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Santiago Travel Guide


Santiago Introduction


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Santiago, like Chile in general, has enjoyed a renaissance of cultural, intellectual and especially commercial activity for more than two consecutive decades. The Andes Mountains overlook Santiago's eastern edge, and their snowy peaks provide good hiking, skiing, rafting and kayaking—and the beach is only a short drive away. Small wonder it is the country's capital and largest city, as well as one of the continent's largest metropolises.  Click here to see the full Santiago travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santiago Geography


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Santiago is divided in half by a river, the Mapocho, which runs east to west through the city. Much of the civic and tourist activity is concentrated on the southern bank. That's where you'll find the downtown area, known as Centro, which is basically a triangle bounded by the river, Alameda (the city's major thoroughfare) and the Pan-American Highway.   Click here to see the full Santiago travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santiago History


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When Pedro de Valdivia led a Spanish expedition from Peru to the land that would become Chile in 1540, he had to contend with both an attempted mutiny by many of his men and violent resistance from the native peoples of the region, the Araucanians and Picunches. He and his remaining men founded Santiago del Nuevo Extremo on 12 February 1541 and built a fortress at the foot of a hill he named Santa Lucia. They spent the next two years under siege as Picunche guerrillas attacked them constantly. It was only with the assistance of Peruvian reinforcements that the attacks subsided, though periodic battles between the Araucanians and the colonists continued into the next century. Major earthquakes in 1647 and 1730 also slowed growth in the area.   Click here to see the full Santiago travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santiago Sightseeing & Things to Do


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Thanks to an exceptional subway system, getting around for sightseeing is easy except at peak hours, when the trains can get uncomfortably crowded. For navigational purposes, get a good map and note the main thoroughfare, Avenida Libertador General O'Higgins (popularly known as the Alameda), which becomes Avenida Providencia and later Apoquindo as it heads northeast. Everything, more or less, is along or just off this avenue, and the main subway line, Line 1, runs beneath it. When in doubt, look for the Andes Mountains. If they're to your right, you're heading north; to your left, you're heading south; if they're in front of you, you're eastward bound; if they're behind you, you're going west.  Click here to see the full Santiago travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santiago Nightlife


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In the years since Chile's return to democracy, Santiago's nightlife has taken off. Many discos and dance clubs don't get started until 1 am or so. Friday and Saturday are the biggest nights, but Thursday can be pretty busy, too. The most lively areas are Barrio Bellavista, which has strong alternative-rock venues and a gay scene on its Recoleta side and Barrio Brasil, but the Suecia strip in Providencia has declined in its appeal and is not recommended.   Click here to see the full Santiago travel guide on Travel42 »

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Santiago Restaurants & Dining


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Santiago's formerly underrated dining scene is now receiving the recognition it deserves, especially in regards to its seafood and nouvelle cuisine. The city's history of immigration and its sustained economic growth have given rise to a worldly and varied group of restaurants. At the same time, Santiago's middle and upper classes are now more traveled and demand places to eat that meet their sophisticated palates. This, mixed with the rooted influence of traditional Chilean cuisine, creates a unique urban dining experience in which options abound.   Click here to see the full Santiago travel guide on Travel42 »

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