We were on our way from Mendoza to Santiago. A quick flight—barely an hour—to reach South America’s west coast. We can finally add another country to our travel checklist: Chile. We spent nearly 2 days visiting Santiago, the largest city in Chile. So here’s my itinerary and Santiago’s best attractions.
HOW TO GET THERE
There are several ways to travel between Argentina and Chile. You can rent a car and drive the 10-hour drive from Mendoza to Santiago. Or you can take the bus, which I as I heard was a great way to see the mountains. However, you must be careful of thieves in bus stations. I was also told that going through customs can sometimes be challenging.
So definitely flying stays the easiest solution, which is quite cheap at $90 per person for a one-way ticket. Bonus point: your path crosses the highest peak in America. Not kidding! From your window, you can see the magnificent Aconcagua with your own eyes. Another box you can check on your bucket list!
CHILE’S CAPITAL CITY: SANTIAGO
We planned very little time in the Chilean capital. For several reasons, one of which was that most of the guidebooks did not recommend spending a lot of time visiting Santiago. Another reason being that we went in the middle of February, during their summer and at +32 ◦C we wanted to spend time on the coast, near the beaches and the ocean breeze. Trading concrete for sand was a great idea!
So here’s our 48 hours itinerary in Santiago, Chile.
ARRIVAL AT SANTIAGO— 8 p.m.
We dropped by Mercure de Santiago, our hotel located in downtown Santiago. Let’s just say that we witnessed many things that weren’t neat around us there … but it was really well located: we could walk or take a taxi to almost anywhere.
Once we dropped our luggage at the hotel, we headed to the Lastarria area to grab a bite. We stopped at the Utopia restaurant to share a sandwich, and that’s where I drank my first pisco sour on Chilean soil. The best pisco sour of the trip, served in a small freezing ceramic bowl. I’m still dreaming about it, that’s how good it was. Then we went back to the hotel for the night.
BREAKFAST— 9:00 a.m.
We had a huge breakfast at the hotel.
CLIMBING CERRO SAN CRISTOBAL— 9:30 a.m.
Once our bellies were full, we were ready to climb the Cerro San Cristobal Mountain. We planned an early morning hike because we didn’t want to die of heat on our way!
The slightly over an hour’s climb offers breathtaking views of the entire city of Santiago. Once you get to the top, you can admire the 14 metres high Virgin Mary, a magnificent statue of pure white surrounded by a public place and an outdoor church. Many meet up there to pray … or take Instagram pictures, depending on their beliefs! 😉
There’s also a funicular that takes you back to the bottom of the mountain. However, if you’re a foodie like us and want to make room for more food, you can hike your way down! We all have our own priorities! Haha!
CENTRAL MERCADO— 12:00 p.m.
The Mercado Central is a tourist attraction in itself. We were supposed to have lunch there, but I wasn’t convinced about the safety of the place so I passed! Central Mercado is a huge farmers market, mainly selling fresh fruits and vegetables, beautiful flowers, various products and a few food stands, where you can grab a bite. Of course, we had to take a thousand pictures of fresh berries, my husband being a passionate berry man!
LUNCH AT THE NATIONAL BAR— 1:30 p.m.
The National Bar is an old Chilean dinner. My husband loves these places where nostalgia takes you 30 years in the past! The food was fine, but nothing more!
MUSEO CHILENO DE ARTE PRECOLOMBINO – 2:30 p.m.
It was so hot that going to the museum with air conditioning turned out to be the best decision of our day! In addition, we learned a lot about the history of Chile, but also about South America.
RELAXING BY THE SWIMMING POOL— 4:30 p.m.
We left air conditioning to relax by the pool. We were on vacation, after all!
DINNER AT THE MESTIZO RESTAURANT— 6:30 p.m.
We had a few—and expensive—taxi misadventures on our way to the restaurant. Meaning: we got caught by our driver and paid him way too much. The Mestizo restaurant is located on the outskirts of the Bicentenario Park in the Vitacura district.
The view of the park from the restaurant is gorgeous with its 4000 trees and streams … especially at sunset. We enjoyed fresh dishes of grilled oysters and homemade pasta. I highly recommend the Mestizo for a romantic evening in the capital.
RENTING A CAR TO HEAD OUT TO VALPARAISO— 9:00 a.m.
That’s where our short stay in Santiago ended. Rather without regret, I should say, since we were very eager to find ourselves near the sea!
This post was translated from French to English by:
My name is Aimy and I am a second year-student in translation studies. I discover my truths through my passion for literature, arts and culture. I have a keen eye for beauty, a lust for life. For me, every day is a chance to acquire knowledge and create. As Einstein once said, “creativity is intelligence having fun.”