After a 16-hour LAN flight from Sydney Australia to Santiago Chile we landed at Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport the start of our South American Escapade.
As Australians we were required to pay a “reciprocity fee” on arrival, we didn’t have to go far before we found the payment booth. After making our payment the exit from the airport was event free.
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Our South American Escapade started in Santiago Chile
We caught a taxi to our apartment Lastarria 43-61 our home for the next week.
Lastarria 43-61 doesn’t have a lift so it is something to be aware of if you have mobility issues. We were very fortunate that one of the kind staff helped us with our luggage up four flights of stairs. Our apartment was comfortable and equipped with a kitchen, microwave and full size fridge.
Lastarria 43-61 is in the “Barrio Lastarria”, a historical and cultural neighbourhood which is surrounded by art galleries, restaurants and bars and within walking distance to Santiago’s many tourist attractions. The metro is just around the corner and you are within walking distance to 2 supermarkets.
Where to stay in Santiago Chile
Advantages…Centrally located, close to many tourist attractions, beautiful neighbourhood, kitchen facilities, close proximity to supermarkets, close to Metro station, close to outstanding dining options. free Wifi.
Be Aware…Lastarria 43-61 has no lift and is not suitable for people with mobility issues
Comfort level…A lovely apartment with clean well decorated rooms, great staff who took our luggage upstairs.
Wining & Dining
After unpacking we couldn’t wait to get out and explore our surroundings. Lastarria is a very attractive neighbourhood (Barrio) with stunning Spanish style buildings, giving Lastarria an old world feel.
The street is filled with restaurants and bars. We enjoyed a light snack and sampled some of Chile’s world famous wine while people watching in the relaxing atmosphere of the Nolita Restaurant perfect for taking the edge off our jetlag.
Another restaurant we enjoyed was Quitral Fuego & Cava a very modern restaurant with great ambiance and food.
After busy days exploring we would sometimes spend the night in with local delicacies and wine from the neighbourhood market.
What to see in Santiago
Up early we walked the quiet streets toward the Historical Centre (Centro Histórico) to the impressive Plaza de La Constitucion and onward to the “heart” of Santiago, the Plaza De Armas. Admiring the decorative Spanish inspired buildings of this neighbourhood, you can’t help but be struck with the contrasts between old and new as you look upward to the skyscrapers that surround this historical area.
We walked on to the Mercado Central (Central Market), this very pretty wrought iron building houses a food market and restaurants that showcase Chilean seafood. While exploring the market we found a tour office which has many tour options including Hop on Hop off Bus and wine tours.
We decided to take the Hop on Hop off bus to discover the different areas of the city, some of our favourite areas were:
Bellavista, a funky neighbourhood with brightly coloured buildings displaying street art and a bohemian atmosphere. Catch the funicular up to San Cristobal hill, on the way visit the zoo and statue of the Virgin Mary that watches over the city. Admire the stunning view of Santiago and the surrounding snow capped Andes mountains.
Bellas Artes, the Museo de Bellas Artes is an impressive building that houses the Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Contemporary Art. Directly opposite the Parque Forestal a park is a cool peaceful haven on a Summers day.
Providencia and El Golf (Sanhatten), here the gleam of glass and steel represent the best in modern architecture, hallmarking the commercial, financial and hotel districts of Santiago. Home to shops, cafes and restaurants and the exclusive Los Leones Golf Club.
The Hop on Hop off Bus was a great introduction to Santiago. At times the Santiago traffic came to a standstill, when it did we searched for the nearest Metro station and made our way down into Santiago’s ultra modern Metro system.
If you are staying more than a couple of days purchase a Bip! Card which is cheaper and more convenient that buying single fare tickets.
Wine Tour from Santiago
We booked our wine tour through Touristik as they had a discount promotion with the Hop on Hop off Bus Tour at the time of our booking.
Only when you start making your way out of Santiago, do you discover just how vast the city is. We enjoyed the drive and found it interesting to observe daily life in Santiago.
Concha y Toro winery is set amid extensive parks, exquisite gardens and a former summer residence.
Roaming through the vineyards you can sample the different varieties of grape such as Merlot, Pinot Noir and Pinot Blanc.
Be prepared for surprises in the wine cellars, and enjoy the wine tasting and gift glasses.
The tour takes around 4 hours, but be aware that Santiago traffic can slow down the arrival time back to your apartment.
Be aware that at certain times of the day Santiago traffic may delay transport to the airport, leave plenty of time to get to the airport.
It didn’t take long for the first leg of our South American Escapade to come to an end. We found Santiago a great walking city with an efficient metro system, and friendly people who were patient with our limited Spanish.
We cherished the time we had in Santiago Chile. If we ever get the chance, Santiago is one city we would love to visit again. Chile has so much to offer, we will do our best to make another South American Escapade dream come true.