Flights to Santiago
Get to know Santiago
Use our city guide to get your bearings and find out more about the city.
Get to know Santiago
The best way to discover this constantly changing metropolis is to walk around the various districts and neighbourhoods.
Most government activities take place in Santiago's downtown area (El Centro), which is home to La Moneda (the presidential palace), Plaza de Armas and the Judicial and Executive Branches. This area also boasts numerous museums and pedestrian malls.
Districts such as Providencia, Las Condes and Vitacura offer a dazzling array of businesses, shops and restaurants as well as a bustling nightlife.
Bellavista offers the perfect combination of fine food, arts and entertainment. Choose from one of the dozens of incredible restaurants that line streets like Constitución and Loreto, and then take in one of the neighbourhood's cultural or recreational events.
Though all big cities are dominated by concrete to some degree, Santiago is home to several imposing green spaces. For example, Parque Metropolitano, also known as Cerro San Cristóbal, is visible from most of the city. You can get to the top on foot, by bike or by car or take a refurbished cable car.
Don't miss the opportunity to taste some of Chile's best wines and tour the vineyards that are now enveloped by the city. Other great daytrip options are Pirque, a neighbouring village in the Andean foothills, and the Maipo Valley, where you can enjoy nature, sample local food, pick up some souvenirs and find a place to spend a few nights near the banks of the Maipo River.
Santiago is also located near many attractions such as the beach house of poet Pablo Neruda, Isla Negra, ski resorts located around 60 km from the city, spots in the Andean foothills like Cajón del Maipo, the port of Valparaíso, which is about an hour from Santiago, and Viña del Mar and other summer resorts on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Options for enjoying the mountains and sea are always right at your fingertips in Santiago.
Things to do in Chile
Leave the city for adventure, mountains, wildlife and remote islands. Here’s a few suggestions.
Things to do in Chile
Once you've ticked off the sprawling city of Santiago and the charming port city of Valparaíso and taken a wine tour through the Casablanca Valley, it's time to see more of this idiosyncratic country.
Northern Chile is home to the world's most arid desert and its salt flats, hot springs and geysers as well as large deposits of copper and other minerals and mines. Both Incan and Spanish influences can be seen in its villages and religious festivities, which attract visitors throughout the year.
Your visit to spots like San Pedro de Atacama will allow you to view valuable vestiges of native cultures at archaeological sites and museums.
Near Copiapó, the desert becomes fertile thanks to the camancha, a mist that rises from the sea and allows for life to bloom in impressive natural reserves like the Pan de Azúcar and Fray Jorge National Parks.
While northern Chile is known for its mining, it's also home to a number of astronomical observatories. The most impressive - Cerro Paranal and the Alma Project -confirm the region's status as a land of magical discovery.
It is easy to lose yourself in this area, which is roughly the size of Britain (240,000 km2) but has a less than one inhabitant per km2. Over 50% of Chilean Patagonia is a Protected Wilderness Area. Here, it's just you and the wild nature that serves as a backdrop to such diverse activities as fly-fishing, trekking, cycling, mountain climbing, rafting, kayaking and horseback riding.
The region's surprises include the vastness of the Ice Field that gives way to majestic glaciers and the splendour of mountains like Torres del Paine, San Valentín and Cerro Castillo. You also will be dazzled by the colour and scale of General Carrera and O'Higgins Lakes, the vigour of the Baker, Palena and Futaleufú Rivers and the huge maze of fjords and canals that are home to dolphins and whales.
If you're interested in skiing South America's best slopes, travel 40 km east of downtown Santiago towards the Andes. Some of the most famous ski resorts quickly come into view as you leave the city. Take a 5-day ski tour of El Colorado, La Parva and Valle Nevado. All of them have hotels, restaurants, equipment rental and ski slopes for everyone from beginners to experts who might even prefer off-piste skiing.
Easter Island, or Hanga Roa as it is called in the local indigenous language, is one of the most exotic places in Chile. It sits at the same latitude as Caldera, but is thousands of miles from the coast. Its indigenous culture has been admired for centuries for erecting massive stone monuments called moais over 800 years ago. These stone statues are scattered over a volcanic landscape surrounded by beautiful beaches. Here at the "navel of the world," indigenous culture informs the décor and offerings of first-rate hotels and fine dining.
Getting to and around Santiago
The best way to enjoy Santiago is on foot, but there are lots of other options to get around.
Getting to and around Santiago
From the airport
Qantas flies into Santiago four times a week arriving at Santiago International Airport. If you are staying in Santiago, you'll need to take an official taxi (be careful of touts) or an organised private transfer. Buses are not an easy option.
In and around the city
If you want to travel by bus or metro look for Transantiago, a quick, cheap and efficient way to get around central Santiago. The Transantiago website has downloadable route maps and a point-to-point journey planner.
You'll need a tarjeta Bip! (a contact-free card you wave over sensors). You pay a non-refundable CH$2700 for a card, and then 'charge' it with as much money as you want. Two people can share a card, and they also work on the metro. Transantiago charges CH$720 during rush hour (7am to 9am and 6pm to 8pm) and CH$640 the rest of the time. One fare allows you two hours in the system, including multiple transfers.
Now part of Transantiago, the city's ever-expanding metro is a clean and efficient way of getting about. To get on the trains, head underground. You can use your BIP card or purchase a one-way fare. Pass through the turn-styles and head for your line. It's a fine way to get around during the day, but during the morning and evening rush, you may prefer to walk.
Santiago has abundant metered taxis, all black with yellow roofs. Flagfall costs CH$250, then it's CH$120 per 200m (or minute of waiting time). For longer rides - from the city centre out to the airport, for example - you can sometimes negotiate flat fares. It's generally safe to hail cabs in the street, though hotels and restaurants will happily call you one, too. Most Santiago taxi drivers are honest, courteous and helpful, but a few will take roundabout routes, so try to know where you're going. Taxis Colectivos are black with roof signs indicating routes (you'll share the ride, which generally costs CH$1000-1500).
Driving in Santiago and beyond is a great way to get around and plan your own itinerary. Car hire is easily organised.
* Prices based on payment at qantas.com by BPAY. For card payments on international bookings at qantas.com, add A$30 for credit/charge cards or A$10 for debit/prepaid cards including Qantas Cash®, per passenger per booking. For card payments on domestic and Trans-Tasman bookings at qantas.com, add A$7 for credit/charge Cards or A$2.50 for debit/prepaid cards per passenger per booking. For Points Plus Pay bookings, immediate payment by card is required, and no card payment fee applies when using a Debit Card. Also add A$60 per passenger for international bookings or $35 for domestic or trans-Tasman bookings made on 13 13 13, and through Qantas airport locations. Agents may charge service fees and/or fees for card payments which vary. Prices may fluctuate if carrier charges, fees, taxes or currency change. Prices are one way or return as specified.
** Prices are per night based on twin share and include all fees and taxes. The applicable fee can be viewed on the payment page before your confirm your booking.
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POPULATION6.3 Million (2012)
CURRENCYChilean Peso (CLP)
110 V / 60 Hz
Santiago has four very distinctive seasons. Expect temperatures ranging from 0 to 12°C in the winter and often exceeding 30°C during the summer months. Plus don’t be surprised to experience 15-20°C fluctuations in a single day.
Tradition lives in Chile
The Atacama desert; the driest desert on earth
Meet the local llamas
Off-piste skiing adventures await
Mountain biking for the adventurous
Get up close with great natural scenes
Enjoy the great outdoors and mountain scenery
Enjoy skiing for every ability
See incredible wildlife up close
Wine tasting in Valle de Casablanca
Explore the icebergs in Patagonia