Santiago is an architectural collage of old Spanish colonial charm, European elegance, and North American suburbia. In the city center are pedestrian malls with cobblestone walkways lined with shopping galleries, fountains, cafes, movie theaters, ice cream shops, and banks. Garden lovers will love the varied and rich gardens along the city streets and quaint homes. The city lacks the Indian markets prevalent in other Andean countries. There is an intense activity in the arts and nightlife. Santiago is located in the Central Valley, a perfect example of the cultural diversity and geographic contrasts that can be found throughout Chile. The area is famous for its world-renowned ski resorts in Valle Nevado, Portillo and Chillan, the port of Valparaiso, the summer resorts of Vina del Mar and La Serena, the wine country around San Fernando and Santa Cruz Valleys where wine tours are regularly conducted, and the Maipo River Valley, a great area for outdoor activities such as ballooning, horseback riding, hiking and white water rafting.
Activities in/from Santiago include:
Santiago enjoys a pleasant Mediterranean climate year round, with an average temperature of 65F. Rainfall occurs mainly between May and August. The ski season in the nearby Andes peaks extends from June through September.