Why Go to Santiago, Chile?
Santiago has a wealth of quality attractions and is also emerging as one of the world´s top food destinations, thanks to restaurants such as Borago. There is nothing quite like waking to the view of the Andes Mountains covered in snow, before exploring a city with a history as passionate as Santiago has. From the natural landscapes to the incredible food we've got you covered on what to do in Santiago Chile.
- The General Cemetery (metro Cementerios) makes a fantastic place to walk and spend an hour or two. As well as being incredibly photographic, it also provides an interesting look into the past.
- The Museo de la Memoria (Metro Quinta Normal) is a very good museum that painstakingly details the coup d'ètat that occurred on 11 September 1973.
- The Museo de Arte Pre-Colombino (metro Plaza de Armas) is a-well stocked spot containing relics from the various indigenous inhabitants of Chile, and is considered to be one of the best in South America.
- The La Vega Market (metro Patronato) is essentially the heart of the city – people from all over Santiago come here to shop for the freshest produce and other knick-knacks that they require, and it also services all the daily markets that occur in various neighborhoods. Stop at La Vega Chica for something cheap and traditional to eat, or head across the river to the Mercado Central fish market to marvel at what a coastline, that is one of the longest in the world, can offer.
Where to Shop?
Wondering what else to do in Santiago Chile. How about some shopping some shipping? If you visit Pueblo Los Dominicos (Metro Los Dominicos) you will be spoilt for choice at the handicrafts on display, and you may even catch the artisan making them. If you fancy travelling a bit further, you can visit the small village of Pomaire which is famous for making traditional pottery and clayware.
Where to Eat?
There is an abundance of delicious food in Santigo, Chile. Beloved Chilean dishes include Pastel de Choclo (corn pie), Charquican (stew), Cazuela (soup) and the ubiquitous empanada (filled fried or baked pastry snack), all of which you can taste at a traditional restaurant such as in La Vega Chica, or Liguria, for something a bit fancy. Street food options include mote con huesillo (dehydrated peach drink with wheatberries) or sopaipilla (deep fried pastry), served in winter and best enjoyed with spice pebre (salsa made with tomatoes).
For something a bit different and unique to Chile, try restaurant Peumayen, which combines traditional ingredients from various indigenous groups with modern techniques, to create something truly delicious. Borago has been voted one of the world's best restaurants, and uses foraged ingredients. For good cafes, visit either Barrio Lastarria, Barrio Bellas Artes or Barrio Italia.
Discovering a hidden gem should be at teh top of everyone's list of what to do in Santiago Chile. Very few people know about Cerro Blanco (metro Cerro Blanco) in Recoleta, the site of the first Catholic hermitage in Chile (brought by Ines de Suarez). This park also contains Piedras Tacitas, holes in the ground left by indigenous people before the arrival of the Spanish, and there is also a Pueblos Originarios centre, where you can learn about the various indigenous groups of Chile, as well as take part in activities (Spanish language only).
Further afield, a visit to La Campana National Park is one of the most awe-inspiring places in the world. It is home to the last natural forest of Chilean Palms, the tallest species of palm tree in the world, which sadly is on the verge of extinction.
A Tip Before You Go
Customer service is a little different in Chile to other places, and something all expats lament. Tipping is expected in restaurants (though at your discretion) and taxis are known to rip tourists off, so stay vigilant - especially when you hand over money so that they don't swap the note you've given and replaced it with something smaller. Earthquakes are also common, but the city is built for them, so stay calm and watch - nothing can fall on you!
Interested in taking a trip to Chile? Learn more about our incredible tours and holidays to Chile.