Having to spend a week in Santiago, Chile, I wanted to share my adventure with everyone who plans or wants to view what the city has to offer: Transportation, Accommodations, Shopping, Restaurants, and Top Things to Do.
Santiago is the capital and largest city in Chile, with a population of nearly 5.5 Million, February in Chile was definitely a great treat when it came to weather, it is summer there during that time and the temperatures ranged from 80 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and temperatures ranging 60 - 70 degrees Fahrenheit during the evening.
The currency used in Chile is the Chilean Peso. At the time I visited Chile 2/21/2017 the exchange rate was $1 USD to $639 CLP at an Apex located in the Providencia Region as you see in the Google Maps below. I highly recommend exchanging in the city, its a better rate than at the airport.
Transportation: From the airport in Santiago, Chile (SCL) also known as Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport is the busiest airport in Chile and about 9.3 miles from Downtown Santiago and about a 20-30 min drive.
You can rent a car from one of the following companies at the airport: Alamo, Avis, Budget, Econorent, Hertz, Europcar, Rosselot but WARNING if you are going to drive in Santiago, nearly every car is manual NOT automatic.
You can take a regular Taxi at the airport as well, they are lined up right at the exit doors.
I highly recommend using UBER and when using this link you will get $15 OFF your first ride. CAUTION: If you use UBER at this airport, its not technically legal and the taxi cab companies are against them. The designated meeting spot for UBER at the airport is the parking lot across the street from the airport, next to the Holiday Inn.
The cost of going to Downtown Santiago Providencia Area from the Airport was $14,744.00 which at the time with the exchange rate came to be about $23 one way.
We stayed at this hotel: Hotel Torremayor Providencia it was a great location in the center of everything with the Costanera Shopping Mall close by. There is a roof top pool and a great area to relax and enjoy the view.
Shopping: I highly recommend going to the grocery store in the Costanera Center called JUMBO. You will find everything you need here from drinks to snacks. There are also other local grocery stores but I find the quality not as good for a higher price.
If you are thinking of bringing back a souvenir from Chile, I suggest Lapis lázuli; It is a beautiful deep blue semi precious stone. What makes this stone so unique, is the majority of where it is mined are only in several areas around the world: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lake Baikal in Russia, and the Andes Mountains in Chile.
I purchased some beautiful earring sets from Piedras Australes located nearby the Providencia area.
Another great gift gift to bring home is Pisco. It's a Chilean liquor, you can find a great recipe to make a Pisco Sour here.
Peztoro: A great italian place for tapas and pizza. We spent our first evening in town eating here and its was delish! They have two locations, and we took an UBER to the Lastarria location.
La Burguesía probably the best burger I had in Santiago. Rated #23 restaurant on Tripadvisor, with a great beer selection, veggie options, and great burgers, you can't go wrong here. Closed on Sundays, and also closed from 4pm - 7pm, located in the Providencia area.
Uncle Fletch was another Burger place, and its a great location if you are looking to grab a bite and going to visit Pablo Neruda's La Chascona Museum House or Cerro Crisobal Hill. Rated #13 restaurant in Santiago, I felt Laburgesía was a better burger. The burger came with fries or cheesy polenta. They also have a great selection of cocktails and beers.
Mercado Central is a great way to spend your afternoon having lunch and looking at all the vendors that sell fresh fish, although most of the floor space inside the mercado are restaurants. We happened to make a stop at Donde Augosto for lunch, the menu is 8 - 9 pages long, too much to display, but make sure you select a restaurant you want in advance, once you arrive there the restaurants are very aggressive to try and seat you. One thing to note, do not use google maps and type in Central Market, it will not take you to the incorrect location. Warning, its seafood, so its going to smell a little stinky, there isn't any air conditioning and it may be also a bit muggy .
Things to do:Skycostanera is the tallest building in South America. At the top of the 62nd floor you have a spectacular 360 view of the city. Open Monday - Sunday, the best day to go is on a Wednesday for a discounted rate. Last ride in the evening is 9pm.
La Chascona Museum House is one of the top sites to visit the home of a famous poet, Pablo Neruda. General admission is $7000 Chilean Pesos per person and offer a student/senior discount of $2500 Chilean Pesos which gives you an audio guide system in multiple languages. You do not need to make reservations ahead of time, tours are served on a first come first serve basis.
One of my favorite sites in the city was visiting Cerro San Cristobal you can easily spend an entire day there, don't go on a Monday, as everything is closed for maintenance. You can visit the National Zoo , Parks, Ride the Cableway, Take the Funicular, they also have a Public Pool located there during the pool season.
Cajon Del Maipo is a must if you like the outdoors. Hiking, Rafting, Zipline, Horse Riding, and Bungy are just a few options you can do while you are there. There are also some great wineries in this area, you can read my post about Concha y Toro and my experience wine tasting in the Maipo Valley.
There are also many many museums and other sites to see in the city, these are just some of the things I did while I was there and would suggest the same for anyone planning to vacation there.
Check out our trip to Mendoza, Argentina!