Santiago – “Switzerland” of Latin America

Santiago is the capital city of Chile, officially known as Santiago de Chile.  This mega conurbation is situated in the central valley of Chile at a height of 1706 ft above sea level.  Santiago is one of the most advanced Latin American cities with impressive skyscrapers, underground metros, public thoroughfares, luxury hotels and entertainment.   The city is the financial capital of Latin America and has regional headquarters for many international companies.  The city was established by Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia in 1541.  Climate is cool Mediterranean but relatively hot during the summer.  It is worth visiting this beautiful developing city full of activities and sightseeing spots to enthrall your emotions.  Some of the most visited places are:

Cerro San Cristobal:  This is a beautiful park frequented by nature lovers and is a wonderful tourist spot.   It is a hill within the city where one can spend the whole day relaxing and enjoy the colorful sun set in the evening.  From the top of the hill tourists can have the panoramic view of Santiago and the surrounding green landscapes. The region that borders Argentina with Andes Mountain in the background is loved by mountaineers and hikers.

Plaza de Armas:  It’s more of a Plaza complex that also houses one of the prominent cathedrals in the city. It is located near the Central Market with access to the metro station. The place is lively with traditional restaurants, Peruvian food and spices and is a meeting place of the local community. Here on the promenade you can get lot of art that is on sale and enjoy street entertainment.

La Moneda: This is the Presidential house of Chile.  The house is decorated with beautiful art works of Chilean sculptures. The entry is allowed with little formalities and comes with a free one hour guided tour provided if booked at least a week in advance. Visitors can also peek through the nearby underground cultural center beneath the Palace. The palace hosts excellent cultural shows and events throughout the year. It is best suited for people with an artistic mind.

Skiing and Snowboarding: The Chilean capital is just an hour’s drive away from some exotic and fun filled Skiing and snowboarding centers. The slopes are well maintained and the authorities offer training sessions. The centers are equipped with high tech snow making machines. Those who want to venture out for some high powered activity can take a break and enjoy their skiing skills.

Villa Grimaldi: Dictator Augusto Pinochet used this piece of land as a torture point from 1974 to 1978. Though these tortures were never discussed openly in or outside the country the place is live with the tales of torture unfolding the memories of human rights violations.  It is believed to have housed over 4000 prisoners of whom 20% were women. With many memorials, including a museum displaying personal belongings and photos of the victims by families, the visit can be a very moving experience emotionally.

La Chascona: The residence belongs to Nobel Prize Laureate Pablo Neruda, the famous Chilean poet. The word La Chascona means “woman with tangled hair”, which he coined for his third wife. The place has an immense collection many things including artistic creations and the Nobel Prize itself. The rooms are exclusively designed to look and feel like a ship. Visitors can enjoy beautiful landscapes around the place.

Though it does not have major attractions like other capital cities, it does have some fascinating spots and activities that the visitors can soak in. Featuring restaurants and an array of activities to engage in like horse riding, rafting, camping and hiking, the place is full of surprises. Santiago is an absolutely promising and emerging hot destination with hidden pleasures with ample scope of exploring the place.

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