As the capital city of the country, Santiago will likely be your first stop on your luxury tour of Chile, visiting iconic destinations like the Atacama Desert, Patagonia, and Maipo Valley, to name a few. As a relatively safe, clean, and bustling city- Santiago is far from just an entry point on your way to other destinations.
The city is where the breathtaking beauty of the Andes meets a bustling metropolitan capital. Its mountainous terrain and its proximity to Chile’s central coastline are ideal for experiencing the nature and culture of the most southern country in the world. Santiago captivates with its assorted panoramas and its versatility. It’s easy to lose yourself in its streets to find original art galleries, innovative design stores, and arts & crafts fairs, as well as world-class restaurants, and lively bars and coffee shops.
Plan your luxury tour of Chile with a Kuoda specialist, and make sure to spend at least a few days in Santiago. Though we recommend staying longer in the city, if you’re pushed for time on your way to your next destination – here’s how to spend an iconic 48 hours in Santiago, Chile.
Day 1: A day in Bellavista
– Brunch at Galindo
On the weekends in the trendy Bellavista neighborhood, there is almost always a line for the sidewalk tables at Galindo, a neighborhood favorite since the mid-1970s, with the kind of hearty, home-style food that’s perfect for a post-flight recovery brunch. The cast-iron skillet of pastel de choclo, a semi- sweet corn pie stuffed with ground beef, egg and chicken; some smoked pork ribs; and a crème caramel are favorites for visitors and locals alike, paired with a bottle of Quimera beer.
– Shopping and sightseeing in Bellavista
Located between the north bank of the Mapocho River and the San Cristóbal Hill, the Bellavista neighborhood is known as the bohemian art district of Santiago. Its numerous art galleries and jewelry stores, boutique shops, colorful houses, varied restaurants, and active nightlife have made it one of the must-sees to visit in Santiago, which ensures an unforgettable, independent experience for travelers looking to bring something unique and hand crafted home as a souvenir from their trip to Chile. Travelers can wander the streets to find colorful buildings and street art, beautifully decorated coffee shops, boutiques, galleries, and more in this lively neighborhood.
– Visiting Pablo Neruda’s House
Pablo Neruda, the most famous Chilean poet, and a Nobel Prize winner, had three houses in Chile: in Valparaiso, at Isla Negra, and in Santiago, in the Bellavista district. La Chascona, as that’s the name of the house, shows his love of the sea and the quirky character – Neruda himself designed and decorated the house. Today this is a museum dedicated to the poet and you can get an insight into his life and work there.
– Dinner at Boragó
Awarded as one of the World’s Best 50 Restaurants, Chef Rodolfo Guzmán takes diners through the regions at Boragó, a regional Chilean restaurant with dishes such as pink tomato Mariscal served on a pumpkin, duck aged in beeswax and murra and for dessert, a sea strawberry cake and ice brûlée with plants from the Atacama Desert – the arid plateau on the Pacific Coast. Boragó is deeply rooted in Mapuche culture.
Inspired by the indigenous hunter-gatherers of Southern Chile and Argentina, Guzmán strives to incorporate the autochthonous plants of the nation into the restaurant’s vast pantry. He directs over 200 people, including foraging communities and small producers all over the country, to bring seasonal and fresh goods from plantation to plate. The ingredients come from coastlines, mountain tops, or even the restaurant’s nearby orchard.
– Bocanáriz Wine Bar
Santiago’s hippest crowd swarms the city’s original wine bar, Bocanáriz, which mixes innovation and tradition in the lively central barrio of Lastarria. The stylish space is home to 400 different Chilean wines, more than 40 of which come by the glass, and a creative menu of small plates broken up into tasting notes such as iodized, citrus, and herbaceous to match the wines. The restaurant is centered around wine, with a team of onsite sommeliers who perfectly pair each wine with a dish or small plate as the gastronomy in the restaurant has been designed to enhance the pairing with an extensive selection of wines.
Day 2: Nature, Museums, and Sunsets
– Metropolitan Park
Called the “green lung” of Santiago, a notoriously polluted city, Parque Metropolitano is an excellent place to get some fresh air. While the park has ample biking and walking trails, the highlight for most will be the 50-foot-high statue of the Virgin Mary that tops Cerro San Cristóbal, a hill with views over the city. It takes around 40 minutes to hike to the top, or take the rickety, 90-year-old funicular (2,600 pesos round-trip on weekends), which traverses the green hill like an old-time railroad.
– Cajon Del Maipo Hike
Rich greenery lines the steep, rocky walls of this stunning gorge of the Río Maipo. Starting only 15 miles (25km) southeast of Santiago, it’s popular on weekends with Santiaguinos, who come here to camp, hike, climb, cycle, raft, and ski. Increasingly trendy restaurants, new microbreweries, and a big winery mean that overindulgence is also on the menu.
If you’re here from November to March, you’re in luck as this is peak rafting season as glacier meltwater brings rushing rapids to the Río Maipo; ski enthusiasts also flock here from June to September; and hiking and horseback riding are popular year-round.
– Museum of Human Rights
Santiago’s Memorial Museum or Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos is the newest and most elaborate in Chile’s endeavors to properly confront the dark chapters of its 20th-century history, in particular the Pinochet era. The modernity of the architectural design of the museum is intricate, with European influences. The exhibition inside does not fall short either. It’s as impressive in its interior design and in the presentation of history.
The museum houses torture devices used during the Pinochet dictatorship, letters to family members by prisoners in detention centers, newspaper clippings, and testimony from survivors. The museum also includes a philosophical examination of human rights. Chilean popular icon and folksinger Víctor Jara’s last poem, Estadio Chile, written in the moments before his death in the stadium during the 1973 coup, sprawls across the entrance to the museum. In 2011, the museum also added a photography exposition about Chile’s indigenous peoples.
– Sunset at Sky Costanera
Head to the top of the tallest building in Latin America for a 360-degree view of Santiago and the mountains that tower above it on both sides for as far as the eye can see. Views are best on sunny winter days after it rains or in late afternoons during warmer months when the smog subsides.
Located on the 61st and 62nd of the Great Santiago Tower that scrapes the sky at 300 meters high, the tower is part of the complex Costanera Center, comprising a shopping mall, two hotels, and two office towers. The viewpoint has a glazed observation deck on floor 61 and an open sky on the 62nd, allowing the public to have a 360° of Santiago.
– Peumayén Ancestral Food
The perfect end to your last day in Santiago. With fare that goes beyond the expected, but honors the traditional – Peumayen Ancestral Food prides itself on serving Mapuche, or indigenous Chilean, cuisine. The cuisine is beautifully presented in a series of refined tasting menus, giving visitors the opportunity to enjoy unique ingredients and preparations of the indigenous cultures of pre-Hispanic Chile.
Guests can order from their a-la-carte menu or choose from up to four different tasting menus – land, sea, vegetarian, or a combination of all three, along with an extensive cocktail list. Dishes including amuse-bouche, a grain cracker with mushroom topped with fresh salsa, are flavorful and fresh. The stunning interiors are adorned with wooden beams, native art pieces, and an earth-tone color palette.
With its flourishing arts scene, proximity to nature, eclectic neighborhoods, and flourishing displays of Chilean culture – Santiago makes for one incredible first stop on your luxury tour of Chile. Ready to start planning? We can’t wait to host you in Chile. Get in touch with a travel expert at Kuoda, today to create a custom Chile itinerary.