I could go on and on about hilarious daily interactions around town, countless adventures on bike and unforgettable nights in el barrio de Bellavista.
I could tell you that on Sundays the majority of people spend time with loved ones, and that the streets are closed for recreational activities, it’s truly … a day of rest.
I could tell you how delightful my first bite of a tipico Chilean food was, or describe the vibrant scent of the flower market during my lunch break.
I could tell you all these things but it would take a lifetime, so here’s the facts.
Santiago is in the Maipo Valley, the country’s oldest wine-growing area, home to some of Chile’s largest and most traditional wineries.
It is made up of barrios (or neighborhoods).
Lost?! Look up! The Andes are towering over the city in the east, find them and you’re looking toward ‘uptown.’
Having lived and worked in Santiago for 5 months, I got oriented with the metro, roads, secret bike lanes, cheapest eateries and top places to see. The most logical way to categorize Santiago is by neighborhood, so here it goes.
1.Santiago Centro and La Alameda and Recoleta: Thriving financial, political and historical center of Santiago
- Highlights: Museo Historical Nacional; Museo de Arte Sagrado; Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino; la Moneda; Plaza de la Constitution; San Francisco Church; Universidad de Chile; Plaza de Armas; Le Vega; Mercado Central (fish market, great eateries)
Fav Food: Donde Agusto – Seafood/ Chilean (located inside Santiago’s main seafood market)
2. Bella Artes/ Lastarria: I worked in this district at Ando Andes
- Highlights: Cobblestoned and tree lined streets for restaurant seekers and shoppers, Santa Lucia Hill gives a great view of the city; visit Bella Artes Museo
Fav Food: My friends at Bagels and also El Toro off Loreto
2. Parque Forestal: Charming park with up and coming pop up markets, musicians playing throughout the day and beautiful scenery (This was my bike route to work every day; photo below hehe it was the beginning of fall).
- Highlights: SO CLEAN! Leafy park along the Rio Mapocho run, bike, or walk the world is your playground!
3. Bellavista and Parque Metropolitano (Spoiler- alert FAVORITE DISTRICT)
- Bohemian district, awesome graffiti walls, Patio Bellevista, home of Pablo Neruda (La Chascona); bars and clubs; Funicular to Cerro San Crisobal
- Fav Food: Sanguchería Ciudad Vieja; Bar Constitucion
4. Las Condes: Business area, upscale design, high end hotels.
- Highlights: Costanera (highest building in South America)
- Fav Food: expensive eateries, also international chain restaurants (which I don’t recommend unless your homesick or hungover and feel like having Denny’s).
5. Providencia: Tyler and I lived here
- Slightly urban, in the center of the city, clean streets,
- Fav Food: Bar Liguria; California (where Tyler and I would watch American sports; burgers are killer)
Getting around: La Bicicleta Verde, is a bike rental and City/Wine tour company, they are a group of friendly bi-lingual and knowledgeable kiddos. They have a variety of different tours to choose from whether it be biking in Cousiño Macul or learning about the history of Santiago on a City Tour, they are your people! All you have to do it find the brightly colored building (fourth photo) by the Bellas Artes Museum on the corner of Loreto and they will do the rest! Oh but you have to pedal!
Tours: I was employed as a Reservation and Logistics Specialist at Ando Andes from January 2015 – late April 2015. This is a tour operation company that gives tours in beautiful Cajon del Maipo and Yerba Loca. I created monthly timelines and secured departures for the upcoming week. I also helped to form and keep existing partnerships with hotels, hostels and DMC’s in Santiago and surrounding areas by incorporating MailChimp, and other means of communication. For my compensation I went on weekly trips and received a small monthly stipend. My dear friends and previous bosses, Lili and Luis, will be happy to help you book your next trip! Please view their recently updated website and see what tour works best for you! Contact the team here!
If you have questions about Santiago, Chile or surrounding areas such as the wineries please do not hesitate to contact me with insight and tips for your upcoming trip to the capital.
Morning run before biking to work! Rooftop overlooked tallest building in South America!
Chilean shop owners tuning up in Los Dominicos Handicraft Village
Oops! Also in Vitacura which is north east of downtown you can eat in my opinion the best Peruvian dish at El Otro Sitio, Monsenor Escriva de Balaguer 6400, Santiago 8320000, Chile