Puente Alto, Chile

Living in Puente Alto

Iyna Bort Caruso

Puente Alto is one of 37 municipalities that make up Greater Santiago. Accessibility to the sophisticated Chilean capital, a leading financial center and cultural hub of Latin America, is a perk. Metro service from Puente Alto to Santiago takes just over a half hour.

The city of a half-million on Santiago’s southern edge encompasses some of the country’s most prestigious wine-producing areas. The vines here date back centuries. Situated in the Maipo River Valley in the foothills of the Andes Mountains, Puente Alto’s distinct terroir benefits from mineral deposits washed down from the mountains and the cooling winds of the Pacific Ocean. The area is sometimes referred to as the Bordeaux of South America.

Along with its reputation as a producer of full-bodied wines, Puente Alto is becoming increasingly known for its public art--specifically mosaics. A series of mosaic murals depicting the natural beauty surrounding the city covers 4,000 square meters across a series of metro stations. It is Chile’s largest contiguous art project.

Residents find nature’s actual beauty in a relatively new park, Pueblito las Vizcachas. It’s become Puente Alto’s green gathering spot for kayaking, hiking and picnicking. Further afield, beaches and ski mountains make for manageable day hops. For winter sports fans, the ski resort of El Colorado, less than a two-hour drive, is one of the most popular among Chileans. Other easy excursions include architecturally stunning coastal towns, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, glaciers, volcano trails and hot springs.

Puente Alto has grown from a modest town into a large yet still-growing city with a competitive housing marketing of single-family homes and condominiums. Puente Alto translates into ‘high bridge’ and, indeed, some of the most impressive properties are high on hillsides with views of the Maipo River and its wine-growing valley.