We will be in Santiago about a day and a half before the Tauck welcome dinner. Any recommendations on things to do?
This is a great trip!
I had this discussion with Smiling Sam recently via PM. When we were in Santiago, we did a bunch of walking the city. Nice places to see - Plaza de Armas, Cerro Santa Luci and the castle at the top of the hill with great views of the city. Also nice to walk along the river and its adjacent park on the south bank. I also recommended a restaurant to him, but unfotunately it's closed since we were there, pre-Covid.
ETA - Another thing we did was a day trip to Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. We arranged it thru the hotel concierge. It was a nice trip with a scenic drive (once out of the city) thru rolling hills and vineyards.
I also recommend Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, lovely towns and scenery.
Ok. I will toss in a vote. We once got displaced from our Santiago hotel by the POTUS party. A good deal. We went to Vina del Mar. That is a highly recommended side trip.
We booked a tours by locals guide and visited the University area, took the subways, stopped in at the produce, fish and meat markets, rather like things that ordinary people might do there. Lots of fun!
Thank you. Such a great concensus on Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. I am trying to book, but I may have waited too long. Our travel agent sent us a link to tours through Project Expedition and that tour is sold out on the one day we had available. Any other tour companies recommended for this day trip?
BKMD - those places are on my walking tour list for arrival day. I appreciate hearing they are worth going to. We are also considering Central Market, Bellavista, San Cristobal Hill and Los Dominicos. Any knowledge of them?
CatLover8 - Sorry, but no. We booked our Valparaiso/VIna del Mar trip the day before thru the hotel concierge.
If you're planning to go anywhere in the city that's not walking distance, be aware traffic in Santiago is pretty bad, so it may take longer than you expect.
CatLover8, Check out the Tours by Locals website. I have used them numerous times including Valparaiso and Vina del Mar before my South American tours.
I was able to book a Valparaiso/Vina del Mar trip with "Chile off Track" via Project Expedition. Hopefully it will go as well as your other providers. Anything specific to see or do in these places? Thank you everyone for the very helpful advice.
BKMD- appreciate the heads up on Santiago traffic. I now have a walking tour plan! Walking from Singular Hotel to Santa Lucia Hill, Plaza de Armas, Central Market and Bellavista. Any safety concerns around hotel area?
Golly Gee- I did look into Tours by Locals but needed 4 people minimum. But I will keep them in mind for other trips and local tours. Thank you for the suggestion.
Catlover, sending you a PM
As long as it's daylight and you stay on main roads with lots of people, you should be fine. That said, suggest no jewelry,, etc.
We will be arriving the morning of the day prior to Day One of our tour. Thinking we will just stay in the city that day. Is there enough time to go to Valparaiso and Vina Del Mar during the day prior to the welcome dinner?
We had a great time exploring the city on our own. The location of the hotel is ideal - lots of things within walking distance, and the metro is very easy and affordable to use.
It only happens on alternating days, but I highly recommend going to see the changing of the guard at the presidential palace. It has horses and a full marching band that plays military marches and popular songs. It's a 20-30min walk from the hotel or a shorter metro ride.
Our first day there (off the plane, luggage stored at the hotel until our room was ready), we walked to the various food markets, from Mercado central, then across the river to three others, stopping in a little place to eat. Then we took the metro to Sky Costerna to get a high view of the city (and respite from the sun). Cerro Santa Lucia is very close to the hotel (5min) and a great place to walk around and see the city (though be prepared for many stairs).
We went early to Cerro St Cristobal on another day, taking the funicular up. We got there around 11am, which was just in time as the queue exploded behind us. Plan to go early in the day if you can. Another great place to see the city, and try some Mote con huesillo. Near the bottom of the funicular is also Neruda's Santiago home, which we took some time to visit.
We also did a free (tip-based) walking tour of the city, which was middling, but a good way to get your bearings and learn a bit about the area without having to read a guidebook excessively. The Museum of Memory and Human Rights is another way to spend half a day, particularly if the weather is bad. It will require a metro trip, but the museum itself is free.