Barrio Brasil is a neighborhood in Santiago just west of the historic city center. It was once home to a lot of aristocratic families. Its streets are dotted with several beautiful mansions and buildings built in the early 20th century.
Barrio Brasil was cut off by the construction of a highway right through the city center and left for dead, but is currently in the midst of a bohemian renaissance, as evidenced by the trendy restaurants, bars, and clubs located there. I took an hour and walked up and down the streets of Barrio Brasil before exploring the neighborhood next door, Barrio Yungay. I was impressed with what I found.
I started by exiting at the Los Héroes metro station on Alameda and walking up nearby Calle Cienfuegos. It’s a cobblestone street and definitely the nicest of the streets I walked down in Barrio Brasil. There are several beautiful mansions and buildings along the entire street.
Basílica del Salvador
At the end of Calle Cienfuegos, I made a right and walked a block to see the Gothic Basílica del Salvador. It was heavily damaged in the 2010 earthquake and still undergoing restoration, but the entrance of the church has some amazing figures carved into it.
From there, it was back the way I came for two blocks to Avenida Brasil, the main stretch in Barrio Brasil. I walked along this palm tree-lined street back towards Alameda. It had some impressive buildings of its own and with a few cafés and bars mixed in. The closer I got towards Alameda, the more automotive shops I saw. Everything of note is nearer to Plaza Brasil, which I will talk about shortly.
Calle Concha y Toro
When I reached Alameda, I headed another block west to Calle Concha y Toro. Concha y Toro is technically its own barrio and was once home to some of the wealthiest families in Santiago. It’s named after the Concha y Toro family, which is now famous for being the largest producer of wine in Latin America. The beginning of the block is a little sketchy, but once inside there is a beautiful square with a fountain in the center. I even saw a film crew working on one of the blocks.
At the end of the street, I made a left and walked to the next street, Calle Maturana. It was then a three block walk to Plaza Brasil, the heart of the barrio. The large square is full of tall palm trees and has some sculptures in the middle.
Iglesia de la Preciosa Sangre
Just off Plaza Brasil is the very colorful Iglesia de la Preciosa Sangre. I didn’t get to visit inside, but it is definitely one of the most beautiful churches in the city. It also has a convent that was known for housing pregnant aristocrats early in the 20th century.
From this point, I began my tour of Barrio Yungay. And for what it’s worth, the boundary between the two neighborhoods, Avenida Cumming, has lots of restaurants and bars.
A quick note on safety – during the day I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all in the neighborhood, but I’ve been here at night and would advise against exploring it after dark.