Ascending Cerro San Cristobal

Looking for a fun, scenic activity during your study abroad adventure in Santiago? Spend a couple of hours touring Cerro San Cristobal, Santiago’s second-highest point. Heading to the top of Cerro San Cristobal is arguably the best way to view the city. At the top, you’re guaranteed a few Instagram-worthy photos of Santiago from almost 3,000 feet above sea level.

Here’s what to expect on your tour:

Plan to wait in line. 

Depending on the time of year you visit, you may need to wait in line for the tour. At the funicular entrance, you can do a bit of shopping at vendor booths where you’ll find plenty of snacks to munch on (e.g. chips, cotton candy, etc.) or even a Chilean souvenir (e.g. a hat, shirt, etc). Just make sure one of your pals saves your spot in line so you don’t lose your place. 

The funicular ride. 

Riding up Cerro San Cristobal via the funicular is an experience all its own. If you’re not familiar with a funicular – it’s a mode of transportation that uses a cable traction to move a small enclosed cabin up and down a steep incline. An attendant piles groups of people into each level of the funicular. Before you know it, you’re inching higher and higher toward the top of Cerro San Cristobal.

The view at the top of Cerro San Cristobal.

Once you get to the top of Cerro San Cristobal, you’re rewarded with an incredibly picturesque view of Santiago. Depending on the smog, you might have a stunning view of the Andes Mountains, or a hazy one. Regardless of the smog, the view of the city is one you absolutely cannot miss! 

What else is at the top of Cerro San Cristobal? 

Small vendors are available for your convenience. You can purchase Chilean souvenirs similar to the ones at the bottom of the hill. There are also bathrooms, as well as plenty of snacks and beverages. Order a Mote con huesillo, which is a drink consisting of dried peaches, sugar, sweet nectar, water, cinnamon, and husked wheat. It’s a touch on the sweet side, but it’s a Chilean experience you won’t soon forget! 

Visit Subida a la Virgen at the very top.

You’ll have to climb a few flights of stairs, but it’s worth the trek to travel to the highest point of Cerro San Cristobal. There you will see a statue of Subida a la Virgen in person and hear soft music playing all around you. Have a seat, enjoy the view, and reflect for a few moments before making the journey back down. 

Leaving Cerro San Cristobal.

If you took the funicular to the top, you’ll want to take the cable car back down. Not because you have to, but because it’s a completely different mode of transportation. The cable cars seat six people total and the views are absolutely spectacular. The ride feels a touch smoother than the funicular and is far more scenic. Sit back and enjoy!

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