Portillo#9 in Best Things To Do in Santiago
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Every winter, powder hounds flock to this ski area 102 miles northeast of Santiago to tackle the Andes' famed slopes. Portillo's history stretches back to 1930, when winter sports aficionados began constructing a ski area surrounding Laguna del Inca (Lake of the Inca) that lured skiers from Europe, North America and other parts of Chile. Over time, Portillo earned such a positive reputation that it was chosen to host the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1966. After hosting the first-ever World Championship event in Latin America, Portillo and its popularity only continued to grow, earning it a reputation as one of Chile's most-beloved ski retreats.
Portillo boasts 1,235 skiable acres and 19 runs. But that's not the resort's only draw. Recent visitors are just as impressed by the scenery. "Portillo is an intimate resort with breathtaking views and great groomed runs. I was lucky enough to go up for a night," remarked one TripAdvisor user. If you have the chance, many travelers recommend staying at the Hotel Portillo, easily identifiable by its famous canary yellow facade. The hotel offers enviable access to the slopes, fresh cuisine and all-inclusive rates. But there is one hitch: Guests of the Hotel Portillo are required to stay for at least a week.
While Portillo's high season lasts from July 5 to August 2, visitors are welcome year-round. Lift ticket prices vary by the date and the number of days you wish to ski. If you come during peak visiting days (on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays and from July 6 to August 16), expect to pay 38,000 CLP (roughly $68.50 USD) for a one-day adult pass or 25,000 CLP (roughly $45 USD) for a one-day child ticket. If you're not a skier or you would prefer to visit in the spring or summer, there are plenty of activities to pique your interest, like Water Fitness, Watsu Water therapy and yoga classes, as well as excursions to nearby wineries. For additional information, including off-season pricing, visit the Portillo website.
The easiest way to reach Portillo from Santiago is through a shuttle service, such as Portillo Tours and Travel or Ski Total. You can easily catch the shuttle from Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez Airport. SkiTotal also offers round-trip service from Apoquindo Avenue to Portillo on Wednesdays and Saturdays for 22,000 CLP (about $40). For additional information, consult the SkiTotal website.
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Beckoning to an artsy crowd, the Bellavista neighborhood features graffiti-lined streets with cafes, art galleries and boutique shops. Here, you'll find inventive cocktail bars and eclectic eateries rubbing shoulders with antique homes and colonial mansions. Spend some time exploring La Chascona — the former home of celebrated poet Pablo Neruda — before scouring the Patio Bellavista shopping area for souvenirs. Also be sure to continue north to take in the scenery from Santiago's crown jewel: St. Christopher Hill, a nearly 3,000-foot high hill tucked inside Metropolitan Park.
The creative energy, trend-setting boutiques and laid-back vibes found in Bellavista make this a popular hangout spot among travelers and locals alike. And according to some recent visitors, the best way to experience it all is by wandering away from the main drag, Pío Nono. "This place is like an outdoor art museum. Between the colorful houses and the street art there seems to be a surprise around every corner," one TripAdvisor user said.
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