5 reasons to visit Santiago
Santiago is quickly becoming one of the most modern capitals in South America. With it’s growing skyline, and it’s modern take to Latin America, it is also becoming a more visited city. What was once just the capital of the South American nation, is now quickly becoming a tourist destination. Here are five reasons why you should visit.
Santiago is the capital of Chile. It has quickly become a tourist destination for people all over the world. But what makes it so different? What has people talking about this globally known city now? It is becoming one of the most unique cities in the world as well as forming itself to be a more modern capital. To it’s ski resorts, parks, and food, Santiago should be the first stop when you visit South America.
1. History Meets New
Santiago is a city of clash. With it’s historic buildings to it’s up and rising modern district, it is the definition of old vs new. In the heart of the city one can go and tour the “Moneda”, which is the president’s seat. The palace holds deep history to the country, which is where the 1973 coup took place and put in the reign of General Augusto Pinochet. The Plaza de Armas is also a good place to visit to indulge in this cities history. With a statue of the founder of Santiago, Pedro de Valdivia, one can follow in his footsteps on the Santiago heritage route, which features historic and congressional buildings. If history is not really your thing, then maybe a visit to “Sanhattan” is more to your liking, as the tall buildings will make you feel as if you’re in an American city. Sanhattan is composed of modern buildings, usually financial, and is one of the most expensive areas of Santiago. The area also is home to two of the tallest buildings in South America, the Gran Torre Santiago, and the Titanium La Portada. One can walk around and feel the modern vibe to the city and to top it off, one has the Costanera Center, which includes skyscrapers, two high-end hotels, and one of the largest shopping malls in South America. Six floors of endless shopping, not to mention every floor is categorized, with 1st being women’s stores, 2nd men’s stores, 3rd high end stores, etc, and restaurants on the top floor to top off one’s shopping and exploring.
2. Hiking Anyone?
A good day of exercise is not hard to come by in Santiago. With it’s two famous hills, San Cristobal, and Cerro Renca, the hills are known for giving excellent views of the city. If you’re feeling adventurous and are willing to spend most of the day hiking then look no further than Cerro Renca, with it’s highest point being 980 feet above city level, but if you’re looking for something more cultural with great views as well then San Cristobal has got you covered. With it’s incredible views and attractions this hike is a fun one. One can visit the animals of the national zoo at the bottom of the hill, or simply relax in one of the two pools, but if you’re feeling active one can take the walk up the hill to see the Virgin Mary on top of the hill. One can almost feel a resemblance to the Cristo Redentor statue in Rio de Janeiro, although much smaller even though the statue can be seen from around the city. The peak is 300 meters high and offers incredible views of Santiago. If you’re not feeling the walk, one can take a cable car up.
3. Mountains and Skiing
Home to the longest mountain range in the world, the Andes, Chile is no stranger to winter sports. With its world famous ski resorts only a short range from the city, it takes in thousands of tourists wanting to ski the Andes mountains. Receiving an average of seven meters of snow, the Valle Nevado Resort and El Colorado resort attracts thousands of tourists and even Olympic athletes whom want to practice in the winter’s of South America when it is Summer back in the Northern hemisphere. If skiing isn’t for you then take a hike to the bottom of the mountains where trails await as one can ride a horse up a hilltop where a barbecue and city views await on a snow capped mountain.
4. Quaint Parks
Like all great cities of the world, Santiago is home to some of the most peaceful and beautiful parks on the planet. It’s quaint environments give away for some peace and tranquillity in a city that is moved by hustle and bustle. One park in particular that not only gives of a relaxing vibe but also lets you explore in some of the city’s culture, is the Quinta Normal, which is home to the National History Museum, the city library, and an art museum aimed for children, and if you get hungry one is sure to catch one of the street vendors selling Chilean delights, such as cuchuflis, a caramel filled wafer and sandwiches.
5. Eat and Drink Like a Local at Barrio Bellavista
It’s colorful and vibrant views give away to cap a day in Santiago. Home to many bars and restaurants and shops, Barrio Bellavista offers not only the locals a vibrant nightlife and experience but also it’s visitors. With it’s many restaurants and bars one has several to choose from. Known as Santiago’s bohemian quarter, one can indulge in Chilean cuisine, buy some souvenirs at one of the boutiques, enjoy a crepe at one of the many shops or simply have a drink at one of the many happy hours going on. Be sure to try some piscola, as it is Chile’s national drink, and maybe while you’re at it indulge in a completo, an over the top version of a hotdog. For a unique experience this is one place you cannot leave without visiting.