8 million inhabitants – a city with as many people as Austria. I avoided visiting Chile’s capital for a long time because I thought it wouldn’t be beautiful and I haven’t heard good things about it either. During the last month of my exchange semester I finally decided to give it a chance.
The thing about Santiago is that you have to know which places to visit. If you just wander around without a plan you’ll probably miss out on the nice places and only see the ugly parts of the city. Since most of our friends have already been there we had some recommendations to rely on.
Cerro San Cristóbal
An easy 30 minutes hike leads up to the top of Cerro San Cristobal. In case you don’t want to hike there’s also a cable car that goes up.
The sky turns yellow, orange, red and pink while the sun sets behind the Andes mountain range which surround Santiago.
Embalse el Yeso
Embalse el Yeso is a dam in the Andes with an intense blue. It’s approximately a 1 hour drive from the centre of Santiago and you should plan a whole day for the excursion.
We booked a tour to the lake because we thought the guide would hike up the mountain with us. However, we just drove up to the lake and then walked a bit around there. This ruined the experience a bit because I always prefer achieving something by myself and then being rewarded by the beautiful nature and view. Anyways it was still beautiful and is totally recommendable.
I recommend to rent a car and drive to the mountains on your own. There you can do a hike to the lake and its surroundings. Also, there are some accommodations around where you could spend the night to explore more of the area by hiking. I personally would have loved to stay there longer.
Considering that I’ve lived a 1,5 hour drive away from Chile’s capital for 5 months I truly haven’t seen much of it. We passed through Santiago several times when we went to the airport but it has never looked appealing to us. I’m glad that I could do my exchange semester in Viña del Mar as Santiago would have been too big for me.
- Los Dominicos: Local arts and crafts market
- Cerro San Cristóbal: Time it right to be there for the great sunset view
- Gran Torre Santiago: Tallest building of South America and huge shopping centre
- Embalse el Yeso
- Buffalo waffles: Delicious savoury and sweet waffles