Santiago, a cosmopolita latinamerican city.

Nature, city and the Andes

Organized, cosmopolitan and worldly, Santiago is one of the main cities that “works” in Latin America. Full of cultural currents, entrepreneurial environment, madhouse parties, museums and “damn-good” restaurants and bars. No wonder almost 50 percent of Chileans lives there.

Santiago its the capital and largest city of Chile. It’s also a nice place for strolling, and each neighborhood has its unique flavor. The city pleases us with museums, grand architecture, parks, malls and two beautiful hills that show us the city from above, Cerro San Cristobal and Santa Lucia. Nightlife takes place in the sidewalk of restaurants, cafes and pubs of Barrios Lastarria, Bellavista and Brasil. While Proviencia and Las Condes, will show you why Santiago is one of Latin America’s hotspot with tony restaurants and world-class hotels.

What are the most popular attractions among the backpackers?

Santiago a very friendly city for tourists in general, it is easy go around and there are some attractions that you will enjoy all year along, such as Cerro San Cristobal and Santa Lucia, Palacio de La Moneda, Pablo Neruda’s House (La Chascona), Central Market(Seafood), Sky Costanera (highest building in South America), Bellas Artes, Pre-Colombian and Gabriela Mistral Museum. The city has so many things to see that you can find the free walking tours in 4 different areas of Santiago.

Exploring the surroundings of the city is a great option too, there are valleys, wineries, sea and mountains to see. Casablanca and Colchagua Valley, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar and Cordillere de los Andes are the most famous attractions.

Embalse del Yeso

During winter the most famous attraction of Santiago are everything related to snow: treking and hiking at Cajon del Maipo and Embalse del Yeso, skiing and snowboarding at El Colorado, Vale Nevado, La Parva or Farellones.

What are the “must see” attractions?

  • Cerro San Cristobal
  • Cerro Santa Lucia
  • Palacio de La Moneda
  • Metropolitan Cathedral
  • Plaza de Armas
  • Plaza Itália (chilean spot for all celebrations)
  • Memory and Human Rights Museum
  • Bellas Artes Museum
  • Pre-colombian Museum
  • Pablo Neruda’s House (La Chascona)
  • Central Market and La Vega (local market)
  • Bicentenario Park
  • Araucano Park
  • Parque Forestal
  • Sky Costanera (Highest builduing on South America)
  • Shoppings (Patio Bellavista, Costanera Center and Parque Araucano)
  • Lastarria, Bellavista and Italia neighborhood
Araucano Park

What are the best restaurants for backpackers? What those restaurants has to offer? (Mediterranean/Italian/Caribbean/ any another type of cuisine).

Santiago is the point of Latin America that you’ll find a lot of reeeeeeally good restaurants (peruvian, japanese, italian, etc.) but there is a IMPORTANT but, it is pretty expensive (for latin backpackers, specially) to have lunch or dinner in one of them. Because of that, travellers usually go to the supermarket to buy the essential, eat snacks (sopaipillas, empanadas, ceviche etc.) on the street or at some coffee shop (you will see one in every corner).

The two most famous places to eat among travellers are: Central Market (seafood and chilean cuisine in general) and Patio bellavista (restaurants, bars, pubs for all types of taste and “pocket”). In La Vega (near the Central Market), you can have a a really good lunch for a economic price and some backpackers often go there.

For me the best option are: Tiramisu (italian, $$ but worth it), Donde Guito and Tesoros del Inca (Peruvian cusine, tasty and good price), Tio Willy at the Central Market (seafood and chilean cuisine), El Rapido (tasty chilean empanadas), “doesn’t matter where but looks clean” to have one or maybe two Completo (Hotdog with avocado, tomato and mayonese) or Chorrilana (a mix of fries, meat, especial sauce and egg)

What are the best nightclubs? What did you specially liked about them?

The night at Santiago can be very intense (in a lot of ways) and I will explain why. As eating and drink at nightclubs is kind of expensive, people starts drinking (“previa”) at home, at the hostel or at some bar that is cheaper. So, by the time they arrive at the nightclub everyone is kind of dipsy (almost drunk) and you will have fun wherever you go.

Sala Gente Cub

There are some good places to dance and enjoy, Subterraneo, Club Chocolate, La Feria, Salsoteca Maestra Vida, La Barra, Massatto and Sala Gente. The ones I liked the most were Sala Gente and Massatto. Full of foreigners, good drinks and nice music (a mix of international and latina), the first bigger than the other but both good options if you are looking for a great night out. I don’t recommed staying until the end because the same people that were dipsy before are pretty drunk now (and sometimes they can be cranky).

Santiago has a lot of festivals, concerts and parties during the year. Miercoles Po is the biggest party for exchange students and foreigners, and is on every Wednesday. Young people drinking and dancing all night long, it is fun (for 1 or 2 times and that’s it). The festivals Lollapalooza and Fauna Primavera receive a lot of people from all over the country and Latin America and got pretty famous among the backpackers.

What are the best bars? What did you specially liked about them?

Santiago shines on this, there are some many bars and pubs that you can stay months trying a new one each day (LOL). Because of that it is hard to define which one is the best one, there is always a new place to explore. Trying the Santiago Pub Crawl is a good way (and backpackers do it a lot) to get to know more places in a short period.

My favorite ones are (and a really recommend): Bravo 951 (hipster environment and nice drinks), Shamrock (my favorite, great craft beers, nice/international staff and they always have something to entertain the clients — games transmission, live bands, Game of Thrones transmission, etc.), Pepperland (the best beer menu, veggie food and hipster/international environment), Hard Rock Café (great food and drinks), La Piojera (try Terremoto — you won’t regreat), The Clinic Bar and Liguria (very very traditional bars).

What are the coolest places around the city you’ve visited?

For me the coolest places are outside of the city, I felt in love with Cajon del Maipo (embalse del yeso), the mountain village of Farellones and Santa Rita Winery. All of them have a beautiful landscape and good energy.

Where backpackers usually continue after the place you’ve been?

The backpackers usually go to: the coast (Valpo and Viña), north (La Serena and San Pedro de Atacama), south (Patagônia, Valdivia, Puerto Montt and Chiloe).

From where they are usually coming?

We will see people from all over the world at Santiago, but it is easy to notice lots of brazilians, argentineans, germans, americans, english and australians all year along.

What did you feel was missing in the city? What could make your visit to a perfect one?

When we talk about structure, attractions, culture… Santiago is a blast! But what I really miss in the city is kindness and happiness from their citizen. Sometimes you just feel you are not so welcome there. People don’t say “HI”, “Good morning/afternoon/evening!” or give you a smile, and for me it was really weird because in other cities of Chile people are very friendly. Its like a city that has almost everything but one little thins is missing: Love.

If Selina will set a hostel there — how do you imagine it?

I imagine a big house with a co-working space, a living room for movies, full of art and international references at Bellavista neighborhood. Offering lots of outdoors activities during the day (through an agency or the hostel itself) and parties/dinners/games/night tours during the night.

Eventually, please write in your own words your opinion and describe your personal experience (how did you feel, what you’ll never forget etc.)

I had a great time at Santiago. I visited almost all of the most important attractions, enjoyed during the day and night and I’ve made some good friends (all foreigners too). I got the chance to see Chile’s soccer team won the Copa America 2016 and the way Chileans celebrated I will always remember.
Santiago is a good place to live and work. But as a backpackers, unfortunately I felt I don’t belong there. But as I said: I had a great time and I’m grateful for that!


Ariadne Nardeli (Brazilian Backpacker Researcher for Selina Hostel)