Coming to Santiago, Chile with an eco-friendly conscience can take some doing. You’ll have to fight tooth and nail with the baggers at the supermarket to use your reusable bag, and you’ll end up which more than your share of plastic bottles if you’re not careful (though the tap water in Santiago is potable, and you should definitely drink it and eschew the plastic where possible).
But just when you thought all was lost, there are actually some very eco-friendly things you can participate in, a tour, a garden project, and more vegetarian restaurants than you’ve come to expect from Latin America.
La Bicicleta Verde is an eco-friendly tour company that uses bikes to get you around town on their city tours, around the vineyards, or pretty much where ever you’d like. They also rent bikes if you’d like to find your own way.
Help out at the garden
Huerto Hada Verde gives locals and travelers alike the chance to get their hands dirty in workshops and volunteer opportunities at a locally-run organic urban garden in Providencia.
A locally-owned bed and breakfast with reclaimed wooden furnishings and a rooftop garden is a great place to stay for those looking to minimize their lodging footprint. Try the Gato Verde on for size. They’ll lend you bikes and give advice on where to go as well.
Take public transportation
If biking’s not your style or you want a night time solution, definitely don’t overlook the metro. It’s crowded at times, but it’s fast, efficient and in global terms, relatively cheap. Check out this blog post on the metro for some tips.
Get out hiking
There are many different day hikes you can do from Santiago, including this one in the neighborhood of La Reina up to Parque Mahuida, or a shorter walk either up Cerro San Cristobal, or just to the sculpture gardens.
One of the things you can do to minimize your environmental impact is to take a day off meat now and then (or go veggie). Here are some restaurants that serve up good veggie foods to complete your green day (or any day).
So come down to Santiago, and get your green on.