Santiago is one of the most modern cities in South America; crime is light, the underground subway is excellent, and everyone follows the traffic signals. It’s not a bad city to visit but there are not many interesting things to do, and the lack of quality girls won’t motivate you to stay for more than a couple days. Neighborhoods Bellavista and Barrio Brasil are the most traveler friendly. While Bellavista has more of a scene, it is pricier.
Chance Of Hooking Up Rating: 3 out of 5 ?
Observe the horrific mall culture by the Universidad de Chile subway stop. Or take part in it if you need to stock up after a while traveling. If you can’t find it here then you can’t find it in South America. You’ll also run into a couple stand-up cafes with waitresses in skimpy clothing, though elsewhere the cafe culture is lacking. You will pay $3 for a shot-glass worth of cappuccino. One of the nicer coffeeshops is Cafe Literario “La Canela” in Barrio Brasil’s main square.
Take the funicular up Cerro San Cristobal for pleasant city views.
The hotspots are not obvious to find (if they do exist). In my short stay I found that club Kmasu was the best option. I wrote about Santiago’s nightlife in a detailed post which breaks down my experience by night.
We take a 20 minute cab ride to Plaza Ñuñoa, a hard to pronounce hot spot that only had sit-down bars. Another 20 minutes walking landed us in Kmasu, a decent club playing popular music, including a lengthy hip hop set featuring Dr Dre and Sean Paul. Halfway through the night I conclude that Chilean girls are… Continue Reading
Bellavista is for the yuppies, Plaza Ñuñoa is more hip, Suecia is for the roughnecks, and Plaza San Enrique (a hike from the city center) is where the beautiful people go to dance.
Bellavista Hostel (Dardiñac 0184)
$14/night for dorm room. Plush with plasma cable television and free internet on flatscreens. Pool table, kitchen, bread breakfast included. Beds are very comfortable and staff are friendly, but good luck getting steady hot water from the showers. Travelers here are social, probably because Santiago is a common starting point (they’re in a good mood because haven’t been cut down by anything bad yet.) Located in the active Bellavista neighborhood.
Santiago On The Blog
I met a Brazilian on the bus ride to Santiago and we ended up sharing the same hostel. At night he busted out with the guitar and the girls flocked to him.
While he played I sat quietly with my hands on my lap. To the girls my physical presence was disturbing his acoustic treatments. Continue Reading
Other Cities In Chile
If you're only going to visit only Chile then I recommend you get this guide, which is far more detailed than the continental guide above, with options that cater to a range of budgets instead of only the shoestring backpacking crowd. Also it gives more respectable treatment to small cities and towns that the larger guide breezes over with a paragraph or two.
South America On A Shoestring Guidebook
This is the guidebook that I used in my six month trip in South America. The maps are excellent, the information is complete and thorough, and the reviews are accurate, which is why it's often called "the bible" by many travelers. The only problem is that everyone else has this book so if you are the type of person that wants to hit the isolated small towns you will be disappointed. My advice is to use this book for its maps and information on getting from city to city, but talk to the locals and other travelers for those isolated gems that Lonely Planet for some reason didn't find worthy to include.
Spanish For Beginners
My copy of this book is so beat up and weathered it's disintegrating before my eyes. I took it with me to South America because I loved how it was organized in a logical way that kept me motivated to keep studying. Lessons start short and easy and increase in complexity as you tackle frustrating readings that help take you to the next level. The only downside of this book is that it was originally published in 1957 so some of the vocabulary is very dated. Still, you'll be hard-pressed to find a modern equivalent of this book whose teachings approach the same quality. Last time I checked you can grab a used copy from Amazon for less than a dollar.
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