Day 27 of our trip – After a week at altitude (and lots of extra UV rays), it was time to say goodbye to both the Sacred Valley and Peru and pack up for the next country. One of the problems with planning a year-long trip – sometimes certain areas get lost in the mix. And we were about to head to one of these locations that kind of got lost in the planning process… Santiago, Chile.
But first, we had to survive a 14-hour travel day including a lay-over back in Lima and a late night arrival into SCL. But at least the day started off pretty well. For a small airport, we were surprised that CUZ had a lounge accessible through the free Priority Pass (Limited) membership that comes with several of the premium credit cards. We haven’t had much luck accessing the lounges in the US airports; however, we are 3 for 3 with International Airports (PTY, LIM, and now CUZ).
AND… there was a really nice lounge on the international side of LIM while we waited for our LATAM flight to Chile.
We arrived at SCL just a little before midnight and by the time we cleared immigration and customs it was after midnight. Luckily we chose a GREAT apartment in the Las Condes region of Santiago and when we arrived at the apartment at 2AM, the owners were waiting for us. They helped us get out luggage inside and helped us get settled for the first of eight nights in the capital. Not only could we drink the tap water, but we could also flush the TP. Heaven on Earth!
This segment of the trip was planned to contain quite of bit of downtime, rest and school time for the kiddos. The first two days were just that… and we were able to get some quality runs in the Parque Araucano which was right across the street from our apartment complex.
Kiddos also had some great structures to play on… and the views of the Andes were incredible. Oh, and there was a churro food truck. Bonus!
After a day of rain (and snow in the Andes) led to a day in the apartment… it was time to get out and explore the city.
Our first foray into the city was just going to be a trip to the Barrio Bellavista area… lots of dining options and street art. However, it was a Monday afternoon so most things weren’t open. We did see some pretty nice wall art scattered about the area AND it was really nice to get out into the city.
Turns out, Bellavista was adjacent to one of the largest urban parks in South America… the Parque Metropolitano. There was nice climb to the a Catholic Church on top of the hill…
…then a nice walk down to a different part of the city (stopping at a few play areas along the way).
The second trip into the city (glad that a Metro stop was a short 15 minute walk away) was towards the Plaza de Armas and the surrounding area. First stop was a short climb to the Hidalgo Castle which has a nice overlook of a central part of the city.
Then there was visit to the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian History after a quick jaunt through the Plaza de Armas.
Finally, we explored the Mercado Central which is the large fish market in the city – followed by the required meal at one of the many seafood places lining the area. At least we chose one in which were were the only tourists. All the other patrons appeared to be locals.
For the 3rd day of exploration, the Bepkos decided to take one of those Hop On/Hop Off buses on a tour of the city. The first stop was at the mall right by our apartment so we thought we’d give it a go. Not quite a Duck Tour (which actually was quite fun during a Boston visit a few years ago)… but still more touristy than we typical choose.
We had a few stops along the way: a return to the Plaza, a trip to Constitution Plaza, a nice stroll down a pedestrian parkway on a beautiful late-Winter day.
Finally a stop for gourmet-topped hot dogs. Apparently, hot dogs are a huge part of the local dining scene!
Our final day at the apartment called for some light school work. As a reward, we took the kiddos to a hands-on Science museum. Even in Spanish, science is fun!
A final run in the adjacent park.
And finally, packing for the next leg of our journey. We are getting quite good at this aspect of our journeys.
Finally, since we hadn’t had us some fine dining for a week or so, our last dinner in Santiago was at Boragó. Considered to be the top restaurant in Santiago (and listed at #42 in the world), this was a spot I had reserved months ago to make sure we could get a seat.
We had a great meal, even if it was only their shortened 8-course version rather than the 16-course tour-de-force. But the next day was a travel day so Jeni and I didn’t want to tax the kiddos.
For a city that was supposed to just be predominately a “week of downtime”… the Bepkos had a great time in Santiago. The apartment location was perfect. The weather was great. And the kiddos had an awesome mix of school and exploration time. Santiago was most like an urban city in the States… and one month in to the trip it was certainly nice to have the familiarity and the comforts of home. We look forward to our return trip to the capital, and hopefully we will get an opportunity to rent a car for a day and explore Valparaíso or one of the local wine areas. Next stop – Mendoza, Argentina!
TOTAL MILES TRAVELLED TO DATE – 7560 miles