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Cerro Santa Lucia
Front of Cerro Santa LuciaCerro Santa Lucia is a small hill located in central downtown Santiago and is only about 69m high (about 226 feet), putting it just above the tallest buildings in the city. Although easily overshadowed by the much larger Cerro San Cristóbal, Santa Lucia should not be overlooked. It's a beautiful hill rich in Santiago's history.

The hill was founded on the 15th of December, 1541 by Pedro de Valdivia who took the hill from the local inhabitants of the time, the Mapuche. It was then used by its conquerors was as a point of reconnaissance, or a lookout in the years of the Conquista. Today, you may ascend to the top of the hill and use the same lookout for a 360 degree view of downtown Santiago as well as some of the neighboring districts. For better and move expansive views of the city, you'll have to check out Cerro San Cristóbal.

At one time, a side of the hill was used as a cemetery for the dissidents, those who refused to follow the common doctrine of the times or committed suicide. Years later this cemetery was moved to a more suitable place, Cementerio General (general cemetery). You can find a monument on the hill dedicated to these people.

In 1872 Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna decided to make a dramatic change to the atmosphere of Santiago, one of which was the construction of many of the buildings now on the hill. One of these works was the construction of a cobblestone road which crossed the hill, which at the top accessed a chapel which he also built there. Most of the hill is now a beautiful park in which are found trees, fountains and lookouts. More recently, Santa Lucía received an improvement in its illumination system and protections. Also, the Fort Hidalgo, built in 1820 as a defensive point, was restored and reopened to the public. Traditionally, a cannon is shot at exactly 12:00. However, due to complaints of the noise it caused by neighbors of the hill, the decibels produced by the shoot were reduced in order to avoid the noise problem.

To get there, take the Metro line 1 to the station of the same name. From here you may access the front of the hill (pictured above). For an alternate route (and to avoid the standard tourist trap), you can walk up the cobblestone road that starts on the west side of the hill. If you're already downtown, take Agustinas street east to it's end (photo below right). You can also get yourself a Starbucks coffee on the way! There is also a back entrance on the north side of the hill as well. The hill is open everyday of the week 9:00AM to 8:00PM during the summer and 9:00AM to 7:00PM in the winter.

Cerro Santa Lucia west entranceCerro Santa Lucia lookout