Andean mountains provide an unbelievable backdrop to the city of Santiago, the capital of Chile, today this modern metropolis is home to over 5 million people making it the largest city in Chile, fifth largest in South America. A modern city that continues to grow yet still holds onto its colonial heritage.
Santiago is located between the mighty Andes Mountains to the east, the Chilean Coastal Range and the Pacific Ocean lie to the west, with the city sitting in a bowl shaped fertile valley called the Santiago Basin. The relatively flat basin is split east to west by the Mapocho River as the land rises in the east to unimaginable heights as the Andes give the city a surreal view of these majestic mountains from almost any location throughout the city. Cerro El Plomo is the highest mountain visible from the city at 17,795 feet, and just farther east towards Mendoza Argentina the Andes continue the climb to Tupungato, one of South Americas highest peaks at 21,555 feet and just 50 miles from Santiago’s metropolitan area.
Founded in 1541 by Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia the location was chosen for its climate and fertile soil. Today the city has grown into one of Latin Americas most modern cities; modern skyscrapers have risen from the colonial city to give a modern landscape. In the center of Santiago is the Plaza de Armas and the Parque Forestal , with its tree lined walkways following the banks of the Mapocho river this park reminds visitors of it colonial and European heritage. Bellavista neighborhood is a favorite with locals as well as visitor to Santiago, known for its many restaurants and cafes. Fantastic views of the city and the Andes Mountains can be seen from Cerro San Cristobal.
Santiago has become a starting point for many travelers as well as adventure seekers, with some of the finest ski resorts just 40 miles east from the city and some of Chilies most spectacular beaches just an hour to the north providing easy day trips from the city. Maipo Valley with its fertile lands, is Chiles wine producing region and its many vineyards, wine tours and tastings the region has to offer is just a short distance south of Santiago.
Tourist and travelers entering into Santiago arrive through Arturo Merino Benitz International Airport, with numerous connection available throughout South America as well Europe and the United States, cruise ships dock in Valparaiso, a convenient 75 miles to the northwest of downtown Santiago. Entering from Mendoza Argentina by car is possible via a scenic 6 hour drive through the Andes Mountains. The Estacion Central, today a historic terminal offers modern train service to the north and south of Chile.
Santiago’s climate is described as Mediterranean, hot dry summer months extending from November to March will have the temperature reaching in the mid 90’s to winter months of June to August seeing temperatures averaging around 60 degrees.