Whatever it is that you want, you are not likely to miss it in Santiago, making it a great place for your vacation. Whether you are traveling for pleasure or business, Santiago will satisfy your needs equally well. The capital of Chile is also the largest city in the country, with a population of more than five million people. This is more than a third of the total population of Chile.
Do not be confused by the common use of the word Santiago in Chile. For example, you will hear of Santiago Province, Santiago Metropolitan and the Commune of Santiago.
The Spaniards established Santiago city in 1541, when they named it Santiago del Nuevo Extremo. The city was located in Chile's central valley due to a number of reasons. The climate was suitable, it had plenty of vegetation and defending it was relatively easy.
Interestingly, the Mapuche destroyed the city just after six months from its founding. However, the Spaniards reestablished it relatively quickly.
There are many attractions within Santiago and its environs. The Pacific beaches are just an hours drive away. The Maipo Valley, which lies to the south, is known for its vineyards and some of the best wine in the world comes from this place.
The Rio Mapocho weaves its way through the city, marking its northern border. Just five blocks south of Rio Mapocho is the Alameda, along which lies the Plaza de Armas. This is the heart of the city.
Santiago has well defined seasons. The maximum temperature during summer is between 28 and 32 degrees Celsius, making it one of the warmest cities in the country. There are pleasant breezes during spring and fall. The winter season is relatively short and the temperature rarely goes below 0 degrees Celsius. The average daytime temperature during winter is 14 degrees Celsius. Rain usually falls during winter and is mostly experienced in the southern parts.
There are many popular destinations in Santiago. Here are some of the places you may visit.
Cerro San Cristobal Cable Car
If you do not mind the height, the cable car that takes you over Cerro San Cristobal will afford you some of the best views of the city.
The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
This museum will give you the opportunity to learn the pre-Hispanic history. Some of the best collections from this era from the entire South American continent are found here. Get the chance to see Mayan carvings and Andean textiles that are more than 3,000 years old.
Palacio de la Moneda
This is the government palace, from where you can witness the changing of the guard. This involves hundreds of soldiers in green uniforms and high black boots, who march in time with the national anthem.
Cerro Santa Lucia
Enjoy the experience of turrets, fountains and swirling stairways that lead to Santa Lucia Hill. You will get the opportunity to have some of the best views of the city, irrespective of the weather conditions.
From here, you will have a sense of the life here in the nineteenth century. The mansion was built in the 1870s and you will still find its original furnishings.