Santiago Chile

Old Apr 10th, 2021, 08:26 AM
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Santiago Chile

Now we are fully vacinated, we plan to travel to South America in 2022. I have been able to research and make reservations in most places we will visit. However I am stumped about what is the most desirable location for a tourist in Santiago. We prefer to be situated in an area where we can walk to most attractions in town. We like historical sites. The town seems to be divided into several distinct areas. but it;s difficult to find a recommendation, Is there a "old town" area ? Any recommendations would be appreciated.
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Old Apr 10th, 2021, 07:45 PM
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My experience in Santiago was that some historical attractions are kind of spread out throughout the city. Some of that was due to earthquakes that to a degree have disrupted the 'flow' to what otherwise might have been a contiguous historical district, at least as far as interesting architectural sites and such. That's my experience, others may disagree. I'm I guess comparing Santiago to other large Latin American cities I know. It's not like Mexico City where staying in centro puts you close to almost everything.
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Old Apr 11th, 2021, 07:36 AM
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Thanks baldone. You confirm my thought that Santiago is difficult to research a "best" area to locate or a walking area where most attractions are located.
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Old Apr 11th, 2021, 10:11 AM
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I would suggest to have a closer look at what specific places are of interest to you, and also how much time you plan to spend in Santiago (2 days? one week?). This would probably help you decide a little more, by having a look at a city map. For example, if you are planning to see the Museo de arte precolombino, Plaza de Armas, Museo de Bellas Artes, Bellavista including cerro San Cristobal, La Chascona, Gabriela Mistral Centre, etc. , then staying close to the centro would make sense for example close to Santa Lucia or Lastarria. These would be a very efficient base time wise and you could walk quite easily to these places.

On the other hand, if you are aiming more towards parks and strolls, sitting at cafés, higher end shopping/dining in Vitacura, parque de las esculturas (sculpture park), Bicentenario park, going by subway to Los Dominicos artisan village, the Museo Ralli, etc., then have a look at Providencia or a favourite of ours the El Golf neighbourhood.
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Old Apr 12th, 2021, 05:58 AM
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Thanks kanadajin- We plan on being in Santiago 4 days. We were in Santiago about 15 years ago, but I can't recall much about it since we spent most of our time traveling outside the city. I recall that we stayed at a Marriott, but I don't think it was located in Centro. Can you recommend a couple of hotels that would be well located ? When you look at the hotel websites it is difficult to determine the location from their small maps. Thanks in advance.
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Old Apr 13th, 2021, 08:38 AM
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Jeterray, we usually rent apartments when in Santiago as our stay is typically for several weeks, fleeing our way too long winter misery back home. So I would unfortunately not have any first hand hotel recommendations for you.

If it can be of any help, I can however mention some hotels which we simply happened to notice during our sojourns (strictly through walking by, with rarely at best a quick peek in the lobby to satisfy our curiosity) which may perhaps be considered location wise. I have no idea about their going rates or reviews though, you would have to dig this a little deeper. It also depends on what you are looking for in terms of amenities, obviously. So take my purely by chance suggestions with a grain of salt.

In the Lastarria neighbourhood, you may want to look at Hotel Cumbres Lastarria, or the Singular Santiago Lastarria located close to each other. I am sure there would be others. In Providencia, we have some friends who stayed at the Hotel Boutique Le Reve and really enjoyed it (on calle Orrego Luco, very nice side street) - btw try the vegetarian restaurant El Huerto right across the street if you do go. There would also be the AC Hotel by Marriott Santiago at the Costanera Centre. A little further up you enter the Las Condes business district (dubbed Sanhattan) and related neighbourhood where you will find many american chain hotels, such as the Intercontinental Santiago, the Holiday Inn Express, Double Tree Hilton Santiago (all on calle Vitacura) and also the Hotel W on Isidora Goyenechea.

I am not sure if this is the kind of info you are seeking, and your site visiting intentions would certainly have a big influence on which area of the city to base yourselves.
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Old Apr 14th, 2021, 07:19 AM
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kanadajin- This information is quite helpful. It appears to me that the best locations for our interests are in the Santa Lucia and Lastarria districts. There are many places of interest around the Plaza de Armas area. Am i on track here ? If so, do you have hotel/restaurant recommendations in this area ? Sorry to keep asking questions, but my typical research does not divide things into districts that allow for easy walking to attractions. Thanks
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Old Apr 14th, 2021, 07:04 PM
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No worries, jeterray, happy to try and help.

Given that you spent little time in Stgo itself 15 years ago and on the premise that this would then be a first "real" foray in the city, I would think that, as you mention, staying in the centro makes a lot of sense. This is what we did ourselves on our first trip there years ago as it is walking distance (say within a radius of 30 minutes at average pace) to quite a few of the popular sites. We were very happy to have done so; this area is I would say a little on the gritty side and I would not venture out too far after dark safety wise, but during the day we never encountered any hints of problems (just be street smart as in any large city).

Just for info during the massive protests in the Fall of 2019, you may know this area was particularly hard hit as it is close to Plaza Italia which was the epicentre of the demonstrations. We were there in early 2020 (left merely just days before the worldwide virus shutdown) and there were still many traffic lights which were out of service from vandalism (I understand most have since been repaired) and also an impressive amount (in the negative sense) of graffiti everywhere you could possibly think of, some subway stations still closed, some destruction, defaced buildings, etc. Some amount of clean up has since been done but I do not know to what extent. And the virus hit as a double whammy. All this to say that it probably still would not be under its best light, so to speak. Hopefully it will be well on the upswing in time for your trip in 2022.

In terms of restaurants, I responded to a similar query a while back. Have a look at post 17 in this thread:
Escaping the northern hemisphere winter in the Santiago area?

Feel free to bounce more ideas. We actually quite enjoy Stgo and surroundings and have been back many times, despite the fact that it does not seem to generally get a lot of love on travel forums. As they say, different strokes for different folks!
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Old Apr 15th, 2021, 06:48 PM
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Kana- thanks, and I loved your prior post on restaurants in Santiago. As it turns out, my fellow travelers, want to stay at the Marriott hotel. Lots of points. I spent some time, and wasted some of your time. Sorry, and thanks. I so look forward to visiting Santiago. Your comments sent me to a lot of research that taught me a lot about the city. Thanks.
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Old Nov 10th, 2021, 11:38 AM
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We are booked at the Singular....late December.

Is there a food market within walking distance?
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Old Nov 10th, 2021, 03:05 PM
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ekscrunchy, I am presuming you are talking about the Singular Lastarria (just to be sure, I do not know if there exists another one). Also, what do you understand as a food market: Are you talking about a supermarket, or a farmer's market?

I am presuming you mean a supermarket - there is a Express Lider just down the street at Merced 560, just a few blocks away from your hotel on the other side of parque Santa Lucia (5 min walk). Whenever I stay downtown, while not all that large this is where I go for groceries ... and chilean wine !!! (they actually have a surprising selection!)
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Old Nov 11th, 2021, 07:34 AM
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Kanadajin:

Thanks so much. Yes, the is the Singular. I always like to explore food markets AND supermarkets.
By food markets I mean where the normal people shop.....Like a big market with stalls...not sure how to describe this....
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Old Nov 12th, 2021, 10:30 AM
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For markets with food stalls from producers, about a 20-25 min walk (2 km) from your hotel you may want to consider La Vega Central, La Vega Chica and Tirso de Molina. They are all next to each other - just walk west along the Parque Forestal parallel to the Mapocho river and cross either the Av. Recoleta or one block further down the La Paz bridge. These markets are just on the other side and straightforward to find from there.

From a practical perspective, they start very early in the morning and things slow down considerably after 2 or 3 PM as stalls are gradually closing. Although I have indeed been there mid-day (12 or 1 PM) and found things to certainly be still hopping. I seem to recall from your earlier posts that you are very well travelled ekscrunchy, but for others who may be reading this, for a better experience (1) make sure to brush up on your Spanish language skills before hand, and (2) be aware of your surroundings at all times (infamous for pick-pockets as it is often crowded with many small aisles) and do not show ostensible wealth (no jewelry, expensive cameras or cellphones, wear any backpack in front, etc.). This being said, I never experienced any issues in several visits but do know of people who did. Also without wanting to be alarmist just make sure to leave this neighbourhood by late afternoon and you will be fine, as at least for me any time after that is beyond my personal comfort level.

The first market you will come across after the bridge is the Tirso de Molina, it is fairly small but they do have a whole bunch of small restaurants on the second floor. Then across the street heading away from the river is the Vega Chica and things start to get more interesting (floor area, variety of products) and finally the next block up, you reach the Vega Central which absolutely humongous with a labyrinth network of aisles and passages (very easy to lose yourself, stay together if you are more than one otherwise good luck in trying to reunite!), with all kinds of sights, colours, smells and sounds. It is a bit of a zoo but that is what makes it interesting. Very interesting and stimulating, produce is often less expensive and fresher than in supermarkets. We found the merchants to be honest, but nonetheless I always try to have a look at the scale as they weigh things and work out in my mind my own expected price before hand for my own peace of mind. I never experienced any attempt of "gringo pricing".
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Old Nov 13th, 2021, 07:46 AM
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Great news and muchisimas gracias. My Spanish is good but I will take while to acclimate to the Chliean accesnt which in my scant experience, is very different than the Spanish from Mexico and even fromm Spain..

That it EXACTLY the type of market I wanted, although a big supermarket will be on my list as well. I only have one day there, aFTER the quarantine day inside the hotel. The plan is from Miami to Santiago and then south to Nataes. Then back to Santiago and north to Atacama. This of one of the few times I've used a "travel planner" (knowmad in the USA) to do al the planning which takes a load off my mind....I am not exactly in my best mental shape right now so this is a big plus for me..before I have only used by beloved SOUTHERN DESTINATIONS for our several (maybe 6 now) high end safari ventures...planning a return to Zimbabwe as fast as I have time and $$$$$$ for...you really do get addicted to southern Africaa although Namibia might be far in the future if I last that long!!

Anyway, your info is a great boon to me and I thank you again, prosufly!
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Old Nov 14th, 2021, 05:33 AM
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Do not worry too much about the Chilean Spanish accent, from what you mention I think you will adapt quite easily. I did not find it all that different from the Mexican one, the jump from the Spain accent to the the Mexico one was greater IMHO and I also had to keep reminding myself not to use the vosotros conjugation there (2nd person plural - I learned Spanish in Spain, and much later spent a fair amount of time in Mexico City for work in that language - 100% Spanish colleagues) Of course, every country has its own sayings and words, as with English (for ex. USA: rent a car, UK: hire a car, etc.), but you usually get the idea pretty fast

As an interesting aside, I found that the term "bilingual" in Chile often refers to Spanish-Portuguese (as opposed to English), since the contingent of Brazilian visitors to the country is definitely far larger than the North American one.

In any case, enjoy Chile ! I really took to the country and its generous and kind people and I am sure you will too.
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Old Nov 19th, 2021, 07:41 AM
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They will understand you, eks. But you will only understand about half of what they say back to you. Even other South Americans don't understand them.

"The poorest man in Lima speaks better (Spanish) than the richest man in Chile" is what my hosts in Punta Arenas told me.

Last edited by mlgb; Nov 19th, 2021 at 07:44 AM.
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Old Nov 22nd, 2021, 06:25 PM
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I am also planning an escape the winter travel adventure trip to Chile (and then Argentina and Uruguay) in February & March, and plan to start with 3-7 days in Santiago, then Puerto Natales, Torres Del Paine, then to Argentina and El Calafete, lakes, Mendoza, Buenos Ares, beach in Uruguay, . I was sad to read your post about the damage to the center of Santiago and I am concerned about further unrest in the next few months related to the upcoming election. Do you think that I should hold off on Santiago for a few years until things calm down.
And if not, As a general matter when visiting a new city I try to stay in the kind of neighborhood that is analogous to the coolest and nicest neighborhood of NYC I might to live in for a few months, safe to walk around day and evening, with restaurants, clubs, stores, and close to whatever sights there are. What part of Santiago would you recommend for that?
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Old Nov 27th, 2021, 06:57 PM
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We have 3 days at the beginning of the trip, in Santiago one issue is that we arrive New Year's Eve....might eat at hotel (Singular) that first night...then..La Calma..??????

Do not care about fancy places although budget is generous..want local seafood, or lamb for partner...
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Old Nov 28th, 2021, 02:02 PM
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We found the local seafood, vegetables and fruit in Chile exceptional. I can’t answer your question but wanted to let you know how delicious their local, fresh foods are.
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Old Dec 7th, 2021, 09:01 AM
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I am trying to book EL MESON DE PATAGONIA in Santiago......so far very responsive..any comments?

El Meson de La Patagonia - Restaurant
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