Santiago de Chile is a great South American capital, which presents itself as a gigantic economic and cultural center. It is surrounded by the Andean peaks and crossed by the Maipo and Mapocho rivers, natural phenomena that increase the beauty of its landscapes.
The peculiar geography of the region where the city is located makes it possible, in a single day, to ski in the Andes and sunbathe on a beautiful beach bathed by the Pacific Ocean. The surrounding landscapes also provide wonderful areas of vineyards.
The city is home to wonderful urban parks, fascinating museums and an amazing architectural ensemble. In addition, the city offers one of the best nightlife proposals in South America.
- The 5 best reasons to visit Santiago de Chile
- What to do in Santiago de Chile
- When to visit Santiago de Chile
- How to get to Santiago de Chile
- Where to stay in Santiago de Chile
- Getting around Santiago de Chile
- Cost of living in Santiago de Chile
- Where to eat in Santiago de Chile
The 5 best reasons to visit Santiago de Chile
The Plaza de Armas
This attractive square is the epicenter of the historical center of Santiago de Chile. It is flanked by emblematic buildings such as the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Central Post Office, the National History Museum and the Illustrious Municipality of Santiago. The Plaza de Armas station of the Santiago subway is located underground.
The Central Market
The majestic building of the Central Market was inaugurated on August 23, 1872, and in 1984 it was declared a Historical Monument. On its two floors it houses over 240 shops, including restaurants, soft drink and ice cream bars, herbalists and all kinds of shops selling fresh produce and handicrafts. It is also a renowned gastronomic center, where traditional Creole delicacies are served.
The Metropolitan Park
Extensive and attractive, this park houses the San Cristóbal hill, two swimming pools, a zoo and a botanical garden. If you wish, you can take the cable car to reach the top of the hill, from where you can enjoy the best views of the city.
Santiago de Chile offers one of the best jazz scenes in the continent. Large jazz festivals are organized in the city and there are numerous clubs. Among them is the Club de Jazz de Santiago, located in the Ñuñoa district, which hosts international level shows.
The Natural History Museum
Located in the Quinta Normal park, it is known as the “museum of the whale” because it houses a skeleton in its main hall. It presents the magnificent exhibition “Chile Biogeográfico”, which offers a tour of the natural and cultural heritage of Chile, and an interesting display of animals from the megafauna.
What to do in Santiago de Chile
Exploring the city centre
In the center of Santiago de Chile the history of the country was born. In this area you can find from the religious buildings of the Colony, such as the cathedral and the church of San Francisco, to the government buildings, such as the Palacio de la Moneda and the former National Congress of Chile, as well as contemporary enclaves, such as the Museum of Memory and Human Rights.
Walk through the bohemian Bellavista neighborhood
The streets of the Bellavista district are lined with modern restaurants, brand new boutiques, numerous galleries and avant-garde restaurants. A relaxed stroll through this neighborhood provides a fantastic insight into the life of many Chilean intellectuals and artists, including Pablo Neruda. At night, the streets are flooded with music, which comes out of many bars and clubs.
Visit the Immaculate Conception Sanctuary
The sanctuary dominates the city from the top of the San Cristobal hill; it is an emblem of Santiago de Chile. To get there you can take the Santiago cable car at the Oasis station, located in the Providencia area of the Bicentennial Park. The return ticket for adults costs CL$ 3010, and for children and over 65 years old CL$ 1950.
Going up to the Sky Costanera viewpoint
This is the viewpoint of the skyscraper La Gran Torre Santiago, 64 floors. It is part of the enormous Costanera Center shopping mall and, from the top of the viewpoint, it is possible to contemplate a 360° panoramic view of Santiago de Chile.
Discover Pueblito Los Dominicos
Located in the Las Condes neighborhood, Pueblito Los Dominicos is a famous handicraft center, where numerous Chilean artisans offer their works in 160 shops, built with straw and mud. There you can buy handicrafts made of wood, wicker, clay, leather, wool, silver jewelry and much more.
When to visit Santiago de Chile
Santiago de Chile has mild winters, although very cold days can be seen, and hot and dry summers, with temperatures reaching 35 °C. Therefore, spring and fall are the ideal seasons to visit the city.
If you want to know about some of the different festivals that take place in Santiago de Chile, you can plan your trip in January, when the traditional Fiesta del Roto Chileno is celebrated in the district of Yungay.
How to get to Santiago de Chile
Most international flights and many domestic links to Santiago de Chile land at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL). There are two bus companies that cover the route between the airport and the city center: TurBus and Centropuerto. Their connections leave every 10 minutes, and the single ticket costs CL$ 1700. There is also a transfer service to hotels in the centre, which charges CL$ 6500. And, if you prefer to take a taxi, it will cost you about CL$ 15 000.
Train services to Santiago de Chile are limited. The main line goes to Chillán, in the south of the country, while a Buscarril link covers the Talca – Constitución route. The central station is located next to the Alameda in Santiago de Chile. The normal fare for a single journey to/from Talca, for example, costs CL$ 11 500.
Santiago has an extensive bus network with connection services to all of South America. The main bus stations are Terminal Alameda and Terminal Santiago. Alameda is served by TurBus and Pullman buses and most international routes. A trip from Mendoza, Argentina, costs CL$ 17 000.
Route 5 is the main north-south road, while Route 68 goes to Valparaíso on the coast. To drive on the Autopista Central system it is necessary to buy a TAG (electronic toll system) toll transponder at a gas station, the price of which is CL$ 6800 for two days.
Where to stay in Santiago de Chile
In Santiago de Chile, there are 5-star hotels with spas, such as the NOI Vitacura, and inexpensive lodgings such as the Angamos Hotel, located near the city center. Their rates per night are around CL$ 158 435 and CL$ 17 515, respectively.
The Hotel Fundador, in Paseo Serrano, on the other hand, offers rooms for about CL$ 60,510 per night.
Popular neighborhoods in Santiago de Chile
Providence. This is an exclusive area with many good quality hotels. It also has an interesting shopping area on Avenida Nueva Providencia and great Italian restaurants. The Teatro Oriente is located in this district.
Las Condes. This is a large district, representative of the contemporary side of the city. It includes classic residential areas and the most modern shopping and business centres in the city. The church of Los Dominicos, next to Pueblito Los Dominicos, and the attractive Araucano Park are located here.
Lastarria. With numerous examples of European-inspired architecture, this neighborhood preserves cobblestone streets and is home to the Museum of Visual Arts. Its atmosphere is slightly bohemian and charming.
Getting around Santiago de Chile
By public transport
Santiago has a vast network of metro, subway and city buses. If you want to move around on public transport you must buy a beep card, available at any station, which has a price of CLP $ 1550. The bus ticket costs CL$ 660 all day, while the metrotrén and metro are CL$ 760 during rush hour and CL$ 680 during the rest of the service time.
There are many taxis all over Santiago de Chile. The official vehicles are black with yellow roofs. The flag-waving costs CL$ 300 and, subsequently, you will be charged around CL$ 660 per kilometer driven.
Santiago’s road network is generally in good condition and the city has few traffic problems. If you plan to go skiing in the Andes or touring around, renting a car is a good option. You can book a standard car for about CL$ 24 000 per day from companies such as Sixt and Avis.
Cost of living in Santiago de Chile
In Santiago de Chile you can find many shopping malls. The largest is Alto Las Condes and Parque Arauco. In addition, there is a wide variety of shops of all kinds. The stores of international brands are concentrated in Alonso de Córdova street, in Las Condes.
Supermarkets and groceries
The main supermarkets in Santiago de Chile are Jumbo Bilbao and Santa Isabel. As a guide, the prices of a litre of milk, CL$ 790, and a dozen eggs, CL$ 1780, can be considered.
Where to eat in Santiago de Chile
Amadeus Pizza, an establishment located on Avenida General Bustamante, makes tasty pizzas in a wood-fired oven from CL$ 3500, in addition to offering good beers. Cruz Coke 350, on the other hand, specializes in local cuisine and has a good wine list. A main course in this restaurant costs about CL$ 7000. A dinner for two in an intermediate quality restaurant costs around CL$ 30 000.
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