Update: the cafe here has closed down, so be sure to pack a picnic.
Last week a friend let me into a tip that I’m going to share with all you expat mums in Santiago.
Hidden behind a busy road in a less than glam district of Vitacura is a secret oasis of calm. The Casa de los Matta is a wonderful little retreat in the heart of the city’s traffic and chaos, and it’s awesome for young children.
Explore the gardens and you’ll spot a few playgrounds which kept my preschoolers entertained for ages.
There’s a herb garden too…
At the moment you can’t take books out of the library, but it’s a great space for reading on the spot. There’s an area for colouring in and lots of teddies to play with too.
And when it all gets too much, there are zones for just chilling out.
Coming into autumn it was a but chilly under the shade. The Guaguateca library isn’t especially warm, so it makes sense to wrap up if you plan on sitting around for sometime.
But if your kids are like mine you won’t spend too much time sitting down anyway.
We were there in the late morning, and it was wonderfully calm. Which led us to ask, ‘Where are all the people? Why is noone else here?’
Perhaps because not many know about it?
If you’re looking to fill an hour or two and need some space to let your kids run free, then I’d thoroughly recommend this space.
If you’ve landed yourself some kidfree time, there are lots of cultural activities and courses to try too – photo exhibitions, cookery workshops, art installations, classical music festivals and more.
We went less for the culture than for the sunshine. Fingers crossed it stays sunny and we’ll be back to play again soon.
Need to know:
Fees – it’s completely free. Adult workshops and some activities may be charged, however.
Parking – if your GPS is as dumb as mine it’ll send you round the corner. Go a little further to the front of the building where a ‘Casa de los Matta’ sign greets you and park inside for free.
Clothing – While the library is indoors, it’s a wooden building with a semi open sliding door so it can get a little chilly in the autumnal months. Wrap up a little warmer if you plan on sitting still for a while.
Opening hours – Guaguateca library hours – Tuesday to Friday from 10am – 5pm; Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 1.30pm
Age suitability – the Guaguateca site suggests the library is best suited for children aged 0-3. My child is four though and he loved it, and was made very welcome. Older kids may get a little bored, however.
Casa de los Matta, Av Presidente Kennedy 9350, Santiago, Vitacura, Región Metropolitana. Tel +56 22 240 3610 www.corporacionculturalvitacura.cl/programas/casas-de-lo-matta