Santiago is situated in Chile's central valley and surrounded by the Andes Mountains. Founded in 1541, it is the capital and one of oldest cities in Chile. Despite its history, much of the city's buildings are quite modern, with only a handful of monuments remaining from Santiago's Spanish colonial period. It was in the 1930s particularly that urban development really took off, resulting in Santiago becoming Chile's most metropolitan area. Trendy neighbourhoods such as Barrio Suecia and Bellavista are where much of the city's action, from dancing to jazz clubs, lively eateries and bars, can be found. The surrounding mountains are also popular spots for vineyards, hiking and skiing.
Santiago cruises dock in the port town of Valparaiso, located 120km from Santiago. Free shuttle busses run regularly between Valparaiso and Santiago.
Sights to See
Once you reach Santiago, head to the bustling hub of Plaza de Armas. Here you'll find an array of street performers, art for sale and the chess club of Chile in action. The Cathedral of Santiago is also located in Plaza de Armas. The baroque cathedral is one of the city's most significant buildings. Another important landmark is La Chascona, the previous dwelling of poet and politician Pablo Neruda. Consider taking a day trip to one of Santiago's surrounding wineries or ski fields.
What's for Lunch
Chilean's are famous for their meat dishes, so meat lovers will be in for a treat in Santiago. Order the city's traditional empanadas - meat wrapped in pastry, and wash it down with a Pisco Sour.
If you see only one thing...
Don't miss the spectacular view from Cerro San Cristobal, the second highest peak in the Chile.
'Buenos diás' is Spanish for good morning, while 'Buenos tardes' means good evening.
Santiago's flea markets, such as El Persa Bio Bio, are great places to pick up antiques, art and handmade jewellery.