Santiago: bright lights, big city

After visiting the quirky La Serena, the lively Valparaiso, and the charming Pucón, Santiago wasn't a place I was too thrilled to visit. I blame this on the few "mehs" I got from fellow backpackers and the lack of eye-catching activities on travel guides. They were both wrong, I'm afraid.

Views from the Metropolitan Park trail.

Vibrant, energetic, cold as hell, big and bougie. This is how Santiago presented itself to me for over a month in 2017. I was volunteering at yet another hostel, and my online gigs were pilling up, so I didn’t have the chance to explore everything that was available to me. The places I visited, though, were breathtakingly beautiful and full of such a nice energy. For the first time after I left New York City I felt like I belonged somewhere. *sheds a single tear*

What to do: with a population of 5+ million, some people watching is mandatory while you take a stroll down the city. All joking aside, take some time to soak it up the country's history and their struggle against a military dictatorship at the Museum of Memory and Human Rights;

visit the cobbled streets of Barrio Lastarria for some artsy stores, coffee shops, antiques, and all-that-hipster-jazz;

forget about Sky Costanera and head over the Metropolitan Park and/or the Bahai Temple for stunning views of the snow-covered Andes;

eat as much sopaipillas as you possibly can, especially the ones that are sold around the market La Vega Central. Yummy and cheap. Cheap and Yummy. Did I say yummy?

Where to stay: Bellavista is a dope area, full of street art and great nightlife; Yungay is more traditional and near the historic attractions. On the other hand, Providencia is a more upscale choice that includes great restaurants. There's honestly so many nice barrios to choose from, you better do your homework prior to just booking something last-minute.

The view you get after leaving the Bahai Temple.

Safety: overall, I felt super safe in Santiago as a female solo traveler. But it's good to exercise caution. I fell in love with the Metropolitan Park and, even though I was advised not to go by myself there, I did the longest trail by myself (Mapuche+Atacameño), twice, without any problems. The same goes for the Bahai Temple. I went there by myself, after hearing it wasn't a great idea, but fortunately I only have great memories of that day.

For digital Nomads: this is DN-heaven. Lots of co-working offices, amazing coffee shops, high-speed internet on hostels, parks, malls, museums.. You'll never have to worry about missing a meeting or delivering a job on time.

Weather: I'm a tropical Brazilian flower (oy), and as such I did not handle the low temperatures very well. I was there in May and people were laughing at my face, because apparently it gets way worse. So, I did what any sensible person would do: I traded the freezing capital for the scalding hot desert of Atacama. And I regret nothing. I'll talk more about this crazy exchange on the next update!

Sunset at the Bahai Temple.