Unfortunately, due to the protests that started in Chile towards the end of October and the state of emergency, we were very limited by the amount of stuff we could do in Santiago.
Most public institutions and tourist spots were closed, greatly hindering our ability to do what we wanted.
We arrived on a Saturday night to a very quiet city.
On Sundays most places are closed anyway, so we decided to walk from our accommodation to the city centre, going through the main tourist spots such as Plaza de Armas, Bandera, Bario London-Paris etc.
The city was quite quiet and no major protest was taking place, except for some cyclists riding and protesting around the city. We tried to go check out The Moneda as well but the area was closed by the military.
Santiago is a really cool city, and we felt completely at ease walking through the streets. It was a great change from Colombia to be able to walk around without being harassed to buy something constantly.
We also enjoyed walking up Cerro Santa Lucia to check out the great view over the city and the mountains on the horizon.
At least this was open!
We finished the day by enjoying a lovely ice cream from Heladeria Emporio la Rosa, and walking through Lastarria bario, a cool little pocket in the city that reminded me of Le Marais in Paris.
On our second day we wanted to walk up Cerro San Cristobal, the biggest hill in the city, from which you have supposedly the best views. That was without knowing the hill was also closed because of the protests, so we decided to walk through Bellavista (more of a night-time area) and to Barrio Italia instead to enjoy some good coffee.
On our way there, we walked through Plaza Italia, where all the protests start from.
Luckily it was early in the morning so nothing too hectic was taking place, but a few hundred people were already gathered there, along with a decent military presence.
That area was a big mess, with many broken windows, street lights and bus shelters. Not a single building managed to escape without being plastered in graffiti either.
We then continued walking towards the CBD, which was quite busy. We tried to go to the cinema but it was closed too, so we decided to head back to our accommodation to avoid getting in the way of the protests starting at 5pm.
As we were walking, we heard a big bang at exactly 5pm stating the beginning of the protest. We successfully avoided the area and got back without issue.
As we chilled by the TV watching the news, we suddenly felt a big vibration in the house. The host told us to go out and indicated it was an earthquake. We had experienced our first earthquake. So weird! The news then said it was a magnitude 6.4, which isn’t a small one. Luckily nothing bad happened, and the Chileans are used to it.
On our final day, we wanted to check out the National Museum of Natural History located in the Parque Quinta Normal. We walked from our accommodation through the city center and the Brazilian neighborhood to then find out that the museum was also closed!
Big old fail all-round. All we could see really was whatever was available outdoor. Everything else was closed. We did walk through the central market as well, but it wasn’t that exciting.
Such a shame we couldn’t do much in Santiago, as it appears to be a very cool city with cool people, but they’re just a bit busy fighting their own battle at the moment.
Tomorrow we’re heading to Viña del Mar for the next step of our Chile trip.
- The Italian neighborhood is very cute with lots of little cafes and craft shops. It’s also much quieter than the city center.
- In case of earthquake, head to the door frame. It is apparently the safest place to be.