Photo Essay: Tour of Santiago, Chile in Photos

I'm just going to come straight out and say it: Santiago, Chile has been one of the biggest surprises of Latin America for me. In all honesty, expectations were low going in. I mean how good could Santiago, Chile really be? Especially when you have Patagonia to the south, Valparaiso just northwest on the coastline, Mendoza wine country east over the mountains, and Buenos Aires due east. That's a lot to compete with. 

Yet what I discovered was a certain cultured grit, to the backdrop of the towering Andes Mountains, that really blew my expectations away. My time in Santiago was meant to be little more than a hideaway, somewhere I could retreat and indulge after trekking Patagonia's Torres del Paine. It was the one part of my South America trip that I could splurge. However, I found myself immersing into the culture, taking solace in losing myself in the streets of Barrio Lastarria. 

And I really couldn't have asked for a better ending to my first trip of South America, which had begun with a week in Buenos Aires, followed by a week in Torres del Paine before finishing in Santiago. My time in Santiago brought with it a certain magic, from the daily visit to an Alice in Wonderland-themed cafe (appropriately named the Wonderland Cafe), to strolling cobblestone streets, to admiring street art lining many of the streets, to one of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen, from the balcony of my hotel room at The Singular Santiago (pictured below in the sunset and rooftop pool photos).

Is Santiago Chile's version of Buenos Aires? Well let's not get too carried away. Buenos Aires is special and unique in its own right, but I wouldn't compare the two. Yet there's a certain Latin American spunk that I found myself gravitating to in Santiago. Santiago, Chile is unique and beautiful in its own way. But enough gushing. I'll let the following photos tell the story of Santiago, Chile.