Best of Santiago
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino: In an elegant colonial building, this museum houses an irreplaceable assortment of indigenous artifacts from throughout the Americas.
Mercado Central: North of the Plaza de Armas, this onetime colonial rubbish tip became a produce market and, more recently, a tourist draw for its simpático seafood eateries.
Palacio de la Moneda: Santiago’s colonial presidential palace survived the 1973 headlines, and the public is once again welcome to stroll its passages.
Cerro Santa Lucía: In the late 19th century, visionary mayor Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna started the transformation of a barren quarry, where Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago, into a true garden spot.
La Chascona (Museo Neruda): On a cul-de-sac in bohemian Barrio Bellavista, Nobel poet Pablo Neruda’s whimsical Santiago residence is a literary pilgrimage site that delights everyone.
Viña Cousiño Macul: Though surrounded by the sprawling capital, the surviving vineyards and subterranean bodegas of this classic Chilean winery are conveniently close for tours and tasting.
Valle Nevado: Few cities around the globe can boast world-class slopes so close to downtown as Valle Nevado.
Cajón del Maipo: When the snow melts in the spring, the Río Maipo is nearly as close to downtown Santiago as the ski resorts, but its canyon has hiking, hot springs, and many other activities as well.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition