So the Santiago summer has finally come to a close, with the only vestige now being that we still haven’t changed our clocks back to winter time, which is now rumored to happen on the first Saturday in May. We still have long days with light until the late hours (since we haven’t changed our clocks), but the air is cooler, and sun bores less strongly into your head, even on a hot day. There are so many great things about fall in Santiago, and below you’ll find just six of them. Got more? Leave them in the comments!
Top 6 things about the end of summer in Santiago
1. Vendimia (wine harvest). If you go out to the wineries (and well you should) this time of year, the grapes are still on the vine, and are waiting to be harvested. This makes for picturesque photos, good tasting opportunities, and a chance to see how the process works from the harvest on. Plus the smell is incredible. Also, some of hte leaves (particularly those of the Carmenere plants) are starting to go red. Later in the season they’ll be fire-colored.
2. Vendimia festivals. All this month there have been wine harvest festivals with tastings, rodeos and other assorted regional happenings. This weekend is the festival in Pirque, called the Fiesta del Vino del Pirque, which will take place in Vicente Huidobro park in Pirque, which is less than an hour’s drive from Santiago. There will be horse demonstrations, regional food and folklore presentations as well.
3. Hiking. Hiking at this time of year is a pleasure, due to the weaker sun, but there is still plenty of sunlight to go on a long walk. Prime spots include hiking in Parque Mahuida (at the end of avda. Larrain), or Manquehito (start at the Unimarc at Lo Curro and get directions, go in a group like this one forming this weekend.
4. Tunas. No, not fish, but the prickly pear cactus fruit, which ripens (and drops in price) in the fall. You can see them hanging off of paddle-cacti, looking very much like misplaced 3-D Mickey Mouse ears. If you cut them yourself, hold them by the ends and slice lengthwise to scoop out the tasty edible portion. The fruit is filled with prickly spines on the outside, which can be tricky to remove from your fingers and palms.
5. Cool evenings. In Santiago we enjoy cool evenings all year round, but this is the part of the year when you really notice the difference between the comfortable day temperatures and the cool evening temps. It’s just on the border of cold, and the perfect time to go inside and cozy up with a cup of tea (or wine purchased from the Vendimia festivals!)
6. Foliage. Santiago doesn’t have amazing turning leaves like some other places, but you can still find pockets of trees changing color, most notably in Parque Forestal and the continuation thereof that runs up Santiago into Providencia along the river.