Santiago 3 Day Itinerary

We spent three days in Santiago in total. In reality, they weren’t consecutive days; there was a gap between Days 1-2 and Day 3, when we flew to Easter Island. We opted to split our stay between central Santiago and the nearby wine growing area of Pirque. Alternatively, Pirque, which is around 24 miles south of Santiago, is an easy day trip from Santiago. There are plenty of organised trips, but it’s also fairly easy to reach by public transport. We took the metro to the end of the line at Puento Alto, then a taxi for last few (around 6) miles.

Itinerary

Flight to Santiago
La Calma de Rita
Dinner at La Calma de Rita
Day 1Concha y Toro
Travel to Santiago
Bellapart Apartment
Day 2Palacio de la Moneda
Plaza de Armas
Santiago Cathedral
Cerro Santa Lucia
Day 3Cerro San Cristóbal
Cable Car
Japanese Garden
Costanera Centre
Sculpture Park

Attractions

1Concha y Toro
2Palacio de la Moneda
3Plaza de Armas
4Santiago Cathedral
5Cerro Santa Lucia
6Cerro San Cristóbal
7Cable Car
8Japanese Garden
9Costanera Centre
10Sculpture Park

Flight to Santiago

Today we fly to Santiago, then have to travel 33 miles from the airport to our ‘hotel’ in Pirque. This involves a shuttle into town, then two tubes and then a taxi for the last few miles from the end of the metro line.

Flying over The Andes
Flying over The Andes

It’s only a 90 minute flight, from one side of The Andes to the other. I’m not looking forward to it – previous encounters with the Andes have involved way more turbulence than I would like. The captain doesn’t help by announcing; ‘We’re about to fly over The Andes, fasten your seatbelts.’ However, it’s actually quite calm and the view is awesome. White snow and glaciers at the top. Blue lakes surrounded by greenery at the bottom. And it the middle, mountains in every shade of red, yellow, orange and brown.

Flying over The Andes
Flying over The Andes

We reach Santiago Airport, which is basically a huge building site. We park so far out that from landing to reaching the terminal building takes 58 minutes. Next immigration. That takes care of another 52 minutes, then customs, changing money and a queue for the bus. We finally leave the airport after what feels like an eternity.

La Calma de Rita

La Calma de Rita
La Calma de Rita

Our bus, tube, tube, taxi combo is straightforward and four hours after we landed, we reach La Calma de Rita; a quirky little place amongst the vineyards. The accommodation is a mixture of wine barrels and Romany style caravans – we’re in a pink caravan. It’s quite remote (a car would have been ideal) but it has a bar, restaurant and pool, so moving isn’t really necessary.

La Calma de Rita
Our Caravan at La Calma de Rita

Dinner at La Calma de Rita

We agree with our taxi driver to collect us in the morning for a vineyard tour, then settle by the pool for a very tasty dinner.

La Calma de Rita
Dinner at La Calma de Rita

Santiago Day 1

Concha y Toro

Concha y Toro
Concha y Toro

La Calma de Rita is a strange place, balanced precariously between rustic charm and just plain dirty. Our Romany caravan is quaint and the bed was really comfortable, but I could do without the mouldy shower curtain. After breakfast, a similar mix of tasty freshly baked bread and nothing else I’d care to eat, we head for Pirque.

Bedroom at La Calma de Rita
Bedroom at La Calma de Rita

Our plan to tour several wineries has been pared down to just one now that our credit card has been cloned and we are unable to hire a car. But it is the biggie; Concha y Toro, the 5th biggest wine producer in the world.

Don Melchor's villa
Don Melchor’s Villa

We book the basic tour which includes a glimpse of the founder Don Melchor’s villa and gardens.

Concha y Toro Gardens
Concha y Toro Gardens

Then on to a small vineyard, each row containing a different type of grapes. We’re invited to wander round, trying the different varieties. I’m surprised how different they taste, but then I’m no wine connoisseur. I just like wine. Our tour allows us to taste three different wines. Then we are given a funky orange box to pack our commemorative wine glass in to take home. In our case, home is five weeks and thousands of miles away, so I don’t fancy its chances.

Cheers from Concha y Toro
Cheers from Concha y Toro

The tour concludes in the Casillero del Diablo, where we see thousands of barrels of wine, a fake devil and a sound and light show explaining how the legend of the Devil’s Cellar came about.

Casillero del Diablo
Casillero del Diablo

Our hotel is four miles from literally anything, so we stock up on supplies at a local supermarket and return for an afternoon of swimming, lazing by the pool, drinking beer and eating cheese rolls and crisps (which we have share with a very insistent cat).

Crisp eating cat
Crisp eating cat

Travel to Santiago

It’s another long day of travelling; a five hour flight backwards through two time zones, a bus into, a tube and finally a walk along the riverside, before reaching our apartment; Bellapart in Santiago at 8 pm.

Bellapart Apartment

Bellapart
Bellapart

It’s such a relief to be somewhere clean and dry, away from the smell of mould of Easter Island. We have Wifi, a balcony with views across the city to the Andes and the real highlight – a laundry.

Sunset from Bellapart Balcony
Sunset from Bellapart Balcony

Santiago Day 2

Palacio de la Moneda

Today we’re sightseeing in central Santiago. We’ve passed though it via underground three times but not surfaced yet. We start with a guided tour of the Palacio de la Moneda (the seat of the President) where we visit the ground floor; courtyards, the press room, state rooms and the chapel.

Palacio de la Moneda
Palacio de la Moneda

Tours are free but popular, so need to be booked online in advance to guarantee a place. Security is tight; you will need to bring a passport.

Palacio de la Moneda
Palacio de la Moneda

Plaza de Armas

Then on to the main square; Plaza de Armas, a hub of activity amidst its 100 shade giving palm trees and fountains.

Plaza de Armas

Santiago Cathedral

We take a quick visit to the cathedral.

Santiago Cathedral
Santiago Cathedral

This 18th Century cathedral is grand and ornate. To be honest, after several weeks in South America, they all start to look a bit alike.

Santiago Cathedral
Santiago Cathedral

Cerro Santa Lucia

Next stop is the Cerro Santa Lucia. Here, you can climb several hundred steps through various gardens to a turreted lookout across the city.

Cerro Santa Lucia

Here, we are confronted by the rather surreal scene of a family taking their cat on an outing, while a man plays the soundtrack to Grease on a harmonica.

View from Cerro Santa Lucia

The afternoon consists mainly of chores; I do 2 weeks worth of laundry while the old man gets a haircut and buys a new belt (following a rather embarrassing incident at airport security when his old one broke, causing him to accidentally drop his trousers). Then we have a quiet evening consisting of a swim in the apartment’s communal pool, followed by drinks on the balcony while the sun sets. It’s such a good view, going out seems superfluous.

Sunset from Bellapart
Sunset from Bellapart

Santiago Day 3

Cerro San Cristóbal

Cerro San Cristóbal
Cerro San Cristóbal

It’s our last day in Chile and we’re going to the Parque Metropolitano on Cerro San Cristóbal; a park on a hill on the edge of the city reached by a funicular railway.

Cerro San Cristóbal
Cerro San Cristóbal

First, breakfast from the mini market over the road. The old man buys a cake tossed in a thick coating of icing sugar and coconut. He puts it into a bag, then picks the bag up by the wrong end. The cake falls, he executes a miraculous catch, saving the cake and covering the next lady in the queue in sugar and coconut.

View from Cerro San Cristóbal
View from Cerro San Cristóbal

After we’ve finished juggling/eating breakfast, we walk to the funicular which operates from its own castle and takes you 500m up the hill for great views over the city.

You can then climb past a series of painted crosses to a 22 metre high statue of the Virgin Mary.

Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción
Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción

Cable Car

There are a range of activities available on Cerro San Cristóbal; parks, gardens, swimming, a zoo. The must-do activity is to take a cable car across the park, which has spectacular views of the city.

Cable Car
Cable Car

Tickets for the cable car vary in price according to the day of the week. You can buy a single, return or joint attraction ticket. Details are on the website.

Cerro San Cristóbal
Cerro San Cristóbal Cable Car

Japanese Garden

From here we descend on foot to the Japanese Garden is very pretty and also has great views across the city, including the Costanera Centre – the tallest tower in Latin America.

Japanese Garden
View from the Japanese Garden

Costanera Centre

We slip slide back down the hill and head for the Costanera Centre, where you can take a lift to the top for ‘the best view in Latin America’. We lose interest when we realise they want £18 a ticket. The centre contains not only the tallest tower in South America, but also the largest shopping mall. We purchase some lunch and walk to the sculpture park.

Costanera Centre
Costanera Centre

Sculpture Park

The sculpture park isn’t spectacular. But it is free has some interesting pieces and is a pleasant place to sit and have lunch in the shade. Then, we walk the final 2.5 miles back our apartment (not my idea) bringing the total time spent walking today to a good 4 hours.

Santiago Sculpture Park
Sculpture Park

Trip taken: February 2019

Updated: September 2022

Author: Jane's Midlife Journey

Stopped work, started travelling. Sometimes I run - combining the two with some parkrun tourism.

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