Thursday, September 19, 2013

How To Spend 72 Hours in Santiago, Chile


   With more than a week to kill in Peru while waiting for my mates to arrive, I decided to do a short stop over to Santiago, Chile. It was August of my South American Summer, and their winter in Chile, so I packed a beanie, a thick sweater, and embarked to the historic and magnificent Santiago. Here's some of my tips that helped me make the most of Chile, and some advice so you don't make the same mistakes!

  • Entry fee for US citizens: yep, we make it hard for people to visit us, so some countries do the same. If you arrive to Chile by air you will have to pay a reciprocal fee as we charge Chileans who visit USA. It was around $150. They do accept credit cards.
  • Not many people speak or are fluent in English, so be sure to freshen up on some Espanol Language before you go. They don't have a strong  accent so their Spanish was very easy for me to understand.
  • Have a weather plan! I was supposed to go to the Andes one day and got rain out. It was a snowy icy rain. I planned on walking around the city but the neighborhood I stayed in had a complete power outage! So think of a plan B just in case! But in all honesty it was probably a freak accident that both would occur. My first day was spent cold and wet. But luckily I found some nice cafe's and restaurants that managed without electricity, and I just checked out some of the amazing street art in the...
  • BELLA VISTA! Do everything you can to stay in Bella Vista. It's a quaint little part of Santiago that has art EVERYWHERE. Every building has a beautiful mural or design. So if you are short on cash to go to a museum you can appreciate local art without spending a dime.

  • If you are going the hostel route, and want to stay in Bella Vista, I'll save you a lot of time. The Bella Vista Hostel is THE ONLY HOSTEL in Bella Vista. It's a great place to stay, very clean, with all standard hostel amenities. And more importantly, I met some great people there. I felt it was the type of hostel that attracts great travelers to hang out with.
  • Shop at the outdoor markets. While Chile is certainly not the cheapest South American market you'll find some great deals at smaller outdoor stands on souvenirs, not wines though. :( A lot of vendors in Chile will take dollars, but not all! So have Chilean pesos on hand.
  • Wine, wine, and wine!!! I drank so much I can't remember any of the details, but Chilean wine is excellent!!!
  • Easter Island: I didn't go, but let me save you some time. It is NOT for the budget traveler. I'm sure it's an amazing place to go. But if you are on a tight budget it will be difficult. Your best bet would be booking last minute once you are in Chile, but there is no guarantees.
  • Night life: There is no shortage of great bars in Santiago, and most nights are pretty crowded. Most places do not charge an entry fee. Drink prices are comparable to many US Cities, but I wouldn't say as much as the more pricey cities, NYC, Miami, SFO, etc.

  • Even if you go in winter when I went, Chileans love outdoor dining! It was freezing cold, and regardless every restaurant at night seemed to be deserted inside and packed outside. As an Arizona resident, I loved that. We too love eating outside. This is why you get misted in the summer if you come here! And p.s. the food in Chile is almost as good as the wine!
  • San Cristobal Hill: GO GO GO!!! It's right in Bella Vista, the stairs are free, or you could pay a small price to take the trolley up. If you are going to the Zoo, make sure you stop on the way up, as the trolley will not stop at the zoo on the way down. The other stop is the summit, best views of Santiago! And if you are lucky you may catch a llama or street performers at the base.

      Santiago was no doubt a great time, and a great start to backpacking up the coast of South America. The people were genuine, the city was safe, the architecture was beautiful, the weather was a nice cold break from a very hot American Summer, and although the trip was short, it was just as sweet and delicious as the wine!  Muchas gracias Santiago!


Choose the continent!!!!


No comments:

Post a Comment