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Exploring Santiago, Chile with Kids


January is known to be the coldest month of the year in Buffalo, so it is always our favorite time to escape the cold and get somewhere warm.  Of course, being pregnant, countries with warmer climates was limited for us because of Zika.  Yes, that’s still a thing; and every country in Central and South America has Zika according to CDC, except Chile.  
Chile was attractive to us because we had just returned from Banff this September and Patagonia is supposed to be similar as far as the landscape and beauty.
Santiago was our hub to get to Patagonia; a direct 10.5 hour flight from Toronto and a great first stop before flying out again to Patagonia.  We spent a few days in Santiago and, although there are a bunch of day trips you can take from the city, such as the beach, wineries, hikes, etc; we opted to stick around.  Being almost 8 months pregnant, I wasn’t too keen on packing our day and I don’t think Matt or the boys minded one bit.

Accommodations:
Ritz-Carlton Santiago
Matt booked the Ritz-Carlton Santiago and it was perfect for our family.  We stay at a lot of hotels and the Ritz is one of the most accommodating luxury hotels for families with small kids.  In the lobby, there is a “Ritz Kids Check In” next to the front desk where kids can sit and color a picture while their parents are checking into the hotel.  The staff sent us to our room with a case of water bottles: “for the children” and our room was complete with a pack’n’play, diapers, wipes, tear free soap and shampoo, and a kid’s hooded towel.  Matt upgraded us to the club level which included all three meals, drinks, and a candy table that the boys were obsessed with.  Not worrying about what we will eat is so nice and it was definitely worth it to make our stay as stress free as possible.   The Ritz’s roof top pool was where we spent most of our time and we were especially appreciative that the pool was under a glass-top cover so we didn’t have to worry about the boys getting sunburned.   The area opens up to an uncovered balcony overlooking the city and a great view of South America’s tallest building, the Gran Torre Santiago.  The little extras at the pool: water, ice tea, fresh fruit, etc. made our experience even more enjoyable and something we always appreciate when we stay at the Ritz brand. 

Holiday Inn Santiago Airport
To return home, our most convenient hotel option was the Holiday Inn Santiago Airport, literally straight across the street from the airport entrance and so easy for next day early flights.  They had all the facilities you would possibly need, we ate a great meal on their beautiful terrace and the boys enjoyed the evening swimming in their basement pool area.  Our room was perfect with two beds and a pack'n'play was provided for Christopher.  
Exploring Santiago with Kids
During the day, we ventured out into the city to explore beautiful, HOT Santiago.  City trips are getting a little more difficult for us now, well especially right now, because I’m pregnant. J  My lower back has been bothering me for months, so I can’t walk as fast as I normally do.  Also, lately we’ve been bringing our single umbrella stroller, which means one kid has to walk at all times, which also slows us down.   I get nervous in cities with a little one walking freely and I hate crossing busy streets with them.  Of course, we demand that they hold our hand and we make sure one of us is always vigilant to watch their every move when walking on the sidewalk, but I still get uneasy about the whole thing. 
Also, Santiago was SO hot!  Being pregnant in 90 degree weather isn’t very enjoyable.  Fortunately, we found many shaded parks and most playgrounds even had canopy covers to keep them from getting  too hot.  Chile is extremely kid friendly and we were able to stop at numerous parks for the boys (since there weren’t many tourist attractions on Matt’s list).  A few different parks we stopped at had little pop up vendors/activities for kids that cost a dollar or two (USD) to do things like paint a picture at an easel or jump on a trampoline.  We also happened upon a park that was showing the Incredibles on a big screen with food trucks all around for meal options. 

On our hottest day we visited Gran Torre Santiago, South America’s tallest building.  The bottom 5 floors of the building is a shopping mall, so we spent some time there getting a snack and walking around during the heat of day.  We happened upon a kid rain forest exhibit that was free to enter and so adorable, complete with an obstacle course and slide for the kids to get their energy out.  Then we went up to the top of building for a beautiful lookout of Santiago.  It costs about $20 USD per person, but kids are free.  We spent some time up there and the boys loved running around and looking down at all the buildings and finding our hotel!
 
Santiago is the perfect place to enjoy getting lost in a big city surrounded by gorgeous mountain ranges, shopping, parks and warmer temperatures!



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