I mostly came to Chile because of their great wine and because I love street art. I really wanted to see Easter Island and hike in the Chilean Patagonia, but both of those things would take more time, so instead, I went to Santiago because it is surrounded by vineyards that are easily accessible! Hahaha. Today I am going to write about all of the fun things I did in Santiago that didn’t have to do with wine!
I went to Valparaiso for the art. But that will be another post.
My friend Em and I started with the goal of seeing Cerro San Cristobal and La Chascona (Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda’s house). It was Sunday at about 10 AM on a gorgeous day and there was already a line so we skipped the cerro (hill) and went to Neruda’s house instead.
Neruda has three houses in Chile: one house in Santiago, one in Valparaiso, and one on Isla Negra. All of his houses are quirky and are full of the things he collected over the years. They have a strict no photo policy enforced by cameras and security guards so I could only take photos from the outside. La Chascona was lovely, even though it was like a maze because there were so many rooms spread out around the hill.
From there we walked around the Bellavista neighborhood and then to Patio Bellavista for lunch. My friend and I had raw sea urchin for the first time with bread and lemon. I thought it was good until I had about half of the pot and the fishiness got to me. My friend could barely choke down a bite. I love trying new foods!
Then we took an Uber to the Central Market. Yes, Uber works very well in Santiago and is only about half the cost of a normal taxi. I highly recommend it because even if a place has a locked wifi system they will let you connect if you tell them that you just need to get an Uber.
At the Central Market, we saw a TON of people eating at the restaurants inside. I wish I had had time to go there to eat! They had a ton of fish and a few places selling fruits and vegetables. I would love to have such a great fish market nearby!
After that, we wandered over to the Plaza de Armas. The buildings were pretty average looking, but the inside of the church was surprisingly pretty.
Next, we decided to work off some more of our lunch by hiking up Cerro Lucia for the great view that we missed earlier. It was free to hike up and the views were amazing. There were a few too many other tourists there for my liking though.
That night Em and I made use of our hostel kitchen and cooked ourselves some gnocchi and washed it down with Chilean wine. Yum!
The next morning we decided to venture to the Mercado Los Domincos at the end of the metro line since we hadn’t seen any handicrafts the day before. We were in luck!
At the Mercado Los Dominicos there was a ton of jewelry, woven things, carved wooden items, and a nice restaurant in the middle of it all. The popular dish there is a pie made with a type of cornmeal crust (pastel de choclo) filled with meat, egg, olives, and spices. It was delicious and unlike anything I’ve ever had! While I bought some handmade earrings as a souvenir, the pie was a true highlight.
After the Mercado, we took the metro to the Concha y Toro Vineyards, but I will save that story for my next post!
I hope you enjoyed my favorite things from Santiago. Did I visit your favorite place in Santiago? Where do I need to go next time I’m in Santiago (because I can totally see myself working there one day!?