Santiago. We didn’t initially plan on even staying here and wanted to go to Valparaiso but didn’t think we would have much time. This ended up being a great little stop. It’s a big city for sure, but it has a smaller feel to it. Driving into the city from the airport I was surprised at how mountainous it is. The whole city is surrounded by a back drop of volcanoes and mountains which you can go explore very easily. We were only there for 2 days and just barely got a taste, but what we did see was all good. The city itself is very clean, safe, and interesting. There are tons of stray dogs everywhere which didn’t bother me in the least since I missed my own dog so much. The weird thing was they are all friendly and there really wasn’t that much dog poop on the street. Big plus. Public services must take care of it really quickly because it was a far cry from Buenos Aires where you couldn’t walk 2 feet without having to dodge huge mounds of dog poop. And Buenos Aires had NO stray dogs. The math doesn’t add up… BA is going through a crisis though, so I can’t blame them too much.
We stayed at a great little boutique hotel called Meridiano Sur Petit Hotel, right downtown in the Providencia district. There was a river only a few blocks away with a miles-long park and bike path that takes you right out into the surrounding mountains. I found the hotel on one of my now-favorite hotel-finding websites, i-escape.com (thanks Darshana!) which only features approved unique and interesting boutique hotels all over the world. And you can usually get a deal if you reserve through them. Right in the same neighborhood was a fantastic little restaurant called Liguria. It was what every hipster in America wishes their restaurant looked like.
The presidential office building