Check the other cities here: Travelling across South America in 15 Days
So, after an amazing experience with the natural beauties of Bolivia, the incredible ruins and urban landscapes of Peru, the walk in the middle of the world in Ecuador and the beaches and exciting activities going on in Colombia, we are ready to jump into another country – Chile, this time!
Chile and Ecuador are the only two countries of South America that don’t have a border with Brazil. Chile is a long stripe of land with the Andes Mountains to its east and the Pacific Coast to its west side and, among other things, is widely known by the amazing seafood in many traditional dishes. Its capital, Santiago, is our stop in the country and it upholds a lot of city sightseeing and local experiences.
We are going to start the day in Santiago at the Bellavista neighborhood. It is known as the bohemian quarter of the city, where you can enjoy the amazing graffiti arts, hip restaurants, galleries and the party district with dozens of clubs at night. Right next to it there is also another must-see of the town – the San Cristobal Hill, where you can pay for a ride to the top and visit the National Zoo of Chile on the halfway. Many tourists say that you will not get to see a better panoramic view of the city from anywhere else.
Chile is also known for being the home country of world famous poet and Pulitzer prize winner Pablo Neruda – he lived in a few different places in the country and all of them were converted into museums and touristic attractions. One of them is La Chascona, located also in Bellavista and built in 1953 to his then lover and later third wife Matilde Urrutia. The house nowadays is taken care of by the Pablo Neruda foundation and has many elements that show Neruda’s love of the sea.
Also talking about museums you definitely must try to go to a few of Chile’s history related venue, such as the National Fine Arts Museum – with a great hall and astonishing lined sculptures, the Museum of Contemporany Art – featuring a sculpture of Colombian artist Fernando Botero (whose work we already mentioned before in our visit to Medellín) and the Museum of Memory and Human Rights – remembering the human rights violations during the Augusto Pinochet military regime between 1973 and 1990. On a related note, don’t forget to visit the sculptures park, for free I might add. For a little more interaction than just art appreciation you can enjoy the Plaza de Armas – a square that marks the historic city center of Santiago. The National History Museum is also there, along with the Metropolitan Cathedral and a whole bunch of tents and stores selling art from local artists. Maybe a great place to buy some souvenirs too.
For something more local (especially if you are a tour-like-a-citizen kind of person) don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Bandera region – packed with second-hand clothing stores where you can buy articles from everyday clothes to second hand wedding gowns. And don’t leave the city until you have tried some Chilean sushi – even though it is a Japanese specialty, the huge variety of fresh fish (that you can also buy at the seafood market) makes it highly competitive.
Next stop: get your winter clothes on and prepare for temperatures below zero, because we are going to Patagonia – proving that everything in South America is awesome, regardless of the temperature!