In this entry, I want to write about my favorite spot in Santiago that I’ve discovered so far. Right in the middle of the historic center of the city is the hill where Santiago was born in 1541. Cerro Santa Lucía is now a park but was once a strategic defensive point for conquistador Pedro de Valdivia. At the top of the hill is Castillo Hidalgo, once the main defensive position of the city. There are also lots of gardens with lookout points, small fountains, and benches in the shade. You can find some concession stands selling snacks and drinks. It’s a great place to come and relax.
I walked into the park from Avenida Alameda and had to sign in with security. Before I went in, I noticed a mural just outside the entrance. The columned archway surrounding a small garden at the entrance had a staircase leading up. Once up the stairs, the first thing I saw was Plaza Neptune, a beautiful fountain with a statue of Neptune.
To the left of the fountain were more stairs leading up. At this level, there was a small plaza with cannons and a monumental arch, and I could see the fountain below.
Behind the arch were more stairs that led up to a small chapel, Capilla la Ermita. This is the tomb of former Santiago mayor Benjamín Vicuña MacKenna. He commissioned the park in 1872.
Following another path to another stairway, I went all the way up to a lookout post at the very top of the hill. It was a small area and little cramped.
The views from the lookout post were amazing. I was able to see several landmarks in Santiago, such as the skyscrapers and Cerro San Cristóbal.
I spent a little time at one of the gardens below and got to see some more great views before I continued exploring the area around the hill.
Near the rear entrance of the hill is Castillo Hidalgo. It was built by Royalists during the Chilean War of Independence in 1814-17. Since 1997, it has been used as an event center.
Finally, the rear entrance has a set of stairs that lead down to street level. An attractive fountain sits across the street.