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Santiago, valley surrounded by mountains
Explore its beauties
The capital of Chile since Colonial times, Santiago, is the largest conurbation in the country. It is located in a bowl shaped valley surrounded by mountains, at an elevation of 540m above sea level, and the Andes mountains can usually be seen in some points of the city. Travelling to Santiago means discovering the city, but also means enjoy the most the Cordillera.
Hikers can have a good time on Cerro de Ramon, one of the mountains that towers beside the capital. The starting point of the climb is in the national park Quebrada de Macul, the green lung of Santiago, but the hike takes three days to climb to the summit and to come back. Cerro la Campana is a popular climb in the park La Campana that takes 4 to five hours to the top, but there's so much to explore that hiking for two days can be a good deal.
In the city, there's a lot of interesting places to go and things to see. The open-air museum in the walkway La Pastora has works of art ranging 3 to 4 meters, made of stone, bronze and steel. In the Sculpture Park, a relaxing break for the hustle of the city, there are sculptures made by Chilean and international artists and very often in the summer, the park offers concerts and other events. Outside of the city, the Buin Zoo, originally a farm owned by a veterinarian in which people used to bring injured animals, is now the largest zoo in Chile, including also a Marine Show, a petting zoo and a small amusement park for kids.
If you are missing the beaches, you can take a bus to the city of La Serena (6 hours from Santiago) and enjoy the clear waters and the white sand, or you can stay back and explore the outdoor pools in the Metropolitan park. The Tupahue pool has 4000 square meters, green areas around the pool, a wall painted with Chilean and Mexican motives and an artificial waterfall.
Like the Antilen pool, that is located 800 meters above the sea level, Tupahue offers an amazing view of its surroundings. These pools are hosted in Cerro San Cristobal, a hill 300m above the rest of the city containing a statue of virgin Mary with an amphitheatre on its feet, used for mass or other religious ceremonies, a park and a zoo.
Right outside of Santiago, one of the largest wineries in Chile, Undurraga, offers a tour to whom is interested in knowing the plantation and tasting their wines. Close to that place there is Isla Negra, the largest of Pablo Neruda's houses, and if you can be there at 12th July, Neruda's birthday, you can enjoy some commemorative poetry readings, music and festivities. As pleasant as his poetry, Santiago is a gem inlaid in Andes, a posh and elegant place offering its better to whom is prepared to explore its beauties.
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