The air quality wasn’t the best and things were generally quite expensive, but we enjoyed our longer stay in the city. Maybe because we had just been to national parks and islands or maybe because we could slow down and live like locals for a bit.
To familiarize ourselves with the area, we did a walking tour. We also spent some time visiting three different museums (historical, art and postal) and strolling through the huge park right in the middle of the city. We were hopping to spot Brandon from Humans of New York.
For a great view of Santiago, take the funicular up Cerro San Cristóbal. There’s a zoo half way up the hill!
About an hour away from Santiago is the port city of Valparaiso or Valpo. To get there, take the metro (red line 1) to Pajaritos. Buy your two-way bus tickets at the station for CLP $54.000, we went with Tur Bus.
Once you arrive at the terminal in Valpo, get a map from the tourist information counter. Just a short walk from the terminal is the local trolley bus that takes you to the city. We rode one of the funiculars up and spent the afternoon walking up and down the many hills, taking pictures of the street art all around.
1. Like Buenos Aires, the trains work really well. Get the Bip! card, each ride costs between CLP $600-$700, depending on the time of day. You can also use Uber. If you’re taking Uber from the airport, you’ll probably have to meet your driver at the car park. This is to avoid the policia as Uber is not really legal here.
2. Go to the La Vega Central market on Sat morning. It’s busy and you can see how the local vendors and customers interact. Try the coffee and juice. We also went on a weekday afternoon and it didn’t have the same vibe.
3. Get your Asian food fix. There are lots of sushi and thai food places, and most accept credit cards. Be sure to try the local empanadas too! Very yummy.