Cobbled stone streets, modern restaurants and a mountain view, that’s what I found myself looking at, when I made my stop in Los Condos, Santiago. I had made my way to Chile to work on a project and though for the entirety of the trip I was working, I was able to step out and explore Santiago.
Chile’s capital and largest city, Santiago is surrounded by the snow-capped Andes. During the Winter, you can see the snow clearly on the mountains, but during the summer, this changes – You can no longer see the mountain covered in snow. Although, Chile is known as the country with the most Earthquakes (In 2010, they were struck with the sixth largest earthquake ever recorded), this country is still safe enough to visit.
Like every other country, Chile has its fair share of robbers and gangs, but while in Santiago, I felt safe enough to carry a purse around and walk around with my cellphone (something, I don’t even dare do in Lima, Peru). When asking a few locals in the area about this, they had mentioned its safe to carry a purse and take your phone out, but you always have to be cautious.
In fact, while eating at a nice French restaurant with a few friends, a bum had sneaked into the restaurant and stood right next to me asking for money. He could have easily grabbed my purse and ran, but luckily that didn’t happen.
Walking around the area I was staying in, also felt safe and the people were very nice, but don’t let this lower your guard. Always be on the look out as you never know what may happen.
Santiago has all sorts of transportation. From scooters to subways, I was impressed by the various modes of transportation. Wherever I went, I would see scooters on the side walks as well as bikes. These scooters, you could easily rent and ride around. Of course, if scooters aren’t your thing, you could also take the subway.
In order to ride the subway, you will need to buy a subway card first and then add money to it. In some cases this may be good, but since I wasn’t staying in Chile for long, I decided to use Uber or a Cab. The card used in subways is also good for the buses.
Using Uber or a cab is a great way to move around as well, but I must mention that Uber is technically not legal in Chile yet (it’s in the process of being legalized). At least that is what one of the Uber drivers mentioned. The company itself has mentioned that it operates in a legal area in Chile, hence why there’s even Uber there, but it is still considered illegal within parts of the country.
If Uber is not an option for you, a cab will do just fine. In most cases, a cab is cheaper than an Uber anyways.
There’s an abundance of restaurants in Santiago. The location I was staying in, which is near Teatro Municipal Las Condes has so many restaurants it was hard to choose.
However, I did get a few locals to suggest a few restaurants, which is always a good route to take when trying to make a decision.
Some of the restaurants I went to are:
Cafe Nicolas – They had the best flat bread ever! But this place is quite expensive. The good thing about this restaurant is that it is near the theatre and the restaurant had good Italian food.
Tiramisu – I went to this place twice. The first time I was quite disappointed because their Chicken Caesar salad, did not taste like a Caesar salad. It’s also a very dark restaurant and wasn’t able to see my menu very well, so I do not recommend visiting during dinner hours. I did, however, enjoy the pasta here and I heard the pizza is really good.
Boki – They have a partnership with the hotel I stayed at, so this is where I had breakfast every day. Their breakfast is quite delicious and I did not get bored of the options at all.
Tip y Tap – This was recommended to me and I really liked it. The plates here are really huge! I couldn’t finish my sandwich.
Liguria – By far, my favorite restaurant. I wanted a typical Chilean experience and this place gave me just that. I got to try some typical Chilean food and the atmosphere was great. You can check more of my experience in my post – A Foodie’s Guide to Chile.
Antulican – This was also a favorite! I think it was mostly because it was located in Dominicos Park, but also because I had found the two traditional Chilean dishes I had been looking for.
The only sad part about the restaurants in Santiago is that most of the restaurants close early. So if you are looking to eat around 10 P.M., you won’t have many options.
Things to do
There’s plenty to do in Santiago and there were so many things I wanted to see, but because I went to work, I didn’t get to do much. However, being the person that I am, I did a lot of research, asked a lot of questions and made a list of wonderful places to check out.
Plaza de Armas
This is one of the first places you may want to go to. This is the main square of Santiago and has some gorgeous buildings to check out. You can also see the Palacio de la Real Audencia de Santiago, which is the Royal Palace. This beauty now houses the National Museum of History.
This is around Plaza de Armas, so I definitely recommend checking this out. Santiago decided to turn a busy city street in that area into a colorful work of art. That’s right, if you make your way to Paseo Bandera, you will see the streets and walls full of colorful street art. It was such a great experience, a wonderful place to take photos in and it was absolutely free to admire the art work.
Palacio de la Moneda
Also known as Moneda Palace, this building houses all the offices of cabinet, the president, the general secretary and all the other people in government. This building is so pretty, its worth a visit. This building can also be found around the Plaza de Armas.
This is one place I had my heart set on, but I just did not have enough time to visit. From Santiago, Valparaiso is about 2 hours away. A port city on the coast of Chile, it’s known for its colorful homes. The best part is that if you have enough time, you can take a bus to Valparaiso for less than $8 one way. While there, I had found that a round trip from Santiago to Valparaiso on bus would cost me about $14 via Pullman Bus. These prices may change, of course, but that’s cheap!
When talking to a local about Valparaiso, I was told that this was something you needed to plan a day for. It’s not something you go for a couple of hours. So if you plan to visit Valparaiso, leave a whole day open for the trip.
Mirador Santa Maria de Manquehue
The first day I arrived to Chile, I went to the top of a hill to see all of Santiago. Not only could I see the city, but I could also see the mountains. Even though it was quite foggy, it was still a wonderful experience. There’s other hills such as Santa Lucia and San Cristobal that will offer a nice view of the city.
To get there, I had a cab driver take me there. I was also told that for Santa Lucia and San Cristobal, there are a few metro stations that will take you closer to the hill.
These were a few places I had gone to or hoped to see. Of course, I have a huge list of things I would have loved to do such as going to the museum and so forth, but overall I got to experience a lot during my stay.
Things to know
- Pharmacy – There’s plenty of pharmacies around Santiago. So if you ever find yourself in need of medicine, you may just have one around the corner. Pharmacies are closed on Sundays, so you may need to find one that is 24/7 on Sundays. This, however may be difficult as these are not all over Santiago.
- Outlets – The outlets in Chile are different from those in the USA, so taking an adapter to Chile would be smart. I forgot to take one with me, but luckily the hotel I stayed in had one. If you forget, ask the hotel for one and hopefully they’ll have one to lend.
- Yelp – I am a huge Yelp user, so when I discovered they had Yelp in Chile, I was ecstatic. This is such a great way to keep track of all the places I’ve been to and it also gives me reviews on the places I go to.
For being in Chile for only a week, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about this beautiful country and hope to someday go back to explore and update this mini guide.
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