Speak to a travel expert: +1-877-240-4770

Santiago de Chile
Travel Guide


Plan for Santiago de Chile with Local Expertise

Get a Quote

Santiago de Chile at a glance

Santiago de Chile is a meeting of worlds. One of South America’s most developed cities, Santiago is a regional economic powerhouse bolstered by a colourful history that has resulted in a city where old meets new in the architecture, culture and geography of this Chilean metropolis. Founded in 1541 by Spanish conqueror Pedro de Valdivia, Santiago has been Chile’s capital since the colonial era, and is now home to 4.6m people, with a total of 7m people living in the greater metropolitan area. Situated in the Santiago Basin in Chile’s central valley, the city is ringed by several imposing mountain ranges which dominate the horizon. Among them is the Andes, which is as far away from one side of Santiago as the Pacific Ocean is from the other. Santiago’s location on the grippingly titled Pacific Ring of Fire puts it on the frontline of significant tectonic activity, making the city prone to earthquakes.

Our Santiago de Chile Travel Experts Recommend:

  • Cultural City Tour of Santiago
  • Day trip to Valparaiso & Viña del Mar
  • Isla Negra and Neruda's Museum
  • Winery Tour at Maipo Valley
  • Winery Tour Colchagua Valley
  • Classic Santiago City Tour
  • Casablanca Valley with Valparaiso
  • Santiago Like a Local
  • San Antonio Valley Wine Tour

Experiences around Santiago de Chile

What not to miss

Santiago displays a wealth of diverse architectural styles dating from different periods of its history. The historic core of the city, in particular the Plaza de Armas, is defined by its 19th century architecture and winding streets, which are interspersed with Art Deco, Neo Gothic and Spanish colonial edifices that make the downtown a visual delight to explore. This is contrasted with the high skyscrapers and glass towers that characterise the skyline of the Providencia Chile neighbourhood, as well as large swathes of green spaces such as the Parque Forestal, where locals exercise, gather with friends or attend one of the many cultural events put on by the city. Beyond the confines of the city, visitors will find the rolling vineyards of the Maipo Valley, the soaring peaks of the Andes and a plethora of outdoor activities to engage in, including skiing. Santiago holds the secrets of its past, such as dictatorships and invasions, side by side with its present to stand tall as one of South America’s most booming cities. Take a trip up to the statue of the Virgin Mary on Cerro San Cristobal to see spectacular vistas out over the city, head to the colourful Bellavista neighbourhood to indulge in some retail therapy, or dine out with some delicious local wine in the Bella Italia area. Santiago is a city for everyone, and this can be seen in the vast array of ethnicities that live together in this melting pot of culture, commerce and art.

Cultural City Tour of Santiago

This exciting excursion takes you to Santiago de Chile’s most famous attractions, as well as some less-known areas. We begin our tour at the Bernardo O’Higgins mall, located on Santiago’s main avenue and head straight to the government Palace at La Moneda, where the guide will explain the cultural significance and history of this gorgeous monument. We then enjoy a leisurely stroll through the Paseo Ahumada and Paseo Orphans in the business center of Santiago. The tour continues at Plaza de Armas, the city’s main plaza enclosed by phenomenal buildings such as the Metropolitan Cathedral. We then dive deeper into Santiago’s history and culture by visiting the Palacio Cousino Mansion, built between 1870 and 1878, the Palace of Fine Arts and the Pre-Colombian Art Museum, which holds an impressive collection of pre-Hispanic art. Crossing the Mapocho we finally visit Bellavista, the cultural and artistic district of Santiago. Bellavista is located at the foot of the Metropolitan Park San Cristobal, the highest mountain of the city.

Day trip to Valparaiso & Viña del Mar

Discover the magical wonders of the vast Casablanca valley, known for its extensive vineyards located right by the Pacific ocean and, of course, its sumptuous wine. Upon arrival, we will first visit the charming seaside town of Viña del Mar, dotted with pretty parks and floral ornaments. The tour then continues to the picturesque port of Valparaiso, founded in the 16th century, and whose city center was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003. The enchanting town is built over many hills, which are accessed by narrow streets, long stairways and a series of lifts. The tour ends with an optional visit of Pablo Neruda’s house, La Sebastiana, before returning to Santiago.

Isla Negra and Neruda's Museum

Set off on the curvaceous coastal road towards the provincial town of Pomaire. Admire the scenic scenery as you sink back into your comfortable seat, and then arrive at the town to delve into its craft and culture. Famed for its interesting clay sculptures and other handicrafts, Pomarie offers a spectacular selection of souvenirs for purchase. Browse small stalls bursting with artisan treasures before returning to the minivan to continue to the next destination. Venture to the charming seaside town of Isla Negra, where fragrant palm trees back a beautiful beach. Head straight to the former home of Pablo Neruda, the Nobel Prize for Literature winner, and discover the poet’s fascinating past. Marvel at the architectural eccentricity of the building before immersing yourself in the interesting exhibits within; see eclectic collections of memorabilia and fine examples of his work. Refresh and refuel with a traditional Chilean lunch, then time to relax during the journey back to Santiago.

Winery Tour at Maipo Valley

Drive to the Maipo Valley and the village of Pirque, famous for its production of red wine. The winery was founded in 1883 and is the largest exporter of Chilean wine. The tour includes a visit to the pretty gardens, the cellars and the plants themselves, some of which were planted by the original owner, Don Melchor Concha y Toro.

Winery Tour Colchagua Valley

The Colchagua Valley located at 2 ½ hrs from Santiago is known for the richness of its soils and the quality of its wines. Here it’s possible to visit the follo wing wineries; Viña Casa Silva, Estampa, Jacques & Francois Lurton, Laura Hartwig, Montes, Mont Gras, Viu Manent or Viña Bisquertt, depending on the day of the Our private service will transport you to the vast Colchagua valley, located approximately 2 hours and a half from Santiago and boasting rich soils and high-quality wines. Depending on the day of the tour, there is a large selection of successful wineries to visit, such as Viña Casa Silva, Jacques & François Lurton and Montes. The visit includes a wine testing session and a delicious lunch either in the Hotel Santa Cruz Plaza or in a local restaurant. After lunch, you many choose between a second visit to a different winery or a visit of the Colchagua museum, which has one of the largest collections of pre-Hispanic art in Chile as well as a significant display of artifacts from the Chilean colonial period.

Classic Santiago City Tour

Whisk around the highlights of Santiago, Chile’s colorful capital, on this half-day tour with your own private guide. Setting off from your hotel, you’ll explore the main streets of the historic center, passing by the Palacio de la Moneda (Government Palace). Next, you’ll arrive at Plaza de Armas, home to the gorgeous Cathedral, the Natural History Museum and the Central Post Office. Your guide will talk you through the history and significance of these highlights along the way. You’ll then continue to the scenic Parque Forestal and the Fine Arts Museum before wandering through the bright, bohemian district of Bellavista. It’s a great way to get your bearings in Santiago de Chile, giving you a real glimpse of city life along the way. You will finish your city tour with a trip to Cristobal Hill for a splendid view of the city.

Casablanca Valley with Valparaiso

This full-day excursion allows you to explore the stunning Casablanca Valley, known for its extensive vineyards and sumptuous wines. After exiting Santiago through Route 68, we will drive through another important agricultural valley, Curacaví, which is known for its fruits and for a large variety of restaurants offering typical Chilean food. In the last decade, the Casablanca Valley has become Chile’s most important grape-growing region for the production of premium white wine. As part of this excursion, you will enjoy a tour and wine tasting session at one of the many wineries of this flourishing wine region. The journey will then continue towards Viña del Mar, a resort city founded in 1874, famous for its beautiful gardens and flower clock. The tour then continues to Valparaíso, the oldest and most important port of Chile. Valparaíso’s picturesque layout is enhanced by the surrounding hills that seem to dive into the ocean, reminding us that this was once the most important maritime destination of the Pacific coast before the Strait of Panama was opened to navigation in 1914. Walk down the city’s winding streets and enjoy the beautiful scenery before you return to your hotel.

Santiago Like a Local

Explore the exciting city of Santiago like a local with our fun and immersive city tour. Accompanied by your own private guide, you’ll discover hidden hotspots as well as the tourist highlights of Santiago. The trip begins with a subway ride to the Metro Station University of Chile. From here, you’ll wander along the main pedestrian city promenade, visiting iconic buildings such as the Palacio de Gobierno La Moneda and the Santiago Stock Exchange. Next, you’ll set off towards Plaza de Armas, home to the gorgeous Cathedral, the Natural History Museum and the Central Post Office. You’ll stop at Vega Central for a traditional Chilean snack before heading into the colourful bohemian district of Bellavista, where you’ll try a classic Santiaguino drink. From here, you’ll hop in the cable car to the top of San Cristóbal, offering panoramic views over the entire city. Afterwards, your guide will give you some local options for lunch before leaving you to spend the rest of the day in Santiago exploring at your own pace.

San Antonio Valley Wine Tour

You will be picked up from your hotel at 9 am to enjoy a delightful visit to the Pacific coast, just one hour and half by car from Santiago. The drive will take you through Casablanca, known for its fine vineyards where you can pause for a wine-tasting experience. The trip takes a detour to the San Antonio Valley to visit Casa Marín vineyard, located in Lo Abarca, where the road between the coast and mountain range is absolutely spectacular. The winery is located among rolling hills, in a picturesque town that was once known only for its romaine lettuce. Become part of the legacy of Casa Marín, where wine is transformed into poetry, by visiting the state-of-the-art winery and cellar in Lo Abarca. Then it is also possible to visit the wine shop and take advantage of discounted prices. Then you will have time for lunch and visit the Vicente Huidobro Museum, returning to Santiago in the early evening hours.

Fast Facts on Santiago de Chile

USEFUL TRAVELER INFORMATION

This section is a quick overview to help in planning your trip to Santiago de Chile.

When to go

Santiago is best visited outside of the more extreme summer and winter seasons, so fall, from March to May, or spring, from September to November, are the ideal months. Spring and fall are the best times to visit as there are plenty of sunny days, fewer tourists and lower prices. If you are a fan of wine, come to Santiago between March and May, when you can visit the wine region and enjoy the harvest festivals. During the winter months from May to September, Santiago experiences an unpleasant climatic inversion, when the valley it is situated in fills with smog, so many people choose to escape to the nearby ski slopes to get out of the city.

How to get there

Santiago’s Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport is located about 15km outside the city and receives international, domestic and regional flights. All of the internal flights will be arranged for you as part of your itinerary, so just speak to one of our travel advisors and they can talk you through the best travel routes. Once in Santiago, it is best to explore the city by foot and by metro. The metro is efficient and connects many of the city’s neighbourhoods, as well as taking you to the touristic highlight of the city. Be cautious with your belongings, as the subway can often get crowded. Taxis are also cheap and readily available, but be sure to always hail an official car.

Infrastructure

Santiago’s food scene has been gaining in popularity in recent years. Drawing on regional influences from Peru and Argentina, there is a deep gastronomic culture to be explored in Chile. Fish is a staple of most menus, and don’t leave without trying manchas a la parmesana (razor clams layered with cheese and lemon juice). Chileans tend to eat later in the evening around 9pm or later, so make sure you eat enough during the day to keep you going until dinner time. Santiago is safe to walk around, but beware of pickpockets and leave your valuables at home. Given that it is the capital of Chile, there is a wide range of accommodation to suit every traveler, just speak to one of our travel experts and they can advise you on which hotel will be best for you.

Tour Packages connections with Santiago de Chile

Class Adventure Travel gets you the best Latin America has to offer!