- I was here: 3 days, from January 11 to 13, 2008.
- Number of recommended days: if we do not count the day trips, I recommend 2 for the capital, otherwise we will need at least 3 to 4 days.
- My score: the city I rate it 2/5, but again, if we include the day trips, I go up to 3/5.
When I remember Santiago de Chile, the first qualifier that comes to my mind is that it is a correct/right/wise city, and that is not something good for a tourist to start; when I read in blogs and travel guides about it, it is usually defined as a “cosmopolitan and vibrant” city, and in no case are these negative aspects, but again they reveal a lack. It’s like when you’re single and a friend wants to introduce you to someone to start a relationship and describe that person as nice, very intelligent and good, but does not tell you about their physical appearance; the first mentioned characteristics are of course the most important for a stable relationship, but physical attractiveness usually prevails if what we are looking for is a short relationship, and tourists, since we do not live in the places we visit, we look for short relationships with those sites. Being like a big capital, for years Santiago presumes to stay in the top 3 of the cities with the best quality of life in Latin America just behind Montevideo and Buenos Aires; The fact of being third in Latin America may not tell us much, so we will add that their scores are roughly similar to those of Athens or Hong Kong, that is, they live well, but it is not enough to boast about it either. The point is that for visitors, Athens has the Acropolis and Hong Kong has world-renowned architectural novelties, but Santiago does not. I do not doubt that there will be some who can fall in love with this city, but it will not be for its beauty but as we have said before, to be a successful city:
- Successful is its innovation, with an architecture in development that harmoniously combines the new structures of metal and glass with the stately buildings of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
- Successful are its multiple parks, which also act as lungs of this polluted city, being the most recognized the oldest and most central, the Cerro de San Cristóbal, whose views from the top are the best in Santiago, with the extensive and flat city at its feet and the imposing Andes in the background.
- Its museums are well-known, where the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art stands out, but there is something for everyone, as well as frequent temporary exhibitions.
- Successful are its well-developed central neighborhoods to leisure areas, to highlight Bellavista, Brazil and Lastarria, but there are more; with multiple terraces, bars and restaurants, they have earned a place in the lists of bohemian and vintage neighborhoods that are so fashionable now and that are mandatory in each city that wants to be considered alternative and cool.
- But if something is a true success is that of its terraces and parks we can enjoy much of the year, because another very important aspect is the climate. Santiago sits on one of the three zones with the best climate on the planet along with the Canary Islands and Southern California.
- It is also close enough to allow at least 3 day trips, each with its own interest: Viña del Mar for its leisure and beach tourism, Valparaíso for its architectural and cultural heritage, and Cajón del Maipo to look out and have a appetizer of the Andes.
Santiago is not the most attractive place in the world, but it is reasonably well built and improving. According to my personal scale, that score of 2/5 corresponds to “I only recommend visiting if you are nearby”, but we can hardly go to Chile without being nearby Santiago, so why not give it a try? Maybe there is someone who ends up finding in it the city of his life.
WHAT TO SEE AND DO
- THE BEST OF SANTIAGO DE CHILE, ITINERARY FOR ONE OR TWO DAYS
- ONE DAY EXCURSIONS:
- WHEN TO GO
- HOW TO GET THERE
- HOW TO MOVE AROUND
- BEST AREAS FOR ACCOMMODATION, EATING AND SHOPPING
- DANGERS AND ANNOYANCES