In September, after a lot of contemplation, I decided to quit my former company and found a job with a company that was more aligned with my interests and passion. As part of the celebration, Cole and I decided to take advantage of the time I had accrued at my previous company and take some time off to travel.
We decided to visit Santiago, which is a beautiful city in Chile that is in close proximity to everything you could ever want – mountains, beaches and wineries.
Below is a summary of our trip…
1) Patio Bellavista & Barrio Bellavista
- This Bohemian neighborhood offers many quaint sidewalk cafes and bars. We discovered Patio Bellavista, this outdoor collection of boutique shops and restaurants, our first night and fell in love. In my opinion, the neighborhood is best to visit at night, when it really comes alive. We enjoyed drinks and dinner while taking in the local culture and also visited the following day to check out some of the local crafts in the shops.
2) Cerro San Cristobal
- The Cerro San Cristobal park is located on the top of the hill in the center of the city and offers some incredible views of the city. We took advantage of the funicular (i.e. train) to travel to the top of the hill to view the park’s iconic feature, the statue of the Virgin Mary. Since it was such a beautiful day, the park was full of locals walking, hiking and picnicking. We decided to join the locals and hike down the hill instead of taking the funicular back, which was a great decision as it offered countless scenic views of Santiago and led us to a new neighborhood, Las Condes.
3) Las Condes
- Las Condes is an affluent neighborhood right outside of the city center which houses the financial and business district of Santiago. The area was quiet since it was a national holiday, but we explored the beautiful streets and checked out some of the posh hotels.
4) La Concha y Toro
- La Concha y Toro is the largest wine producer in Latin America. Their winery sits about an hour outside of Santiago and is easily accessible via train which was really convenient for us. Unfortunately, they didn’t have any English tours the morning we went, so we decided to venture around the vineyard ourselves and took in the beautiful mountain views. We ended the morning with a wine tasting at their outdoor cafe.
5) Reuniting with old family friends
- One of my mom’s oldest friends lives in Santiago, but unfortunately since it was a national holiday, they were traveling in Italy for the majority of our short trip. Fortunately, they flew back the morning of our last day and we were able to make the most of our short time together. Maria and her husband gave us a view of Santiago through a local’s eye and showed us the various neighborhoods and their gorgeous condo. We also enjoyed one of the best meal’s of my life (no exaggeration) at Mestizo, a restaurant that overlooks a beautiful park.
1) Fiestas Patrias
- Unfortunately, unbeknownst to Cole and I prior to our trip, Santiago was celebrating Fiestas Patrias, a national holiday that basically shuts down the city for a week. This explained why the historical city center of Santiago was so quiet and why many of the restaurants and streets seemed deserted. While it did impact our trip a little bit, we took advantage of what was open during our trip and made the most of it!
2) Not enough time to explore the surrounding areas
- Santiago’s biggest advantage is its convenient location to many beautiful and different landscapes – the beachside town of Valparaiso, the skiing in the Andes Mountains, and the countless wineries. Unfortunately, since we only had a few days to travel, we stayed mostly in the city center with the exception of visiting Concha y Toro. We would like to go back in the future to take advantage of these areas outside of Santiago!
Until next time…