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World Travel Guide > Guides > South America > Chile > Santiago

Santiago Weather

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Local time Santiago

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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.

Featured Hotels

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W Santiago

Starwood Hotel's W chain has landed in Santiago, with a blaze of imaginative lighting, colourful fittings and quirky furnishings. Compared with many of the W hotels around the world, this is tempered slightly by Chile's conservative tastes – no bad thing. The 168 rooms are well appointed. The level of service is unsurprisingly high. The rooftop pool is an interesting place to spend a few hours relaxing, and the bar is excellent.

Ritz Carlton

Setting the standard for hotel opulence in Santiago, this is where the service is impeccable, Egyptian sheets adorn your bed and there is just about every luxury you could possibly desire within the hotel's walls. Gyms, swimming pools, three restaurants and an internationally renowned sommelier are all available to those lucky enough to stay here.

Happy House Hostel

A superb, ambitious renovation makes this colourful converted Barrio Brasil mansion the place to head to satisfy your old bohemian instincts - even though you now have more cash in your pockets. With everything from a games room to a delightful patio with views right over the city, this lovely relaxed place is for former backpackers who can afford to indulge themselves a bit more.

Hotel Plaza San Francisco

This smart hotel has gleaming wood panels and courteous staff. Comfortable (sometimes luxurious) and efficient, it has a central location particularly convenient for business professionals. It is located on Santiago's busiest road, but the hotel's double-glazing shields the guests from noise.

NOI Vitacura

Overlooking the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, NOI Vitacura provides a sanctuary from the urban bustle of the capital. This sleek high-rise hotel oozes style through its contemporary design and sophisticated suites. The rooftop terrace offers a late night bar, pool and unbeatable views of the Andes on a clear day.

ChilHotel

Perhaps the most sensible option of any of the these listings, ChilHotel is practical, comfortable and affordable. On a quiet street within easy walking distance of the Metro in Providencia, it is the sort of place you would be happy to put your parents on a visit to the city with its good-value rooms (although some err on the small side) and polite service.