If you are travelling around South America, Chile is probably one of your destinations, as the country has so many nice things to see and do. However, deciding what you should be doing in the capital can be tricky, so we are here to help!
During our 3 months trip in South America, Chile was the 5th country we visited and I’ll tell you what, once we got to Santiago, it was a complete change of scenery. I remember thinking that from all countries we had been to in the past 50 days, Chile’s capital was the one which most remind me of Europe. And I’m not gonna lie, it was good to have a little bit more of infrastructure for a change.
We flew from San Pedro de Atacama to Santiago with Chile’s budget airline, JetSMART. We traveled by bus around South America when and where it was possible, but in Chile it turned out that flying would be our best option in terms of time and money.
Santiago de Chile has a great metro system that can get you pretty much around all the main points in the city. Staying around city centre, doesn’t really mean you will be able to do everything walking, but if your accommodation is close enough to a metro station, you can easily get anywhere.
We have stayed in 3 different locations around Santiago, but my favorite was Lastarria, an apartment in Bellas Artes district, which is also a touristic area just a short walk from Universidad metro station. There were quite few nice restaurants, pubs, supermarkets and also public transportation within walking distance. We did pay a little bit more because of the area, but it was definitely worth it.
So, now that you know a few things, I will tell you exactly what to do in Santiago de Chile in 5 days. This is not an ultimate guide for the city, but you will get the most of your stay by following our Santiago de Chile 5 days itinerary. Enjoy!
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On your first day I would suggest you to get familiarize with public transportation in the city and unless you are arriving first thing in the morning, just take your time to get to your accommodation and get ready for the next day. From the airport there are two bus companies that take you to the city centre, TurBus and Centropuerto, they have slightly different stops, times and costs, so make sure you check both.
If you got in Santiago de Chile early morning and don’t have enough time, get straight to one of our favorites things to do in any city: free walking tour. We have done ours with Strawberry tours and they have couple of free options that would cover most of the touristic points. The great thing about doing it on your first day is that whatever you liked the most you can go back later with more time.
If you have already done your free walking tour, reserve this day to go to Cajon Del Maipo, a mountain reserve with few outdoor activities. One of the highlights of this place is the El Yeso reservoir located by the Andes. Before deciding how we should get there, we have done our research and found online how to get to Cajon del Maipo by public transportation, however, we opted to go by a private tour we found at Viator. We have been using this website to book couple of tours around South America as they have pretty good deals. The day trip to Cajon del Maipo from Santiago lasted 9 hours and included some snacks, picnic and Chilean wine tasting. So that’s your second (or third depending on what you have done the day before) day filled with some pretty great views.
Get up early and head to Cerro San Cristobal, also known as San Cristobal Hill. We went all the way up by funicular, but you can also walk or get a cable car. Bellas Artes is the closest metro station (L5) to the funicular entrance. Once at the top, enjoy the amazing panoramic view of the city. There’s also a zoo if you are looking for something else to do when there. San Cristobal hill is located in the largest park of Santiago, so you definitely can easily spend half day just exploring it.
When you get down from the hill, get some lunch around barrio Bellavista where you can find plenty of restaurants and pubs. If you are looking for a nice rooftop to get drinks and watch the sunset, Azotea Matilde is the place to go; although it does have a great view, be prepare to spend a little bit more than other places.
Day 4 (or 5)
This will be either your 4th or 5th day in Santiago depending on what you decided to do on your first day.
Today will be an opportunity to choose another tour around the city or just do what Greg and I did and walk around the parks, feeding dogs. One of the first things you will notice in Chile is the quantity of stray dogs you can find in the parks. As animal lovers, we couldn’t just let go the chance of spending some quality time with these so beloved four paws friends.
You will see that the government take a different approach and provide water, food and roof for the dogs all around the city, specially in the parks. So, you don’t need to be sad about it, but if you would like to do something extra, get some food in a grocery store and go have some fun; all dogs we have fed were very friendly.
After that you can visit the Mercado Central for some seafood and drinks – use L2 or L3 to get there and drop off at Puente Cal y Canto station.
Finish your Santiago de Chile experience with a blown mind view from Sky Costanera, a 300 meters high skyscraper, with a 360 panoramic view from Santiago. I highly recommend you to go a little bit before sunset and watch it from there. A really nice way to say bye to Santiago.
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