One of the most vibrant, cultured, international and sophisticated cities in the world, Santiago rightly holds the reputation of Chile’s most important city and the largest too. No longer considered a conservative municipal, Santiago embraces the Chilean spirit, cementing itself as the hub of good food, even better wine, and appreciators of art and literature.
Situated between where the Andes meets the Chilean Coast Range, Santiago lives in a scenic central valley, that boasts views of snow-covered mountains and close proximity to the country’s finest wineries. Whether you marvel at the captivating architecture by day, gaze at the sunset as the light glows across the landscape at dusk, or hop between the pulsating nightspots by dark, there is something uniquely alluring about Santiago to entice every type of traveller.
Flying to Santiago is extremely easy and affordable; there is such a diverse range of carriers that travel directly into the heart of Chile, offering affordable, cheap airfares all year round directly into Santiago. Beneficial to a worldly trip, there are many different routes you can take to get there, which allows you to reach Santiago from any point of your travels. Here are the airlines who offer affordable and easy flights into Santiago: -
As the largest and busiest airport in Chile, Santiago’s Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, which is also known as Santiago de Chile Airport or Pudahuel Airport, is an important hub in the country. The airport spans many levels, so it can become easy to get lost if you aren’t sure where you are going. Over four levels you will find duty free shopping, parking and transportations options, flight lounges, restaurants, and cafes.
Downtown Santiago is roughly forty-five minutes away from the airport, and travellers are welcomed with many options to get them there. Readily available from just outside the terminal is the taxi stand Via Controlada, which is highly regulated to ensure you are given an honest experience with both metred and fixed fare rides. Car rentals are just as popular in Santiago and can be arranged at the airport for pick up and drop off. Leaving directly from the terminal is two alternate bus services, which are specific routes from the airport.
Black and yellow taxis are littered across the city, offering both metred and flat fares to wherever you would like to go. However, it is essential to be vigilant during your ride, ideally by following a map, as the drivers are prone to taking travellers on the scenic route through the city.
Santiago offers an easy to navigate, and extremely clean, metro system, that attracts most of the locals daily. Six lines link together, and there are plans to add more as the city grows. As the metro closes in the evening, the local bus routes are ever-popular, especially to handle the overflow from the train network. Rideshare apps, like Uber, are available but aren’t well established in Santiago, so it is advised to opt for the conventional transport methods when you are there.
Before you indulge in the immense Chilean culture, Santiago’s natural backdrop provides you with remarkable and captivating views from all across the city. At the top of San Cristobal Hill, in the area of Bellavista, you will instantly fall in love with the expansive botanical gardens, before cooling off in two of the outdoor swimming pools as you gaze over the 14ft Virgin Mary statue that quietly guards the city. Despite this impressive view, the viewpoint at the top of Torres Costanera dwarfs everything else; standing 300m high, Sky Costanera Observatory is the perfect place to soak in the beautiful architecture and the integration between the unique land and civilisation.
During the day, visit one of Santiago’s three significant historical museums; the first is the Museum of Memory and Human Rights, which provides travellers with an intimate insight into Santiago’s life under the regime of Pinochet. Visit the former home of Pablo Neruda, Chile’s poet, and politician who was bestowed the Nobel Prize in literature in 1971, situated on the hill of Barrio Bellavista. Finally, but certainly not least, embrace centuries of inspiration and expression at the Chilean Museum of Pre Colombian art, and marvel at the country’s most moving exhibitions.
Being so close to the Chilean coast, seafood is in abundance in Santiago; while most restaurants offer the delicacy as a feature of their menus, you cannot pass up the freshly caught seafood at the local markets, La Vega Central being the most popular in the city. It may come as a surprise, but most travellers don’t realise how renowned Santiago is for its love of sweets, and even more so for its impressive artisan flare. The Lastarria neighbour is the most famous for finding dessert, with locals flocking to Emporia La Rosa for Ice Cream, and Bloom for its sweet treats.
No meal is complete without sampling the wines from the local vintages, the most popular bottled being Merlot and Syrah. With almost every restaurant featuring the local nectar, the pastry chefs take a backseat to the surrounding winemakers.