Bohemian Barrio Bellavista

Santiago’s most charming neighbourhood of Bellavista lies between the Mapocho River and Cerro San Cristóbal. The bohemian character of this 'barrio' is reflected in the many art galleries, colourful houses and laid-back bistros. At night, the area comes alive with restaurants, clubs and bars.

Lapis lazuli

Lapis lazuli

Bars and souvenirs

During the daytime, this is the place to look for the perfect piece of 'lapis lazuli'; the deep blue gemstone is a popular souvenir to bring home from Chile. The shops around Patio Bellavista sell clothing, jewellery and souvenirs, and this is therefore a great area to buy some lapis lazuli. After shopping, grab a seat under the big red umbrellas of the cafés on the square for some people watching and a glass of freshly squeezed juice or a cup of coffee. Pío Nono is also a popular evening destination and is said to have the highest concentration of bars in all of Chile.

DJs, jazz and pizzas

It may be a challenge to choose among Bellavista’s large number of cafés, but there are some favourite spots to visit. One of the most famous clubs is Bar Constitución at Calle Constitución; every night live bands perform here, and on weekends popular DJs draw a crowd to the dance floor. Backstage is the place to go for live jazz and Santiago’s largest pizzas. These cartwheel-sized pizzas with a diameter of 60 cm are perfect for sharing. Salsa fans will enjoy Dos Gardenias; named after a Buena Vista Social Club song, the bar organizes various salsa evenings per week.

The entrance to La Chascona

The entrance to La Chascona

Pablo Neruda’s house

The cultural highlight of Bellavista is La Chascona: this house was the residence of Chilean poet and Nobel Laureate Pablo Neruda (1904-1973). It now houses a museum full of curiosities that the poet collected over the course of his life. La Chascona literally means 'woman with tangled hair', a reference to the hairstyle of Neruda's third wife. The couple met in the nearby Parque Forestal and for many years maintained a relationship in this house before marrying. Guided tours of the house are available in English, Spanish and French. ¬Reservations are recommended.

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