Chillin’ in Chile

SANTIAGO, CHILE

  • When: 24 December – 26 December 2022
  • Where (accommodations): The Singular Santiago Lasteria Hotel
  • Transportation: Aerolineas Argentinas from Buenos Aires
  • Sights/attractions: Plaza de Armas, Metropolitan Cathedral, Santa Lucia Hill, Funicular Santiago, Cerro San Cristobal, Sky Costanera, Estacion Universidad and Estacion Metro la Moneda, La Moneda Palace, Barrio Italia
  • Food/drinks: Le Bistro Viet, The Singular Rooftop Bar, Sapiens, Boragó

OVERVIEW

Short two day visit in Santiago, Chile was sort of a mini vacation on our vacation. We had a busy week in Argentina and will have another equally active part of the trip in Ecuador. Time in Santiago coincided with Christmas, so we decided to have this little break without too many plans, excursions or stress. From Ushuaia, Argentina we had to fly back to Buenos Aires (we chose the late evening flight), had a few hours of sleep at the hotel and went back to the airport for the flight to Santiago, Chile. Unfortunately there was no other way to get here from Ushuaia. It added the hotel/Uber expenses and we were pretty tired with little sleep, but knowing that we have a couple of chill days definitely helped.

ACCOMODATIONS

The Singular Santiago Lasteria Hotel

In general Santiago, Chile is not the safest city to be hanging around. At least that’s what we heard from several people, though we did not experience any threat ourselves. When booking accommodations we wanted to be in a safe neighborhood and Lasteria is one of them. The Singular Santiago Lasteria Hotel is a 5 star property and very reasonably priced. Rooftop pool and a rooftop restaurant was also very appealing in a hot sunny weather.

Actually their ceviche that we ordered by the pool was one of the best we had on the whole trip!

Hotel had some malfunction with the electricity/hot water and a sewage smell coming out of the shower drain, but the staff was extremely nice and accomodating. We got a bottle of wine and a very late check out because of these inconveniences.

SANTIAGO SIGHTS

We did not want to spend the whole time at the hotel (as appealing as it was to just lay by the pool), so we did a bit of sightseeing. Here is what we got to explore in the 2.5 days in the Chilean capital.

Plaza de Armas and the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral

Large square at the heart of the city was not too far walk away from the hotel, but the staff told us to not hang out there in the evening. It was pretty crowded in the afternoon and we did not feel unsafe, however when I was taking photos with my phone, a police officer walked over to me and told me to be careful, as sometimes the bikes drive by and can snatch the phone out of hands. I snapped a few photos and put it away after that.

Metropolitan Cathedral was open, so we walked in to see it. Beautiful church indeed. The square also looked nice, but with all the warnings we didn’t feel like hanging around, so it was a short visit.

Santa Lucia Hill

Quiet and well taken care of park was nice to walk around and the view from the top was beautiful. This hill was featured in a few of the Amazing Race episodes with the competing teams finishing their leg in Santiago.

Wear comfortable shoes, because there are a lot of cobble stones/uneven steps before you reach the top.

San Cristobal Hill and Funicular Santiago

One of the main attractions of the Santiago Metropolitan Park, this funicular could be seen from our hotel rooftop. We were not sure if it would be open on Christmas day, but decided to walk over and see anyway. It was functioning and the park was busy with local families as well as tourists. There are different ticket options- some only for funicular, some include gondola and one that covers both of those plus the bus in the park. We got the full access one, though never used the bus.

Great views of Santiago, especially since we got a clear, cloudless day. On top of San Cristobal Hill (Cerro San Cristobal) there is a little chapel dedicated to the Immaculate Concepcion, as well as the 22 meters tall statue of The Blessed Virgin Mary.

The park overall was really nice- there are bathrooms, places to grab a bite, and ice cream. We took the gondola down instead of the funicular and saw the other side of the hill that way.

While in Santiago I’d say it’s a worthy park to check out.

Sky Costanera

Another place with great views – the tallest building in South America! Observation deck with 360 degree views from a 300 meters hight (glass windows, not open terrace). There is a bar up top, but it was not open on Christmas day when we visited. We were surprised the observation area was open too. The entrance is through the mall and all the stores were closed, only security walking around, so it was a bit eery to see the empty mall.

Once we got to the top the sights were spectacular. I’d probably come back around sunset so that you could see it both in the daylight and the city lit up at night. We bought the tickets online prior to coming, but they sell them at the counter as well.

Yes, we brought the Santa hats from Boston. Yes we carried them around and took pictures in them. It’s Christmas and we are that cheesy 🙂 .

La Moneda Palace

Government building and I think you may be able to visit, but we did not go inside. We walked by it on our last day in Santiago.

Estacion Universidad and Estacion Metro la Moneda

These two metro stations have some nice wall art, so we went in to see it. We used the metro to get around, it was a very cheap and fast way to get from one end of the city to the other.

Santiago has a lot of street art (also a lot of graffiti).

Barrio Italia

We wish we had more time once we came to this hip and cool neighborhood. Lined with little shops, restaurants, boutiques and galleries this area felt completely different from Santiago we have seen so far.

Once again, a lot of wall art, very safe and pleasant to explore.

FOOD of ART

I say that, because Santiago is the place were we ate the MOST artistic, interesting, even strange food – both in the taste and presentation. We booked dinner at Boragó well in advance for 5.30pm. Why so early? Well, because it was a 3 hour experience! After which we went straight to the airport to fly to Ecuador. Not a bad way to prepare for a flight and end our trip in Chile!

So what did we have for this 12 course plus the wine pairing show? I would not be able to tell you exactly, because I did not know half of the ingredients. But there was sea asparagus and deer crudo aged on bees wax. There was Patagonian lamb and there was mushroom ceviche. The service was impeccable and we were in absolute awe of the presentation of the dishes.

To be completely honest it was not the absolute best food we’ve ever had (Marmelade restaurant in Puerto Rico wins that title), but it was definitely a memorable experience (and an expensive one:) ). I would recommend this for a special occasion for sure.

We did not have bad food on this trip (still trying to lose the extra lbs we put on). We liked the breakfast at hour hotel as well as the rooftop bar. We had dinner at the rooftop restaurant on one of the nights and the view was great, food was good, but the service was super slow, so I was hangry.

We liked Le Bistro Viet– the restaurant short walk from our hotel. They have a nice outside terrace and the dinner we had was Vietnamese fusion.

It was Christmas Eve, hence our festive hats 🙂 .

On our last day while walking around Barrio Italia we had lunch at the vegan/vegetarian place Sapiens– everything was delicious.

CONCLUSION

It was a good little break in Santiago. We sightseed the city as well as relaxed, which was very much needed on this busy vacation. We booked massages two days in a row at our hotel spa. The first day they did such a good job that we immediately asked if the same masseuses were available the following day :). It was not very expensive either.

Chile just like Argentina is a big country, so we’d love to come back to explore it again. But for now, we are off to see more amazing nature in Ecuador. Galapagos, here we come!

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