Chile is one of the hidden gems of South America and the capital, Santiago, has so much to offer. For most of us visiting South America is a big step in terms of location and there are so many places to go, luckily LAN and other airlines regularly have flights to and from Chile from most destinations, so getting to Chile should never be a issue. Here are some great things that you absolutely must see and do in Santiago.
Santa Lucía Hill
This is a small hill in the very centre of Santiago, and getting here is easy with a metro station that has the same name. The hill itself is part of the remnants of a volcano that is roughly 15 million years old and has an altitude of 629m and it rises 69m above the surrounding land. The highest point provides a stunning view of the city and the park that makes up the hill is very large. There are also ornate facades, stairways and fountains to look at.
San Cristóbal Hill
This is another hill in Santiago, but in the northern part and is called Cerra San Cristóbal in Spanish. This hill is much bigger than Santa Lucia Hill and it rises 300m above the rest of Santiago. This is a place provides one of the best views of the city possible. On top there is also a sanctuary to the Immaculate Conception and part of this is a large statue of the Virgin Mary. You can reach the summit of the hill by foot (under an hour to walk) or by car, which is much quicker. There are also many other things to do like visit the two amazing swimming pools on the hill or see the National Zoo of Chile.
La Moneda Palace
Also known as Palacio de La Moneda (coin palace) neo-classic style building that houses the presidential office of the President of the Republic of Chile. It is also home to the offices of some other government ministers. Free guided tours of the palace are possible in several languages, however you must book at least a week in advance, so remember this if visiting. Another highlight is the traditional changing of the guard every two days.
The palace really is a stunning piece of architecture that takes up a whole city block and is somewhere you must visit in Santiago.
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
This is the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art and is dedicated to pre-Columbian artworks and artifacts from South America and also Central America. It is located in the city centre and was founded by Sergio Larrain Garcia-Moreno, an architect and collector of antiques from Chile. It was originally intended to be a dedicated place for his own private collection of Pre-Columbian artifacts, however it has transitioned into a museum with the help of the government. It houses some very interesting and unique exhibits from various periods in the Americas.