Santiago is best to be known as the gateway to the most scenic natures on earth. 1-2 days stopover might be able to give you a glimpse of this cosmopolitan; it is less flashy than Buenos Aires or Rio de Janeiro. Santiago might not be getting enough acknowledgements than the rest of Latin America, but it has definitely something different to offer.
Start your day from “Santiago Centro” to all the museums, theaters, cathedrals and government buildings; it is the best way to get a taste of Chile. Navigating around Santiago can never be easier with its simple metro network. I would also recommend taking a walk around “Plaza de Armas” to get a feel of the hustle bustle of the city, through the cafes, restaurants, and pubs, to the different sets of street performers and souvenirs kiosks. Do not change your money in the airport; there are plenty of money-changers in Agustinas St to choose from, offering much competitive rates.
In the afternoon, head up to “Parques Metropolitano” for a panoramic view of Santiago below the Andes Mountains, via funicular railway. Continue with an easy hike around the hill, it’s perhaps the city‘s best kept secret. When the sun sets, “Bellavista” might have the best answer for all. The vibrancy of this region normally ends late at night during weekdays and in the early morning during weekends.
On the 3rd day, it is best to extend your Chilean journey to “The Central Coast”, which consists of “Valparaiso – Paradise Valley” and “Vina del Mar – Vineyard of The Sea”. Located approximately 120 kilometers away from Santiago, these 2 cities varied with contrast. Valparaiso, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is decorated with bright-colored houses perched over the hills. The setting is conventional with funicular railways as it is the main mode of transport in the city.
Vina del Mar, on the other hand, resembles a mini Los Angeles with casinos, hotel and chic apartments. One of my favourite activities is just to chill by a café and enjoy the sea breeze. A day-trip would be perfectly fine, there are no lack of buses departing from Metro “Universidad de Santaigo” to ”The Central Coast” on multiple intervals.