News quiz
Current affairs quick quiz
Property in the Republic of Turkey
Saundra Satterlee and the house market in Turkey
Free trial

Sleepless in Santiago

Friday December 8, 2006

Rachel Worzencraft

If you want to meet other foreigners, you?ll have a far higher chance in Santiago, Chile?s capital, because in the provinces there is only a scattering of them. On the main tourist trail of San Pedro de Atacama in the North, Vina del Mar and Valparaiso in the middle, and Puerto Varas in the South you?ll probably meet quite a few ?extranjeros? passing through as they tour the country, but, apart from the German community in Puerto Varas and surrounding area, they rarely stay more than a few days. Which may be exactly what you want, of course.

However, if it?s Chileans you want to meet, you won?t have much of a problem anywhere ? the usual haunts of bars and clubs in Santiago, the smaller cities and in the pueblos are, as in any country, the best places to meet locals.

The following will give you a guide to the best places and ways to meet people in the Long Thin Country, depending on what kind of relationship you?re after:

Where to find friends

  • Work is a good place to meet people ? Chilean or foreign or both depending on your job and location.
  • There?s an Irish Pub called ?Geopub? on El Bosque Norte in Santiago where foreigners congregate and a bookstore called The English Reader in Los Leones, 116 Providencia, where they also hold language exchange nights.
  • Your country?s embassy in Santiago should hold social occasions such as weekly breakfasts for foreign women living in Chile. The British Embassy is at www.britishembassy.gov.uk/chile.
  • There are also various country and social clubs for a variety of different nationalities that you can join. The Prince of Wales Club in Santiago is for British nationals and Anglo-Chileans (www.pwcc.cl) and hold various events, both sporting and otherwise.
  • The Anglo Chilean Society is also a great place to meet British and Chilean people and, surprisingly enough, Anglo-Chileans, and holds many annual events in the UK as well. Contact them at www.anglochileansociety.org. If you are not British, there are a variety of similar societies for other nationalities and all are listed on the internet.

Where to find romance

  • As well as at the places mentioned above, the best bar/night life in Santiago is found in the following areas: La Suecia (Metro: Los Leones), Bellavista (Metro: Bellavista), and Borde Rio.
  • The gay area of Santiago is primarily focused along a street called ?Napoleon? (Metro: El Golf) and ?Fausto? is a popular gay nightclub.
  • Nightclubs (or discos as the Chileans are still intent on calling them), whether in Santiago or in the provinces, are the main places to go to pick people up. You will find lists of clubs in all the main guidebooks to the country.
  • Online dating sites are becoming more and more popular in Chile. Although there are thousands of sites (just put ?dating sites? in your search engine for the full selection), the following are the most popular in Chile for finding both Chilean and foreign partners:
www.catholicmatch.com
www.lavaplace.com/Personals/Chile/CL
www.latinamericancupid.com
www.latinlovesearch.com
www.metrodate.com/santiago

There don?t seem to be any specific sites to avoid . . . however, the usual care should be taken when using these sites and meeting strangers. Dating sites that charge money are far more likely to bring results, as well as being more ?serious?, than those you don?t.

Where to find Other Things

Everywhere in Chile, with an extraordinarily high percentage in the provincial pueblos, there are numerous topless and strip bars, most with ?added extras? available.


Inspired? If this strikes a chord with you, why don't you share your experiences with other Guardian Abroad readers? Visit our talkboards and spark up a conversation. Or if you're interested in submitting an article, look at our editorial policy to find out how.

View more articles in the Lifestyle category
View more articles about Chile

Advertiser Links