I recently returned from a short trip to Chile where I spent a weekend at Lollapalooza Music Festival. It was my first time in Santiago and the city was absolutely stunning!
We traveled just to go to the music festival and didn’t have a lot of time to do the typical touristy things. Our time was mostly spent preparing, attending and recovering from the festival. But even doing so gave me a good feel of what Santiago was like. To be honest, it likely gave me a more realistic view of what Santiago is like. Especially for young people.
The festival was in Parque O’Higgens in the center of the city. Over 160,000 people went and, Jesus grab the wheel, it was packed. I honestly feel like a lot of the time was spent standing in line for food and the bathroom (I almost wanted to wear a diaper the next day… fo realz). A piece of advice: bring sandwiches. It will save you a lot of time and money. Maybe diapers too, lulz.
So, here was the lineup:
I obviously didn’t get to see everyone perform. But the best performances, by far, were The XX and The Strokes (despite The Stroke’s technical difficulties). Both were great performances and the crowd’s energy added to the fun.
To be honest, the festival didn’t seem that different from the ones that I have attended in Canada. It seems like everyone everywhere wears, drinks and dances the same. I did notice that people seemed to be a little more reserved and polite than in Canada. That kinda shocked me because of the Canadian stereotype. But it might have something to do with Chile being a more Catholic society. Nonetheless, we all snuck in alcohol (they didn’t sell any inside…) and partied the same.
UPDATE: Totally forgot to mention there were full on TANKS and police running when Metallica started playing the first night. People outsite the festival gates were wanting to get in (I think) and started throwing bottles, screaming and yelling. Police came to quite the situation down, and some tanks started rolling up to the scene. Not too sure what the tanks were gonna do……..
Santiago in One Day
I enjoyed the short time I had walking around Santiago. The city was much calmer than Lima, with less traffic and fewer people on the streets. I also really enjoyed all the street art. It was everywhere you turned!
Cerro San Cristobal
On our one day free, we decided to take the hike up to the top of Cerro San Cristobal (between naps, of course). The hike itself was quite easy. I wouldn’t even call it a hike. It’s more of a 45 min walk up on these dirt paths. But make sure to bring a water bottle with you. Santiago tends to be pretty dusty and dry, and water was really refreshing.
If you don’t want to hike, you can always take the funicular to the top. We decided to take it down after getting a little tuckered out from the walk up.
At the top of the mountain, you’ll find stunning panoramic views of the city and the large statue of The Virgin Mary which is a monumental symbol of Santiago. There was also a candlelight vigil which people come to leave notes and photos for lost loved ones. Although I am anything but religious, I have to say the experience was beautiful.
You’ll also find a little cafe and gift shop. Many travel bloggers suggested to try Mote con Huesillo, which is a non-alcoholic Chilean drink with wheat and peaches. I had no idea what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. It was similar to an iced tea with peaches and pieces of wheat. Definitely a tasty treat.
A few things to note for next time:
- Plan for Sundays! Nearly everything is closed on Sundays… including loads of restaurants. So plan ahead and prepare to cook for yourself. Things also seem to close pretty early, so plan ahead for that too!
- The temperature contrast between day and night was pretty drastic! Days were hot reaching 30 degrees with nights dropping close to 10. This made dressing for the festival a little tricky, but everyone in the group ended up in jeans both days. While we were a little warm at times, it was definitely better than being freezing at night time.
- Spend some time in the Plaza de Armas. It’s pretty central and there are loads of museums and historical buildings around. I’ve read everything is pretty walkable once you’re in the area. Definitely, need to check out this area next time I’m around.
- Last: Peruvian food is better. Chile tries to account for this by having a Peruvian restaurant on every block. Don’t fall for this. Peruvian food from Peru is better. Hands down. Although I did grab some random meet off a random burning shopping cart and it was surpisingly good…
Hasta luego, Chile! Next stop? Quito, Ecuador!