chile

Santiago de Chile Travel Guide

Read our Santiago travel guide and learn about the most populated city in Chile and the jumping point to explore Chilean Patagonia, the lake district and the Atacama Desert in the North.

Santiago is the capital of Chile and the largest city in the country. It’s located in the Central Valley and it features an amazing mixture of art deco and neo-gothic architecture with fantastic views of the Andes Mountain Range. It was founded in 1541 by the Spanish crown, and today is a must stop-over if you’re planning to visit Chile. Art collections of pre-Columbian and contemporary art, local markets, beautiful parks like Cerro Santa Lucía

and the Mapocho River that flows through the city, are some of the attractions of Santiago. Located just one hour away from vineyards and the Pacific Ocean, there are other attractions you can visit near the city like Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, where most locals prefer to spend their summer vacation. 

 

Attractions

Plaza de Armas

Considered the historical centre of Santiago, the Plaza de Armas is an important square to modern day Chile.Surrounded by many historic buildings, such as the Metropolitan Cathedral, the Central Post Office and the Royal Court Palace and lined palm trees. 

Within the square, is a locals meeting point  and local artists expose their work,  but in general it is a highly multicultural area. You will also find some monuments like the  one dedicated to Pedro de Valdivia, the founder of the city. This is a good place to get a taste of Santiago and its city culture.

 

Casa de la Moneda

La Moneda is the Presidential palace and with  its white walls and european-style architecture. You can see the guard change-over, an impressive spectacle of military conduct, at 10am on alternate days. La Moneda was witness of the  1973 e bombing of the palace and the suicide of the President, Salvador Allende in the Military cou . Visiting is free, but you run the risk of it being closed for government events. Taking a tour, although informative, can be expensive and requires pre-booking, but may be worth the effort for those particularly interested in the country’s political history.

Address: La Moneda, Moneda S/N, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile

 

Cerro San Cristóbal

Its official name is Parque Metropolitano, Cerro San Cristobal lies in the middle of Santiago. It’s got a 300 meter summit: hike (approx 45 minutes up), cycle or take a funicular which stops at different levels of the hill. Amongst various other activities and attractions, you will find the National Zoo, a Japanese-style garden and two outdoor swimming pools open during the summer. At the summit is an impressive snow white 22 meter statue of the Virgin Mary looking out onto a spectacular panoramic view of the city; this view is a must see in Santiago.

Address: Pio Nono 445, Recoleta Parque Metropolitano de Santiago

 

Cerro Santa Lucía

In the heart of Santiago is located the Historical Santa Lucía Hill, founded with the city itself by the Conquerors.  Lush full vegetation, great views of the mountains and the city  and an interesting place to visit: It has access stairs, and in the side, an elevator that facilitates its ascent.

Among the main attractions of the Santa Lucía Hill are the great Monumental Access by the Alameda Avenue, the Terrace and Fountain of Neptune, the Caupolicán Terrace with its statue of this indigenous leader and the Pedro de Valdivia Terrace, as well as the tower-viewpoint of the summit that allows to dominate the whole city from there.

Address:Avenida Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins y Avenida Santa Lucía (Metro Santa Lucía – Línea 1)
Days and times: From Mon to Sun: 09:00 a 8:00 pm

 

Mercado La Vega

The Vega Central Market is a collage of colors, flavors and smells from the fertile lands of Chile, which changes with each season. The history of this market is long, farmers and merchants have come to La Vega since colonial times and was founded in 1912 as a formal market, but most of the structures you see today are from later, it’s not the cleanest, its chaotic and crowded, but if you want to experience local, its a must!

Dirección Antonia López de Bello 760, Recoleta
Days and times: From Mon to Sun 08:00 – 6:00 pm

 

Mercado Central

The Central Market of Santiago or simply Mercado Central is a market for the sale of food, mainly fish and seafood, located in the Chilean capital. It is located in the commune of Santiago, considered the historical center of the city. 1 The building was started in 1869 and was inaugurated in  1872.  .It was declared a Historic Monument and is part of the “Santiago Patrimonial”. You also enjoy a fresh and delicious  fish and seafood lunch in one of the many restaurants located inside

Address: Calle San Pablo 967 – Santiago Metro Puente Cal y Canto – Línea 2
Days and times: 
Fri: 06:00- 8 pm, Sat: 06:00 to 6 pm,  Mon,Tue,Wed,Thu,Sun: 6:00 to 5 pm

 

Casa Museo La Chascona

The Casa Museo La Chascona was one of the three houses that belonged to the poet Pablo Neruda and where he lived until the end of his days. The name of the house is due to Matilde Urrutia, who was Neruda’s last wife, and who the poet affectionately called “La Chascona” (Chilean expression meaning disheveled) because of her great red hair.

Pablo Neruda was a sea lover, and designed his houses resembling a ship. As well the “La Chascona” is located on the slopes of the San Cristobal Hill, so one of the things that stand out is the abundance of stairs. The house itself is a labyrinth of rooms many of which are not connected to each other, a house surrounded by gardens and invites discovery. 

Address: Fernando Marqués de la Plata 0192, Barrio Bellavista, Providencia.
Days and times: Monday: Closed, Tuesday to Sunday: 10:00 – 6 pm (Jan and Feb until 7 pm)

 

Museo de Arte Precolombino

This museum hosts an invaluable collection of Pre-Columbian art including pottery, sculptures, monuments and other artifacts. The museum represents all the people and cultures from Chilean territory before it was occupied and conquered by the Spanish. This is a truly incredible museum and the ticket price contributes to the museum’s maintenance. However, if you’d rather not pay, it is free every Sunday.

Address: Bandera 361, Santiago de Chile

 

 

Museo de la Bellas Artes

The Museum of Fine Arts, also referred to as the Museum of Contemporary Art is located in the Parque Forestal.  Here you can view an extensive collection of Chilean art as well as a broader collection of South American pieces,from the  19th century until today.. first established in 1880 and later moved to its current building, it’s the oldest galley in the continent. Entry was made free in March 2015, opening its gates to allow everyone to enjoy its sample of Chilean culture.

Address:Parque Forestal S/N, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile
Days and times:
Mon, Closed /Tue to Sat: 10 – 6.45 pm

 

Bellavista neighborhood

The Bellavista neighborhood features graffiti-lined streets with cafes, art galleries and boutique shops. Here, you’ll find hip cocktail bars and eclectic eateries next to antique homes and colonial mansions. Full of trendy cool artsy crowds,creative energy, with laid-back vibes, Bellavista is a popular hangout spot among travelers and locals alike. Though Bellavista is one of Santiago’s most frequented neighborhoods, thievery is not uncommon at night, so stay alert and avoid exploring the neighborhood alone in the evening. 

 

Santiago´s Wineries

Wine lovers! Attention. The Maipo Valley with small wine producers — renowned for their reds, especially cabernet sauvignon — can be found within an hour’s drive of central Santiago. The Casablanca Valley (about 50 miles northwest of Santiago). This region teems with wineries that produce top-tier Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs.

Tour costs and hours vary by winery. 

 

Valparaíso

Valparaíso is an important touristic and historical port  at 116 km from santiago ( 1 hr drive) with a particular geography where the hills mix with the coast, and has got several viewpoints with splendid ocean views. 

Walk along the oldest hills of the city (Cerro Alegre and Concepción) and admire  the colonial English architecture, contemporary museums, gardens and small squares, hidden viewpoints between houses and balconies.  Valparaíso also has “La Sebastiana”, one of the houses of the poet Pablo Neruda with its unique style and charm. 

Maipo Canyon

If you are an outdoor activities lover and you have some time in Santiago, this is a popular getaway for locals in search of contact with nature. The Maipo Canyon “Cajón del Maipo” offers a range of activities to enjoy a day out (hiking, rafting, bungee jumping, thermal bath). In winter (June to August), snowfalls and covers the mountains, allowing ski sessions.If you want to spend more than a day in these surroundings, there are accommodations and camping places.

There’s a direct shuttle bus leaving from outside the metro stations Bellavista de la Florida, Las Mercedes, and Plaza de Puente Alto. By car, it’s a bit more than 1 hour to the closest hamlet called El Melocotón; You can also book a day tour from a professional agency. Bring sunscreen, a hat, and a wind jacket, as it can be quite hot in the sun and turn very cold in the shade.

Eating & Drinking

Bocanariz

Jose Victorino Lastarria 276, Lastarria
Phone +56 2 2638 9893
Chilean cuisine / Wine Bar

Restaurant & wine bar with an extensive wine list and expert sommeliers. They have been focused on being the Chilean Wine Showcase, with one of the most extensive and awarded wine lists in Chile. 

 

 

Como Agua para Chocolate

Constitución 88, Barrio Bellavista, Providencia
Phone: +56 2 2777 8740
Chilean cuisine/ Seafood 

Cozy chilean restaurant where you will feel local. You should make a reservation as it is normally full. 

  

 

Boragó

Av. San José María Escrivá de Balaguer 5970
Phone:
+56 2 2953 8893
Chilean fusion cuisine

Design menu with organic and small producers and ingredients. very expensive.

 

 

Peumayen

Constitución 136, Providencia
Chilean fusion cuisine

Chilean fusion with tasting menus and salads, soups, fish and meat, always inspired by the native people.

 

 

Chipe Libre

Jose Victorino Lastarria 282
Phone: +56 2 2664 0584
Chilean Peruvian / Pisco bar

They truly apply hospitality to customer service. A privileged place with bartenders and mixologists who really know what they are doing. They have a super long menu of Chilean and Peruvian Piscos. 

 

 

Mulato

José Victorino Lastarria 307, Lastarria
Phone: +56 2 2638 4931
Chilean cuisine/ Seafood

A cuisine based on the traditional flavors of Chile, with a touch of signature cuisine from the chef Cristián Correa.

 

 

El Galeon - Restaurant y Marisquería

 San Pablo 943, Mercado Central, Loc 26, 81-82
Phone:  +56 2 2696 4258
Seafood

Since 1935, El Galeón offers  seafood restaurant, locos, lobster, spider crab, clams, southern hake, conger eel, crab, ceviche, octopus, sea urchins

 

 

Eladio

Pío Nono 251, Providencia
Phone: +54 2 2231 4224
Grill

If you feel like having a good steak the Eladio is specialized in beef and grill. 

 

 

Azul Profundo

Constitución 111, Bellavista
Phone: +56 2 2738 0288
Seafood

The trendy and artsy atmosphere in this bar-restaurant to try some of the delicacies of the Pacific seafood.

 

 

Restaurant Giratorio

Av. Nueva Providencia 2250, P 16, Providencia
Phone: +56 2 2232 1827
International

Revolving restaurant with views of the city and international menu, including steaks, seafood and pasta.

 

 

de Pablo a Violeta

Purísima 251, Recoleta Barrio Bellavista
Phone: +56 9 9998 2895
Chilean cuisine / Dinner Show

Serving Chilean and Southamerican food, this is a good option if you also want to see a Show with the Chilean Folklore.

 

 

Los Buenos Muchachos

Av. Ricardo Cumming 1031
Phone: +56 2 2566 4660
Chilean cuisine / Dinner Show

Since 1939 starting as a “picada place” today it serves typical Chilean food, famous barbecues while you enjoy a show of Chilean folklore music.

 

 

Tips & Advices

How many days should I stay in Santiago?

 

We recommend at least 3 nights to get to know the city, some vineyards and Valparaiso.

 

When is the best time to visit

 

Santiago is a city that offers Spring from September to November and Fall from March to May. The city experiences a moderate climate with mild temperatures year-round, but spring and fall are especially attractive with plenty of sunshine. Fall is a particularly good time if you enjoy wine: Vineyards show beautiful fall foliage, and grape harvest festivals abound. Spring is another excellent time to visit: blooming flowers, comfortable temperatures, and nationwide independence day festivities. From December to February (summertime in the Southern Hemisphere), the locals leave town, and it is also a pleasant time to head to Chile’s capital city.

 

What is the weather like in Santiago de Chile?

 

Santiago has a semi-arid climate with mild winter and dry summers. Throughout the year, the temperatures can slide through a big range which is typical to the region.

  • Summer: December to March with an average temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius or cooler. However, the temperature can touch as high as around 36 degrees Celsius! The night is usually much colder.
  • Autumn: April to May (sometimes autumn can pre-set in March) with an average temperature of around 20-22 degrees Celsius and it can get cooler- touching to around 10 degrees Celsius.
  • Winter: June to August with temperatures that can go well below  10 degrees Celsius. However, winters do give rise to a lot of smog effect due to temperature inversion.
  • Spring: September to November is the spring season with pleasant weather which can range from a slow as 6 to as high as 23 degrees Celsius.
  • Rain: Rainy season intermingles partly with autumn and partly with winter with a peak season during June-July.

 

 

How to get to Santiago de Chile?

 

  • Flight: Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, commonly called Santiago International Airport and Pudahuel Airport is Chile’s main airport, located northwest of the city of Santiago. International flights arrive there and to the most important cities in the country.
  • Bus: Buses from different parts of the country arrive in the city. It is very common to connect by bus from Santiago de Chile to the city of Mendoza in Argentina.
  • Train: There are no long-distance trains in Santiago de Chile to connect with the main destinations in the country. Chile is the country of extremes, and for long distances, we recommend flying.
  • Self-drive: Santiago is a capital city, with a lot of vehicular traffic and good public transport service. We recommend you to visit it by public transport, walking or by bicycle. If you want to visit the surroundings you can rent a car, but if you want to visit a winery we recommend you to do it with a tour, so you can taste all the wines you want. 

 

Can I find ATMs in Santiago?

 

In Chile, there is a wide network of ATMs, divided into three sub-networks: Redf, Redbanc and BancoEstado. The last two are now connected. 

Typically, the maximum withdrawal at a Chilean ATM will be around 200,000 Chilean Pesos. If you need to withdraw more than that in one day, you may need to visit multiple ATMs and take out a few different withdrawals.

 

What is the proper tipping?

 

In restaurants, it’s customary to tip about 10% of the bill. Note that tips can’t be added to credit-card bills, so carry cash for this purpose. 

  • For tour guides, estimate around USD 10/15 per person, for a full day tour and half of it for the driver. 
  • In hotels, you should tip porters for handling bags: USD1.00 for every two bags.
  • The same amount is calculated for drivers if they help you with your suitcases, the housekeeping (between USD0.50 – 1.00 per night), and the concierge staff if they have helped you to arrange dinner reservations, transportation or leisure activities. 
  • In Chile, we don’t regularly tip taxi drivers.

 

 

 

 

How much money can I spend per day in Santiago?

 

Around USD 50/100 per day, per person for daily expenses like eating, shopping and transportation, depending on how much money you want to spend on these.

Exchange money and using CC

 

The most popular international credit cards are widely accepted in Chile, especially in cities, but ask when traveling into remote areas (like Torres del Paine for example or other National parks).

For money exchange, Santiago is probably the best place for it. Exchange shops are everywhere and sometimes one next to each other, often offering better rates than banks. AFEX is a good option. They exchange any currency, although registration is required the first time for exchanging cheques and cash amounts higher than US$3,000. For smaller amounts, an ID card or passport will be required. 

 

Pick ups


Pick up at airports will be upon arrival of your flight, that’s why it is so important to have the most accurate and updated flight information and inform your contact numbers if there is a last-minute change of schedule or flight. If you booked a transfer, your guide or driver will be waiting for you with a sign and your name, outside the baggage claim area.  If you want to take a taxi on your own, we strongly recommend using the official counters at the airport. Please take care if people posing as airport workers offer to help you when you can’t find your appointed driver and of taking just any taxi at the airport, several scams have been reported.

 

Medical attention

 

Any foreign consulate can provide a list of area doctors who speak English. If you get sick, consider asking your hotel concierge to recommend a local doctor — even his or her own. Get in contact with your travel / medical insurance.

 

Travel insurance

 

We strongly recommend that you purchase insurance. Travel insurance helps protect against unforeseen emergencies which can occur at any time. It also helps protect you against other circumstances like travel delay, lost or stolen baggage and personal items, missed connections and so much more.

 

What to include in your luggage

 

Everything will depend on the time of year in which you visit the city. 

If you come in the fall or spring, the ideal is to pack fresh clothes and the multiuse jacket Besides that, packing comfortable shoes is vital, since Santiago is a city where you walk a lot.

If you visit in the winter months, remember to bring a warmer coat, some scarves and gloves. Finally, if you choose the summer months, it will be very important that you bring sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses.

A daily pack to wander the city will be really useful during your trip!

 

Where to go for a run?

 

Running is getting more and more popular throughout the world. Because the streets are not designed for running, the best places to run in Santiago tend to be the parks like Parque Forestal, Cerro San Cristobal, and Parque O’Higgins. Some neighborhoods, like Vitacura, have a decent road running.

Where to meditate?

 

We recommend going at sunset to Cerro San Cristobal, with an altitude of 880 meters above sea level is the second highest point of the city and the view is beautiful.

Where to watch the sunset?

 

San Cristobal hill in different spots… Such Mirador el Hundimiento. Also at the top of the hill.

We could also go to Hill Manquehue and Manquehuito this is quite a hike, above 1300 masl, so even it’s easy if you are a trekker make sure you a fit enough and wear good shoes. Ask for directions as its a bit abandoned 

For sunset or sunrise stay by the Puente de los enamorados in Providencia. 

 

 

 

Sustainability

Local Businesses

 

  • Eco Mercado Yungay

Ecological and organic alternatives in the heart of Santiago. The first Sunday of each month you will be able to find organic fruits and vegetables, products for vegans, coeliacs, diabetics, healthy pastries, cosmetics and natural medicine, recycling, home-grown plants and much more, in addition to different talks and workshops related to sustainability.

Adresse: Libertad 455-499, Santiago de Chile. 

 

  • Organic Market – Plaza Perú

Wednesdays and Saturdays. Food, cosmetics, toys and many more natural products.

Adresse: Isidora Goyenechea 3051, Las Condes, Santiago de Chile. 

 

  • Ecological Market of Santiago 1

A space for small producers and food health.

Adresse: Santo Domingo 1240-1300, Santiago de Chile.

 

  • Ecological Market of Santiago 2

Healthy food, mainly organic and natural products, in bulk. They do not use plastic and we reuse the containers. – cereals – grains – legumes – spices foods – candies – chocolates – pastries – bakery – juices. 

Adresse: Santo Domingo 1240-1300, Santiago de Chile.

 

  • Green Fair in Chile

It dedicates the exhibition to ecological products for the house and a wide variety in natural biocosmetics, special to make a different, alternative and more natural gift to the mothers in their day. Organic seaweed creams, aloe vera, donkey milk, cannabis sativa, snail slime, nettle, rosemary, grapes, honey, bath salts and virgin milks. In addition to finding aromatherapy, natural wools, portable vegetable gardens for apartments, reusable diapers and biodegradable cleaning products. You can also find organic wines, artisan beers, goat cheeses, chutneys, honeys, infusions, candies, chocolates, organic Colombian coffee, quiches and vegetarian empanadas.

Days and times: Itinerant dates.

 

 

How to Help

 

  • Chile Sustentable

The Sustainable Chile Program is an initiative of environmental organizations, activists, academics, professionals and citizens committed to changing the current development paradigm in Chile. It was created in 1997 with the aim of promoting the development of a citizen proposal for the social, political and economic transformation of Chile from the current model towards a development based on sustainability criteria.

You can learn more about this project here.

 

 

  • We love Cities

Santiago has an energy strategy that aims to reduce GHG emissions 30% by 2030. To meet it, the city is focusing on integrated waste management and carefully monitoring municipal and communal carbon footprints. Santiago is also making citizen participation a top priority. By 2030, the city plans to involve its citizens in local energy management – and will invite them, as well as all relevant parties, to participate in shaping energy projects, plans and programs. All together now!

You can learn more about this project here.

 

  • Huella Chile

Huella Chile is an initiative that seeks to promote the quantification, reporting and management of corporate GHG emissions in the public and private sectors. This initiative has its origin in the Ministry of the Environment and has the support and funding of the European Commission, the Government of Germany and the Government of Australia. This program gives recognition to the participating organizations, which are divided into 4 levels, ranging from the quantification of carbon footprint to the declaration of excellence. Green Solutions delivers all its experience to organizations so that they can successfully participate in the Chile Footprint Program.

You can learn more about this project here.

 

Sustainability tips

  • Take your reusable bag with you when you go shopping.
  • Choose the consumption of local products from artisans and small producers.
  • Travel the city by bike or on foot, it is healthy and does not leave a carbon footprint.
  • When you go on an excursion, ask for food without plastic wrap.
  • Don’t leave trash in nature.
  • Take a reusable bottle with you to carry water in restaurants.
  • Don’t feed native fauna.
  • Use rechargeable batteries and batteries.

 

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