“Santiago through different eyes”

New Santiago city guide launched ‘by foreigners, for foreigners’

The book will go ‘off the beaten track’ and, with information in English and Spanish, encourage visitors to explore the undiscovered gems of Chile’s dynamic capital.

Friday, December 17, 2010  
Santa Lucia Hill in central Santiago. Santa Lucia Hill in central Santiago.

At first blush Santiago can be a daunting place, with more than 5 million inhabitants living in the capital’s Metropolitan Region. Many simply pass through Chile’s capital, despite it’s being home to nearly one third of the country’s population, but the key to enjoying Santiago is simple: the more information you can find, the better.

Now, a guidebook launching in the new year will offer a unique source of information for tourists and newly-arrived expats: the first Santiago city guide written by the capital’s own expat community.

The ‘City Guide Santiago Inside’, a 120 page publication in both English and Spanish, will be available free from early January from common tourist hubs such as hotels, car rentals and tourist agencies.

Intercultural exchange agency Chile Inside will issue the guide, which has been written and produced by foreigners with years of experience in Santiago. The expats behind the guide, including Germans, Austrians, Americans and Swiss, plan to use their own experiences of the city, combined with their understanding of the expat experience in general, to give readers a deeper look at the hidden treasures of Chile’s capital.

“We have an outsider’s point of view and we see Santiago with different eyes,” said project leader Marion Ruhland in Chilean newspaper La Tercera. “Many people who live here might think a certain neighborhood isn’t interesting, but for us, it is.”

Ruhland, a German who has lived in Santiago for eight years, is keen for the book to show foreigners a different side of the city.  

“The guide encourages visitors to go beyond ‘Sanhattan’ (the city’s modern business district) and to see other, more typical places, where they can see more of the Latin life,” she said. It will include recommendations for smaller, boutique hotels and restaurants in areas like bohemian Barrio Bellavista.

The guide specially highlights Santiago’s booming nightlife, which has grown by leaps and bounds in the last decade. “When I arrived, Santiago was seen as very quiet,” says Ruhland. “Happily, efforts have been made to change this and it has now become a buzzing center of nightlife. The quality and variety of restaurants, cultural attractions and infrastructure have also improved.”

The quieter pleasures of life in Santiago, like safety and high standard of living, are also featured by the book’s writers. Ulrike Dabsch, an Austrian and another of the project’s leaders, told La Tercera: “A huge plus is the proximity to the mountains and the sea. People can get out of the city for a day or a weekend without having to set aside too much time.”

For more information on the City Guide Santiago Inside, visit Chile Inside’s website.