Looking east along the Mapocho River toward the mountains and a building with a Chilean flag.

Santiago, Chile

by Eve Andersson

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Santiago is a modern, safe, well-run city, surrounded by beautiful mountains and wineries. It's easy to be a tourist here; you can safely walk or take the subway all over, and the people are friendly and polite.

Cerro San Cristóbal

This is a very big hill in the north of the city with great views and a large Virgin Mary statue on top. The easiest way to ascend is via the funicular (a little railway, with trains departing from the north end of Pío Nono in the Bellavista neighborhood) — supposedly there's a teleférico (chairlifts) as well, but it wasn't in operation when I visited.

View of Santiago from Cerro San Crist?. View of Santiago from Cerro San Crist?. View of Santiago from Cerro San Crist?.
Funicular, Cerro San Crist?. Musician playing pipes and guitar simultaneously, entertaining the funicular riders, Cerro San Crist?. Sculpture, Cerro San Crist?. View of Santiago from the funicular, Cerro San Crist?. Virgen Mary, Cerro San Crist?.


This neighborhood has a nice vibe — it feels free-spirited and artistic. The brilliant poet Pablo Neruda had a home here. My favorite mural ever (Universo Numérico by Ximena Mandiola) can be seen in the first photo below.

Universo Num?co, a mosaic by Ximena Mandiola, Antonia L? de Bello, Bellavista. Mural: woman holding fish.  Dedication to Pablo Neruda by Colectivo Muralista BRP.  Fernando M?uez de La Plata, Bellavista neighborhood. Signs reading Arte, Caf?Dise?Art, Coffee, Design).  Dardignac near P?Nono, Bellavista. Dardignac, Bellavista. Old building (green, black, yellow, red) and new building (blue glass).  Dardignac, Bellavista. La Chascona, one of Pablo Neruda's houses, Fernando M?uez de la Plata, Bellavista. Couple on a bench, P?Nono, Bellavista. Pituka, brown building with yellow and orange swirls, Pur?ma, Bellavista. Yellow house (with mosiac), blue house and aquamarine house, Pur?ma, Bellavista. Graffiti: heart and rune-like symbols.  Santa Filomena near Ernesto Pinto Lagarrigue, Bellavista neighborhood. Graffiti: mushrooms, fireflies, and creatures.  Dardignac at Pur?ma, Bellavista neighborhood. Yellow car and graffiti.  Dardignac at Pur?ma, Bellavista neighborhood. Graffiti: cyclops.  Fernando M?uez de La Plata, Bellavista neighborhood. Graffiti: man.  Fernando M?uez de La Plata, Bellavista neighborhood. Mural on a house (naked women and a computer?), Fernando M?uez de la Plata, Bellavista.


Providencia is an ultramodern, commercial part of the city. Shiny office buildings, well-dressed people, and restaurants abound.

Avenida Apoquindo at Augusto Legu? Providencia neighborhood. El Huerto vegetarian restaurant, Providencia neighborhood. Providencia neighborhood, viewed from Mirador Mapulemu on Cerro San Crist?.  The largest skycraper is the Titanium La Portada tower. hotel Monteblanco and a modern building, Isidora Goyenechea, Providencia neighborhood. Isidora Goyenechea, Providencia neighborhood. Polite sign: "Sr. Peat?ara Cruzar Espere Luz Verde" ("Mr. Pedestrian, to Cross Wait for the Green Light").  Providencia neighborhood.


This is a small, pleasant, pedestrian-friendly neighborhood to wander around, with restaurants, museums, and bookshops.

Building, Jos?ictorino Lastarria, Lastarria neighborhood. Iglesia de la Veracruz, Jos?ictorino Lastarria, Lastarria neighborhood. Jos?ictorino Lastarria, Lastarria neighborhood.


Historic buildings, pedestrian streets, shopping, and the city's main square, the Plaza de Armas, complete with street performers, the main cathedral, and other beautiful buildings, can all be found here in the city center.

Entel Tower. Guards, La Moneda. Taxi with eight Chilean flags. People on a bus making peace signs. A tower of the Cathedral Metropolitana and a modern building, Plaza de Armas. Paseo Ahumada at dusk. Puente Peatonal Los Carros ("The Cars" footbridge).  Nice name! Plaza de Armas, Santiago's central square. Statue that resembles those on Easter Island, Alameda (Av Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins). Alameda (Av Libertador Bernardo O'Higgins), with the Entel Tower in the background. Hotel Europa. Farmacia Sexshop, Hu?anos. La Moneda. Paseo Nueva York. Sculpture, Plaza de Armas. Plaza Santa Teresa de Los Andes. Graffiti: Contra el Bicentenario de Lxs Ricxs.  (Against the Bicentennial of the rich.)  For some reason, the Os have been replaced with Xs in "Los Ricos" in this and other graffiti in the city.  San Mart? city center.

Cerro Santa Lucía

This hill in the center of Santiago is much smaller than Cerro San Cristóbal, but it still has nice views, it's easy to ascend (a walk, not a hike), and it contains many delightful gardens.

View of Cerro San Crist? from Cerro Santa Luc? Bench and path, Cerro Santa Luc? Elevator, Cerro Santa Luc? Jard?Circular (Circular Garden), Cerro Santa Luc? Observation tower, Cerro Santa Luc? View from Cerro Santa Luc? One of the gardens, Cerro Santa Luc?

Parque Forestal

Stretching west to east in the middle of the city, Parque Forestal provides a long stretch of greenery through which to stroll, with interesting sculptures and the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes.

Parque Forestal. Fountain in honor of poet Rub?Dar? Parque Forestal. Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Sculpture entitled Futuro (Future), Parque Forestal. Horse sculpture, Parque Forestal. Sculpture entitled Pueblo (Town), Parque Forestal.


The city's subway system is quite good, safe, and extensive — a highly recommended way to get around.

Santiago Metro, Pedro de Valdivia station. Santiago Metro, El Golf station. Train interior, Santiago Metro.

Homeless Dogs

The one thing that seems anomalous in this otherwise pristine city is the high number of homeless dogs. There seems to be a high tolerance of the situation, and people feed them and occasionally even pet them. Aside from a little mange, the dogs seem healthy. They're completely trusting of people, and many are quite beautiful.

Homeless dog.  P?Nono, Bellavista. Homeless dog, with two La Moneda guards riding horses behind.  Constitution Plaza. Homeless dog, sleeping in the observation tower on the top of Cerro Santa Luc? Man reading a newspaper on a bench, while a homeless dog sleeps near by.  Corner of Monjitas and Merced, Barrio Lastarria. People feeding pizza to a homeless dog.  Parque Forestal. Homeless dog, excited because he has just seen another dog.  Couple embracing on a bench nearby.  Parque Forestal. Homeless dog, sleeping at a viewpoint at  the top of Cerro San Crist?. Homeless dog, sleeping amid standing people.  Plaza de Armas.

Casablanca Valley

Casablanca Valley. A little over an hour's drive from Santiago, this temperate valley is known for its white wines and pinot noirs. About a dozen wineries have popped up in this valley since the 1980s; I visited three of them and was impressed both by the quality of the wines and by the pleasantness of the surroundings.

Emiliana Vineyards
Aconcagua viticultural region. This is the first biodynamic winery in Latin America and the seventh in the entire world (biodynamic farming is organic and comprises a number of additional sustainable practices). The grounds are extensive and beautiful, with a host of animals, including the first non-grumpy llamas I think I've ever met. The wines are impressive, including the citrusy estate grown Novas Sauvignon Blanc and especially the Coyam, a red blend whose grapes come from Emiliana's biodynamic vineyard in the warmer Colchagua Valley. Delicious olive oil is also produced here.
Sign.  Emiliana Vineyards. Tasting room.  Emiliana Vineyards. Boxes that bees live in.  Emiliana Vineyards. Llama eating a flower.  Emiliana Vineyards. Brown llama rolling in the lettuce that the white llamas are trying to eat.  Emiliana Vineyards. Geese.  Emiliana Vineyards. Picnic tables outside tasting room.  Emiliana Vineyards. Row of vines labeled "Manzanilla" (I believe the label refers to the compost used as fertilizer).  Emiliana Vineyards. Turkeys.  Emiliana Vineyards. Worker carrying baby llama.  Emiliana Vineyards. Bee on flower.  Emiliana Vineyards. Row tended by Sra. Maria.  Vegetable garden, Emiliana Vineyards.
Veramonte Winery
Aconcagua viticultural region. Started by a veteran of the famous Concha y Toro Winery, this was the first winery to be established in the Casablanca Valley back in the 1980s. The winery houses a small, fascinating wine museum with quite a few European artifacts, dating as far back as the 18th century. The most surprising to me was a 1905 German bottle opener that wouldn't look out of place in a kitchen supply store today. The Sauvignon Blanc with intense notes of grapefruit and the incredibly smooth and balanced Primus, a red blend, stood out as excellent wines.
Wine and cheese tasting, Veramonte Winery. 20th century still wine filter.  Musem, Veramonte Winery. Early 20th century German bottle filler.  Musem, Veramonte Winery. Old corkscrews.  The middle one, made in Germany in 1905, is quite similar to those currently on the market.  Musem, Veramonte Winery. Sign, Veramonte Winery. Wine bottles with medals.  Veramonte Winery. Steel tanks.  The shorter ones on the left are used for pinot noir grapes.  Veramonte Winery. Hall, Veramonte Winery. Veramonte Winery. Vineyard, mountains and a Chilean flag.  Veramonte Winery.
Casas del Bosque
Aconcagua viticultural region. This place is kind of swank; the tasting room wouldn't be out of place in New York City. In addition to the excellent and interesting Sauvignon Blanc (citrusy from the start, but the grapefruit doesn't even appear until the finish), the Estate Selection red blend is particularly impressive, with complex fruit and black olives on the palate. The Sauvignon Blanc has been consistently voted the best in Chile.
Entrance, Casas del Bosque. Tasting room, Casas del Bosque. Barrels, Casas del Bosque. Vineyard, Casas del Bosque. Daniel, tour guide, Casas del Bosque.

More photos: View all photos in the directory /photos/chile/.
Eve Andersson (eve@eveandersson.com)
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