Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Santiago, Chile

Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:03am EDT
 
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By Molly Rosbach

SANTIAGO (Reuters Life!) - A curious mix of old and new, Santiago boasts an ultra-modern business district nicknamed "Sanhattan" with gleaming high-rises and also has quaint, tree-lined neighborhoods that retain the warmth and color of the city's 500-year history.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a short visit to the South American capital.

FRIDAY

5 p.m. - Upon arrival in Santiago, take in the breathtaking view of the Andes to the east of the city. Use them as a point of reference when asking for directions.

Head straight downtown to wander along the pedestrian-only Paseo Ahumada to Plaza de Armas for a first taste of local vendors, artists and cafes in a city center dotted with aged churches and government offices with a colonial feel.

But visitors should beware of pickpockets who often work in teams. Even the most street-savvy natives can find themselves without a wallet or a cell phone after a less-than-vigilant visit.

Take a quick detour to visit the presidential palace La Moneda, nearly entirely rebuilt after air raids in a 1973 military coup plunged the country into a bloody, 17-year dictatorship under General Augusto Pinochet.

7 p.m. - Catch the #1 Metro at La Moneda to Baquedano, just four stops away, and head to the University of Chile Theater for a 7:30 p.m. show. Depending on the weekend, you might get to see the local symphony, ballet or chorale, which, at well under US$10 a ticket, makes for an enjoyable and affordable evening.   Continued...