A savvier Santiago puts itself on travel map

Fri Jun 27, 2014 7:45am EDT
 
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By Alexandra Ulmer

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - The city of Santiago, tucked under the towering Andes, cut off in the north by the world's driest desert and in the south by frigid Patagonia, has long languished at the end of Latin America, as if forgotten.

A brutal 17-year-long dictatorship that ended in 1990 only compounded the Chilean capital's isolation. But the city of about 7 million is finally letting loose and exploring its funkier side, bolstered by a flourishing democracy, increased prosperity and stronger ties with the world beyond its borders.

Bohemian neighborhoods, museums, leafy parks and a thriving nightlife are transforming Santiago, which residents had nicknamed "Santiasco," a pun on the Spanish word "asco," or disgust, due to its pollution.

    Still, Santiago is not yet Buenos Aires - and don't you dare compare the two in front of a Chilean - but it is putting itself on the map like never before.

    The following are some tips from Reuters for getting the most out of a trip to Santiago.

    

A BARD'S ABODE IN THE HILLS

Put on your walking shoes and head to the commanding San Cristóbal Hill (parquemet.cl) that overlooks metropolitan Santiago. Hike up, bike up or opt for the efficient cable car.   Continued...

 
A man (L) sits with his son while enjoying the view of the Andes Mountains Range at the San Cristobal Hill in Santiago de Chile February 8, 2012. REUTERS/Minh Nguyen/Files