Bursting with cultural attractions, creative chefs, an all-night club scene and a glorious wine country nearby, the Chilean capital has become one of South America’s hottest cities
Author Justin Goldman Photography Yadid Levy
DISTANCE, IN MILES, FROM SANTIAGO TO THE BEACHRESORT TOWN VIÑA DEL MAR
DISTANCE, IN MILES, FROM SANTIAGO TO THE VALLE NEVADO SKI RESORT
LENGTH OF CHILE IN MILES
AVERAGE WIDTH OF CHILE IN MILES
HEIGHT, IN FEET, OF OJOS DEL SALADO, THE SECOND-HIGHEST POINT IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE
AVERAGE ANNUAL RAINFALL, IN INCHES, IN THE ATACAMA DESERT, THE DRIEST PLACE IN THE WORLD
YEAR THAT CHILE HOSTED THE FIFA WORLD CUP
No trip to Chile is complete without a stop in wine country
Most Americans associate Chilean wine with the budget-friendly selection at Trader Joe’s, but with six major wine-growing regions comprising more than a dozen valleys and around 100 wineries, this country offers much more than just an alternative to Two-Buck Chuck.
Chile’s most famous wine regions are the Colchagua and Maipo valleys—the latter of which is very close to Santiago. If you’re willing to travel just a bit farther afield, an outfit called Santiago Adventures offers tour packages, with knowledgeable bilingual guides. Among the regions they recommend is the trendy Casablanca Valley, about an hour northwest of the capital, toward Valparaíso.
“Chile has centuries of experience making wines, but Casablanca Valley is very new—the past 30 years or so,” says Andy Pflaum of Kingston Family Vineyards. “In certain areas, like pinot noir, there’s not that much experience, but it’s a very quick study. People here are able to do a lot with it.”
They may be recent arrivals, but the Casablanca Valley’s wineries, which produce cool-climate wines, are worth the trip. Kingston is known for lovely pinot noirs—the vineyard brought in a consultant from Saintsbury in the Napa Valley—as well as a stunningly smoky, earthy syrah called Bayo Oscuro. Nearby Matetic, aside from cultivating a sustainable biodynamic vineyard, has a seven-room hotel on-site. And Casa Marin, which produces some of the best white wines in South America, is the only Chilean winery founded by a woman, Maria Luz Marin.
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The inside scoop from those in the know
Travel writer and owner, AzurePR
“Barrio Italia still has a lot of those old-fashioned, Spanish flat-façade homes, with little rooms and a patio out back. What they’ve done now is each of those little rooms is a store, and there’s a café in the back. It’s all design, clothing, furniture, and it’s really cool.”
“My favorite is a Brazilian restaurant, because I’m Brazilian. It’s called Muqueca. It’s not a typical churrasquería. They have delicious feijoada and a couple of other things that are very good. Muqueca is the name of a plate—it’s a stew with fish and shrimp and coconut milk.”
Patricio Ihnen Klammer
Director of PR, Chile, Starwood Hotels and Resorts
“The GAM is named for Gabriela Mistral, one of our two Nobel Prize winners. It used to be Pinochet’s palace. About seven years ago it was destroyed by a fire, so they rebuilt it as a cultural center. It’s a good way to feel the vibration of the city.” Headshots by Peter Field