Travel Tips: Beware of the taxi drivers in Santiago because they can easily dupe you if they come to know that you are a tourist, especially the one who doesn't know Spanish. A taxi driver tried to cheat us charging fours times the usual rate, saying that he took the fast lane. Luckily, we knew basic Spanish so managed to get away with that. Sometimes, you may also get abnormally high meter reading in taxis, so one of the locals advised us to bargain the price before getting inside the taxi.Alternatively, you can buy a card from the metro station, which can be used for both bus and metros.
The first couple of days, we explored the capital city of Santiago, getting a feel for the climate, the curious Chilean accent, and the stray dogs that seemed to be everywhere. The rest of the trip, we would be chasing Pablo.
I set out on foot to explore Santiago. I loved the feeling of walking around a new international city and seeing the people, the shops, the streets, the lifestyle, etc. for the first time. It’s a thrill I never get tired of. My first stop was the nearby artsy neighborhood of Providencia. I spent the afternoon enjoying the streets of downtown Santiago including a visit to the Plaza de Armas and climbing the many stairs up to Santa Lucia Hill for an awe-inspiring view of the city. I wrapped up my tour of Santiago with a funicular ride up to the peak of Cerro San Cristobal (the second highest peak in the city) to see the Virgin Mary statue that – like the Christ the redeemer statue in Rio – overlooks all of Santiago. It was a beautifully clear day and the view of the city and the surrounding mountain ranges was divine. The next day I reached the sprawling vineyards of Veramonte – one of Chile’s most well-known worldwide. The tasting selections were excellent but I especially enjoyed the beauty of the expansive vineyard as I wandered completely unsupervised around it. What a treat!