Fantasilandia: An Escape From the City, Within It

On a baking hot summer Wednesday at the Parque O’Higgins Metro station, I found myself swept into a rip current, trapped in an ocean of people: moody teenagers hiding the glimmer of excitement in their eyes, stressed parents manically controlling their eager children, nervous young couples possibly on their first dates. We all had one thing in common: we were off to Chile’s only theme park, Fantasilandia.

Santiago Chile Fantasilandia
Photo by Kat Leverton

Walking through the lush, green park flooded with food and drink vendors, I soon spotted the towering roller coasters poking skywards within the 30-year old Fantasilandia. With Chilean students on summer holiday, I wasn't shocked to see a ridiculously long line at the entrance. I was, however, surprised to see not only children running everywhere to edge to the front, but adults and parents alike. The uncontrollable chaos continued until the gates opened at midday, when everyone barged straight through to each of the park's 35 attractions.
Santiago Chile Fantasilandia
Photo by Kat Leverton

At the sight of hoards of people pushing and shoving their way to the front of the lines, my first reaction was sheer panic. Like everyone else, I dreaded standing in line--and in 33-degree heat, no less. However, Fantasilandia reduces queue sizes by having plenty of rides to go around for parkgoers of all ages. The waiting areas are also shaded by canopies, so all you need is a bottle of water and some good conversation to get you through the 45-minute lines. The wait is worth it.

Lose your stomach on the omniscient, 35-meter Extreme Fall, with a name that says it all. A ride that gives jelly legs to even the bravest of passengers, the journey up lets you admire beautiful views over the park and the city until you suddenly drop--even though I skydive, I've never been so terrified.

If you seek that nauseating, dizzying yet exhilarating feeling, then spin endlessly on Evolución, a pendant that swings back and forth until it eventually--and painfully slowly--rotates upside down. To cool down, take one of the three water rides, like the giant log flume Tsunami. If you want to get drenched, stand on the bridge after the ride and let the gigantic wave envelop you.

Santiago Chile Fantasilandia
Photo by Kat Leverton

Although Raptor, the park's newest addition, is a fast, energy-fueled ride, my favorite was the twisting Boomerang, a heart-pumping roller coaster bound to give you butterflies and hysteria.

My sole complaint with Fantasilandia is its food, where the grotty, grease-smelling restaurant offers only the worst junk food imaginable: slimy completos, salty chips and burnt burgers. Its "healthy" alternative is a moldy, tasteless salad, and I wouldn't even pay a peso for any of these options, let alone CP$3,000 (US$4.90). With lockers at hand, you're better off bringing and storing your own food to survive the day.

Fantasilandia may not be Six Flags or Alton Towers, and certainly doesn't specialize in culinary delights. But it does have some exceptional things to offer: extreme rides for ultimate rush seekers, sensational rides for the family and a kids' area filled with childhood festivities. Revel in them all in a euphoric day trip for only CP$7,000 and a short Metro journey.

Pack a picnic, bring some water and don't forget your sunscreen.

Fantasilandia

Parque O'Higgins

Beaucheff 938

Monday to Friday CP$6,900, children CP$3,800; Saturday to Sunday, CP$7,900, children $3,800; children under 90 cm high, seniors 60 and over, and pregnant women free

Phone: 476 8600

Fax: 689 2424

Email: info@fantasilandia.cl

Open daily, 12 to 9 pm (summer)

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