Vitacura – Santiago
Each comuna in Santiago has its own, widely acknowledged reputation among locals and expats. Vitacura is arguably Santiago’s most “posh” neighborhood, narrowly beating out Las Condes for the title. Many of the city’s wealthiest families and individuals live in this area, known for its pricey apartments, chic restaurants, and exclusive designer shopping. However, it’s not totally inaccessible—there are many things to do in this area for any price range. It’s certainly worth a visit if you’re hoping to get a full cultural panorama of the city. It presents a stark contrast to the often gritty hustle and bustle of the downtown area—it’s calmer and well-manicured with an air of sophistication.
Aside from the lovely Parque Bicentenario, the two main reasons for visiting this area are simple: to shop and to eat. From Vitacura, you can easily access one of Santiago’s best malls, Parque Arauco. Technically, the mall is in Las Condes because it is south of Presidente Kennedy. However, if you’re staying in Vitacura, this mall is a great close option. This mall has a great selection of international stores and restaurants, and is usually much less crowded than the Costanera Center. It has some pricey designer stores, but also has less expensive options such as Forever 21 and the typical Chilean department stores. There is also a cinema. If you’re looking for an even more exclusive shopping experience, you’ll need to head over to Alonso de Cordova, a street known for its luxury clothing and décor boutiques. The street was once primarily residential, but in the 1990’s, the homes were converted into shops. The price tags here are not for the faint of heart, but it’s fun to go to browse.
While you’re on Alonso de Cordova, you can dine at some of the best restaurants and cafés in the city. Again, these restaurants will be much pricier than places you will find in the center or in Providencia. However, most of them have the quality to match. There are other great eateries that aren’t on this particular street. Soul of India (Vitacura 4111), a city favorite, serves up sizeable portions of tasty Indian food at reasonable prices. La Mar (Nueva Costanera 3922), an international Peruvian favorite, is also a popular option in this area. For breakfast and brunch, check out French bakery La Chocolatine (Vitacura 7267) or vegetarian spot Quinoa (Louis Pasteur 5393). As Vitacura is a primarily residential area, it doesn’t have the frenetic nightlife you can find in Bellavista, Bellas Artes, or Providencia. However, there are some options for fun late-night bars, such as Club Amanda (Embajador Doussinague 1767), a well-known Argentinean spot that offers drinks and often has live music Tuesday-Saturday.
It’s worth nothing that for travelers without a car, Vitacura is less accessible than Providencia, Las Condes, or Santiago Downtown. There are currently no metro lines that run to Vitacura. There are, however, many bus lines that service this area. It’s easy to take the metro to Tobalaba or Escuela Militar and then hop on a bus to Vitacura (remember, if you use your Bip! card, you can make the transfer from metro to bus for free). Staying in Vitacura is also an option, but you’ll likely pay much more for a hotel in this area. In recent years, many more hotels have opened here to cater to the upscale business travel market. Realize that if you stay here, you’ll end up taking taxis to visit other parts of the city. However, it’s a great option if you’re looking for a quieter place away from the hustle and bustle of the other parts of Santiago.