ACTIVITIES IN SANTIAGO AND SURROUNDINGS
It is worthwhile to start your trip in Santiago of Chile in the downtown area, where we can see the most iconic government buildings and discover the most popular city. A good starting point is the Palacio de la Moneda, political operations center of the country, where there is also a Cultural Center that offers various free art exhibitions throughout the year.
Around La Moneda there are other government buildings such as the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy and others. Crossing these streets and at only 15 minutes we find the Plaza de Armas, the center of Santiago where the Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago (Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago) is located, considered a National Monument as well as the Edificio de Correos de Chile (Chilean Post Office) and the Municipality of the City.
If we continue walking north, we find dynamic streets with shops where you can buy all kinds of products at affordable prices, and finally the Mercado Central (Central Market), where you can enjoy a delicious plate of fish and seafood to regain strength and continue touring the city.
Leaving the Mercado Central (the Central Market) you can see the Parque Forestal, a beautiful grove that runs parallel to the Mapocho River and can be seen by foot. Here, the Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts) can be found, which is a building which was opened to mark the Centenary of Chile in 1910, and stands out for its beautiful neoclassical architecture. Inside this museum you can find exhibitions of art collections from the colonial era to the present, as well as works by foreign artists.
Upon arriving at the Museo de Bellas Artes (Museum of Fine Arts), you can tour Ismael Valdés Vergara Avenue and arrive to Barrio Lastarria, a beautiful artistic and bohemian neighborhood with beautiful architecture, nice bars, international restaurants and cafés. Here we also find bookstores, music stores, designer shops and a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy.
Further south we can see Barrio Bellavista, an emblematic bohemian neighborhood of the capital, where we find many restaurants and bars as well as craft shops where you can buy traditional products such as lapis lazuli jewelry, copperware, textiles and carvings, among others. Here you can enjoy the night life of Santiago, and enjoy international cuisines located in different locations.
One of the most attractive places in Bellavista is called Patio Bellavista. It is an urban space that has many restaurants, craft shops, cafes, bars and ice cream parlors, perfect for spending an afternoon or an evening dining. It also offers artistic shows and live music.
Bellavista also allows you to see Cerro San Cristobal, where the Parque Metropolitano (Metropolitan Park) and many other attractions such as the Funicular, the Santuario de la Vírgen (Sanctuary of the Virgin) at its peak, several themed gardens and the cable car. Accessing through the street Pio Nono in Bellavista, we can enter the Metropolitan Zoo and see their varied collection of animals and beautiful walkways.
Within the Cerro San Cristóbal is also the Chascona, the house built by Pablo Neruda which is currently used as a house-museum with a variety of personal items of the poet. Here you can take tours that provide insight into the interesting collections of Neruda, from stained glass to furniture and art pieces.
Another attraction found in the downtown area of Santiago is the Cerro Santa Lucia, which is characterized by its beautiful castle Hidalgo, neoclassical style, with towers and panoramic views to observe the surroundings. Inside there is a road for vehicles and pedestrians, as well as gardens and spaces that get you away from the city noise.
Cerro Santa Lucia has a small craft fair on the ground floor of Castle Hidalgo and across from Centro Feria Artesanal Santa Lucía (Santa Lucia Craft Fair), where you can find all kinds of products made by artisans. Works in leather and silver jewelry with semi-precious stones are the highlights of this craft fair.
In the eastern sector of the city we can see the business and financial center of Santiago, the famous neighborhood Sanhattan, "Manhattan in Santiago." Here the most important offices, luxury 5 star hotels, exclusive restaurants, chic art galleries, shopping malls and businesses are located. Also in the eastern part you find Pueblito de Los Domínicos, another craft center to buy products made from native materials of the country.
In the Eastern area you can also enjoy outdoor trips, walking around places like Santuario de la Naturaleza de El Arrayán (Nature Sanctuary of El Arrayán), where you can enjoy outdoor picnics and other activities like horseback riding and hiking. For those who love adventure and ecotourism, the Reserva Nacional Yerba Loca (Yerba Loca National Reserve) is an excellent alternative because of its challenging walks and you can also cherish breathtaking hanging glaciers in the Cordillera de los Andes.
If you visit Santiago during the winter, a visit to the Ski Resorts is a must. In the Eastern area you can visit Farellones, El Colorado and Valle Nevado, which is the most modern of all winter resorts in the country and offers the largest ski area in South America, as well as excellent tourist infrastructure and services.
In addition to Farellones, it is possible to know the Mountain by accessing through the south of Santiago to Cajon del Maipo. In this tour you can explore various locations around the mountain range, enjoy traditional Chilean cuisine, breathe fresh mountain air, participate in activities such as hiking, climbing, canopy, horseback riding and more, or just simply relax in the hot springs of Baños Morales and Baños Colina.
Also in the south of Santiago we find the Reserva Nacional Río Clarillo (Clarillo River National Reserve), offering entertaining interpretive trails and the ability to enjoy the cool, refreshing waters of the mountains, accessing some of its river descents to Clarillo River.