooms in different parts of the park. The eastern part of the park has 14 football fields, dressing rooms and toilets, besides a space dedicated to sports, recreation and health known as the "Ciudad Deportiva", a license in the same park given to the famous Chilean footballer Ivan Zamorano; Anakenna II beach with 4 swimming pools for children and an area for entertainment. Access is controlled and the prices are affordable, within the park is located the Administration, with permanent attention from Monday to Friday from 8:30 to 18:00 hrs.
Park Hours: Tuesday to Sunday and Holidays from 8:30 to 18:00 - Mondays closed for maintenance.
Parque Ines de Suarez
Address: 1510 Antonio Varas St., Providencia Commune, the name Ines de Suarez reminds the companion and mistress of Pedro de Valdivia, conqueror of Chile, and with whom he founded the city of Santiago in 1541. It is a 5 Hs. enclosed green area, considered a very safe place for visitors, small Park but very entertaining, of very easy access, special for doing sports, picnics, with playgrounds, hiking and biking trails. This part of Santiago is also famous for the "Fondas" and "Ramadas", venues where Chile's National Days are celebrated every year on September 17, 18 and 19th.
Cementerio General de Santiago (General Cemetery)
Located in the commune of Recoleta, with 86 hectares of surface area and approximately 2 million people buried, this cemetery is one of the largest in Latin America. Created by Bernardo O' Higgins, Father of the Nation, inaugurated on December 9, 1821. Due to its antiquity, the Cementerio General is an open-air museum with an immeasurable historic, cultural and heritage value for the country. Walking through its alleys, -taking advantage of the numerous tours offered by the agencies-, is getting to know the history of Chile, people and personalities that marked it. Address: 951, Profesor Alberto Zañartu Av., commune of Recoleta.
Fantasilandia Amusement Park
Ski Centers in Chile
The Andes Mountain Range has been generous to provide fantastic natural settings for the practice of winter sports, and the Chilean Ski Centers have taken advantage of this opportunity provided by Nature. The season begins in mid-June and extends to mid-October. High season usually runs from early July until the end of August. In the south of the country there are also other important ski fields and resorts mentioned in post Southern Chile. The most important Ski Fields near Santiago are:
* La Parva Ski Center
* Farellones Ski Center
* El Colorado Ski Center
* Portillo Ski Center (Province of Los Andes, Region of Valparaiso)
* Lagunillas Ski Center
* Lagunillas Ski Center