Recoleta Commune Walk (Self Guided), Santiago

Chilean capital Santiago is made up of several communes, of which perhaps the most famous is Recoleta. Established under the rule of Pinochet, Recoleta commune abounds in historic and architectural attractions: churches, parks and more. On this walking tour you visit some of the most notable sights of this part of Santiago.
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Recoleta Commune Walk Map

Guide Name: Recoleta Commune Walk
Guide Location: Chile » Santiago (See other walking tours in Santiago)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 13
Tour Duration: 3 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.2 Km or 3.2 Miles
Author: vickyc
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Metropolitan Park of Santiago
  • Teleférico de Santiago
  • San Cristóbal Hill
  • La Chascona
  • Centro Mori
  • Patio Bellavista
  • National Museum of Fine Arts
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Church and Convent of the Franciscan Recoleta
  • Patronato Market
  • Parroquia de Santa Filomena
  • Church and Convent Recoleta Dominica
  • Cementerio General de Santiago
Metropolitan Park of Santiago

1) Metropolitan Park of Santiago

The Santiago Metropolitan Park is an urban park located within the city of Santiago, capital of Chile. Consisting of the San Cristóbal, Chacarillas and Los Gemelos hills, and the areas of Tupahue, Lo Saldés, Pirámide and Bosque Santiago, the park is located between four communes of Santiago - Huechuraba, Providencia, Recoleta and Vitacura - and covers around 722 hectares, making it the largest urban park in Chile and one of the largest in the world. The Santiago Metropolitan Park also maintains 16 Urban Parks distributed throughout 13 communes in Santiago, a total area of almost 150.1 hectares. The maintenance work is carried out through “Urban Parks’ Conservation, Maintenance and Safety” projects which involve cleaning, irrigation, replantation and management of vegetal species, maintenance of urban equipment, sanitation control, weed control, fertilization and safety among other activities. The park was created in April 1966, when incorporating the Chilean National Zoo and the services of San Cristóbal Hill, and is managed by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. In September, 2012, the Chilean government launched a plan to significantly refurbish and expand the park between 2012 and 2016, a plan which includes building new footpaths, planting 100,000 more trees and expanding the National Zoo. Metropolitan Park's prime location at St. Christopher's Hill makes it a must-see spot of Santiago. Visitors can take a funicular or cable car up the hill to experience an unforgettable view of the city. At the top of the hill stands a grand statue of the Virgin Mary, a church, restaurants and craft shops.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Teleférico de Santiago

2) Teleférico de Santiago (must see)

Teleferico begins in the middle of the Providencia neighborhood. It is the cable car that carries visitors up to the Virgin Statue that is at the top of Saint Christopher Hill.

This cable car ascends about 800 feet and there’s an intermediate stop for the swimming pool (yes, there’s a pool in this park accessible from the cable car!). It seems like a long ride as you gently bob your way to the top of San Cristobal hill. The views are very good, especially if it’s clear, but even if not perfectly so, you get an excellent sense of the spread of the city of Santiago. Highly recommended, but also quite popular so go earlier in the day and probably not on a weekend.
Sight description based on wikipedia
San Cristóbal Hill

3) San Cristóbal Hill (must see)

Those who seek the best view of picturesque Santiago de Chile should make their way to the majestic San Cristóbal Hill in the northern part of the city. The hill rises to about 880 meters, which is approximately 300 meters higher than most of the sites in Santiago. It is the second highest spot in the city, and the view it affords is quite spectacular.

At the very top of the hill stands the statue of Virgin Mary, inaugurated in 1908. There is also a church which became well known after Pope John Paul II served a mass there in 1987. The largest park in Santiago, a vast urban expanse of green space with varied landscapes and roads for vehicles, is also found on the hill.

The most stunning view of the city opens shortly after it's rained and the smog cleared off, on a sunny summer day. Then, you can see virtually everything, from the high-rising towers of Santiago to the Andes mountains far beyond.

Why You Should Visit:
The "must-see" big hill in Santiago, hands down. Many things to do in the park, like hiking its many trails, cycling, going to the pool in the summer, riding the funicular and the recently renovated cable car, visiting different corners (Japanese Garden and/or different playgrounds), etc.

Make sure you get Mote con Huesillo at the peak! Most refreshing (made with a dried peach, husked wheat and sugar syrup) traditional drink plus an 'empanada de pino'!
La Chascona

4) La Chascona (must see)

La Chascona, the home of Pablo Neruda, a celebrated Chilean poet, was built in 1953. It is named in honor of the poet’s third wife, Matilde Urrutia, who was famed for her abundant red hair. Neruda and his future wife had used this property as a romantic getaway for years before they actually tied the knot. The house is located at Bellavista, at the foot of San Cristobal Hill.

It features a unique style, with one of its most outstanding features being the library with a wide collection of paintings from Chile and around the world, as well as the books that once belonged to the poet. The house also accommodates the headquarters of the Pablo Neruda Foundation.

Replete with winding stairs, paths and bridges, La Chascona has a secret passageway and a bedroom at the top of the tower. Various collections of seashells, butterflies, wine glasses and many other different objects allow visitors a glimpse of romantic inspiration that was responsible for Neruda's poetic creations. The building is a house-museum and those who wish to see the books in the library or the poet’s collection will have to pay an entry fee.

The property was vandalized after the coup of 1973 that overthrew president Salvador Allende, but Matilde did her best to preserve the property and lived here until she passed away in 1985.

Why You Should Visit:
Very interesting mix of architecture and history of Neruda's life that will not leave you disappointed. The house itself can be both elegant and flamboyant at the same time, reflecting Neruda's unique tastes in furnishing and design. Besides, you get an interesting look not only at a brilliant creative human being but also a general overview of the 20th century with a little Communism, Socialism, gender equality, machismo, dictatorships and human rights all part and parcel...

Take the tour with an audio device, as it is really essential for understanding the layout.
Also, make sure to see the movie *before* embarking on the tour – you won't be able to see it after.
Note that you're not allowed to take pictures inside the house, but you can certainly take them outside.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
Centro Mori

5) Centro Mori

The Centro Mori or Centro Cultural Mori (Mori Cultural Center) is a cultural project founded in Santiago, Chile by actors Gonzalo Valenzuela and Benjamín Vicuña, together with their partner Cristóbal Vial. The center is located in Barrio Bellavista - a neighborhood of Santiago with a strong cultural heritage - in an old house at the foot of San Cristóbal Hill (street address Constitución 183), next to the Plaza Camilo Mori and near La Chascona (the museum and former house of Pablo Neruda). The property was restored in 2005 by the actors and a group of professionals to turn it into the Teatro Mori Bellavista (Mori Theater, Bellavista). Centro Mori runs theater performances in three spaces located around Santiago. The latest to open was the Mori Plaza Vespucio, inaugurated in 2012. At its opening, Valenzuela said “we want to do away with the idea that the theater is elitist, instead showing that it can be a place where people can come and have fun.” A wide range of theater styles are represented on the center’s bill, including a play commemorating victims of the 2010 San Miguel prison fire which opened in August 2012, a theater adaptation of Charlie Chaplin’s 1931 film City Lights shown during September 2012 and various works for both children and adults.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Patio Bellavista

6) Patio Bellavista (must see)

A traveler searching for a one-stop place where culture, art and cuisine combine should make their way to Patio Bellavista in the heart of Santiago. This beautiful patio is a meeting place with numerous delights: wine shops, restobars, restaurants, art, crafts, an ice cream parlor and art gallery. More than fifty shops, featuring the best quality of art souvenirs and handicrafts, can be found here, with jewelry, artwork, pottery, fine leather products, textiles and books all finding a home.

The place can be accessed from various major tourist destinations, including La Chascona, El Mercado Central and Cerro San Cristobal. This is a top destination for a nocturnal traveler who fancies some night entertainment, whereas those more active during the day could relax and enjoy this patio visiting its various shops and restaurants. There are usually several events on the go that are sure to catch the traveler's eye, including historical and cultural exhibitions, as well as traditional dances that will give you a better peek into the life and culture of the natives.

Why You Should Visit:
Despite being in the middle of a very busy and dynamic area, it has a bohemian atmosphere (especially in the afternoon or early evening), with a mixture of souvenir and craft shops, excellent restaurants (Asian, Italian, Spanish and Chilean cuisines – some have a 2nd floor with a view to the whole patio), bars, pizzerias, pubs, as well as plenty of dessert spots for crepes or the rolling ice cream that's all the craze at the moment. Great place for first-time visitors.

Plan your trip to allow time to visit one of the open-air restaurants on the patio.

Opening Hours:
Sun-Tue: 10am-2am; Wed: 10am-3am; Thu-Sat: 10am-4am
National Museum of Fine Arts

7) National Museum of Fine Arts (must see)

Lovers of Chilean and South American art should make a stop at the Chilean National Museum of Fine Art, which is the oldest fine arts museum in South America. The museum was established in 1880 but the building itself dates back to 1910 and was designed by Emile Jecquier, an architect of French and Chilean descent.

The building features a mixture of Neoclassical and Baroque Revival styles with the hints of structural architecture. It is very instrumental in the exhibition of visual arts and some of the most famous artists have displayed their works here since the museum's inception.

Apart from being an exhibition space, as of 1974 the National Museum of Fine Arts has been actively involved in the restoration and conservation of art, after a pertinent agreement was signed with UNESCO and the Organization of American States. The museum is currently home to more than three thousand works of art created by illustrious masters from Chile and other countries. It also holds an extraordinary collection of Oriental art, featuring works from China and Japan, as well as African sculptures.

Why You Should Visit:
Light, airy, cool, pleasant space in which to escape the heat of the day.
Even though it's not a huge museum and even though it has a limited permanent collection, the architecture is amazing and there's a different changing exhibition every week.

Check out the MAC (Museo de Arte Contemporaneo) which is on the back half of the same building and boasts a generous exhibition space for installations as well as a rather cozy little café.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 10am-6:45pm; Free admission
Sight description based on wikipedia
Museum of Contemporary Art

8) Museum of Contemporary Art

Art lovers will definitely marvel at this iconic museum, located in Parque Forestal, because not only does it house a rich collection of artwork from Chile, but also from other countries. It has been the center of visual art, as well as the keeper of international artistic heritage for over half a century.

More than two thousand art pieces have been stored in this museum, featuring internationally acclaimed Chilean and foreign artists, such as Emilio Pettoruti, Roberto Matta and Isamu Noguchi. The museum is administered by the Art Department of the University of Chile and, as such, encourages artistic debate among students. It also takes in new artworks from budding artists and has become the source of fresh trends in the artistic world.

The Museum of Contemporary Art was constructed in the nineteenth century to a neoclassical design, but earthquakes, especially the one in 2010, ruined parts of the building. Still, this is one of the most beautiful architectural sights in Santiago and a rich depository of beautiful artwork, including engravings, sculptures and paintings by some of the best and most talented artists in the world, ranging from seasoned professionals to a new breed who have revolutionized the artistic scene.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church and Convent of the Franciscan Recoleta

9) Church and Convent of the Franciscan Recoleta

In the seventeenth century, dedicated Christians of Santiago, who wished to stay away from secular pleasures and to lead a life of sacrifice, closer to that of Jesus Christ's, would find refuge in the historic Franciscan Recoleta Convent. During the colonial era, travelers stopped here for compulsory prayers prior to heading up north of the country. Recoleta also has attracted many followers of the Franciscan friar Andresito who died here in 1853 and was attributed with miraculous powers.

The earthquake of 1730 did a lot of harm to the church and the convent, both of which were restored completely in 1811 and 1848, respectively, courtesy of Fermin Vivaceta, who also added decorations to the buildings for the sake of pleasing future generations. The restored temple features neoclassic style and has a central nave and two lateral vaulted ones. The altar has been made in a Baroque style of unique, polychromatic wood.

The temple, dedicated to the Virgin of the Summit, has an outstanding Baroque image of the Virgin featured on the altar. The church and convent of Franciscan Recoleta was declared a national monument of Chile in 1973.
Patronato Market

10) Patronato Market

If you ever need new clothes, while in Santiago, consider Patronato Market a prime destination, situated just across the river from the Museum of Contemporary Art. Specialized in clothing and accessories, the market comprises labyrinths of roads lined with stalls, outlets and shops, sometimes crowded, particularly on weekends, but overall exciting to explore. Patronato is rightfully regarded as one of the most cosmopolitan spots in Santiago where the local culture collides and blends with the Asian and Middle Eastern. The tremendous choice of goods on display caters to any style, fabric or color preference and, what's more appealing, at bargain prices - equivalent to 2-10 euros apiece. All of this make Patronato a definite must-visit place.
Parroquia de Santa Filomena

11) Parroquia de Santa Filomena

The Parish of Santa Filomena is located in the Patronato district of the Recoleta municipality of Santiago. It emerged as a result of the persecution of non-profit organizations in the wake of “Rerum Novarum” encyclical, issued by Pope Leo XIII on May 15, 1891, which addressed the condition of the working class and their exploitation.

Named after a Christian martyr and saint, the church was originally built in 1884 by Eugenio Joannon, using donations made by some of the wealthiest families of Santiago. The construction was supervised by a priest, Ruperto Marchant.

The beautiful, Neo Gothic edifice forms a remarkable sight, with a grand exterior and interior decorated with several magnificent paintings, some which arrived from France and create a spectacular chiaroscuro effect. It was initially used by the congregation of the Josephite fathers who came to Santiago from Italy.

Despite the damage inflicted on the building by the many earthquakes that have hit Santiago since the 19th century, it still stands. The most destructive earthquake took place in 1985. After all the necessary repair had been done and the church been restored to its original beauty, it was declared a national heritage site in 1995.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Church and Convent Recoleta Dominica

12) Church and Convent Recoleta Dominica

The Church and Convent Recoleta Dominica have been around since the 18th century. The Dominican congregation arrived in Chile in the 16th century and 200 years later, in the lands donated to the congregation by the authorities, established the Convent of Recoleta Dominica, one of the greatest in terms of religious observance of that period. The construction of their first house of prayer, very simple in design, started in 1753. The initiative to build a new temple came in 1853, when a new altar for the old church was commissioned. The project was designed by Italian architect Eusebio Chelli, but it was Manuel Aldunate and Avaria who effectively led the work to completion and designed the dome crowning the central nave. In 1886-1888 the convent was remodeled to its present appearance. Today, the complex represents an architectural and historic monument, and accommodates the Museum of Decorative Arts , the Dominican Historical Museum, and the Recoleta Dominica Heritage Library.
Cementerio General de Santiago

13) Cementerio General de Santiago

This eighty-five hectare expanse is a final resting place for all but two Chilean presidents as well as a number of notable Chilean citizens, including political leaders and poets. The area abounds in spectacular mausoleums and tombs, some of which were crafted by the greatest sculptors in Chile, and is surrounded by gardens, lanes, leafy trees and beautiful sculptures. The monument to a suffering sculptor, by Carrier Belleuse, is found at the entrance to the cemetery, with more elaborate tombs lying further afield. Victims of the 1863 Iglesia de la Compania are buried here.

A memorial to the late president Salvador Allende makes this cemetery one of the top visited sites in the country. Reportedly, Allende committed suicide during the coup of 1973, staged by General Augusto Pinochet, which led to his ousting from power and the establishment of Junta regime. After Chile returned to democracy in the 1990s, the remains of Salvador Allende were exhumed from the Santa Ines cemetery and placed at the Cementerio General de Santiago. Also, there is a memorial to those who disappeared during Pinochet's rule.

The land on which the cemetery is laid out was set aside by Bernardo O'Higgins in 1819, after the country proclaimed independence. To date, there are over two million burials on the ground, making it the one of the largest burial sites in Latin America.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Santiago, Chile

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Creating your own self-guided walk in Santiago is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
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Santiago Introduction Walking Tour

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 Km or 2 Miles
Santiago Landmarks Walking Tour

Santiago Landmarks Walking Tour

Santiago offers amazing views of beautiful mountains that surround the city. The hills that lie within the city have became landmarks due to the magnificent view of Santiago they offer and because of the monuments that sit upon them. This self-guided tour will lead you to the most popular landmarks of Santiago:

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles
Historical Churches and Cathedrals

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The main religious buildings of Santiago were built in the 17th and 18th centuries and are set in the center of the city. These amazing buildings and monuments are mostly Catholic temples but there are a few Orthodox churches as well. The following self-guided walking tour will lead you to these sacred places:

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.7 Km or 2.3 Miles

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