It’s not easy to pick a single word to describe Santiago, Chile’s complex and flamboyant capital, so perhaps its best to say that this is a city full of surprises.
The city is overlooked by the snowy and serene Andes, but down on the ground expect the unexpected, from throbbing parties that last until dawn to stately cathedrals and ornate colonial architecture.
Confront Santiago head on by getting a bird’s eye view of this sprawling metropolis at Cerro San Cristobal, a park best reached by funicular that manages to incorporate an oasis of green space with iconic architecture, paved roads, and urban swimming pools.
The streets of Santiago embrace modernity and teem with life and industry, so explore this from another perspective at a street market, known locally as a feria, such as Santa Lucia that features traditional arts and crafts. Pick up some souvenirs made from local materials and using techniques going back centuries like colorful clothing made from Alpaca wool.
Keep on with the surprises by moving on to the Barrio Bellavista neighborhood, known as the unashamed bohemian quarter of the city and browse in the colorful boutiques and galleries that have taken over the area. When day turns to night, the streets of Barrio Bellavista erupt with music and dancing from the many bars that keep the party going all night long.