Things to do in Santiago
Hit the pistes with a spot of skiing
Santiago is a perfect base for some skiing, with the Cerro San Ramon mountain range offering great opportunities. Standing at 3,200m (10,498ft), those who like breaking their own trails will find excellent powder. Nearby El Colorado (www.elcolorado.cl) has everything you'd expect from Alpine ski resorts and has over 20 runs.
Pull on your hiking boots and head into the mountains
Seen from downtown Santiago, the snow-peaked mountains tease with hiking opportunities. Parque Mahuida and the mountain range of Cerro San Ramon is one of the most popular destinations, and is right on the edge of the city. A little farther away, Salto Grande waterfall in Parque Río Olivares is just one highlight.
Raft down the Andes' meltwater
Could there be a better day? An exhilarating few hours of white water rafting along the mineral blue meltwater of the Andes before pulling over for an asado (barbecue) brimming with meat and a glass of Carmenere. Between October and March, the meltwater is freeflowing, and Cascada de las Animas (tel: +562 861 1303; www.maiporafting.com) offer wild rafting.
Surf the swells west of the city
The beaches directly west of Santiago are well known for their swells, especially those north of port city of Valparaiso. There are a few breakers suitable for most surfers, but the more experienced will relish the challenge. Summer swells are good, winter is stormy and huge – most people enjoy autumn best.
Trek the Andes on horseback
Horse riding runs deep in Chilean culture – this was a country of cowboys and farmers, and horse skills are still highly regarded today. With the Andes on your doorstep, it's an unmissable experience: imagine deep valleys, clear lakes and condors circling high overhead. Cascada (tel: +562 861 1303; www.cascada.net) will help you saddle up.