Urban Adventures in South America’s Santiago, Chile and Lima, Peru
We arrived in Santiago, Chile on April 11th. Our base of operations was at The Aubrey Hotel in the Bellavista neighborhood right at the base of San Cristóbal Hill (Parque Metropolitano de Santiago).
We woke early the next day to a spirited staff preparing a beautiful buffet breakfast. A bus picked us up from the hotel and we joined a multinational crew for a city tour. We started by driving by the Santa Lucia Hill, a small city park in the center of Santiago. We then learned about the history of the city by viewing the grand architecture of the Ministry of Finance, Agriculture, Education and Foreign Affaris. We visited the Plaza de la Constitucion and walked past La Mondea Palace to visit the Centro Cultural Palacio de la Moneda. The subterranean Centro is located below the Plaza de la Ciudadania (Citizen’s Plaza). The Centro has a permanent exhibition of big quality regional artesanía, or arts and crafts, textiles, clothing, and jewelry, from around Chile.
We then rode over to the Plaza de Armas and toured the Cathedral of Santiago and saw the Museum Historico Nacional. Our next stop was the Mussio Design Artesania de Chile where we saw local artisans crafting jewels with lapislazuli, obsidian, jasper, oniz, and malaquite. The bus then took us to the top of Santuario de la Inmaculada Concepción (a huge hilltop city park with an amazing view of the city). Through the city smog we saw the snow covered Andes Mountian to the east of the city. We then made our way back to Bellavista. I took a run 4 mile run in the Parque Forestal along the Mapocho River. The park was full of tree lined paths and many young couples enjoying quality time with each other. We then took a walk though Parque Forestal and on to Santa Lucia Hill to enjoy the city views.
On April 13, our third day in Chile we left Santiago to drive west through the costal range to visit the ocean sides cities of Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. We enjoyed sightseeings in the Cordillera and the Pacifico on our way to the main harbor of Chile, Valparaiso. After a view from the hill and a harbor walk we made our way to the garden city of Viña del Mar. Famous for beaches, a clock made with different flowers and a Moai from Easter Island. Back in Sandiago we walked though Bellavista to have dinner at Como Agua Para Chocolate where we enjoyed a most amazing stuffed chili and a meat sampler that was the epitome of South America’s love of protein.
We flew from Santiago to Lima, Peru on April 14th. We dropped off our bags at our hotel and spent the rest of the morning exploring the Miraflores district, our new neighborhood base of operation. It was very warm but we saw many people enjoying what looked like a sponsored run through the city. Our hotel was within a few block of the Parque John F Kennedy, Miaflores Chruch and Parque Central de Miraflores. In the afternoon we tour of the historic city center, the Paseo de la República, Plaza San Martin, Plaza Mayor, the Government Palace, the Cathedral, the Archbishop’s Palace, City Hall and the Santo Domingo Church. We then spent some time touring Church of San Francisco with with the bones of 12,000 monks in the catacombs. Super creepy!!
The next morning we hopped a bus south to check out Pachacamac Citadel, Shrine of God the Creator of the universe for the Andean people. The citadel comprises temples, pyramids and palaces, where the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of Pachacamac, the Acllahuasi or Palace of the Virgins of the Sun, among others. Along the way we visited the traditional and bohemian district of Barranco, where stands the famous Bridge of Sighs, continuing for El Salto del Fraile, and finished in the Marshes of Villa. In the evening we walked down to the Larco Mar, from where we saw a spectacular panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and enjoyed watching the sunset while para glider rode the cliffs updrafts.