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 people here are probably the most fun people I’ve ever partied with. They were among the most friendly and most open people that I’ve ever had the chance to drink with. I spent most of my time in only two cities, Santiago and Valparaiso, so although I think the party scene might vary across the country, the lively and hospitable people will be the same throughout.
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. He was rocking a Wharton UPenn jacket but had never been there but we became homies. 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 guy. It was one of the best nights of my lives and we partied til probably 4 or 5 AM or until each one of us individually 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, and how friendly and welcoming the people are. 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 on the streets.
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.
It is hard to go wrong partying, but the biggest mistake is showing up too early. Like Europe, and most of the rest of the world, nothing is 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 single night in Chile by being that loser that shows up too early.
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.
For partying in Santiago, there’s 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.
Valparaiso is a little bit of a different animal from Santiago. Being by the Pacific Ocean, the atmosphere gives off a bit more of the Miami vibe. There’s quite a few clubs right by the water, with outdoor dance floors and bars that 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 Year’s. 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.
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.