Fancy a swim... We’ve got all the answers!

Chile’s claim to swimming fame, Kristel Kobrich — whose speciality lies in long-distance swimming competitions, from 800 to 1500 meters — was born in Santiago on 9th August 1985. She’s won a number of important international awards for her achievements in the water and has competed in the Olympic Games, the World Swimming Championships, the Odesur Games, and the Panamerican & South American Games too. If you fancy yourself as a Kobrich in the making, you’ll need all the information you can get on Santiago’s swimming facilities when in town.

Balthus wellness and fitness center has two branches in Santiago — Vitacura and Las Condes — each housing heated indoor and outdoor pools. The indoor pools are maintained at a beautifully warm temperature of 30°C, and the outdoor pools are kept at a constant 36°C. 

The indoor pool in Vitacura is 20 meters long by 12 meters wide and divided into six standard swimming lanes. Its four-lane equivalent in Las Condes, though a little smaller — 20 meters by 8 meters — beats Vitacura’s facilities hands down. Each lane is designed to meet a specific objective and corresponds to a particular swimming speed. Balthus’ outdoor pools come equipped with a water massage system (the perfect answer to muscular pain) and a Wet Bar — a pool-side bar for ordering drinks and light snacks, open annually during the summer season from November to March. 

Beyond the open pool facilities, there are a range of aqua classes offered at Balthus — yoga, circuit training, and calorie burning classes, as examples, all within the water. ($130.000 pesos for a year’s membership, plus an one-off inscription fee of $317.000 pesos.)

For anyone staying in and around the Ñuñoa neighbourhood, the Centro Acuático Estadio Nacional (National Stadium Aquatic Center) on Avenida Grecia 2001 has three separate swimming pools which are covered by an inflated dome-like structure during the winter months. A number of national swimming competitions are held here. It’s a center of excellence. As such, you have to be a very strong swimmer to be allowed to join.

The Olympic Pool is a heated pool of 25 by 50 meters, with depths of 2.10 meters to 2.30 meters. The Diving Pool is 17 meters by 25 meters, with depths of 3.50 meters to 5 meters. The Free Pool is the smallest of all three, measuring 7 meters by 25 meters, with a single depth of 1.40 meters. It’s an excellent pool for anyone who is recently learning to swim. (Membership prices are discussed when you sign up.)

If looking for swimming lessons, Club Providencia is a really good option. This swimming school runs classes which last for about three months at a time throughout the year and there’s a great deal of freedom in terms of class times for both adults and children. The classes offered at Club Providencia aren’t just for people who don’t know how to swim. They are also intended to help people improve their swimming technique — to feel more comfortable and stronger in the water. ($8.500 pesos per session during the week and $ 9.500 pesos at the weekend or on public holidays.) 

Similarly, the Stade Français — located in Las Condes — offers a number of options for both inexperienced and expert swimmers. It comes equipped with a semi-Olympic swimming pool, a training pool for children — measuring at just 0.90 meters by 1.10 meters — heated, covered facilities in the winter and heated, open facilities in the summer. (If you become a member, a year’s worth of swimming costs $185.000 pesos. Without membership, the center charges $538.000 pesos per year.)

Other centers, such as Acquatiempo ($50,000 pesos per month), Centro de Natación (the cheapest option is $16.000 pesos per month) and YMCA Natación, (costs are available upon inquiry) offer memberships which include unlimited access to the heated, indoor swimming pools, and the opportunities to join in with classes such as aquaerobics, aquabike and aquapower.

You might also be tempted to try the pool at The Radisson Plaza Santiago Hotel, located on Vitacura 2610. It offers a program which includes unlimited access to the hotel’s top floor heated pool and relaxing jacuzzi and boasts some amazing views. ($35.000 pesos per month.)

If private institutions are not really your style, then it’s well worth knowing that the Universidad de Chile manages its very own heated swimming pool, located at Avenida Santa María 983. The pool was built in 1929 for the sole purposes of improving the swimming skills of school children in full-time education. The pool is divided into six lanes which measure 25 meters long by 17 meters wide. If you’re not a Chilean resident, you can use the pool’s facilities but only on Saturdays from 8am to 12pm. (The cost per hour is $4.500 pesos and you’ll need to sign in with your passport.)

* Please note that all prices are correct at the time of publication.

About the Author: Tracey Chandler is press and publicity manager for The Santiago Times and has worked as a freelance writer in Latin America since 2009. Originally from London, she left the UK in 2008 and has lived in Venezuela, Argentina, and Chile. She has written for over 15 different blogs/online magazines on subjects relating to Latin American travel and lifestyle. Contact her directly via tracey@santiagotimes.cl with ideas for possible long-term partnerships and/or creative projects.