Over the last decade, Chile has rapidly expanded the number of First World malls it has in Santiago and in other cities. These malls differ little from those in the USA or Europe. Even the shops are largely the same with a mixture of brands from both places. All seem to follow the same food court on top design and are beautifully decorated. Most malls also have super-sized grocery stores attached to them, and many also have things like bowling alleys and movie theaters too. 

The Costanera Center mall, shown in the photos below under construction in late November 2008, is enormous. In fact, it will supposedly be the largest mall in South America when completed. It is located smack dab in the middle of the high-end business district in Santiago, in Providencia, not far from Vitacura and Las Condes.

I am not sure that bigger is always better, but if you like big malls you will probably like this one. Traditionally, malls have been smaller and commonly found in the form of caracoles (interiors of snail shells), as you can see from the photos of a caracol near Plaza Ñuñoa below. Basically, one walks up a long ramp through 4 or 5 (or more) levels of spiraling shops, and sometimes there will be 2 or more carocoles connected together. This one had two.

This guy from Colombia pictured below (a negro, unusual in Chile, who spoke English and who had lived in Houston and Memphis) and his Chilean friend were found in front of the caracol. They had a big box full of several varieties of fruit, bins, and a blender with a little generator to run it (on ground in the second photo). He only turned on the generator when he was ready to blend the fruit. For 500 pesos (77 cents) they gave you a cup of fresh squeezed juice: very innovative.

Some of the most beautiful upscale malls in Chile (similar to the best malls you will find in the UAS or Europe) are Portal La Dehesa in comuna Lo Barnechea and Alto Las Condes and Parque Arauco in comuna Las Condes.  So if malls are your “thing,” Chile has plenty of them. Most guys don’t seem to be that interested in them and therefore I have little additional comment to make from personal experience. I have been in many of them to buy a particular item, to eat lunch, or to go bowling. But I rarely go to the mall for a “pleasure cruise”.
The apartment district near the Parque Arauco mall, with Marriott hotel tower in the background. The expressway runs between the Vitacura and Las Condes comunas.
Below is a photo of one end of the 3 story Alto Las Condes mall taken in June 2009.
Below are photos of El Portal (La Dehesa) mall taken in June 2009.