If one has only half a day in Santiago, then he/she better go to San Cristobal hill only. As one of the highest points in the city, it provides a panoramic view of the expanse of Chile’s capital city. It is interesting to observe architecture of various barrios (neighborhoods) of Santiago from this height. On one side towards south, you have skyscrapers, north eastern side comprising of Las Condes barrio is fairly flat. With Andes in the background, it is a glorious view from the hill.
How to reach
San Cristobal Hill is situated in middle of Metropolitan Park. This park has multiple entrances. We entered via the entrance next to Avenida Peru. There is an English speaking information center at the entry here that proved to be very helpful. There is another way entry gate from the east side via Pedro De Validivia and for people coming via Metro, this is the logical entry point.
What to Do at San Cristobal Hill
Once we collected the map & other relevant information, we decided to hike the trail leading to the summit. It is 2 km trail and is steep. With few rest stops, we managed to reach the top in about 30 minutes. There were enough places on the trail to rest and refill your water bottles. Alternatively, there is a funicular also to the top. If one is travelling with small kids or elders, then I suggest that you use that option.
Once we reached the top, we were treated to magnificent views of the city. While the statue of Virgin Mary at the top turned out to be little anti-climactic, especially after Christ the Redeemer at Rio, it was still worth the walk. After mandatory photos, we ended up having our lunch at one of the restaurants.
We decided to descend via a different route and ended up at the Valdivia gate. This route was better as the road was paved and there was a demarcated pedestrian only zone. About a kilometer outside this park exit , we took the metro to come back to the apartment for the much deserved rest.
- Hike to the top. Views are worth the effort.
- Unlike many other tourist attractions, food at the summit is not expensive. No need to carry extra weight (food) in your backpack.
- Use different entry & exit routes. That way you will see the whole park
- There is a zoo & botanical garden as well in the park. For people interested in those, you can roll those as well into your day.