Santiago is fast becoming Latin America’s coolest capital. With world-class shopping, some of the best eateries on the continent, beautiful colonial architecture, we can see why. It’s well worth a few days of exploration, but if you find yourself with only 24 hours in the Chile’s largest city, here’s a handy guide.
You’ve arrived off a long flight. You’re going to need somewhere comfortable for your first night in the city. The cosy and intimate Hotel Orly has got you covered. Located in the trendy district of Providencia, the spacious rooms and welcoming staff are what you need. Close to the best sights in the city make it a great base for exploring.
After a good night’s sleep, it’s time to start discovering what Santiago has to offer. First thing’s first, breakfast. Head down to Daniel’s Bakery and grab one of the seats upstairs which offers spectacular views over the Andes Mountains. They have an extensive menu, but you can’t go wrong with any of their delicious in-house baked pastries or breads. For something more substantial, try their creamy eggs benedict.
Like much of Latin America, the Spanish left their mark on the city with their architecture. Now that you’re full, it’s time to work off a few of those calories with a walk along Calle 21 de Mayo to the historic centre. This district is one of the most scenic in the city. Don’t miss the Plaza de Armas, the Palacio de la Moneda and the Metropolitana Cathedral, all show off the centuries old history of Santiago. It’s also a wonderful place to sit and have a coffee while people watching.
There is no better way to experience the life of the local people than a visit to the food market. Santiago’s huge Mercado Central is particularly beautiful. Built from wrought iron by a Scottish firm in the late 19th century with vaulted ceilings. A walk around the market reveals everything from fresh fish to local produce. You can’t visit the market without eating something. It’s famous for its seafood. Pick one of the less touristy eateries around the edge. They serve fine Chilean stews and grilled fishy treats.
The best place to while away the afternoon is at the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago. This is one of the largest parks on the continent, with over 700 hectares to explore. You’ll need at least a few hours here. In the summer months, visit one of the two open-air pools for a refreshing dip. Or take the 20-minute Santiago Cable Car up to the summit of San Cristobal Hill. You can also ride the 1920’s funicular, now a National Monument, up to the National Zoo. Here, you can see over 150 species of wildlife. If time permits, a walk through the beautiful Botanical Gardens never disappoints.
Freshen-up back at the hotel. Kick-off the evening with a glass of excellent Chilean Malbec or two at the rooftop Tramonto Bar & Terrace, at the Noi Hotel. Here, you enjoy the twinkling lights of the city and the Andes Mountains as the backdrop accompanied by an excellent playlist or a live band.
Treat yourself to a seafood feast at the Aqui Esta Coco in Providencia. Interestingly, it’s one of the city’s only sustainable restaurants and was built almost entirely from recycled materials. Expect things like octopus carpaccio, steamed king crab legs from Patagonia, fried fish, oysters, and clams with cheese on the menu. It’s not particularly cheap, but it’s well worth splurging.
Chileans enjoy their late-night partying which can often run well into the following day. Finish the night at Ky, an Asian-themed bar which features opulent décor and excellent music selection. Ther is an impressive wine and cocktail menu. Try the Mirotini, a mix of Grand Marnier and Pisco with passion fruit. Arrive back for a comfortable night at the Hotel Orly.