When it came to interest in visiting South America, I admit that I was at first not really into it. The main reason was because I didn’t know much of what there was to see or do, so when my parents announced that we would be taking a family trip this summer, I was somewhat excited, although unsure of whether it’ll be a great time.
Upon coming home two weeks later, I would say that South America has my heart. Although we only visited Chile and Peru, I found my visits a new, but enriching experience. I would love to return and see more someday, and with that, I’ll be recapping it all from the start.
I returned home from France in late June, and I only had less than 48 hours of rest before I was packing up and heading out again with the family. We took a 10-hour flight to Santiago, landing early in the morning before being shuttled to our hotel in the city center. What surprised me was just how chilly (get it?) it was, considering that we were in the southern Hemisphere’s current winter. Beats a hot summer otherwise!
After breakfast in the hotel, we headed out to explore the city for the day. We bought metro tickets and took transport to Plaza de la Constitución, where the Chilean president’s office is situated. We happened to arrive just in time for the Changing of the Guards, and we watched the fanfare unfold in the plaza.
On our way to Plaza de Armas, we passed through a colorful street– literally. As if splashed on by accident, the street’s asphalt was full of colors that made it a nice spot for some photos.
At Plaza de Armas, we visited the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral, where the interior was surprisingly impressive. We then headed to Cerro Santa Lucia, one of the two major hills in the city that offered views of Santiago at the top. After several flights of stairs, we made it to the top, where we saw the sprawling Chilean capital. Unfortunately, it was overcast that morning, as the cloudy skies obstructed views of the Andes Mountains in the distance.
We headed to Barrio Bellavista, one of the districts filled with plenty of bars, restaurants, and a low-key vibrant art scene. By chance, we popped into one of the restaurants that served Chilean food at an affordable price, as others we saw along the way were quite expensive. Our lunch was a large one, as we enjoyed savory empanadas, grilled tuna steak, and a massive meat plate that left us full for the rest of the day.
Following lunch, we decided to head back to our hotel to rest for the day– even though it wasn’t even past 13:00, we were tired from traveling the past 24 hours, and we wanted to rest before we had to head out again the next day to our next destination. However, we would be returning to Santiago for another full day of exploring, so we weren’t too concerned about seeing everything we wanted to see this time around.
During our second full day in Santiago after the previous destination, we checked out the Mercado Central (filled with plenty of seafood and fresh produce) before heading to the same restaurant we’d gone the first day for lunch. This time, I ordered humitas, which are Chilean tamales, along with a surprisingly-strong Pisco Sour. Tamales aren’t really my thing, but it did make for a filling meal.
Afterwards, we set out for the Cerro San Cristóbal, the other main hill of Santiago. We took the funicular to the top, where we were rewarded with clear, sunny views of the city and Andes Mountains. Before reaching there, we’d stopped by the Pablo Neruda Museum and House, where the famous Chilean poet had lived in back in the day.
Similar to our first day in Santiago, we ended up wrapping up our visit in the early afternoon, taking the metro back to our hotel– along the way, we passed by the Costanera, the tallest skyscraper in South America. We were also tired from traveling to and from destinations, and we would be once again heading out the following day to the next place for our vacation.
Overall, we only had two days in Santiago, but it was enough to give us a taste of the bustling Chilean capital. I found its food to be the best out of the entire trip, and its metropolitan vibe familiar like with that in Los Angeles or Tokyo. Definitely worth a trip over!
Stay tuned for the next post of my South American trip soon!
— The Finicky Cynic
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