Chile – Santiago, Valparaíso & Viña del Mar

When we got to Chile we got the Transvip service to our hotel – Hotel Plaza San Francisco. It was a shared taxi to the hotel and was 14000 for both of us and we booked it after we left customs.

The next morning we headed to the Universita de Santiago metro stop to get our bus to Valparaíso. We booked at the station with Pullman bus.

From the Valparaíso bus station, we got the 515 bus and a had a short walk to Planeta Lindo Hostel. The hostel was lovely and clean and the staff were very friendly. It was only a 10 minute walk into the very centre.

We went on a free city highlights walking tour with tours4tips.com. On the tour we went to the Port, Plaza Satomayor, got a ride in a 100 year old funicular, visited Cerro Allegre and Concepcion and checked out the street art along the way. We even tried alfajores, a traditional Chilean chocolate covered biscuit with caramel. So good!

Street Art in Valparaíso

Another day, we decided to do a Chilean Cuisine Cooking Class. It was such an enjoyable day. We chose our traditional menu as a group, went to the market to pick up our food and spent the day prepping, cooking and eating the delicious food and drinking wine and pisco sours! We had so much fun and learned a lot and even got recipes to take home with us. I would definitely recommend checking the Chilean Cuisine Cooking Classes out. Even the murals inside and out side their building are really cool!

The next day, we decided to go to Viña del Mar. We got the local bus and got out by the famous flower clock. We spent the afternoon strolling around the town and along the beach. It was a nice relaxing day. We didn’t do the free city tour but tours4tips.com do free walking tours here too.

Some restaurants to check out in Valparaíso are Casa cervecera alta Mira, Fauna, Casa Alegre and Los Chiles.

Then it was back to Santiago. A local bus followed by the Pullman bus. We checked into our hostel, Merced 88. It was clean and central but we didn’t get a clean room until around 4:30pm, which was very annoying. Hotel Providencia is another option you could check out instead.

The next day we did the free city walking tour. They have them in most cities and it’s a great cheap way to see the sights and get a feel for the city, especially if you’re on a budget. (We generally try to do them one of the first few days somewhere to get to know the place straight away) on the tour we went to Plaza del Armas, the city hall, the Pre-Columbian Art Museum, the Opera House, Forestal Park, Italy Square, Bellavista, Santa Lucia Hill with 360 views of the city and San Cristobal just to name a few! We went with Free Tour Santiago.

On another part of the tour, we saw the Changing of the Guard at the Palacio de la Moneda (government building) 10am on weekdays and 11am on weekends. It doesn’t take place every day and that changes every month so make sure to look it up if you want to see it. Ours started 10 minutes early and lasted around 30 mins.

At San Criostobal, you can get a cable car or a tram (furnicular) up the mountain or walk up. The queue for the tram was really long so we walked up in around 30 minutes. We were going at a brisk enough pace – I was trying to burn off all those empanadas!! The views up the top were lovely!

Nice places to eat in Santiago are Mulatto Restaurant, the Bellavista area has lots of restaurants and nearby on La constutucion street there are lots of restaurants. Galindo Restaurant serves good traditional Chilean food and the best Empanadas and Pastel de Chocolo. Emporio La Rosa Ice Cream. Azotea Matilde is a rooftop restaurant and bar. Bocanariz is a wine bar with over 500 wines to choose from.

Top Tips:

  • Get the Google translate app and download a language so it will work off line. There wasn’t a lot of English here so it will help, especially with menus. You can click the camera icon and hold it over the menu and it will translate it.
  • We used Google Maps a lot. We would type our final destination and start the route and it would include bus numbers and walking and worked offline after it had started.
  • Check out the Bellavista area in Santiago for nightlife and food.
  • Be careful of pickpockets. We were warned by a lot of locals.
  • Patagonia and Atacama are two other recommended areas of Chile, if you have more time.

Happy Travels,

Top Tip Traveller 🙂

Chef Nuge ready for action! (Valparaíso)

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