A trip to the summit of Cerro San Cristóbal – which includes parkland, botanical gardens, a dismal zoo and two swimming pools (see Piscina Tupahue and Piscina Antilén) – is one of the city’s highlights, particularly on a clear, sunny day when the views are stunning. The hill is, in fact, an Andean spur, jutting into the capital’s heart and rising to a peak of 860m, a point marked by a 22m-high statue of the Virgen de la Inmaculada. The easiest way to get up is via the funicular from the station at the north end of Pío Nono in Bellavista, which takes you up to the Terraza Bellavista. From here it’s a short but steep walk up to the huge white Virgin, where you’ll be rewarded with fine views over Santiago’s suburbs vanishing into hazy mountains. If you are fortunate enough to be in Santiago after a rain in the winter, this view includes rows of snowy mountain peaks. A new teleférico (cable car) system is currently under construction; when completed it will take you from close to Terraza Bellavista to other parts of the park.

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