Find all the travel tips to plan the perfect trip to Santiago , the beautiful capital of Chile
We have prepared this guide with valuable and objective information so that you can enjoy the best of the destination at the lowest cost.
Chile – An Introduction
Seen on a map, the shape of Chile is one of the most different of the world.
Its fantastic extension that borders the 4000 km long associated with a width of only 180 km make the country house of an unique geographical reality.
While the rock and ice barrier formed by the Andes mountain range separates the country from Argentina, the Atacama Desert, arid range of 1000 kilometers separates the north Peru.
It is a country different in its essence, especially in comparison to other countries in South America.
Are the remote and beautiful landscapes that attract tourists to Chile, which has much of the country covered area of vast natural areas almost completely unspoilt.
Few countries enjoy such amazing contrasts ranging from the driest desert in the world the immense icefields and millenary glaciers.
In the midst of these extremes, visitors find such amazing attractions as, like sunny closed, the magnificent vineyards and orchards, the virgin temperate forests and fjords and icy landscapes of Patagonia.
You can enjoy these natural beauties the way you choose, because Chile offers attractions and structure for all types of travelers and all budgets.
Oh, and this may even be your first trip to Chile, but certainly not the last.
We separated a number of useful tips for your trip.
Entry in Chile
Many bureaucratic procedures have been eliminated with the advent of Mercosur and today Brazilians and people from Mercosul countries do not need more than an identity document to enter Chile.
We remember that the identity document is the RG , and other documents such as driver’s license, birth certificate and social security numbers not accepted.
There is no requirement to have any vaccinations to enter Chile and the country boasts excellent health conditions.
However, do not travel to Chile without your health insurance. For all information and hire your health insurance here.
When to visit Santiago
Chile is located in South America, it can be visited every month and has well defined seasons.
So, understand what are the characteristics of each of the seasons to define the best time for your trip.
In summer it is very hot in Santiago from December to February, with average temperatures of 30 degrees. If you are planning a trip to this time, knows to take light clothing and schedule quiet walks.
From March the lower temperatures, and are between 10 and 20 ° C. By the way, this is the average temperature in March, April, October and November.
In winter it is very cold, including freezing temperatures, being July, the height of the season of winter sports in Chile.
Winter is the most expensive period and more full of tourists, especially with the start of ski season, which usually occurs in the second half of July and extends until the beginning of September.
Santiago Airport to the city center
The Santiago International Airport, also known by the acronym SCL, or also Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport or Pudahuel Airport, is situated 25 km away from the center of the city.
This is the main airport in Santiago and it operates international routes and some national routes as well.
There are several options to make the trip between the airport of Santiago and the city center and you should choose according to your financial availability and also think of the time spent on the way. The good news is that there are options for all travelers and budgets.
There are three main transport between the airport and downtown Santiago: the taxi, the shuttle and the bus.
We will make a detailed analysis of each of them so that you make a conscious choice.
The best way of getting from the airport to the center is the taxi, however, it is also the most expensive.
There are different types of taxis and you will find them as soon as you leave the airport. Our suggestion is that you ignore the harassment of taxi drivers and choose the official taxis, to avoid potential problems.
Look for the counter of the official taxi and pay the standard value – it can be paid with credit card. Then just find accredited drivers of the taxi company and board.
In addition to the official taxis, we also indicated the company Transvip, wich offers taxi service ans also private and shared transfers.
The trip costs between 18 to 22 thousand pesos, lasts about 20 minutes and the fare varies according to the location of your hosting.
The taxi becomes an excellent option if you are more than two passengers , because the value of the division comes out more into account the shared transfer.
This is an excellent option for travelers who do not want to bear the high costs of a taxi, but at the same time want to have the comfort of being left on the doorstep . This is undoubtedly a comfortable and relatively inexpensive option.
Companies Transvip and Delfos operate the way between the airport and center and they have regular departures. You can book in advance and avoid queuing or buy the way at the airport.
The two companies operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year and you can find them both in the central hall of the airport and in the domestic and international arrival area.
The value of the transfer is 7 thousand pesos per passenger and the journey lasts about 40, and may take longer depending on the number of passengers and the transfer route.
You can also hire a private transfer that costs 26,400 Chilean pesos. This is an excellent option for groups or families with more than 4 people and the transfer holds up to 7 passengers.
Tip: If you book on the internet you will have a 10% discount in the first race . It is practical and safe, just visit the site!
Two companies operate the route from Santiago to downtown airport, going through some terminals and subway stations.
They are exclusive bus route from the airport to the center and the buses have air conditioning.
This is the most economical option for your trip, and the journey takes about 45 minutes and is cheaper if you buy round- trip tickets.
The Turbus and Centropuerto perform the way every 20 minutes and the cost rates in 1600 and 2800 one way and round trip respectivly
The bus stops in front of the gate 5, and operate 20 to 20 minutes from 5 am to midnight, and during the night, there are buses every hour.
The Centropuerto makes the following stops:
Airport – Heroes
1) Metro Los Heroes (central square) 2) Central station (Alt. 3.400 against Notaría) 3) Metro University of Santiago 4) Metro Toro manzote 5) Metro grilles 6) terminal Metro birdies 7) ENEA 8) Airport 3rd Level
Airport – Heroes
1) Airport 1st Level 2) Metro Barrancas 3) Metro Terminal Pajaritos 4) Metro grilles 5) San Alberto Hurtado 6) Metro Universidad de Santiago 7) Metro Central Station 8) Metro Union Latinoamericana 9) Metro Republic (After 21 hrs .) 10) Metro Los Heroes (Central Plazoleta)
Turbus makes stops at the metro station Universidad de Santiago – Metro station Las Rejase Pajaritos subway station.
Keep in mind which company is the best stop for you, because the two companies are different paths.
This is a good option only for travelers who want to do some traveling with the vehicle because the car is not a recommended transportation option in Santiago.
How many days stay in Santiago
Santiago is an amazing destination for those who have limited vacation time and want to enjoy international travel.
With three days it is possible to see many of the tourist attractions of Santiago, although it is better to separate four days just to see the city.
If you want to visit wineries add another day to visit the Valle Casablanca.
If you want to know Valparaíso and ViñA del Mar, add another day extra to the itinerary.
Thus, one complete trip to Santiago including a visit to their surroundings requires between 6 to 7 days.
Where to stay in Santiago
Are you planning a trip to Santiago and does not know in which neighborhood to stay?
Do not worry, we wrote this post to help you with a detailed Santiago’s neighborhood analysis and lodging suggestions for each area.
But first, you should know that Santiago, the capital of Chile, has 26 districts, and each has its specific features. Some of these districts are good areas for tourists and others do not.
To decide the best option for your trip read our post and check what are the areas most suitable to stay according to your profile.
Downtown – Centro Santiago
The center of Santiago is close to many of the tourist attractions of Santiag and it is situated in a very busy shopping area.
This area of the city is located between the Mapocho River and the Alameda and was the place where the Spanish conquers arrived and began to build the city surrounding the Plaza de Armas.
Because it is a historic district, the center of Santiago is a good area to stay, but do not expect originality or charm.
We stayed 4 nights in the center of Santiago in an interesting region, near to the subway station and enjoyed the experience. It was easy to walk to most attractions and also find restaurants and supermarkets in the vicinity of our apartment.
However, we had a 2 – night experience in Bellas Artes before traveling to the Atacama Desert and we can say that the neighborhood is much nicer than the center.
But if you are looking for a practical and inexpensive lodging option, you shoulf know that this region will be the most suitable for you!
We stayed 2 nights in Bellas Artes before traveling to the Atacama Desert and we just loved the neighborhood.
This area is close to the Museum of Fine Arts – Museu Bellas Artes, Museum of Contemporary Art – Museu de Arte Contemporanea, Lastarria, Cerro Santa Lucía, Florestal Park and more.
It is a residential area, but there is a good range of hotels and apartments on Airbnb available.
Lastarria is close to Bellas Artes and is also one of the regions most pleasant and charming to stay in Santiago.
The neighborhood has several options of restaurants, bars, shops, galleries and cafes and is one of the city’s gems.
There are lots of boutique hotels there and if you prioritize comfort and charm you should pick an accommodation in Lastarria without thinking twice,
This is a neighborhood very tourist friendly and is located in the central region, wich means you can walk and get around by subway to all other attractions in the city.
Bellavista is considered the coolest neighborhood of Santiago, and it is where the greatest restaurants, bars and artistic interventions are.
It’s a neighborhood with a young and bohemian atmosphere and is also super colorful because of the graffiti that are scattered there.
There you will find Cerro San Cristóbal, the Patio Bella Vista, Pablo Neruda House and many other attractions.There are also many street fairs in the region.
The neighborhood suffers from a lack of subway stations, but you can use this public transport with a short walk through the Pio Nono Bridge.
No doubt, a great location to stay in Santiago.
Providencia is a neighborhood very interesting and is located in central Santiago.
The Vitacura Avenue is one of the highlights of Providencia and it has beautiful buildings and impeccable landscaping.
No doubt, it is a great area to stay in Santiago.
Vitacura and Las Condes
These are the most sophisticated and modern neighborhoods in Santiago , where the rich people lives and visits.
Headquarters of the classy shops, restaurants and beautiful parks, Vitacura and Las Condes are interesting areas for staying.
There you will find several upscale hotels and also a business environment. However, they are a bit further away from the main tourist attractions, but nothing that a subway ride can not solve.
Recoleta and Patronato
These regions are near to the Bellavista neighborhood, however, are they dominated by immigrants.
There, you will find restaurants and Asian shops, and also shops from the Middle East and also from other Latin countries.
It is a neighborhood without tourist appeal and that is why it is not the best lodging option in Santiago.
What to do and see in Santiago
Are you planning a trip to Santiago and want to know what to do there?
In this post you will find a summary – actually, a complete list – of the best tourist attractions in Santiago.
Find out what the capital of Chile has to offer!
Plaza de Armas
The Plaza de Armas is located in the busiest area of the city of Santiago and has always represented the civic center of the city.
This square has been called Plaza Mayor and is the ground zero of Chile, housing the main architectural symbols of the colonial era, as the Correo Central, the City and the Metropolitan Cathedral, considered the main Catholic church in the country.
In the Plaza de Armas you will find several attractions like the Central Post Office, Santiago Cathedral and the National Historical Museum. You can also visit the tourist information center to get maps and information.
Mercado Central – Central Market
The Central Market is one of the most iconic attractions of Santiago, as it represents the soul of the local people.
There you will find many stalls selling fresh fish and in the center of the market there is a kind of hall that preserves some restaurants specializing in fish and seafood.
It is a must do in Santiago, especially if you want to taste typical Chilean food!
Bairro Paris London
The district Paris London is located in the central area of Santiago , but you will have the impression that you have been “teleported” to Europe, as the main feature of this site is the European architectural style and its winding narrow streets tiles.
Many travellers miss the opportunity to visit this iconic neighborhood, but this is one of the most charming corners of Santiago and undoubtedly worth a visit.
The name of the neighborhood is due to the intersection of Calle Paris to London in full South American metropolis. Amazing, is not it?
A good tip is to start the tour at the Iglesia de San Francisco and follow the narrow streets to your right. This way you can experience the best of this incredible region.
The Bairro Italy offers options for all tastes and budgets and, despite being an area with modern trends, it still preserves much of its originality and tradition.
This neighborhood began to flourish in 1910 when an Italian family opened a hat factory making other trades began to migrate to the area . Since then the area has grown and today boasts of its range of cultural attractions such as museums, galleries, shops vintages, small businesses and restaurants.
The region also stands as cool gastronomic center of Santiago, with the hippest restaurant is Russian Olivié(Rancagua 396). The Da Noi, very traditional Italian neighborhood is a great option. For a snack, the indication is Café Survenir (Avenue Italy 1485).
Be sure to explore the Bustamante Park and stroll through its extension. A good idea is to stop at Café Literary Bustamante for a coffee.
Museum of Fine Arts and Museum of Contemporary Art
Santiago has many artistic attractions , and the Museum of Fine Arts and the MAM stand out in this panorama.
You may not even be a super expert in history of art, but the fact is that these two museums are must – see attractions and can not stay out of your script. To access the full post about the museums click here.
Light, charming and with many interesting exhibitions. That is how we define these two amazing museums in the heart of Santiago we visited on the second day of the Santiago itinerary – to access the full post click here.
Cerro Santa Lucía
The capital of Chile has some hills that are called “cerros” and the Santa Lucia is located in a central area of the city and has an amazing urban park. This all with a panoramic view of the city and the Andes!
We visit the Cerro Santa Lucía on our second day in the city of Santiago. To access the complete itinerary click here.
The best way to visit the cerro is entering the access Av. Alameda, opposite Santa Lucia subway station and get off at the other end, specifically in Calle Merced.
There is plenty to visit the Cerro like mirate, the Neptune Fountain, the Castle Hidalgo and more. To access the full post on the Cerro Santa Lucía click here.
Cerro San Cristóbal
The Cerro stands out for its excellent panoramic view of the city and the imposing statue of the Virgin Mary. It is undoubtedly a must – see tourist attraction in the city.
With an altitude of 880 meters and a prominence of 280 m, is the second highest point of the city, surpassed only by the Renca hill.
The attraction is so important to the city that Pope John Paul II visited the hill on your trip to Santiago. It’s like a Catholic church in the city.
Parque Bicentenario – Bicentennial Park
Santiago is a city with many parks and all of them are ideal for walking, jogging or cycling.
The Bicentenario Park, has several leisure options and is beautiful and is located in the city center.
Modern Bicentennial Park – the name refers to the 200th anniversary of Chilean independence – has several different and modern super toys, trails for running and walking with safe drinking water, equipment for gymnastics and summer umbrellas available to its visitors.
In addition, there are several sculptures around the park , be sure to admire them all.
A real peaceful oasis in the center of Santiago, Lastarria is the perfect place to take a quiet walk at any time of day.
The busy neighborhood hunts, where every corner has a story, you will find several dining options, art and design .
When walking calmly through the area, be sure to take a look at the Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro , where is the Museum of Visual Arts.
To visit Lastarria is a “must do” for those who enjoy good food, because there different cuisines coexist in harmony to satisfy all culinary tastes.
Lastarria is also a great showcase for Chilean productions, whether in design, the clothing, accessories and objects and also converges with art, books and music. It is one of the most bohemian and charming places in Santiago and conquer visitors with its narrow streets in European style.
A must-see program for anyone traveling to Santiago is to visit the wineries of Valle Casablanca.
The Valle Casablanca stands out for its production of wines Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as it provides excellent conditions for planting and cultivation of grapes.
The Valley is home to wineries internationally recognized and one of them is Emiliana, a wine organic located just 50 minutes from Santiago. To access the full post with all the information about the Winery Emiliana click here.
The Emiliana winery has been internationally recognized for its respected production process of organic and biodynamic wines.
At the winery is possible to make various types of tour to get to know all organic process installed in the production and also know the gardens of the property.
You can visit the Emiliana rental car, tour or bus. For all the details on how to get in the Winery Emiliana click here.
Bellavista is one of the most representative neighborhoods and picturesque city and stands out among other neighborhoods famous for its bohemian life.
The Bellavista neighborhood has become a special district with the perfect blend of cuisine , art and entertainment.
A quarter of the exponents is just Patio Bellavista, which opened in January 2006 and soon became one of the attractions most sought Santiago. About 40% of your audience is tourists!
There are about twenty bars, cafes and restaurants on site and you can choose according to your taste and pocket.
Many are traditional among tourists and Chileans and others are new. The important thing is to walk well before deciding their restaurant the night.
Go prepared to spend a bit more compared to area restaurants, but know that the investment is well worth it!
Getting around in Santiago
There is no denying. The subway is the best way to get around Santiago as it is efficient, comfortable and cheap.
The structure of the Santiago subway is the second best in Latin America , has 108 stations, 5 lines (1, 2, 4, 4A and 5) and 103 kilometers long.
Although not cover all areas of the city, it is possible to access most of the tourist attractions through the subway network . So you can book a taxi for hours and special destinations.
Check here the map of the subway network and program.
What currency to take to Santiago
A recurring question of the travelers is on what currency to take for a trip to Chile.
One thing is certain: not worth buying Chilean pesos in your country because the rates will always be unfavorable.
For those who wish to travel with “cash” should take US dolars or euros.
Where to exchange currency in Santiago
We exchanged our real – in March 2016 the best option was to take real – the Exchange Santiago , which is in the Providence neighborhood.
The station nearest metro agency is Pedro Valdivia and the opening hours are Monday to Friday from 10:00 to 18:00 hrs and Saturday from 10:00 to 13:30 hrs. Address: Av. Pedro de Valdivia 29, Santiago, Providencia
However, there are good options in Paseo Ahumada in the center of Santiago and also in Calle Augustinas.
Avoid exchange at the airport, unless you get Saturday from 16 hours or Sunday because the center of the branches will be closed. If you need to exchange the airport, change enough for the time until the next business day when you do exchange in the center.
Worth making withdrawals in local currency at ATMs?
This is an option that is only worthwhile if you have a bank account that allows make withdrawals without tariffs abroad.
Santander, HSBC and Citibank offer this type of service without charging fees, but you should make sure you have this benefit before leaving home.
If, nevertheless, want to serve in Chile, the best option is to take a good amount, to dilute the costs of the fee.