Santiago is the capital and economic center of Chile. With its many museums, events, theaters, restaurants, bars and other entertainment and cultural opportunities, it is also the political and cultural center of the country. Its central location in the country makes it a great base for visiting other areas, and it is possible to ski in the nearby Andes and later be on the beach in the same day.
Santiago is a fast-growing city in the Santiago Región Metropolitana, in the central valley of Chile between the Andes mountain range to the east and the Coastal Range to the west. The metropolitan area has about 7 million inhabitants.
Founded in 1541 as Santiago de Nueva Extremadura by the Spaniard Pedro de Valdivia, it has been the heart of the country since colonial times and has evolved to the cosmopolitan city it is today. For visitors it's both the gateway to the country and a destination in its own right with an eclectic architecture, a vibrant culinary and cultural scene, surrounded by the mighty Andes welcoming skiers, trekkers and friends of wine.