Cosmopolitan cities, deserts, ski resorts and World Heritage sites are all to be found in this land of stunning beauty and cultural quirks.
I’ve been warned to take care in Santiago. There are muggings, locals say. But from where I sit by the window of my restaurant in inner-city Lastarria, no one sashaying by looks shifty. I want their swagger, their dress flair, to parade before shop windows adoring my reflection. After dessert, I shift to the roof-top bar of my hotel, The Singular Santiago, where the city’s bold and beautiful drink under a rising gibbous moon that accentuates their cheekbones and the white tips of the Andes behind them.
Once dismissed as a city of industry, the Santiago of 2017 is an entirely different beast – “surprising, cosmopolitan, energetic, sophisticated and worldly”, as Lonely Planet puts it.