1. La Vega
Nowhere in Santiago feels more South American than La Vega. Wander the city centre streets with its uninspiring but earthquake-proof architecture and you feel you could be anywhere.
Not in La Vega.
Santiago’s main market, set in a shady part of town next to the murky Mapocho River, is gloriously, chaotically Latin American.
Fruit and vegetables are piled high inside and out, sellers brag about the size of their plums, housewives are scolded for squeezing the fruit, and flies buzz around the vats of olives and hunks of cheese.
Foreigners may not enjoy the pigs’ heads that look out from the butchers’ stalls, but the stray cats and dogs sure do.
Dirty and oppressively busy at the weekend it may be, but I love it.