Explore the wonders of the city of Santiago
Founded in 1541 Santiago is the oldest city in Chile and is also the country's capital. This is the place where everything happens - a bustling metropolis full of life. Here is a place were you will find an active nightlife, fine cuisine and a wide variety of attractions and cultural activities. On top of it all, Santiago is nestled at the foot of the breathtakingly beautiful snowcapped Andes Mountains. Besides providing an attractive backdrop for the city, the surrounding natural areas provide the ideal settings for several sporting and recreational activities.
Santiago hasn't always been the place it is today. It once suffered severely under the Pinochet dictatorship. However, those times have passed and the city is beginning to reinvent itself. It might not have reached Rio de Janeiro status yet, but you can be sure that Santiago has a lot to offer and that it will be booming in only a few years time. Santiago is the only Latin American city where you can visit a winery, go skiing and enjoy some sand and surf all in one day. There is vibrant art scene, pulsating nightlife and delectable restaurant scene in the city just waiting to be discovered. When dining, head to the Barrio Brasil neighborhood for a fresh look at food. You might also try the Barrio Suecia and Bellavista areas when the sun sets for a variety of things to do.
Santiago is the historical center of the country so you can be sure there are a lot of interesting historical sites to visit. There is also a wealth of museums which mostly cover the history of Chile over the years. Some focus more specifically on traditional Indian culture while others aren't terribly interesting. It is best to choose the ones you plan to visit ahead of time. The surroundings mountains offer great hiking trails while the ocean is only a short distance away. The Concha y Toro vineyards are very popular with visitors as are the nearby winter ski resorts which are open from June until August.
Perhaps the best time of year to visit Santiago is during the Christmas season when most of the residents of the city head for Veña del Mar and the somewhat hodgepodge collection of buildings, and streets are a lot quieter. The smog also clears quite a bit and the sights of the city will be yours to explore. Whether you are looking for Chilean culture, beaches, snow capped peaks, wine farms, cultural displays or just want to experience the epicenter of Chilean life, give Santiago a try.