Santiago, Chile would not land the New York Times’ list of “41 Places to Go in 2011” if it is not a worthy visit. One of the reasons travelers of all kinds choose this destination is the certain allure of Santiago Centro or downtown Santiago.
Santiago Centro is at the heart of Santiago de Chile. It is not so difficult to get there because transportation is modern and efficient. You have a choice between getting into the Metro System or take a bus to get to downtown Santiago. Or you may also take a touring bus, which will circle around the city, including the central area.
What to See There
The main activity at Santiago Centro is strolling. You may walk through the paseos, which are streets turned into pedestrian walkways. That will give you a better feel of the city. Some of the most interesting sights to see around the area include the Mercado Central, the Santiago Cathedral, and the Government Palace.
The Mercado Central used to be the city’s principal wholesale market. It was dethroned but remained to be one of Santiago’s undying attraction. Its lively ambiance, its excellent food, and its fresh produce all provide an exciting charm for locals and tourists alike. This is where you will find the freshest seafood, fruits and vegetables. It is also one of the best places to buy Chilean wine.
The Metropolitan Cathedral, meanwhile, garnered the National Monument acclaim in 1951. It is one of the most handsome structures that you will find in downtown Santiago. Built in late 1500s, Santiago Cathedral is characterized by an ornate baroque interior and a grand marble-bronze-lapis lazuli altar.
The Government Palace or La Moneda is the Chilean White House. With that comparison alone, you would understand how important this particular site is to the tourism charm of Santiago Centro.
Santiago Centro was founded on the 12th of February, 1541. Initially, it was called Santiago de la Nueva Extremadura. Officially, it was recognized as the provincial, regional, and national capital. It covers the area of the oldest part of Santiago de Chile and houses some of the most valuable government infrastructure including La Moneda or the Government Palace.
You should prepare enough sum of money for transportation, for your entrance fee to some sites, and for shopping. Santiago Centro is an exciting place to explore because it has lots of things to offer, including native delicacies that are definitely must-try.
If you choose to stroll around the paseos, make sure that you are mindful of your belongings. Pickpockets are at bay.