Santiago

Surprising, cosmopolitan, energetic, sophisticated and worldly, Santiago is a city of syncopated cultural currents, madhouse parties, expansive museums and top-flight restaurants. No wonder 40% of Chileans call the leafy capital city home. It’s a wonderful place for strolling, and each neighborhood has its unique flavor and tone. Head out for the day to take in the museums, grand architecture and pedestrian malls of the Centro, before an afternoon picnic in one of the gorgeous hillside parks that punctuate the city’s landscape. Nightlife takes off in the sidewalk eateries, cafes and beer halls of Barrios Lastarria and Bellavista, while as you head east to well-heeled neighborhoods like Providencia, Vitacura, and Las Condes, you’ll find tony restaurants and world-class hotels. With a growing economy, renovated arts scene and plenty of eccentricity to spare, Santiago is an old-guard city on the cusp of a modern-day renaissance.

DAY TRIPS FROM SANTIAGO

Valparaiso

Syncopated, dilapidated, colorful and poetic, Valparaíso is a wonderful mess. People easily fall for Valparaíso’s unexpected charms. Poets, painters and would-be philosophers have long been drawn to Chile’s most unusual city. Along with the ever-shifting port population of sailors, dockworkers and tourists, they’ve endowed gritty and gloriously spontaneous Valparaíso with an edgy air of ‘anything goes.’ Add to this the spectacular faded beauty of its chaotic cerros (hills), some of the best street art in Latin America, a maze of steep, sinuous streets, alleys and escaleras (stairways) piled high with crumbling mansions, and it’s clear why some visitors spend more time here than in Santiago.

Viña del Mar / Reñaca

Clean and orderly Viña del Mar is a sharp contrast to the charming jumble of neighboring Valparaíso. Manicured boulevards lined with palm trees, stately palaces, a sprawling public beach and beautiful expansive parks have earned it the nickname of Ciudad Jardín (Garden City). Its official name, which means ‘vineyard by the sea,’ stems from the area’s colonial origins as the hacienda of the Carrera family. Not many foreign travelers stay here, opting instead for a day trip from Valparaíso. Nevertheless, Viña remains a popular weekend and summer destination for well-to-do Santiaguinos – and the carrete (partying) here is first rate.

VINEYARDS NEAR SANTIAGO
  • Viña Concha y Toro
  • Viña Cousiño Macul
  • Viña Santa Rita
  • Viña Santa Carolina
  • Valle de Casablanca (In route to Valparaíso/Viña del Mar)
  • Viña Veramonte
  • Viña Emiliana
  • Viña Indomita
  • House of Morandé (Casa del Vino de Morandé)
  • Viña Mar
  • Viña Casas Del Bosque