Visiting Santiago, Chile: Cerro Santa Lucia

Cerro Santa Lucia or Santa Lucia Hill sits in the middle of Santiago’s downtown, a beautiful green hill that is a must for any visit to the Santiago, Chile. Cerro Santa Lucia is a landmark that spans Chile’s history, more than just a wooded park for a picnic. Cerro Santa Lucia was essential to the Spanish Conquest of what is now Santiago, Chile, a strategic high point that Pedro de Valdivia took in defeating the indigenous Mapuche’s and from there defend the new colonial capital of Chile.

A vsit to Santiago, and Cerro Santa Lucia right next to the bohemian Barrio Lastarria will provide a green escape from the Santiago, Chile´s downtown. The hill was originally a barren mound of rocks and gravel, it was irrigated by Santiago’s 19th century Mayor Benjamin Vicuña Mackena, a man who shaped much of modern day Santiago Chile. The hills pre-colonial name was “Huelen” named by the Mapuches, meaning hill of sorrow or tears for its significance as a burial ground for the indigenous inhabitants of Santiago, Chile.

Cerro Santa Lucia also boasts holding the first astronomical observatory in the southern hemisphere. Installed by members of theUS Navy the observation center began in 1849, but was eventually moved to Los Dominicos when Santiago’s Downtown lights made astronomical observation difficult. Any tour of Santiago Chile must include Cerro Santa Lucia, more than just a green space in the heart of Santiago. Luckily, La Bicicleta Verde Bike Tours are more than just green bikes. The Highlights bike tour will delve deeper into the history of this beautiful park and the surrounding neighborhoods, all on two (green) wheels!