Pisco Sour is one of my favorite things to drink. I am not entirely sure what it is but it is delicious. I know you should diversify, but I tend to literally stick with the same drink in a certain country once I find one I like. In Brazil, it’s the Caipirinha. In the Czech Republic, it’s the <$1 beers. And in Chile, it is the always satisfying Pisco sour.
The nightlife in Chile was a lot more exciting than I expected. I spent a few weeks in Chile before going to Buenos Aires and Rio. I’ll admit, I wasn’t expecting much from the nightlife of Argentina’s skinny neighbor. Thankfully, I was completely wrong. The crazy nights I had in Chile were among the best I’ve ever had. The Chilean cities that I expected little from quickly became some of my favorite cities in all of South America.
The people in Chile are some of the most fun people I’ve ever had the honor to drink with. Chileans are extremely friendly and very open. I’ve never had such an easy time making local friends than I did in Chile. I spent most of my time in the cities of Santiago, Valparaiso, and Vina del Mar. I might not have seen the more rural parts of the country, but I think the welcoming and fun culture of the Chileans is consistent throughout. The party scene might vary across the country, but you will surely find lively and hospitable people everywhere you go.
New Year’s in Valparaiso was a completely out of this world experience. We were running low on beer by about 10 PM, but fortunately, I made friends with a guy who was walking around selling beers. Chileans have a way of becoming your best friend after a few minutes. He supplied me with beer the rest of the night and although it was a brief friendship, I will never forget that homie. It was one of the best nights of my life. Our group partied til probably 4 or 5 AM or until each one of us were no longer able to function.
The following day, most people stayed in but a select few of us went for round 2. This night was nuts and I left the club early-ish with one of my friends but got lost and did not get back to our hotel until 6 AM. It was an extremely rough night, but a pretty awesome testament to how safe it is to party in Chile. That night was fuzzy, but instead of two drunk American travelers being taken advantage of or mugged, we were guided home by the few people we met on the streets. Our shambly selves did not deserve the kindness we were treated with that night.
Make Friends With Locals
Let’s get the most important thing out of the way first. You are not partying in Chile correctly if you do not make friends with some of the local people. It felt like every night I went out, I made a new group of friends. This guy, Pablo even invited us to his house for dinner. You won’t make friends any faster than you will at a bar or club in Chile. Trust me, compared to Chileans, the rest of the world are cold-hearted assholes.
A Night Out in Chile Is A Marathon, Not A Race
It is hard to go wrong with partying in Chile, but the biggest mistake is showing up too early. Like Europe, and most of the rest of the world, few places get popping until about midnight or later. And it’s usually later. We made the mistake of showing up to bars at 9, clubs at 10ish, and then wondering why nothing was happening. We wasted probably 2 or 3 good nights of partying by doing that. By the end of the trip we were stumbling into gay clubs. Learn from our mistakes. Do not waste a night in Chile by being that loser that shows up too early then goes home before the party even starts.
Have Fun, But Be Respectful
I also highly recommend not being obnoxious. You don’t want to be the loud, obnoxious, screaming drunk person ever. That’s an asshole thing to do. I’m not saying you’ll suffer a lot of negative consequences for being that guy because Chileans are so chill, but it’s just a dick thing to do. Actually, I recommend this wherever you are in the world. I just feel especially bad for Chileans because they put the “chill” in Chile and are some of the least likely people to call you out on your obnoxious behavior. Treat them and their country with respect, and you will have an awesome time.
Nightlife in Santiago
For partying in Santiago, there are quite a few options. Barrio Bellavista is easily your best bet, and I think I spent every night out bar hopping in that neighborhood. Like I said, things don’t usually get poppin’ until past midnight, but any of the outdoor bars at Bellavista are a great option to chill out at until you see the clubs getting packed.
I would recommend specific bars, but with Chile, it is so different. I can’t pick a favorite, partially because you don’t go to a specific bar or club for the ambiance or environment, but for the people. Just go take a stroll down Bellavista and find the one with the most people. You will have fun no matter what as long as you get a few drinks inside you and chat it up with the locals. Seriously, from chill outdoor patios to accidentally stumbling into an extremely poppin’ gay club, we had fun pretty much everywhere we went.
Drinks are relatively cheap, so it shouldn’t be such a big issue to just walk into one you’ll think you’ll like without worrying about whether or not you can afford it.
Nightlife in Valparaiso and Vina del Mar
Valparaiso is a little bit of a different animal from Santiago. Being by the Pacific Ocean, the atmosphere gives off a bit of a Miami vibe. There are many clubs right by the water with outdoor dance floors and bars. These are great places to party til the sun comes up. If I remember correctly, it was a bit more expensive to party at Valparaiso, but we also went during New Years. Clubs may have ramped prices up a bit.
If you’re not into clubs, I can’t think of a better place to be than right by the ocean. The beaches here are amazing, and some spots up the coast will make you wonder if what you’re seeing is even real. The water is gorgeous, and the miles and miles of coastline make it easy to find a perfect spot to sit back and appreciate being in Chile. If nothing else, just grab some beers and start drinking on the beach.
Seriously, Chile is awesome. If you’re ever feeling slightly down while you’re there, just remember the fact that you are in Chile and it’ll lift your mood again. Chile is a fantastic destination for any traveler, as it gives you a good taste of the friendly South American culture, epic natural scenery, but also a familiar vibe that gives a sense of comfort whenever you are feeling unsafe or lost.
Enjoy Chile and party hard.