Santiago, the capital of Chile, was founded in 1541. The beautiful Church of San Francisco dates from just after that time and is well worth a visit. You can find out about the cultures that preceded the arrival of Europeans by visiting the Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art. This impressive collection includes some large Mayan carved stones.
For a great view of Santiago and beyond, take the funicular railway up to Mount San Cristóbal. The city lies between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, making it a great base for either skiing or beach holidays or both. Just beyond the city there is a belt of vineyards, which makes a great daytrip.