Santiago for all budgets

By Sarah Gordon

Photography by tifonimages / Getty

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March 2017

Santiago resident and writer, Sarah Gordon, shows you how to make the most of your stay in Santiago – British Airways’ newest route – whether you are on a budget or splashing the cash.



If you want to see a symbol of Santiago’s booming economic potential, take a look at the glitzy glass high-rises in the Las Condes district. One such building is the W Santiago, with bedrooms complete with mountain views, and a rooftop bar and pool, where Santiago’s elite go to see and be seen. Opt for a Cool Corner Suite and you can gaze out over the Andes from the window-side chaise longue and enjoy butler service, too.

Opt for a Cool Corner Suite at W Santiago and you can gaze out over the Andes from the window-side chaise longue and enjoy butler service too


The central district of Lastarria has become a foodie hotspot in recent years. It’s also home to the glamorous The Singular hotel, a beautiful retreat with an artwork-packed lounge and a pretty plant-lined courtyard, sleek understated rooms and a spa, all crowned with a rooftop pool and bar area.

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  • Stay at the sleek and stylish W Hotel in the fashionable Las Condes district

    A little R&R

    If gazing at the beautiful Andes Mountains from your bedroom isn’t enough, head to the hotel’s Tierra Paraíso Spa and Wellness to unwind with a chocolate massage.

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Taking the number four spot in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Boragó serves Chilean cuisine with a contemporary twist. Chef Rodolfo Guzmán has a passion for showcasing the country’s natural ingredients that are often overlooked and underused. Expect dishes such as venison tartare with maqui berries and conger eel fried with squid ink batter.


If you want the chance to taste Chilean ingredients you have never heard of, head to Peumayen, a buzzing restaurant that celebrates the country’s ‘ancestral food’, from Mapuche ingredients to plants used by the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island. Go for the tasting menu and sample delights from the very south of the country to the very north.




Head to Bar Alonso in the exclusive district of Vitacura to party with the young and the beautiful of Santiago. Make straight for one of the two outdoor terraces to sip classics like the Aperol spritz and inventive cocktails such as the 4236, made with Bulleit bourbon, passion fruit juice, ginger honey and tonic water. In the Chilean style, there are also tapas-style dishes and small sandwiches to pick at as you drink.


It’s Santiago’s oldest dive bar and its name translates as ‘the fleahouse’, but La Piojera is where to go if you want to try Chile’s other national drink, the terremoto (‘earthquake’). A sickly-sweet mix of fermented white wine and pineapple ice cream, it is a staple during the Independence Day celebrations on 18 September each year.

  • Take a trip up to the Maipo River valley to explore the great outdoors ©John Elk III / Alamy Stock Photo

    Live like a local

    Cajón de Maipo is a popular weekend spot for resident Santiaguinos who head there for horse riding, kayaking, hiking and skiing.

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If you’re looking for an unusual souvenir, why not take home a piece of unique Chilean art? In the artisan district of Barrio Italia, the Trece art gallery showcases work by national artists, from paintings and sculptures to photography and sketches, all housed in a beautiful modern space. Head to the second floor to find exhibitions of works for sale.


Barrio Italia is also home to some more affordable delights. This artsy neighbourhood throws up design stores, antique shops and clothing boutiques all interspersed with pretty patio cafés. Try Amoble for interesting interiors and accessories, or Despensa 1893 for hand-crafted gifts and local food products.



Sat beneath the regal gaze of the Andes, Santiago is perfectly placed for exploring the mountains. Within an hour of the city centre you will find Cajón del Maipo, a verdant gorge of the Maipo River surrounded by dazzling peaks. Hire a car or take a day tour to hike among glaciers and pristine lakes, soak in hot springs and enjoy a hearty country meal.


You don’t have to go to the Cajón del Maipo for mountain views and an energetic hike. Cerro Manquehue is within Santiago and can be reached in a shared taxi called a colectivo from the Metro station Escuela Militar. It’s a challenging hike to the top, but the views back across the city to the Andes make it more than worth it. Just don’t forget your camera.