Cerro Santa Lucia

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Cerro Santa Lucia, Santiago, Chile
Cerro Santa Lucia - On Cerro Santa Lucia
Cerro Santa Lucia - Looking east towards the Costanera Tower
Cerro Santa Lucia - View south from Cerro Santa Lucia
Cerro Santa Lucia - On Cerro Santa Lucia
Cerro Santa Lucia - Monument to Protestants and Dissenters
Cerro Santa Lucia - Statue of Caupolican

Cerro Santa Lucia Santiago Reviews

Toonsarah Toonsarah
533 reviews
On Cerro Santa Lucia Oct 28, 2016
Every city needs parks and Santiago has several, both small and large. This is one of the smallest but it is also arguably the most central and possibly the prettiest. It is perched on a rocky outcrop (“Cerro” means “hill”) and was laid out in the 19th century at the instigation of one of the city’s mayors, Benjamín Vicuña Mackenna (incidentally, what a great name – vicuñas are such lovely animals!)

Winding paths lead you up the hill past a series of terraces with interesting statuary and lovely planting till you reach the top, from where you get expansive views of the streets below. The contrast between the tranquillity of the park and the busy traffic is even more marked than is usual in a city park because of this birds-eye view.

My favourite of the statues here was the one in photo two, perched high on a rock by one of the upper terraces and depicting Caupolican, the most famous leader of the indigenous Mapuche people. This is the work of Nicanor Plaza, who was only 24 at the time of its creation in 1868, and it has in its time caused some controversy because of its likeness to a North American native rather than South. Some theorise that Plaza was trying to make a sort of Chilean “last of the Mohicans” figure, somewhat romanticising the struggles of the Mapuche. This may be, but the statue nevertheless provides a dramatic feature in the park and lured me into taking several photos of which I think I like this one the best.

The statue in photo three is a monument dedicated to "those disowned both by Heaven and Earth, buried here for half a century" and to Protestants "buried here for their faith in Christ" – part of this hill was once used as a cemetery for dissident Christians who didn’t follow the official (at the time) Roman Catholic faith.

At the southern base of the hill is the park’s most famous feature, the Terraza Neptuno, with an ornate fountain and an elaborate yellow-painted stone backdrop. I didn’t manage to get any very good photos of this (the light was all wrong) but you can see some on this website: http://www.southamerica.cl/Chile/Santiago/cerro-santa-lucia-terraza-neptuno.htm.

By the way, you may read (as I did) that there is a free elevator/lift on the west side of the hill as an alternative to climbing the steps or paths. Well, yes there is, but when we visited (October 2016) it was very definitely out of action, and I couldn’t help but note that even if it had been working it would only provide access to a point about halfway up the hill. So you probably need to be able to climb a bit to enjoy this park, and if that’s going to be a challenge it’s helpful to know that the least steep access is from that same west side, near the lift, as you can walk up some reasonable gentle paths rather than climb up loads of steps as you have to do elsewhere.
On Cerro Santa Lucia
Statue of Caupolican
Monument to Protestants and Dissen…
View south from Cerro Santa Lucia
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Jo104 says:
wow really interesting story behind the statues thanks for another well written tip
Posted on: Mar 25, 2017
loripori says:
Excellent review and pictures Sarah
Posted on: Jan 23, 2017
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