A city filled with culture, you won’t be short of things to do with your 24 hours in Santiago. Chile is known for its fine wines and diverse beers, but also as the ‘pais del poetas’ or the ‘country of poets’. It has something to offer everyone! Keep reading to make sure you don’t miss the highlights of this beautiful city…
Start your day in Yungay, Santiago’s oldest barrio (district). If it’s a Sunday you’ll catch the weekly market, a riot of colour, noise and smells. For breakfast you can’t go wrong with a freshly made arepa! You can have them with a variety of toppings; ago, cheese, chicken or pevre (a Chilean salsa of tomatoes, red onion & coriander).
After breakfast, explore the area and discover the amazing street art Yungay is famous for. Spend a couple of hours at the ‘Museo de la Memoría y los Derechos Humanos’ (Museum of Memory and Human Rights). It takes you on the incredibly horrifying yet moving journey of the Pinochet dictatorship; the effects of which still resonate throughout Chile.
You’ll probably need some light relief after this, so head to Barrio Italia. This up and coming area is a gorgeous mix of boutique arcades, flea markets and hipster bars. There are a number of good eateries to enjoy lunch in the sun while watching the world go by.
After lunch, jump back on the metro and head for the Plaza de Armas – the historical centre of Santiago. Join one of the numerous free tours (around 3 hours, tip your guide) or do your own! Take in the cathedral, Cerro Santa Lucía and La Moneda (the presidential palace). Maybe stop for coffee at one of the famous ‘café con piernas’ – literally ‘coffee with legs’. Here waitresses serve up coffee to business men dressed in very short skirts and high heels (think the Chilean equivalent of Hooters). Don’t forget to stroll through Lastarria, the artsy corner of Santiago (and treat yourself to an ice cream from Emporio La Rosa, purportedly one of the best in the world).
Head over to Bellavista to take the funicular railway up Cerro San Cristóbal for great views of the city. Back on ground level if poetry is your thing you can visit La Chascona, one of Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda’s three houses.
You’ll probably be needing a cold one by now so grab a refreshing chelada (beer with fresh lemon juice and a salt rimmed glass) and some dinner at Jardín Malinkrodt, a hidden courtyard of bars and food trucks which attracts hip young Santiaguinos.
Bellavista is the home of Santiago nightlife so take your pick from raucous beer halls, underground techno or steamy reggaeton clubs. All washed down with a few piscolas and with a guaranteed caña (hangover) the next day!
-Words by Lucy John