Chile celebrates its bicentenary this year – 18 September should be quite a party! – so now’s the perfect time to visit the Chilean capital. Here’s how to do it for free
Forget the touristy Central Market and cross the river to the hustle and bustle of La Vega where snoozing cats guard the tomatoes and locals sell gigantic avocados and corn-cobs for pennies.
Hike up San Cristóbal to the iconic 14m virgin at the top and fine views of the city – best enjoyed after winter rains clear the smog.
One of the best museums in Chile, the Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino is free on Sundays and has a well-labelled collection with English translations.
Gas masks, gerbils, doll parts and more: if it’s weird, it’s on sale at the weekend fleamarket, Persa Bío Bío.
Wander around the leafy General Cemetery: pay your respects at the memorial to those who disappeared during Pinochet’s reign, or visit the graves of ousted president Salvador Allende and folk hero Victor Jara.
In the heart of Bellavista, lefty Bar Dos Gardenias pours a mean Pisco sour and has live folk or tango most nights.
Pack a picnic and head to Parque de las Esculturas, an open-air art gallery, perfect for a sunny day.
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