In the category of Most Awesome Under-the-Radar Travel Destination, the award goes to… envelope please… one week in Chile! It gets the gold medal, the blue ribbon, an EGOT ‘cause why not?, a Heisman, a Nobel Prize in pisco, AND it gets to go on Ellen. We’ll even give it a penguin-shaped star on the Wanderlusty Walk of Fame for good measure.
One week in Chile
If you’re looking for an easy, rewarding, delicious, and physically beautiful trip to take, I whole-heartedly suggest a week in Chile. This isolated country that somehow manages to stay under-the-radar (bless it!) has so much to offer yet makes covering all the bases still simple enough for the casual time budget traveler.
When deciding where our small mastermind of travel bloggers would go this year (last year was Mexico City), Chile was suggested by almost everyone.
It was suggested for its stellar stargazing by one, for its famous wine regions by another, for its mountainous, outdoorsy options by another, and I was like, “WTF ever dudes. Let’s do it!” Because even though Chile was a stranger to me, All of the Above didn’t sound half bad. (saying things like this gets me invited to parties.)
My week in Chile would be my first time back in South America in ten years and would be my first time ever in the Southern Hemisphere. You can file that under “Crossing the Equator and Other Things You Just Can’t Say ‘No’ To.”
After all, I’m trying more and more to live according to what can only be called the Forrest Gump life trajectory—just going wherever the opportunities take me, asking very few questions along the way. And that’s all I have to say about that.
But, would we be able to cover All of the Above in just a week?
My week in Chile
Oh hell yeah we did.
Regardless of how little time we would have in Chile, it was mandatory for me that we cover all the bases, i.e. wine tasting, hiking in the Andes, checking out Chile’s two biggest cities, learning some local history, exploring Chile’s rugged coast, and bonus points if any of the above involved alpacas and/or penguins. (Spoiler alert: They did!!!!!!) *does the Carlton*
My week in Chile both started and ended with a half day, with the whole trip coming to a full 7 days in Chile. In that time we did everything we set out to do (and then some… ahem, looking at you 3 whole days of wine tasting I thought I was ready for but was, to the surprise of no one, not) but still had plenty of downtime for passing the nighttime hours on our terrace (drinking more wine), leisurely strolling the city streets (on our way to drink wine), and getting plenty of sleep (because we drank more wine in seven days than I have in the last seven years of my life).
Have only a week to travel? Here’s how to spend one week in Chile and still cover all the bases…
One week in Chile: Day 1
Part of the reason we chose Chile as a destination was the phenomenal flight deal we got: JFK ⇢ ATL ⇢ Santiago, Chile for less than $580 RT. Sometimes these things just fall into your lap. I mean, Forrest didn’t set out to become the ambassador of a ping pong paddle brand.
We arrived in Santiago after our overnight flights from JFK and ATL, the last of which we boarded using only our faces and nothing else. No boarding passes, no passports. It was as close to Futurama as I’ve ever been. We left New New York and flew 50 years and one time zone into the future before landing in Chile.
After grabbing transport into the city and settling into our Airbnb (Real World-style complete with room-snatching and roommate negotiations), we headed straight for Mercado Vega Chica for lunch which was totally part of our plan the whole time because we are professional travelers with professional itineraries.
Just kidding—we read about it in the Delta airplane magazine on the way over. You can hear more about this in our confessional tapes.
Mercado Vega Chica
In pure Gump fashion, we read an article on places to eat in Santiago on the plane ride over, written by weird-food-eater Andrew Zimmern, and thought no more on the subject. Before we knew it, we were bumper to bumper inside Mercado Vega Chica being shouted at and careened like cattle through a dark maze of food stalls and miscellaneous vendors of fish heads and pig parts.
We chose a food stall pretty much at random and ordered lunch like strangers on a newly discovered planet. (There was a lot of pointing and a lot of head-scratching.)
We spoke what we thought was Spanish yet received a whole buncha’ mystery foods, some of them in multiples, and finally landed on the two words that transcend all language barriers—Coca-Cola.
Amazing Chilean food
We ended up with what you could only describe as the Chilean version of shrimp and grits (is good) and something called Pastel de Choclo which is, to the surprise of everyone who thinks he/she speaks Spanish, not a chocolate cake.
What it is, is a kind of shepherd’s pie consisting of ground beef, a chicken leg, olives, a hard boiled egg, and other miscellaneous things all cooked into a loaf of corn bread. Don’t even act like that doesn’t sound amazing.
After lunch we walked around our new neighborhood, the whole time grappling with the summer-in-March, Southern Hemisphere dilemma of “Should I be wearing shorts or pants? SHORTS OR PANTS!?”
We stopped by the market to pick up much needed supplies (read: beer, wine, and water) then spent most of the evening hanging out on our balcony drinking said supplies. After all the members of Real Blogging World: Chile showed up, we grabbed dinner at the only open place we could find , a Peruvian restaurant serving seafood in big seashells so, good news everyone, I’ve got a new sea bra.
One week in Chile: Day 2
We started the second day of our week in Chile with cappuccino and avocado toast at Vilapert (#BasicBrunch) and then our group split up.
Half headed over to the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, because apparently breakfast wasn’t heavy enough, and the rest of us opted for a lighter afternoon of pretty flowers, sunshine, beautiful views, and other things that wouldn’t make us weep for humanity.
Santa Lucía Hill
Santa Lucía Hill is a small hill in the center of Santiago—what’s left of an ancient volcano, actually—and is a cornucopia of many pretty things.
In Santa Lucía Hill you’ll find:
- a large park
- gravel pathways
- what looks like just pieces of castles here and there
- some huge fountains and grand staircases
- pretty tiled floors
- a small chapel
- a breezy hilltop lookout
- and what appears to be an intact castle-like building that looks like a game of Jumanji was played there but is also used for private events? I don’t know.
Regardless of what sense this place makes, she sure does look good for her 15 million years.
Why include Santa Lucía Hill in your one week in Chile?
I’m a sucker for viewpoints so I admit that the breezy hilltop lookout was what drew me to Santa Lucía Hill. Besides that, it’s a pleasant way to spend the avocado-toast-digesting period between breakfast and beer.
The cacti-covered winding pathways and countless random historical finds are enough to keep you interested and venturing ever higher until it’s a socially acceptable time to booze it up. What? I may travel for a living but I still treat every day like a vacation.
La Moneda Palace
From Santa Lucía Hill we walked through downtown Santiago acquainting ourselves with Chile’s capital city, drooling over the street art, eventually stopping at La Moneda Palace.
La Moneda occupies an entire city block and is the palace of Chile’s president. The building and property are extremely understated but still interesting to see just hanging out right there in the middle of the city. A lot like another huge, white house we all know and… have questions about.
Why include La Moneda Palace in your one week in Chile?
The leader of an entire nation lives and works here—so the building is worth a swing-by. Like would you visit Washington DC and not walk by the White House to see what kind of crazy is brewing over there today? Methinks not.
Also, La Moneda hosts a traditional changing of the guard ceremony every other day—on odd-numbered days in odd-numbered months, and on even-numbered days in even-numbered months.
So obviously we were in Chile during an even-numbered month and visited the palace twice… on odd-numbered days. Sometimes things just don’t work out. Even Forrest Gump got shot in the buttocks. (But look at all the ice cream he got!)
Plaza de Armas
After La Moneda, we wandered over to Plaza de Armas—Santiago’s central square. Here at the Plaza de Armas you’ll find some important historical buildings, excellent people watching, and relaxing places to drink beer in a beautiful, palm-laden park setting.
We wound our way through the park, dodging pigeons and a shouting man with a briefcase and an agenda, strolled through Santiago’s Metropolitan Cathedral, eventually landing at Comedor Central for beers and various pickled food items.
Of the many interesting and lovely neighborhoods within Santiago, Barrio Lasterria is one of the interesting-and-loveliest.
The area is mostly pedestrian traffic offering adorable sidewalk cafes, unique architecture, street vendors, local art, but keeping it all balanced with some weird shirtless guy dancing to the Backstreet Boys on a street corner that was just too embarrassing not to watch.
After the Plaza and our beer fix satisfied, we set off in search of empanadas, the way you do when you’re anywhere south of the U.S. border. We wound up at Mulato for our first taste of Chile’s signature empanada: empanada pino.
Heladería Emporio La Rosa
A one-minute walk just around the corner from Mulato is Heladería Emporio la Rosa—the place to get ice cream in Santiago. And since it was summer there in the South Hemi (that’s what we’re calling it now), stopping here took little convincing.
You could’ve told me it was the place to get fricasseed crickets and I’d have been all up in that. I’m an easy sell, especially where snacking after beer drinking is concerned.
Why include Heladería Emporio La Rosa in your one week in Chile?
Heladería Emporio la Rosa is supposedly one of the top places to get ice cream in the world. So naturally I got sorbet because I pay all the attention. However, it was delicious. Though I admit I haven’t met a sorbet I’d kick outta bed… just sayin’.
Cerro San Cristóbal
Because getting high first thing in the morning wasn’t enough—we had to get even higher in the afternoon. Obviously I’m talking about taking the funicular to the top of Santiago’s second highest hill, Cerro San Cristóbal. Wait a minute, second highest? Does that mean we’re getting even higher later? Actually that would explain a few things… *cough/terremoto/cough*
On the top of Cerro San Cristóbal sits a sanctuary dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, complete with a super huge statue of the Virgin Mary, a chapel, and an amphitheater. Chances are there’s also a dog that’s way better at climbing stairs than you are.
Why include Cerro San Cristóbal in your one week in Chile?
Being that it’s one of the highest spots in Santiago (2,790 feet above sea level to be exact), the views of this vast city and the surrounding mountains are phenomenal. The sun is glorious, the breeze is life-giving, and there’s a hat-wearing llama at the bottom. A llama. That wears a hat. C’mon.
Dinner at Casa Lastarria
We ended the second night of our week in Chile with a delicious dinner on the rooftop patio of Casa Lastarria.
Yes, there’s a rooftop. You won’t know this at first. You and your entire party will get comfortable at a sidewalk table and just before being served, you’ll catch wind of the type of elevated dining platform irresistible to American millennials.
You’ll pack up your group and head skyward three stories to continue your night while looking down (heh) on all the sidewalk diners. You’ll regret nothing.
One week in Chile: Day 3
In the spirit of covering all the bases, I like to include a country’s capital, as well as another one of its popular cities in my travel itineraries. And in the spirit of seeing everything in a week, we woke up on Day Three of our week in Chile and hopped a bus to the port city of Valparaiso.
Getting to Valparaiso from Santiago is a quick and easy bus ride.*
*Unless you lose your bus ticket sometime during the process of ordering your morning empanada and not realize it until you try to board moments before the bus pulls away. **
**Also if you don’t lose your luggage claim ticket mere seconds after stowing your suitcase in the undercarriage. This is what happens when you try to do things before eating. (is not good)
Otherwise your bus ride will cost no more than the equivalent of 5 USD and take just about an hour and fifteen minutes. Buses to Valpo from Santiago run, I kid you not, every five to ten minutes or so.
Valparaiso is Chile’s third largest metropolitan area, one of the country’s most important seaports, and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s also apparently where all of South America’s dogs go to breed.
We spent two days just legit wading through dirty street mongrels. I know I sound like Cruella de Vil but it’s weird there. I can’t explain it. Plus, none of them would make great coats.
Valparaiso is famous for its winding labyrinth of a street pattern, colorful buildings, seemingly endless hills that, to my utter surprise, were not covered in heart attack victims, and its street art. Just about every inch of this city is covered in color—beautiful, large-scale murals, pointless graffiti, mosaics, and the little sprays and nuggets left behind by the city’s most populous inhabitants. AARROOOOOOO!
Why include Valparaiso in your one week in Chile?
Valparaiso is nothing like Santiago—so much so that you don’t even feel like you’re in the same country. It’s good to get out of the capital and experience the many different facets of life in a foreign country and if you’re into eclectic art, vicious street puppies, and interesting city views, this is the side trip for you. Four out of five personal trainers also recommend it for its cardio benefits. (Probably.)
After settling into our insane Airbnb situation (details to follow), our group simply walked around Valparaiso aimlessly—taking it all in and dodging land mines* like our lives depended on it.
*I’m talking about poop here.
Eventually we opted for a late lunch at a random find: Hotel Fauna. As you’ll see is a common theme during our week in Chile, the food and service were both superb and those views! Have mercy!
After dinner we spent the rest of the night passing the time on (now you gotta say this next part like the upper-class-citizen you were always meant to be or, because it totally works here, Cruella de Vil) our terrace.
One week in Chile: Day 4
After a quick breakfast at Panini Café (they have eggs, yo!), our group headed back to the bus station to catch a ride into Chile’s Casablanca valley—famous for its Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs. (Spent an entire day there, drank all the things, still had to Google this.)
The fourth day of our week in Chile we spent sampling (craploads of) Chilean wines and I’m going to do my best to describe that briefly here.
First stop: Viña Emiliana
Viña Emiliana was my favorite winery of the whole week in Chile (there were many wineries, you’ll see). We participated in a formal wine (and cheese) tasting then self-toured the property. And by that I mean we made a beeline for the alpaca pen and never looked back. Before we knew it four hours had passed and I’d purchased a new Patagonia fleece jacket. Don’t ask.
Not gonna lie, I gave no craps about wine by the time we got to Bodegas RE. However, I started with a glass of rosé and told them to keep the cheese comin’! They were not amused.
Viña Casas del Bosque
Our last formal tasting of the day. So… much… wine. Need… mas… alpacas.
What I do remember is that the Casas del Bosque property was beautiful and they had the best dirt, so there’s that. No joke, the dirt here was so soft. I found a ton of photos of dirt on my phone the next day. You now what else is no joke? Wine. Day drinking wine.
It was around the time I fired the gate attendant at Viña Casas del Bosque and began operating the lift gate myself that we decided it was time to head back to Valparaiso.
After trying a number of restaurants that were, for one reason or another, not open that day, we found ourselves back at Hotel Fauna, same amazing views, same exact table. We had another fabulous dinner and I finally got to sleep the kinda sleep you can only get from a spell cast by an evil witch on your 16th birthday oooooooooooooorrrr day drinking wine.
One week in Chile: Day 5
Because I’m about as good at staying in one place as chicken pox at a daycare, Day Five of our week in Chile saw us renting a car and heading north along the Pacific coast. In my search for things to do in Chile, I came across an island of penguins and suddenly nothing in my life mattered anymore.
We picked up our car and headed out for the hour or so drive, stopping first at Tio Mario—a middle-of-absolutely-nowhere restaurant we found serving up fresh empanadas, questionable cutlery choices, and the Ray Charles Grammy winner Hit the Road Jack on repeat and at full volume.
I like to think it was just an unfortunate coincidence of a faulty iPod and not a subtle hint for the gringos taking pictures of the bathrooms to get the $%^& out.
Just off the coast of Playa Cachagua in the northern part of the Valparaiso region is Isla de Cachagua – that’s Spanish for a whole island of adorable penguins all to myself! Back to reality, Isla de Cachagua is a protected natural monument and an important home/nesting ground for Humboldt penguins.
We spent a few hours walking the coastal walk between Cachagua and Zapallar (sounds like Futurama space-talk if you ask me) spying on the penguins, sea lions, and otters, exploring the tide pools, and really pressing our luck when it came to big waves crashing into big rocks.
Puente de los Deseos / Horcón
On the way back to Valparaiso from Cachagua, we made the snap decision (there was a lot of swerving off the highway that day) to visit the town of Horcón to see the Puente de los Deseos.
This Bridge of Wishes sits over the ocean all covered in brightly colored ribbons. You’re supposed to write your wish on a ribbon then tie it to the bridge. And since I had just spent the morning with wild penguins, I had nothing left to wish for.
Instead, we just took infinity+1 pictures (a freaking dog fell asleep on the bridge) then stopped for ice cream in this adorable, tiny seaside town.
After dropping off the rental car in Valparaiso, we hopped on the next bus to Santiago where I kept track of all my tiny papers! In Santiago, we had just enough time to swing by our Airbnb, change out of our ocean-scented clothes (sea hair, don’t care), and make it to Bocanáriz for our 8:00 pm reservation.
Guess what? It’s time for more wine. In Chile, it’s always wine o’clock and not a minute later. But…! Nope. More wine it is.
However, instead of a winery this time, we found ourselves back in Barrio Lastarria at Bocanáriz, Santiago’s premier wine bar. According to their website, “Bocanáriz is a Meeting Place for tourists and locals who love wine.”*
*…and their friends who are beer drinkers but are still DTF – down to freaking drink more wine because, whatever, it’s still alcohol.
Bocanáriz as a wine-amateur
As a non-wine drinker, I particularly love Bocanáriz because they offer a menu of wine flights so you can taste a variety. I chose the Chilean Heritage flight because I’m a history lover and I just really didn’t care. But guess what else? I learned something awesome! About wine and about myself.
My favorite wine of the night was a variety called País—the first grape brought over to South America from Europe. I was very excited about my new favorite (yay history!) and when I told our unbelievably wineducated server he responded, “Ah yes, that is the least sophisticated wine in all of Chile!”
To say this surprised no one at the table would be the biggest understatement since Forrest Gump said “I decided to go for a little run.” Also, País is the wine they serve in church so I think we know where I’m headed in the afterlife.
Besides the wine, the food at Bocanáriz was both delicious and adventurous. I mean, what more could you want from a dinner than to constantly ask, “And what part of the animal do you think this is from?”
Conveniently located next door to Bocanáriz was our next stop: Chipe Libre, the undisputed authority on all things pisco. If you don’t know about pisco… well don’t ask me—I have the least sophisticated taste in all of Chile.
According to Wikipedia, pisco is a brandy produced in the winemaking regions of Peru and Chile. It’s mostly consumed in the “sour” form—as in, Pisco Sour. I had a few of these during my week in Chile and I can definitively say… I like them a lot more than I like wine.
At Chipe Libre you can have a pisco tasting (which we did) and order drinks from a huge menu of piscocktails. (which we also did).
I chose Saludo a la Bandera: pisco, homemade pineapple and sweet potato syrup, triple sec, lemon juice, basil, raspberries and blueberries. Life is like a box of chocolates drinking in Chile—you never know what you’re gonna get!
One week in Chile: Day 6
I’m gonna be honest here, Day Six was the day I was most looking forward to during my whole week in Chile. It would be the day we left the city life behind and made for the mountains. It would also be the only day during my week in Chile that not even a single wine glass would graze my lips. It’s the little things, you guys.
Cajón del Maipo
Because I was traveling with my friend Tim of Annual Adventure, there was zero question that this trip would include mountains, trails, glaciers, and dirt that was not Charmin soft in the least bit. Buuuut we all have to make sacrifices.
Given Santiago’s location just outside the Andes mountain range, it’s quite easy to have yourself a merry little day hike. There are tours available if you don’t want to plan on your own (see below), but doing so self-guided is simple, rewarding, and requires very little planning. Because Tim did it all. I really am living a life of luxury here.
Our self-guided hike
We rented a car (4×4 mandatory) and headed into the Maipo Canyon in the direction of El Glaciar el Morado… and drove until we literally couldn’t drive anymore. The rest of the journey into them thar hills would be on these here feet.
We hiked for miles and miles, hours and hours, to an elevation of over 10,500 feet—the highest I’ve ever been. And that includes that time I found myself accidentally at a Cypress Hill concert.
The scenery was unreal and the hike was just challenging enough to earn myself a beer at the bottom, but not so challenging I needed to be emergency airlifted. (Don’t forget your travel insurance!) The mountains were some of the most unique I’ve seen and I spent the entire day searching for mountain goats only to eventually find so many mountain goats! All in all, the perfect day.
I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to our driver Tim for all the times I shouted, “STOP THE CAR! GOATS!” and “STOP THE CAR! HORSES!” and even that one time, “STOP THE CAR! A GOAT-HERDING COWBOY!”
Hiking tours in Maipo Canyon
This tour includes pickup and dropoff at your hotel in Santiago, a guided hike to the glaciers, lunch and pisco, and tons of 5-star reviews.
This 12-hour guided hike includes hotel pickup and dropoff, lunch, and all at a “medium” difficulty.
Interested in seeing the scenery and not so much hiking it? This is one of the most popular tours in the area. Includes hotel pickup and dropoff, a guided tour through the Maipo Canyon, small towns and local restaurants.
On the way back to Santiago, we did what had become the norm at that point and pulled off the highway into the parking lot of a middle-of-nowhere, random restaurant—La Calchona.
It was beautiful and peaceful and the service was fantastic and I was so high on life from our hike that Tim overheard the staff making fun of how amazing I thought everything was. I regret nothing!
La Piojera and the Terremoto
After showering about three pounds of just regular ol’ dirt off, we found ourselves at La Piojera—apparently one of “the” places you need to go when in Santiago, Chile.
This… I’mma just say it… shitty-ass dive bar in Santiago somehow consistently finds itself on lists of bars you need to visit. It’s apparently one of the city’s oldest and “most beloved” dive bars. One article even says, “This bar may have sticky tables and the odour of a frat house on a Sunday morning, but it’s something of a rite of passage.” Y tho.
I don’t understand. I’m no stranger to dive bars but, La Piojera, I don’t think they mean “dumpster dive.”
We showed up around midnight and were instantly blinded by fluorescent lights turned up all the way. An employee was dragging a couple of fully loaded trash bags through the bar, leaving a path of thick, white, sticky liquid in his wake.
And because it was as bright as, well, from now on I’m going to say “La Piojera at midnight” in there, we could see every chunky bit. This was the first of many times I almost flat out barfed. There was a cat sitting on an elevated stage behind us, watching the whole thing go down.
The trash thing happened, not once, but twice more while we were there. Someone sprinkled something similar to sawdust over the mess—ya know, that stuff teachers use to cover up when a kid pukes in the hallway at school?
A bartender filled a full size plastic cup to the rim with red wine. It wasn’t until after we left that we learned La Piojera means The Fleahouse. Guys, this place has a food menu. They serve beef casserole. If there was any moment the entire day I risked needing to be emergency airlifted, this was it.
After leaving, Valerie read an article on La Piojera—no doubt trying to solve the mystery—and came across a page that said women should not go to the restroom alone at La Piojera. No explanation.
So do with that what you will. Regardless of it all, we came for the terremoto—one of Chile’s “signature” drinks and now I know where all the sawdust-covered barf came from.
The terremoto (“earthquake”) is young white wine called pipeño + pineapple ice cream + fernet + grenadine. What is fernet, you ask? Well, before sampling my terremoto it was described to me as “a toothpaste-y liqueur.”
The terremoto can trace it roots back to the 1980s when a German visitor referred to it as an earthquake for the stomach. WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO DRINK THIS? YES IT TASTED AS BAD AS IT SOUNDS.
Half our group somehow finished theirs (but didn’t feel so great about that). I took a few sips then spilled mine all over the table. The last person in our group was unfairly allergic to pineapple. Some people have all the luck!
One week in Chile: Day 7
Day Seven would be the last full day of our week in Chile. So what do you think we did, class? More wine tasting! That’s right. Today our group booked spots on the Maipo Valley Little Wine Bus.
So within a short distance of Santiago are two of Chile’s most popular wine regions. We already covered Casablanca, so now we’re doing the Maipo Valley, famous for Cabernet Sauvignons and other red things.
I’ll be going into detail more in my upcoming post on wine tasting in Chile (subscribe here so you don’t miss it!), but basically the Maipo Valley Little Wine Bus is an all-day small group tour of various wineries in the region, combined with some intimate local experiences, all while being shuttled around on a small bus with a never ending supply of wine.
Maipo Valley Little Wine Bus itinerary:
- Got picked up at our apartment in Santiago by our guide in our Little Bus
- Started the day with brunch (and wine) at the home of a local Maipo Valley artist
- Visited a handful of wineries around the Maipo Valley area, drinking wine all the live-long day
- Had lunch in the backyard of… not really sure where we were. This was after like two hours of drinking. There were cats and peacocks and geese, that’s all I have to say about that.
- More wineries
- A place we thought was a winery but wasn’t. But they grew grapes. Beats me. I spent most of the time lying down in the grass.
- The day ended in the garage of our tour guide’s house where he introduced us to various varieties of homemade hooch we were told were “100% alcohol.” It came out of jugs that had had their labels peeled off. I felt really great about it.
One week in Chile: Day 8
Day Eight just so happened to be the saddest day of our entire week in Chile. For it was the last day. A day without penguins or alpacas.
After checking out of our Airbnb, we started the morning with an awkward-as-hell breakfast and coffee in the Plaza (just become fluent in Spanish, okay?) then spent the waning hours of our week in Chile at the Pre-Colombian art museum.
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino
The Museum of Pre-Colombian Art has some of my favorite kind of art… the Pre-Colombian kind, was that not obvious? The museum displays pieces spanning 10,000 years of history from Central and South America and is located in the center of town, just a couple blocks from both Plaza de Armas and La Moneda.
A few of my favorites:
These wooden statues were placed on top of tombs in ancient Mapuche ceremonies. They’re meant to reflect the spirit of the deceased and assist them in their journey to the afterlife.
According to the display, “Chiefs and great warriors were sent to the East to roam among the volcanoes. All others went to the West to eat bitter potatoes beyond the sea.” Just how bitter were the potatoes in Pre-Colombian times? Dayumm.
Incan Excel, if you will. The Inca used these knotted cords to keep track of their data. The type of knot, position on the string, length of the cord, and many other characteristics all signified different pieces of information.
This particular quipu holds 15,024 pieces of data, believed to be demographic data for Inca subjects but they’re not completely sure. Meanwhile, we have to be told not to use “password123” to keep our data on lock. 🙄
Did you know mummies in Northern Chile predate those of the Egyptians by more than 2,000 years? True story. They’re the world’s oldest mummies. The more you know 🌠
Rapa Nui Wood Spirits
Very different statues but the only Easter Island carvings I’ve seen with my own eyes! (Easter Island is a Chilean territory – not sure if you knew that or not?)
This cutie from Colombia circa AD 1-500
I’ve never wanted to hug a statue so much in my life. 🤗 Ok that’s not true. There were all those times in front of Michelangelo’s David. And by that I really mean behind. And by hug I really mean squeeze dat ass.
The museum has collections from Mesoamerica, the Caribbean, the Amazon, the Andes, Easter Island, and an awesome exhibit on textiles. I realize saying things like “awesome exhibit on textiles” makes you want to cut all ties with me for good, but don’t knock it until you’ve viewed it in a guarded, temperature-controlled room, okay!?
After spending a decent amount of time in the children’s area (with mostly other adults btw, creating this ⇣)…
…we picked up our luggage and grabbed an Uber to the airport. And just like that our week in Chile was over and our airport lounge fresh fruit binge was about to begin.
Where to stay in Chile
While in Santiago, the five of us stayed in two different Airbnbs, properties of the same owner. For the first few nights we stayed at:
Great apartment, clean, amazing views from an awesome balcony. The building is in a great location–walkable to everywhere–and safe, clean, and with a lobby attendant and lots of dogs to pet.
In Valparaiso, we stayed at an Airbnb often referred to as a “museum house.” The house was enormous, eclectic, and has the best terrace with the most amazing views in Valpo. You have to see these pictures.
Back in Santiago, we stayed at another apartment owned by the same person as the first. However, this one I would not recommend.
Typically, I’m more of a hotel-stayer myself, but when traveling with larger groups it’s always fun to rent a big house. If you’re also more interested in traditional hotels, here are some helpful links:
More info for your one week in Chile
What would you add to your one week in Chile?
Let me know below!
But first, pin me ⇣⇣⇣