Santiago is the capital of Chilé, Chilé is a long narow strip of land located in the West of South America situated between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, it neighbours Argnetina in the East, Peru in the North and Bolivia to the North East.
I arrived by flight into Santiago via Lima from Cusco, you are not permitted to import any food into Chilé especially fresh fruit and grains, however certain products are accepted, such as wine. Upon arrival in customs depending on nationality, our passports were stamped and we were provided with a PDI (it looks like a receipt) keep this safe because you may be required to present it when you leave Chilé.
I stayed at a wonderful AirBnb in Santiago, and would highly recommend Mikael and Andreas house. It was conveniently located next to the Quinta Normal metro station which is opposite the Human rights museum (museo de la memoria y los derechos humanos) this museum is extremely interesting, heartbreaking and well worth a visit. Entrance is free. Here you can listen to Salvador Allendes final speach.
The main mode of transport in Santiago is the Metro, which is extremely easy to use. It requires a ticket or BIP card, similar to an oyster card in London. It is very reasonably priced.
I also took the free walking tour in Santiago with Free Tours Santiago – this tour was carried out by Leon, he was a fantastic guide, he was so knowledgable about Chilean History, and very enthusiastic. The tour was really enjoyable, and I learnt so much. The tour provides you with a long list of things to go back to do and to see! After the tour, our group went for beers in Bella Vista, Leon highly recommended the Krossbar for there unique beers!
One of the things pointed out on the walking tour that I went back to visit, was the Cerro San Cristobal! The views are amazing and on a clear day you can see the distant snow capped mountains. There are a variety of tickets available to get up to the San Cristobal, I chose to take both the funicular ride and the cable car ride. The queues can be quite long, so get there early or be prepared to queue for 45+ minutes in the afternoon. The cost for the return journeys were around 5000 Chilean pesos, £6.20. However, you can choose to walk up, down, or half way as well.
I also chose to visit the Pre-Colombian art museum in Santiago, not far from the plaza de armas, this museum is really nice, has some great artifacts and I really enjoyed it. It took about 2 hours to get around and cost 2000 Chilean pesos (the only museum with a charge in Santiago) around £2.50.
The Infamous Vega Central Market
My airbnb host Andrea was kind enough to let me acompany her to this quirky market on a Saturday morning, it is bustling with all sorts of things for sale, fruits i´ve never seen nor heard of, Fish, Meat, Pet food, and wonderful Coffee. It was also here that I was introduced to Dulce de Leche. I am thinking about dedicating a whole blog post to this wonderful new discovery!
I managed to get my first skate in South America in Santiago, at Parque Bustamante, the nearest metro was Baqeudano. The park has a couple of rails, ledges, a manuel pad and a steep miniature quarter. It also has a pump bump to backless quarter and is enclosed by a banked wall, mellow enough to skate, and varying in height. It was a sunny day and although none of the locals spoke English I had a really good skate and enjoyed many Spanglish exchanges!
Love B x