Feb 2019 – Santiago, the grand Chilean capital is a city full of light, culture, gastronomy, and architecture. This was our first stop on Visit Chile trip. We started with a visit to Santa Lucia Hill, the actual spot where the city was founded. A geographical high point of the area, the hill is now adorned with wonderful facades, fountains and stairways, including “Neptuno Terrace” at the summit. Hike to the top showed us some good views of the city.
We took a half day walking city tour in which we visited key locations where the rich history of the city played out. The tour started on Bernardo O’Higgins Avenue better known as “Alameda”, which is the main street of the city with a visit to the San Francisco Church, located in the heart of Santiago, built between 1586 and 1628 by the Franciscan order and the oldest colonial era building in the country. Then we went to Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city and the spot from where the city has grown throughout the centuries. The main square of each city was where the armory and military base was established when the city was founded – hence the name Plaza de Armas (Plaza of Arms). The square is a great spot to see some of Santiago’s neoclassical architecture together with the palm trees, stately fountains, and historical statues. Saw some of the more important buildings such as the Cathedral, the City Council, the Central Post Office and the National Historical Museum.
Then we continued to the Presidential Palace “La Moneda”; the current seat of the government. We wandered the streets that were once elegant at the beginning of the 19th century and now are a commercial center and explored the nearby streets full of people and activities. Two neighborhoods in Santiago which we visited:
Bellavista: Nestled between the grand Cerro San Cristóbal and the iconic Mapocho River, it’s known for its art during the day and its music and nightlife after dark. It’s home to the capital’s intellectuals and artist. Driving around this bohemian neighborhood, we saw trendy shops, art galleries, the brightly-painted buildings, tree-lined streets and numerous sidewalk cafes.
Lastarria: One of the city’s historical neighborhoods and downtown spots that has become a tourist attraction. Lastarria is located between Cerro Santa Lucía and Baquedano Plaza, full of life and energy. It’s full of cultural activities, festivals, and live shows.
Next day we visited Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, the twin cities and one of the wineries.
Restaurants tried by us in Santiago- Soho, Casa Lastarria, Emporio La Rosa, Location of our hotel Plaza San Francisco was very central, right on Bernardo O´Higgins. (Reviews of these are on my yelp page).