As I've said before, I'm not a big fan of guide books when traveling. I much prefer diving in head first. With that said, San Cristóbal Hill will definitely be in any and all guide books on Santiago, Chile, but it's definitely worth it! It's an enormous hill in the center of the city with an epic view... Who wouldn't want to go there? It's where I take family and friends who visit in Santiago and in fact, one of the first things I did when I arrived. Let me show you some of the magic of San Cristóbal.
How to get there:
Most people walk there from Plaza Italia which is where Metro Baquedano is located. See map below. From there it's about a 10-15 minute walk straight down Calle Pio Nono. Free admission to hike to La Virgen atop of the hill. Be sure to look for signs leading that direction because there are multiple paths you can take around the hill. True, you're going to get your exercise in. It's about a 45 minute hike. But once you see the view from the top I'm sure you'll agree that it was worth it!
Picnic in the park:
During the warmer months many locals and travelers alike host asados (Chilean bbqs) and picnics in the park. There are grills and benches in those designated locations so don't worry about bringing those things.
At the top of the hill there are snacks and drinks (cash only). If you're doing this on your last day of a trip, you can get your postcards and Chilean souvenirs here as well. Significantly cheaper than if you procrastinate until you're at the airport. While this is a terrific hike anytime of the year, the sky is much smoggier in the winter months (June thru August). You can actually see the think layer of smog that hovers over the city. It's equally amazing and gross.
One Way Ticket is a series of travel shorts produced by Nomad and Camera. More episodes here.