Chile is one of South America’s most geographically diverse countries. It stretches along the coast of South America, where the landscape changes dramatically from north to south. Every region has its own unique personality and culture. With the Andes Mountains to the east, the Atacama Desert to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Patagonia region to the south, there’s something for everyone in Chile.
If you don’t have time to check out the entire country, there are some must-see places, including Chile’s Lake District – a beautiful mix of blue mountain lakes and snow-capped volcanoes, and the nearly 3,000 miles of sandy beaches where you can find an abundance of fresh seafood.
Along with this striking natural beauty, Chile also has one of the most stable economies in South America. With the lowest rates of unemployment on the continent, the Chilean people pride themselves on their dependable financial system, reliable government, and modern facilities, and welcome foreigners with arms wide-open.
In the center of the snow-covered south and mountainous, clay-colored north is the capital, Santiago. This diverse and bustling metropolis rests in a valley at the foot of the Andes Mountains. The city’s unique atomosphere is marked by colonial architecture and modern skyscrapers, lively street scenes and quiet parks, elegant shopping and local street markets. This charming South American city is clean, safe and efficient, and its almost seven million inhabitants are very friendly and hospitable to foreigners.
Santiago’s location in the middle of the country makes it a perfect base from which to visit northern and southern Chile, as well as to see the sights of the central region. In less than an hour and a half from the city, you can be strolling on the coast of the Pacific Ocean or skiing in the snowcapped Andes. With plenty of recreational options, striking natural beauty, and the conveniences of a modern capital city, Santiago is a great location to study Spanish abroad.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Santiago
- Skiing and SnowboardingGet ready for an adventure in the snow! Santiago is only an hour and a half away from some of the best skiing resorts in Chile.
- Mercado CentralEnjoy a mixture of history and tastes of Santiago at the Mercado Central. Stop in one of the many sidewalk cafés or bars to munch on some empanadas de marisco and other fresh seafood snacks.
- WineExplore the wine culture of Chile during a tour of the world-renowned vineyards, or enjoy a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon while taking in the majestic Andes Mountains in a sidewalk café.
- Panoramic ViewsWhile the scenery around Santiago is breathtaking, don’t miss out on getting a better look at the city from a bird’s eye perspective. Climb (or take a convenient tram) to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal, Santa Lucia or Cerro Blanco for a spectacular view.
- PiscoPisco is a strong, colorless brandy produced in Chile and Peru. Many Chileans use this alcohol to make their famed beverage "Pisco sour," which is a mix of Pisco, lime juice, egg white, simple syrup and bitters.