Your essential guides to Santiago

Guide
Find your bearings

 

Hugging the foothills of the soaring Andes Mountains that overlook the capital, Mandarin Oriental, Santiago is not short on panoramic vistas. Set in the northeast of the city in the upmarket Las Condes district, its more immediate surroundings are a delightful mix of glitzy high-rises, elegant green spaces and superb shopping streets.

 

Feed your mind

 

Discover the country that existed before the Spanish invasion at the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. Its permanent Chile before Chile exhibition takes you through the many indigenous cultures that made up this ribbon of a country, including the Chinchorro people, whose mummies pre-date Egyptian mummies by about 2,000 years.
Shop like a local

 

Just steps away from Mandarin Oriental, Santiago, the tree-lined street of Alonso de Córdova is dotted with upmarket boutiques and art galleries. Just off it is Galería La Sala, which showcases young Chilean artists. A five-minute walk takes you to the sleek shopping mall Parque Arauco, where international brands rub shoulders with Latin American stores. And an easy 20-minute metro ride away is the design district of Barrio Italia, where 19th-century buildings now house stylish furniture shops and independent stores selling Chilean handicrafts.
See some sights

 

Santiago’s historic Centro is ideal to explore on foot. Start at Santa Lucía, an attractive hilltop park with its own fort, where Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia founded the city in 1541. A five-minute stroll away is Plaza de Armas, graced by the city’s stately 18th-century cathedral and soaring palm trees, which provide shade for shoe polishers and street vendors. Walk north, across the Mapocho River, to the bohemian district of Bellavista, where every 19th-century building is painted a different colour and street art covers many walls. Sleepy by day, after nightfall Bellavista’s streets throng with Santiago’s party crowd.

 

Toast your arrival

 

You’ll be hard pushed to find a cocktail menu as extensive as the one at Mandarin Oriental, Santiago’s. No trip to Chile truly begins until your first pisco sour, the zesty cocktail made with pisco (a Chilean brandy, naturally), lemon, egg white and bitters. Beyond the hotel, enjoy one at Azotea Matilde, a rooftop bar with panoramic city and mountain views in buzzing Bellavista.

Make time to unwind

Dine in style 

 

A charming oasis in the city, Senso overlooks the lush gardens and lagoon pool of Mandarin Oriental, Santiago, with a beautiful terrace for warm nights. One of two restaurants within the hotel, its exquisite Italian menu is complemented by an array of Chilean wines.

Book ahead to secure a table at Boragó – number five in Latin America’s Top 50 Restaurants – where chef Rodolfo Guzmán cooks using only ingredients grown, nurtured or foraged in Chile. For a more casual dining experience, grab a patio table at Peumayen, in Bellavista, where another culinary journey awaits, with the indigenous ingredients in the dishes whisking you from Easter Island to the Atacama Desert and Patagonia.

And finally...
Santiago’s architectural treasures

Just a five-minute taxi ride away from Mandarin Oriental, Santiago is Sky Costanera, a 300m tower of glinting glass, its top floor offers 360° views of Santiago’s dramatic setting.