Historical Tour of Chile's Dictatorship
Study History & Government in Chile
The Worldwide Navigators Difference
Sojourn – Gain a better understanding of the community you’re visiting. Learn about different religions or spiritual practices. How do these impact the communities? How does religion or spirituality influence local traditions?1 of 1
Savor – Will you choose sweet or savory? Take the time to visit local markets and discover unique local ingredients. Learn how to prepare traditional meals & local favorites.1 of 1
Tip of the Tongue – Each morning, take the time to learn a few basic greetings and phrases in the local language. Learn how to write greetings & your name in the local script.1 of 1
A Wrinkle in Time – History influences our present. Discover the history of the country you visit. Hear the stories of your guides & their family history. Where do they come from?1 of 1
Journal Journeys – Take some time to reflect on the day’s events and document your journey. Spend a moment journaling about the day had & day ahead. These are memories for a lifetime!1 of 1
Culture – From local dances, festivals, or simple gestures to communicate – all of these make up a country’s culture. Learn and practice cultural norms & how to show respect in the culture you visit.1 of 1
After arriving in Santiago and being transferred to your hotel, you can wander through the city center, taking in the view of the Andes towering over the city to the east. The looming mountains overlook the blend of old colonial construction along with glittering new skyscrapers. Afterwards enjoy dinner and a traditional Chilean pisco sour on an outdoor patio at one of the area’s many restaurants.
Start the day at the Museo de Memorias y Derechos Humanos, the museum where Chileans reckon with the dark history of their nation’s coup d’etat that installed dictator Augusto Pinochet as leader from 1973 to 1990. The military dictatorship which claimed the lives of thousands of Chileans, tortured thousands more, and forced many into exile and other hardships is still sharply felt by many Chileans today.
Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, herself a victim of the Pinochet regime’s torture, laid the first stone during the museum’s construction in 2008, and the words of beloved Chilean singer Victor Jara, who was brutally murdered in the regime’s early days are etched at the museum’s entrance. You could spend all day at the museum, but at least plan on taking a few hours to absorb the sobering lessons on offer.
Take a morning stroll through the funky Bellavista neighborhood, a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city until you end up at La Chascona, poet Pablo Neruda’s eclectic house. It’s now a museum filled with his personality and belongings, offering visitors a window into the quirky mind of Chile’s most famous poet. Neruda was strongly opposed to the dictatorship, and died under mysterious circumstances just weeks after Pinochet seized power.
From there it’s just a short walk to the base of Cerro San Cristobal, the massive hill that looms over the city with a 22-meter tall statue of the Virgin Mary at the top. If the uphill walk doesn’t suit you, there are also gondolas that offer awe-inspiring views of the city. After you burn some calories traversing the hill, check out the upscale Las Condes area for a variety of dining options.
Today it’s time to get out of the city and see some of the natural beauty Chile has to offer in nearby Cajon de Maipo. During the short van ride just outside the city, your guides will tell you about this unique natural area. Featuring steep rocky canyon walls surrounding the River Maipo and dotted with lush greenery and stunning views of the Andes, this natural area is beloved by Santiago residents for its proximity and beauty. Your guides will take you on a day hike to Embalse El Yeso, a gorgeous lagoon that serves as a reservoir for the city and is a favorite spot for fishermen, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts. While hiking you’ll have the opportunity to see condors, eagles, Andean foxes, and a stunning explosion of flora.
Today you’ll head over to Valparaiso, just an hour and a half away on Chile’s coast. The historic quarter of the city was made a UNESCO world heritage site in 2003, and is dotted with colorful, ramshackle houses overlooking the bay. As your guides show you the striking and powerful street art, you’ll hear about how Pablo Neruda himself was instrumental in bringing Mexican mural artists to his homeland where Chile’s own street art tradition took root.
Next you’ll visit Parque Cultural. This unique park formerly served as a prison for dissidents during the Pinochet dictatorship, and is still often referred to by locals as the Ex-Carcel (“former prison”). The area now houses an open green space, a museum and a theater, and the former prison building now serves as artists’ studios. After spending some time there, it’s just a short walk over to the colorful Cerro Alegre neighborhood where you can enjoy dinner with a breathtaking view of the bay below before heading back to Santiago.
For your last full day in Chile, check out the Museo Pre-Colombino, a museum dedicated to the indigenous art and culture that existed in the region before the Spanish conquistadors arrived. The museum houses over 5,000 artifacts from Chile and all over South America, some of which have been dated at over 10,000 years old.
Next head over to Cerro Santa Lucia, another hill that juts up right in the middle of the city. This former volcano is smaller than Cerro San Cristobal, but no less interesting, not only for its own unique views of the surrounding cityscape, but also because the summit is home to a pair of castles or forts that were built beginning in 1816.
On your way to breakfast before your trip home, take a moment to walk past the presidential palace, La Moneda. It’s home to a huge Chilean flag waving in front, one of the largest in the world. Here you can take a moment to reflect on the fact that forces within Chile’s own military bombed the presidential palace in 1973, killing duly-elected president Salvador Allende inside before Pinochet’s forces took over and ruled the nation with an iron fist until 1990.
With a better understanding of the fragility of democracy even in modern times, you can head to the airport for home to share what you’ve learned!
Travel to Chile for a historical tour of its government, visit human rights museums and discover the key that unlocks their future. Immerse yourself in Chile’s exciting culture on this 7-day tour and indulge your taste buds in some of South America’s best cuisine.
Interested in adding or modifying activities? No problem! All Worldwide Navigator itineraries can be customized to your liking!
In collaboration with our partners