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Solo Travel Destination: Santiago, Chile

La Moneda, Santiagor Chile

La Moneda, Santiago Chile

Every Tuesday we review another destination for solo travelers. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend?  Submit your description here, along with a photo or two, and we’ll publish it as a way to help fellow solo travelers!

Solo travel rating: 1.75
(1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)

Languages spoken:  Primary: Spanish.  English is found but not everywhere.

Reasons to go:  Santiago is a fabulous and very busy city. It’s generally very safe though you have to be aware of your surroundings. Pickpockets are common. Don’t show off jewelry or technology. The public transit system is excellent.

There are two prominent hills in the city. (By some standards they would be mountains but a city situated next to the Andes does not consider them so.) San Cristobal is the largest hill with a huge park and a wonderful church at the top.

Santiago offers many museums but the most moving (and difficult) is Chile’s Memory and Human Rights Museum. Much of it is in Spanish but there is plenty in English. Focusing on the Pinochet dictatorship from 1973 to 1990, it preserves painful memories of this time when people went missing and were tortured.

The Mercado Vega is across the river from the Mercado Central (which I found touristy). There’s the flower market along the street on route there. At the Vega, the market is on one side of the road with just about everything in the world, and kind of a restaurant market is on the other side of the road. I wish I had pictures but, though I felt very safe personally, I didn’t think it a good idea to pull out my camera.

The Centro Artesanal Los Dominicos makes a great day outing where you can have a bite to eat and discover some truly beautiful Chilean handicrafts. It’s at the end of one of the subway lines.

The Centro Cultural Palaceo La Moneda is located under La Moneda (the presidential palace) and good to know about given that you can’t actually go into the Palace. It houses a couple of wonderful craft gift shops and an art museum. The shops are more expensive than Los Dominicos.

Centro Artesanal Los Domincos Santiago chile

Centro Artesanal Los Domincos offers wonderful qulaity crafts.

Finicular going up San Cristobal.

Finicular going up San Cristobal.

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Solo Travel Destination Rating System

Safety - 2 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)

Language - 3 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)

Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)

Culture – 1 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)

Average Rating – 1.75 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)

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  • http://twitter.com/RoniFaida Roni Faida

    I recently traveled to Russia and I speak NO RUSSIAN. It didn’t hinder my experience at all and it shouldn’t hamper your ability either. Maps, Apps, and a smile go a long way in a foreign country.

  • http://twitter.com/RoniFaida Roni Faida

    I’m planning my trip to Santiago, I’ll be traveling there in February so thank you for this post. I speak Spanish and I’m looking forward to learning about Santiago!

  • Traveler

    I’m planning a trip in July to visit the City and do a little skiing however I speak little to no Spanish.  I’m willing to try but will this significantly hamper my ability to enjoy Santiago?

  • http://www.andrewgraemegould.com/ Andrew Graeme Gould

    Nice to see this post on my Santiago!  A very good started guide here. The Bellavista area, near downtown Santiago is great for a stroll though and for photos, as it was a bohemian look to it. Although most people you meet in the street will not speak English, they will try to help you out with direccions, etc. The main hurdle may be shyness, and that’s all.

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  • Ruthaki1

    I’ve visited Santiago a couple of years ago and spent many hours touring around the various barrios.  Easy to get to on the metro.  Loved the city. But yes, cautionary notes all the time from the locals “watch your backpack, carry it in front. Be careful of your purses, cameras. etc.”  I found that the locals were very good at pointing this out to you and really took care to make sure you were safe. Be sure and visit the General Cemetary where you will be astounded by the monuments to those killed during the junta. It’s like a small city and some of the tombs are like mini condos. Amazing!

About Janice Waugh and Tracey Nesbitt

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 8.52.44 PMI'm an author, blogger, speaker and traveler. I became a widow and empty-nester at about the same time. And then, I became Solo Traveler... Here's the full story. >>
Tracey NesbittI’m a writer, editor, food and wine fanatic, and traveler. On my very first trip abroad I learned that solo travel was for me. Here's the full story. >>

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