Visiting Easter Island – a territory of Chile, 2000 miles off into the Pacific – is one the most special things to do in Santiago Chile. But what about Santiago’s music, and politics? And desert? What about skiing? Check out my 6 Secrets of Santiago, for off-the-beaten-track things to do in Santiago Chile!
SNOWY things to do in Santiago Chile
You probably know that a giant stretch of Andes lies in Chile, but did you know that, if you’re looking for things to do in Santiago Chile, skiing is right outside the city limits?
Valle Nevada is less than 1 hour from Santiago – vertical distance, that is! You switchback from the city streets, straight up to 12,000’, traveling “above the cactus line” to the complex of 3 resorts that service the mountain.
From the top, the mountains roll on and on, one behind the other, like endless waves from a shore.
And the space is hard to fathom — here is Dan skiing down
What about all your equipment? I know an outfitter who can set you up with skis/snowboards, and even coats and mittens – AND deliver you to the lift!
SANDY things to do in Santiago Chile
The Atacama Desert – the driest place on earth! – is just north of Santiago Chile. You might know the Atacama from the tragic miners’ story in 2010.
An unforgettable thing to do in Santiago Chile is to sidetrip into this desert. There are ancient mummies, crumbling ghost towns, active geysers, landmarks of sand dunes like Valley of the Moons, and lagoons full of flamingos.
(Political) SCIENCE things to do in Santiago Chile
The story of the Pinochet regime – the threatening years from 1973 til 1990, shaped Santiago Chile in a way that’s complicated and profound. A day spent with a political history guide is heavy, but so worthwhile, in order to learn the history and also to gain some insight into how modern-day Chileans continue to process this.
Start in the city, before the Presidential palace, and hear what happened the day of the coup, when Pinochet’s planes air-raided the palace.
Follow the history out to Villa Grimaldi, where the Regime “disappeared” people during its reign. Thankfully, today, it is a Peace Park.
SONG things to do in Santiago Chile
This club oozes atmosphere with different types of jazz featured throughout the week — blues this night, dixie the next, progressive on weekends. Out of all the musical and cultural things to do in Santiago Chile, this famous club is a top choice — it’s show you famous as well as local acts! Check out the celebrities:
It’s called Club de Jazz de Stg, and here’s where you’ll find it:
SAPPHIC things to do in Santiago Chile
Well, if not exactly in the Sapphic meter, Nobel-winning poet Pablo Neruda wrote poetry from his home in Santiago Chile. When you visit his home, imagine him sitting at his desk, taking inspiration from the art on his walls and scene outside his window, to write his verse.
Here’s one of my Neruda favorites:
I want you to know one thing. You know how this is: if I look at the crystal moon, at the red branch of the slow autumn at my window, if I touch near the fire the impalpable ash or the wrinkled body of the log, everything carries me to you, as if everything that exists, aromas, light, metals, were little boats that sail toward those isles of yours that wait for me. Well, now, if little by little you stop loving me I shall stop loving you little by little. If suddenly you forget me do not look for me, for I shall already have forgotten you.
SEASHORE things to do in Santiago Chile
One of the easiest daytime things to do in Santiago Chile is a bus ride to Valapraiso.
This small coastal town clings to the cliffs over the harbor about 1 hour west of Santiago Chile. You can board a skiff for a harbor tour, or ride the funicular up the hill for fantastic views.
There is colorful street art, and yummy orange juice to buy from street stalls… charming neighborhoods to explore and ceviche to sample. We hit a local parade on the morning we were there.
But while you’re choosing between things to do in Santiago Chile, don’t forget Easter Island — you’ll never regret it! Check out last week’s blog to read more on the Moai!