An Elegant Chilean EnclaveIyna Bort Caruso
On the northeastern outskirts of the Chilean capital of Santiago, with the Andes Mountains as a backdrop, is the affluent area of Los Condes. It a city within the Santiago metropolitan area anchored by a financial and commercial district of modern high rises so reminiscent of New York that its nickname is “Sanhattan.”
Its population of some quarter-million people includes executives of the many national and international firms headquartered here as well as members of diplomatic corps working at embassies and consulates.
The upscale area was historically residential until the late 1980s and early 1990s when Los Condes developed into Santiago’s new business district.
Mixed among the sleek towers, which includes the 55-story Titanium La Portada, one of South America’s tallest skyscrapers, are parks, sculptures and fashionable shops. Parque Padre Hurtado is second only to Santiago’s Metropolitan Park as the largest in the region and features bike lanes, horse trails, a skating rink, fitness trail, amphitheater and lagoon. Shoppers flock to Parque Arauco and Alto Las Condes shopping centers for designer stores, entertainment and dining. For the performing arts, the Municipal Theater offers a full slate of concerts, dance and live theater. Close by is a kind of open-air museum, Paseo de las Esculturas La Pastora, a sculpture walk of 10 large-scale works by Chilean artists. For the scientifically inquisitive, the powerful telescopes of the National Astronomical Observatory of Chile, located on the hill of Cerro Calán, take advantage of Chile’s famously clear night skies and minimal light pollution.
Los Condes is closer to the Andes Mountains than other parts of Santiago, making it an easy jumping-off point for ski outings. Three major ski centers are located within 90 minutes. Chile’s renowned vineyards are even closer.
Barrrio El Golf is one of the most prestigious areas in Los Condes, though there is an abundance of elegant villas, luxury condominiums and gated estates in neighborhoods throughout the city.