Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city, sits in a valley surrounded by the snow-capped Andes and the Chilean Coast Range. Plaza de Armas, the grand heart of the city’s old colonial core, is home to 2 neoclassical landmarks: the 1808 Palacio de la Real Audiencia, housing the National History Museum, and the 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral. La Chascona is the home-turned-museum of poet Pablo Neruda.
How to get to Santiago
Santiago has a large international airport so a multitude of airlines including domestic and international can be found here.
We arrived in Santiago via SKY Airlines from Punta Arenas.
Getting to Santiago from the airport –
Taxi - It will take around 20-30 minutes depending on traffic. There are public taxis available outside the airport terminal. Ensure you only take a metered and official taxi.
Private Transfers – There are various companies such as Suntransfers or Transfer Delfos. These companies will offer various pricing options from price per person to a private car hire. Individual tickets are required to wait until the vehicle fills up a car before departure. This is a door to door service.
Uber – Uber allows you to pay via your Uber account so you don’t have to worry about getting your money out. Uber also gives you an estimate on the fare and it’s pretty accurate.
Where to stay in Santiago
There are loads for areas to stay in Santiago, here is a quick breakdown of areas:
Metropolitana – Busy area close to centre - young professional areas.
Bellavista – Trendy area, lots of bars and clubs – good for night life.
Providencia – Large spread out area, big shopping centres.
We stayed in a central location in the heart of Metropolitana. It was a short walk to Castilo Hadilgo, Plaza de armas and San Christobal Hill.
During our initial stay we opted for an Airbnb apartment as we were staying for a week and preferred cooking facilities. There are plenty of super markets within a few minutes’ walk in Metropolitana.
We also stayed in a hostel in Plaza de Armas, this was located in the main square so was a fantastic base to visit Bellavista and the historic buildings in the centre such as the cathedrals and museums.
The downside to staying on Plaza de Armas was the noise! Its a great place for tourists, to watch street performers and party but be mindful that the noise levels don't die down here until well after midnight… not good when you have an early morning flight!
Things to do in Santiago with children
What we did here is similar to what we do in most big cities, grab a hop on/off bus tour map and walk the routes instead of just sitting on the bus. We spread our walking tour out over a few day so not to over exhaust ourselves and to take in all the sites properly.
We visited the following places
Patio Bellavista – Centre of the entertainment area. Full of bars, restaurants, night clubs.
Funicular – Cable car station to Santiago zoo and San Cristobel Hill. The tram takes you up a steep hill, 30 meters above the city where the views are truly amazing. You will see people visiting the church here or just hanging out under the statue of San Cristobel taking in the view.
San Cristobel hill - About 300 m above the rest of Santiago; the peak is the second highest point in the city, after Cerro Renca. Cerro San Cristobel was named by the Spanish conquistadors for St Christopher, in recognition of its use as a landmark.
Plaza de Armas – Heart of Santiago. You can visit Cathedral Metropolitan de Santiago and Museo Historico Nacional as well as other national and historic buildings.
Cerro Santa Lucía – This is a small hill in the centre of Santiago, it is the remnant of a 150 million year old volcano. Inside there are various monuments and the view from the top of the city is truly something to see.
Provedencia – This area is quite spread out and had a lot of shopping and restaurants.
Costanera Centre / Sky Costanera - Tallest building in South America. Definitely worth taking in the views ffrom here.