Nestled within Chile’s central valley, Santiago is a beautiful city to explore and take in the view, especially after it rains and the Andes mountains stand tall and brilliant in the distance. After decades of attracting tourists with the country’s stunning geographic diversity, Chile’s capital has grown into an emerging tourist destination all on its own and a great jumping off point for countrywide travels.
La Moneda, also known “Coin Palace” because it used to be a mint, is where the president of Chile has his offices. Several other key government officials also have offices in the neoclassical structure that takes up a whole block in downtown Santiago. The building’s days as a mint ended in 1828 and it became the Chilean seat of government in 1845. It was bombed during the coup that put Pinochet in power in 1973 but has since been restored. A changing of the guard ceremony takes place every two days, with the days depending on the month.
If you love skiing and snowboarding you’ll be thrilled to know that there’s an incredible spot just 90 minutes outside Santiago! It is said that Valle Nevado offers some of the best skiing in the Andes… but that’s for you to decide. Whether you’ve got crazy skills in the snow, or if you’re just starting out, Valle Nevado as something appropriate for every level (thank goodness for them blue slopes). In the summer months, don’t forget the opportunities for hiking, biking, and horseback riding through the mountains.
Museum of Memory and Human Rights
Chile’s record of human rights hasn’t always been stellar, hence the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. Only open for a few years, the museum is a memorial to Chileans who had their rights violated during the Pinochet regime (1973 – 1990). In perhaps an ironic twist, Chile’s then-President Michelle Bachelet, a victim of Pinochet’s torture, laid the museum’s first stone in 2008. The museum houses torture devices used by Pinochet forces, prisoner letters to family members and survivors’ statements.
Cajon del Maipo
About 15 miles (25 km) south-east of Santiago, you will find a massive gorge on the Rio Maipo. It is here that many residents of Santiago come to for their outdoor adventures and a perfect place to enjoy a local’s favourite!You’ll be able to enjoy camping, hiking rafting, skiing, and cycling at Cajon, as well as visit the delicious winery nearby. Keep in mind, Chile is in the Southern Hemisphere, meaning their seasons are opposite those of the Northern Hemisphere. Especially if you’re planning on skiing during your Christmas holidays.