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Santiago, Chile

Places of Interest

Santiago Downtown Area

Most government activities take place in Santiago's downtown area (El Centro), which is home to La Moneda (the presidential palace), Plaza de Armas and the Judicial and Executive Branches. This area also boasts numerous museums and pedestrian malls.

Parks and Recreation

Though all big cities are dominated by concrete to some degree, Santiago is home to several imposing green spaces. For example, Parque Metropolitano, also known as Cerro San Cristóbal, is visible from most of the city. You can get to the top on foot, by bike or by car or take a refurbished cable car.

Nearby Attractions

Santiago is also located near many attractions such as the beach house of poet Pablo Neruda, Isla Negra, with ski resorts located around 60 km from the city, spots in the Andean foothills like Cajón del Maipo, the port of Valparaíso, which is about an hour from Santiago, and Viña del Mar and other summer resorts on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Options for enjoying the mountains and sea are always right at your fingertips in Santiago. Don't miss the opportunity to taste some of Chile's best wines and tour the vineyards that are now enveloped by the city. Other great daytrip options are Pirque, a neighboring village in the Andean foothills, and the Maipo Valley, where you can enjoy nature, sample local food, pick up some souvenirs and find a place to spend a few nights near the banks of the Maipo River.

Central Valley Attractions

If you're adventurous, the inland areas of the Metropolitan and O'Higgins Regions will delight you with quite a few surprises. The Andean mountains and coastline are home to small towns, rivers and valleys in which modern life seems to give way to rural traditions. Interested in exploring the Andes? Cajón del Maipo is your best option. Located just 15 km from the capital's La Florida district and southeast of the downtown area on route G‑25, this canyon winds through Andean foothills and mountain slopes. You'll find plenty of accommodations, restaurants, extreme sports activities, hot springs and nature preserves like El Morado. If you're more interested in learning about local culture, try Rancagua, the capital of the O'Higgins Region. Visit the former Sewell mining camp, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is buried so deep in the heart of the Andes that it has stairs instead of streets. Then head to Santa Cruz, where rural traditions prevail and it is not uncommon to see the locals sporting typical huaso costumes (Chilean cowboy gear). Plan to stop in the colorful village of Pomaire, where craftspeople use greda, a type of clay, to create unique pots, cups, plates and small sculptures. Don't leave town without sampling the half‑kilo empanadas, a true feast for food lovers. Each of these excursions can be day‑trips, but if you'd like to dig deeper into the secrets of the area's villages and valleys, you can find lodging in Cajón del Maipo and good hotels in Santa Cruz and some of the vineyards that form part of the Colchagua Valley Wine Route.