Differences between Buenos Aires and Santiago.

Santiago Travel Blog

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There are some very distinctive contrasts between Buenos Aires and Santiago.  Many of these differences appear to stem from the different cultural backgrounds of the people.  Argentina has a much more European vibe, at least from what I’ve observed and experienced in Buenos Aires.  The large masses of immigrants from European nations have made Buenos Aires a vibrant, cultural mix.  I’ve noticed that Argentines physically look more European, which again, can be attributed to the European heritage of the population, than those of Chile.  Here and there you’ll run into, sometimes literally, a blonde or blue-eyed Argentine.  In contrast, in neighboring Chile, the population appears more distinctly South American with darker skin, black hair, and dark eyes.  This occurred because Chile didn’t experience the large European immigration that Argentina did, and thus their population is much different than that of Argentina. 

There are even striking differences in how Buenos Aires and Santiago look and feel.  In Buenos Aires, certain neighborhoods of the city feel distinctly South American, although based mostly on my preconceived assumptions and from what I’ve seen in pictures of South America, with lower buildings, street markets, and corner “mercados”.  Whereas other areas feel distinctly European with taller, ornate buildings encrusted with decorative molding, and wide pedestrian promenades, such as Florida Street.  Also, Buenos Aires is a loud, hustling and bustling city, with multitudes of pedestrians, taxis, and busses at all hours of the night. 

Santiago, on the other hand, is more sedate and relaxed.  There are much less people humming about, especially in our neighborhood of Providencia.  It was quite a shock, once we arrived on Sunday in Santiago, to not hear or see a taxi or bus, or a person for that matter.  The quietness was enchanting, after the week in Buenos Aires.  Also there isn’t the large cultural distinctions in the architecture and atmosphere in the different neighborhoods in Santiago from what I’ve experienced so far.

All in all, I find these very apparent differences between close, neighboring countries intriguing.  The large cultural differences in the physical appearance of the people and in the influence to the cities’ design and atmosphere are very interesting.  In some ways the cultures are aligned with a common language and a history of colonization, yet there are strong dissimilarities that give each country a unique, interesting flavor all its own.
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photo by: Bluetraveler