Santiago de Chile

Santiago de Chile cityscape

If our last bus ride in Bolivia was our worst then surely the bus ride from San Pedro de Atacama in the North of Chile to Santiago was our best.  Chile has only a few long distance bus companies and they are all fairly similar in price and quality.  We choose Tur Bus for the 23 hour ride to Chile’s capital city.  It was as if we were traveling by plane.  Our bus had fully reclining seats, movies and an attendant on board to assist passengers throughout the trip.  An electric screen in the front of the bus continuously showed the speed that the bus was traveling and the amount of time that the current driver had been behind the wheel.  We were served meals on board, there were clean bathrooms and the attendant even came around as we were beginning to fall asleep to cover us with blankets and close the curtains.

Arriving in Santiago it was hard not to wonder if the bus somehow transported us from South America to Europe while we slept.  Clean, orderly and safe, Santiago de Chile defies the stereotypical South American image.  It’s the first city we’ve visited since Mexico’s capital to have a modern underground subway system as well as an above ground transportation system that is equally organized and efficient.  A large metropolis set against towering snow-capped Andean peaks, it’s surely one of the least intimidating of all South American capitals.  Pedestrian thoroughfares throughout the center, wide sidewalks and courteous drivers make exploring the city’s many neighborhoods easy and enjoyable.  In fact, Santiago is the first place we’ve visited since leaving Philadelphia where pedestrians have the right of way. 

From polished suburbs to trendy barrios and a lively downtown area, the city defies pinning down.   Outdoor cafés, open-air art markets and clever street performers add to its charm.  Santiago is a major financial center for the continent and several large multinationals are headquartered in the city’s business district.  Just beyond the business district the neighborhoods of Providencia and Las Condes are home to wealthy suburbs boasting gorgeous apartment buildings, high-end shops and fancy restaurants and cafés.  Parks and wide open green spaces throughout the city provide ample opportunity for leisurely strolls and relaxation.  Santiago de Chile was founded in 1541 and the neoclassical architecture that defines many of its worn buildings is quite impressive.  The city’s central station was designed by Gustave Eiffel.

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1 Response to “Santiago de Chile”


  1. 1 satravel July 3, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Great Traveling Destination! Nice picturesque of Santiago. The city nestled between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean landmarks all visiting places on Chile Tours. Its really a great destination on South American tour.


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