Travel Spotlight: Santiago, Chile

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Santiago, Chile

February 2016

Length of Visit: 2 days

Introduction

Ah, Santiago. The last stop on our glorious eighteen-day trip through South America in 2016.  After a few days on the idyllic Easter Island and a few more exploring the Atacama Desert, heading back to the city was a change, but a pleasant one.  We spent a couple of days ambling through Chile’s capital at a slower pace, simply enjoying our time there. Not a bad way to finish our adventure.

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Lodging: Hyatt Place Vitacura

Although not located centrally or near public transport, this hotel was a great place to unwind and make our home base during our time in Santiago.  Our room was beautifully furnished, and we made good use of the rooftop terrace and greatly enjoyed the view of the Andes. Breakfast was ample and satisfying, and the staff were tremendously helpful whenever we needed them. All in all, we had a nice stay here.

Can’t Miss Tours, Sights, and Experiences

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+ Santiago’s Historic Center – Situated around the Plaza de Armas like many South American cities, this area is worth walking around and taking in.  On the square, you’ll find a cathedral along with several museums. It’s beautiful, and in stark contrast to the more modern parts of the city.

+ Viña Concha y Toro – We visited this major winery just outside of Santiago rather than going into some of the wine vallies further South, and we were so glad that we did.  We were able to get here on public transport, and shared a bottle of wine and some appetizers (all delicious and reasonably priced) before our tour began.  The traditional tour includes a walk through of the gardens and estate, time in the varietal garden, and three wine tastings, in addition to a visit to the Casillero del Diablo.  This tour was informative and interesting, and was somewhat crowded.  We opted for the Marques de Casa Concha tour, which put us on the traditional tour, but after, we moved into a tasting room with a smaller group for a guided tasting of four other, “super premium” Concha y Toro wines along with appetizers.  The sommelier was very helpful, and all of the premium wines were excellent.  If you can’t tell from my extensive description, we had a very positive experience and would recommend it to anyone traveling to this area. Do yourself a favor and book the enhanced tour 🙂

+ Visit a grocery store – I really don’t write about this enough on here, but visiting local grocery stores is a really fun part of every trip we take.  We love seeing what is different from our stores at home, sampling local food (and saving some money on eating out), and stocking our backpacks with wine and other things to bring home.  We easily spent an hour in the grocery store before departing Santiago, and it was lots of fun.

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Overall

Our time in Santiago was rather low-key, but it was also relaxing.  I think that the amount of time we were there was fine; if you’re into history and wine, two days is all the time you will need.  It was a nice endcap to our trip, but not the focus, and that was just right for us.

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