Santiago City Guide
Santiago Location: Central Valley
Founded in 1541 by Pedro de Valdivia, Santiago is now an interesting mixture of colonial, Victorian and ultra-modern office buildings. It’s a very safe and comfortable city, where you’ll find its 5,000,000 people very friendly and hospitable to all foreigners. In Santiago you have the charm and culture of Latin America with all the amenities of the first world.
Centrally located, Santiago makes the perfect base from which to visit both northern and southern Chile, as well as seeing the sights of the country’s central region. Santiago’s climate is mild and Mediterranean, and for those of you familiar with Northern California, you’ll find it to be virtually identical. Although winters are mild, when it rains in Santiago, it’s snowing in the Andes, and for those who like to ski you’ll be glad to know that the Ski areas of Valle Nevada, Colorado and La Parva are only an hour away. The coast, west of Santiago, is beautiful and offers numerous beaches, resorts and golf courses, which are especially popular during the summer months. In theory you could go skiing, play tennis and lie on the beach all in the same day!
The city itself is bisected by the Rio Mapocho, which gently weaves through from east to west, before descending to the flood plain below. The Mapocho marks the northern border of the city center, which is defined on the west and south by the Via Norte Sur and the Avenida Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins (known to Santiagans as the Alameda). Within this area can be found all the major museums, monuments, and architectural sights the city offers.
The very heart of Santiago is the Plaza de Armas, which lies along the Alameda about five blocks south of the river. The city’s European heritage is evident in the Parque Forestal, designed by a French landscaper on the model of Parisian parks. Walkers pass down tree-lined paths along the Mapocho, past small squares and the Museo de Bellas Artes. The Mercado Central is of British design, with wrought-iron ceiling parts that were imported from England in the mid 19th century. Today the market sells a wide variety of fresh, exotic produce.
Across the river, the Bellavista neighborhood is home to many restaurants and cafes. The Parque Metropolitano is Santiago’s playground, with walking trails, picnic areas, and a zoo. For stunning views of the city, visitors should head to the top of Cerro San Cristòbal. Also in the Bellavista area is La Chascona, the house designed by Nobel-Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda -whose work recently gained popularity in the film “Il Postino”.
Things To See And Do In The Area
- Visit some interesting local museums
- Check out the city center
- Enjoy world-class dining
- Excellent nightlife
- Great shopping
- Skiing just an hour away
- Visit some excellent Chilean wineries
- Get out to the beach on the weekends
- And much…much…more!
We are confident that learning Spanish at the Santiago Spanish School will be a wonderful experience!
Getting To Santiago, Chile
You have the choice of numerous daily international flights into Santiago
If you have questions about how to arrive into Santiago, Chile please do not hesitate to contact us.