Santiago is dynamic, historic and entertaining with its art galleries and theaters, colonial architecture and modern shopping districts. Nestled between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, the picturesque Chilean capital has a pleasant temperate climate year-round.
Santiago’s heart is Plaza de Armas, an animated square surrounded by historical monuments. Visit the Catedral de Santiago and the National History Museum, housed in the elegant Palacio de la Real Audiencia. Sit at a café terrace and observe street performers, artisans and preachers. Discover ancient Latin American cultures at the nearby Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino.
Walk along the pedestrianized commercial street Paseo Ahumada to the iconic Santiago Stock Exchange Building. Tour the Palacio de la Moneda and see the visual arts exhibitions at the Centro Cultural La Moneda. Browse the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural in Quinta Normal Park.
Escape the city’s bustle at Parque Forestal and visit the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. Sample local seafood, such as picocoros, at the Mercado Central. Explore the bohemian Bellavista neighborhood and visit La Chascona, the former home of the famous poet Pablo Neruda. Ride the funicular up to Cerro San Cristóbal for views of Santiago’s skyline and the Andes.
For more excellent views, climb Cerro Santa Lucía, where Pedro de Valdivia founded Santiago. See the nearby 16th-century Iglesia San Francisco and the Teatro Municipal de Santiago. The modern Providencia neighborhood is home to the mall and skyscrapers of the Costanera Center.
Santiago is a 2.5-hour drive from the Chilean coast and the border of Argentina. You can fly to Santiago Airport or take a long-distance bus from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil or Peru.
Although relatively wealthy for a Latin American city, Santiago still has poverty. Take all regular precautions to have an enjoyable experience without incidents. Purchase a Bip!-card to make the most of Santiago’s comprehensive public transport system. Don’t miss the mural by Mario Toral at the Universidad de Chile metro station, symbolizing Chile’s past oppression and newfound freedom of expression.