Two Weeks in Santiago
When we were planning our South America trip, we knew we wanted to visit Santiago, Chile. It only took a few moments of research to figure out that most travelers did not seem to like Santiago. A lot of bloggers described Santiago as boring, lacking culture and smog filled. I started to panic! It had been a long time fantasy to live in Santiago so I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Andrew insisted that we stay for two weeks, despite my new fears that we would be bored to death. Andrew, I must admit, you were right to not listen to the haters online. Santiago turned out to be our favorite city yet.
We stayed in Barrio Lastarria, which is known as the hippest neighborhood in Santiago. Our Airbnb was $35 a night so we couldn’t NOT stay there. All I can is WOW. Lastarria is a beautiful, idyllic place to stay. There are restaurants and bars right outside your door. It is safe at all times of the night. People are constantly walking around with their families or friends, simply strolling along. It is centrally located and you can walk to a supermarket and a Dunkin’ Donuts in 10 minutes. Lastarria is also directly next to Cerro Santa Lucia, an amazing park. We walked to the very top of the park and enjoyed a beautiful view of the city.
My favorite part of Santiago? All of the cool street art. Andrew and I always seek out street art in any new city we visit but we didn’t have to look far in Santiago. It is EVERYWHERE. We walked miles and miles through many different neighborhoods, enjoying the street art and hippie vibes. That is a perfect way to describe Santiago, though. It is a big city filled with graffiti and young hippies. We couldn’t miss the teenagers selling weed cakes and thrifting their clothing in the evening time; it was happening seemingly everywhere. My other favorite thing about the city? The street performers. There were the typical performers in plazas but there were also LITERAL street performers. Every time a traffic light turned red in a major intersection, someone would jump into the intersection and perform a quick act for money. We witnessed dancers and jugglers!
We spent most of our time exploring each neighborhood, which are all a little different than the next. I think we walked 5-8 miles a day. If you aren’t interested in that, there is still plenty to do and see. Some of the sights we enjoyed the most were Palacio de la Moneda, Plaza de Armas de Santiago and Cerro Cristobal. We also devoted a whole day to walking almost 2 hours to the biggest mall in South America, Costanera Center. It is GIANT and the biggest supermarket in the city is there (our main reason for visiting).
After spending two weeks in Santiago, we were truthfully very depressed to leave. It is the perfect city to visit if you want to relax in warm summertime weather. There was no smog but I realize that we went in January and February and there is lots of smog later in the year. The weather was HOT and muggy some days but we packed plenty of shorts and lightweight shirts. Please do not listen to the other visitors of Santiago. Maybe they didn’t spend enough time in Santiago or maybe Santiago reminded us of our home city of Los Angeles. All I can say is that you MUST VISIT Santiago but you must be ready to chill out. If you can do that, you will leave Santiago feeling inspired and rejuvenated.
Tips and suggestions for Santiago:
- It is not cheap so do not expect any discounts.
- There summertime is very hot. Pack lots of lightweight clothes. We never once wore a jacket or pants during our 2 week visit.
- If Lastarria is not your vibe, do your research on what neighborhood to stay in. There are lots of options!
- There are taxis and Ubers in the city.
- Lider is a supermarket in Santiago. It is owned by Wal-Mart
- Santiago is very walkable, even though it is very hot. Bring lots of water and sunblock when you go out but it is possible to walk or even bike anywhere. There are city bikes you can rent!
- Locals are friendly if you need help but otherwise, they tend to keep to themselves. They are not rude, it is just their way.
- Santiago seemed very family friendly. The parks were filled with small children running around, eating ice cream.
- Enjoy Santiago for what it is; safe, clean, beautiful and kind of weird (in a good way!)