Photo: Alex Grechman
To be sure, two of the things that Chile is best known for are its skiing, and its wine. And if you plan it right, you can experience both in one day, either as a day trip from Santiago or up on the mountain at the resort at Valle Nevado.
More and more, parents are realizing that children can make great travel companions. They keep you focused on smaller details, give you lots of time to run around (or sit still while they do), and to see parts of a city you might not visit if it was just you and your other adult companions. You’ll find people in Santiago are very friendly to families. And children stay out until fairly late with their parents to eat at restaurants being the norm. Here are a few places to help your kids (and you) truly enjoy your stay in Santiago.
For the fourth year in a row, the food summit ñam (say: nyam) will take place in Santiago Chile. This event, the name of which means, simply “yum” in Spanish, pulls together some of Latin America (and Spain)’s best chefs. The chefs will give workshops, talks, demonstrations, and of course, prepare food that participants can taste. In attendance there will be chefs from Chile, as well as visiting chefs from Argentina, Colombia, Spain, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela and Mexico.
With a stunning coastline of almost 3,000 miles, Chile definitely has a beach to suit every taste. There are beaches for checking out tidal pools, like Isla Negra, and for big wave surfing like Pichilemu, a couple of hours south west of Santiago, and of course, beaches for rock-scrambling, wading, long walks at sunset, and even the occasional chungungo (marine otter) sighting. The last one I saw in Maitencillo, on an early morning walk.
But if I had to pick just one beach, from the north, center and south of Chile’s extraordinarily long coastline, for long days at the beach, azure waters and sheer entertainment, I know which ones are my favorites, starting from the south.
Every day of travel brings something new. But most people like to try to fit in a bit of food, drink, activity, culture and shopping in there somewhere. The problem is planning on getting to the places where these things can be had at exactly the right time.
Enter Santiago’s quirky Bellavista neighborhood. Sandwiched between the Mapocho River to the south, and the towering Cerro San Cristobal to the north, this area has something to offer in all of the above categories with something to suit every budget and taste, from backpacker to luxury.
Photo: Juan Carlos Martins
To be sure, the towering granite peaks of Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park are one of the country’s most stunning (and iconic) landscapes. Yearly, international visitors from all over, and Chileans alike, make the Torres part of their summer vacation. There are day trips, either on the Lago Pehoé side or the Torres side (or both), and the two different hiking trips, the W and the O-shaped circuit. But this is just one of the many national parks Chile maintains. Below are three others for when you’ve got a shorter trip in mind, or want to explore parts of natural Chile that might not make it onto a postcard, but definitely should.
For a thoroughly crazy, unexpected day in what is a fairly quirky city to begin with, stay off the funiculars and out of the museums this Sunday, February 23rd in Valparaíso, Chile. Once a year, parts of this city become an urban downhilling course for some of the world’s best competitors. Valparaíso Cerro Abajo is routinely referred to the world’s most insane downhill race, and if you come to see it, you’ll know why.
When you think of ethnic food in Santiago, you might think of food from other Latin American nations. We have our share of Peruvian restaurants, and a few Brazilian and Colombian places, including some new eateries serving arepas and tropical juices. And of course, there are also a couple of well-reviewed Argentine steakhouses.
But what might surprise you is that in recent years, as the face of immigration to this sizeable city changes, and the Chilean palate opens to new experiences, we’re also seeing a large culinary expansion into Asian food.
Chile is well-known for having a coastline that is almost 3,000 miles long. And with all that beachfront real estate, there is something for everyone. There are horseshoe-shaped coves for splashing, in the north at Guanaqueros, or in the central region, at El Canelo. There is surfing, in the north near Iquique, and famously at the big wave competition site Pichilemu in the central south.
And, since 2007, on the central coast, just a little over an hour’s drive from Santiago, there is also the world’s largest swimming pool, located at the beach. And it makes perfect sense.
It’s hard to know what to expect at Boragó, one of the world’s best restaurants, ranked 8th in Latin America, and first place in Chile. Chef Rodolfo Guzmán dishes out innovative small-plate creations into a several-course tasting menu, featuring harvested products from all over Chile, much of it from close to Santiago.