Whenever I say this word I feel I should be singing it. Perhaps because the city itself is so aesthetically pleasing it deserves to be talked about in song. Just not with my arse sounding northern accent.
How to travel, live and breath Santiago. After landing at the airport I caught a bus to down town central. Stayed my first three nights in Che Legarto Hostel. It was nice, big, clean and close to the centre for exploring but not a patch on where I stayed after. For what was meant to be two nights but ended up being a week, Casa Rojo. It’s still to this day the best hostel I’ve ever stayed in.
For the first coupe of days I wandered the city solo. Picked up some weed, explored the cobbled streets and the various teleferico view points. Ate at the Mercado central and snapped the Patio Bella vista area. Stared at the the house of Pablo Neruda, not having a clue who he was. But acknowledging his casa was muy grande y bonita.
The must sees
The Cerro San Cristobal was top of the list the views were spectacular. Which gave me a sense and respect for the size of Santiago. I did a nice route from here with a few stops to enjoy the greenery. Both in my spliff and the nature around me. If you head down away from the San Cristobal. Away from the centre of Santiago and follow the path through the huge park. You’ll eventually come out at the Torre 1 Costanera. A massive shopping centre with a jaw dropping view at the highest point of it. You can then wander all the way back along the lakeside to the centre.
Santa Lucia was a winner for me in terms of cafes and the pleasure of wandering. After 3 days of mega ‘touristing’ I was seeking some company, sun and beers.
The real cherry on top
Casa Rojo laid it out for me. Within the first few hours of wandering into the huge garden grounds I’d made friends. Two Dutch lads, an Ozzie a German and two London boys. We became troop for the entire week. The night life in Santiago is top notch in the area of Bellavista. The Chilean girls know how to have fun and are unexpectedly good looking. Also, as we found out, very keen on a group of foreigners.
Casa Rojo itself is a stunning old building set in a style much the same of all of Santiago. A kind of old English Victorian mixed with the wild west.
- Stay at Casa Rojo and let me know if it’s the best hostel you’ve ever stayed in also @trxtraveller
- Walk up to the San Cristobal and take the little tram
- Enjoy some great coffee in Café Masqueto
- Head to Mercardo central for cheap bites of all sorts
- Dine and party around Patio Bellavista
- Eat the huge hotdogs Chilean Completos
- Enjoy the roof top of Che legarto (if you stay here) during the day, it’s sunny and empty Wander around the barrio of Casa Rojo chasing the graffiti
- Take the free city tour in my opinion, the place is easy enough to figure out yourself with tourist info points all over
- Get sucked into the restaurants in the centre, they’re expensive and you can find just as good quality food in the barrios near Casa Rojo at half the price
Santiago is great spot for both Mendoza and Valperasio. I chose to do Valperasio first. Followed by heading over to Mendoza and coming back to Santiago to then head down to Pucon.
Tips for healthy eats
- There’s plenty of super markets near both hostels where you can buy a range of fruits and veg etc.
- There’s a huge variety of healthy dishes at the Mercado Central along with smoothies, fresh fish and meat. Café Mosquesto in the centre was a gem for coffee and healthy nibbles.
- The square next to Casa Rojo is surrounded by health kick cafes and restaurants. They offer many a delight from cakes to salad dishes with meat.
How to get meat for that protein hit
- I opted for buying a full cooked chicken from the supermarket near the hostels. They can last you for about three days and are easy enough for adding to any veg-quinoa stir fry.
Where to exercise
There’s a park next to Casa Rojo which offers ample space for exercising. I hung the TRX off the trees most days. There’s also a gym about a 5 min walk towards the centre. I went to a few times with a big New Zealand rugby lad. Let’s just say he could lift. Google gym and it will come up on the maps. It’s a decent size with lots of equipment.
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