Tours and Activities:
A View of Santiago: Metropolitan ParkMarcelo Sola Marcelo Sola
The green lung of the city, Santiago’s Parque Metropolitano, is a must visit for any tourist eager to have a full panoramic view of the Chilean city.
This park is situated on the east of a bohemian neighborhood in Bellavista surrounded by Mounts San Cristobal, Piramide, Chacarillas and Bosque de Santiago. The city devoted 40 per cent of its green areas to this park, which is a thick forest of 400 hectares at 880 meters above sea level. To visit this beautiful urban site, tourists must pay a rate to take the historical funicular railway of two cars capable of carrying a maximum of 50 passengers, for a ride of 485 meters on an inclined plane of 48 degrees as far as the first station, standing at 860 meters from the base of the hill. This is an amazing experience and we could say that this tour takes tourists a step back in time, until the year 1925, when this funicular railway was opened to the public.
The summit of Mount San Cristobal is crowned by a giant statue of the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepcion -weighing 37,000 kilos and reaching 15 meters of height-, where visitors gather to pray, meditate or only relish the view of the city from the terrace balcony under this image. After staring for a while at this astonishing view, we can stroll along the park through a funicular railway which travels 2,030 meters on a cable railway held by two towers. This system of cable car railway was opened to the public in 1980 and, since then, it is one of the major attractions for height enthusiasts or those who do not suffer from vertigo.
As the cable car railway goes ahead, visitors can get off at any of the intermediary stations to enjoy plenty of attractions or tourist sites located on this hill. Amongst others, travelers may visit the Victoria Fortified Tower, the Botanical Garden, and the Winery Museum or simply spend a good time in the Tupahue swimming pool during the summer, where hundreds of natives of Santiago meet to sunbathe and share some pleasant time with friends. The Municipal Zoo deserves to be mentioned in a special chapter. Grown-ups and children may enjoy life in contact with nature next to giraffes, monkeys, condors, pudus (diminutive Andean antelope), amongst the most attractive creatures.
Parque Metropolitano is the most visited park by residents who are willing to run away from the hustle and bustle of the large city. This site is ideal to practice jogging, mountain biking, bird watching or wander while enjoying the fantastic panoramic views of the Great Santiago, an authentic capital of South America. If you stay in the city, this park is really worth a visit.