Chile’s capital city is located about halfway down (or up, depending on where you’re coming from) this long, thin country. The city, with its dramatic mountain backdrop, can keep both adrenaline-seekers and culture vultures happy for days. If you’re the active sort, you can ski in season (think mid-June to mid-October) at Valle Nevado, just 35 miles from the city centre. Or how about white-water rafting at Cajon del Maipo, within easy reach for a day trip?Santiago’s historic centre (the city dates back to the sixteenth century) definitely deserves to be explored, or you can walk in the footsteps of Chile’s most famous poet, Pablo Neruda. A towering literary figure, he lived in several wildly eccentric houses during his lifetime, some of which are now museums.The Quinta Normal – green sanctuary with art museums and street food vendors – is perfect for a lazy afternoon, and speaking of food, Santiago is rapidly establishing itself as a gourmet destination. Wash your treats down with a glass of pisco, but be warned – Chileans describe this fiery brandy as ‘our sweet and treacherous national drink’!