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26 Fun Things To Do in Santiago, Chile

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Have you ever thought of traveling down to South America? Well the capital of Chile is one of South America's most popular cities. There are tons of great things to do in Santiago, Chile, and it's the perfect  spot to soak up some city vibes before exploring the great nature that this country has to offer. 


Santiago de Chile also has a lot to offer in terms of nature, as well as architecture and food! This city has surprised us for good, so even if you have a few days to spend in here, make sure you check this post because it will help you saving a lot of time!


So let's dive right in and discover the top things to do in Santiago, Chile.

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Where is Santiago, Chile?

Santiago, or fully known as Santiago de Chile, is the capital of the country of Chile. Chile is a very long and thin country, where everything is wedged between the Pacific coast and the Andes mountains. Santiago is situated in the middle of the country, making it the perfect spot to get to both popular areas of Chile- The Atacama Desert, and Patagonia.

where is Santiago Chile

Santiago is located in the middle of Chile.


Getting to Santiago, Chile

Santiago, Chile is one of the main hubs of airports in South America. Not only does it have plenty of domestic and International flights, but it is also a very popular place for a layover. That's why we're here to share the top things to do in Santiago, Chile, for even a short trip you may have.


Flying to Santiago from the East is definitely one for the bucket list! You'll fly over the Andes, which is one of the biggest mountain ranges in the world.

flight to Santiago, Chile
flight to Santiago, Chile

Domestic flights into Santiago include Arica, Antofagasta, Balmaceda, Calama, Castro, Copiapo, Easter Island, Iquique, La Serena, Puerto Montt, Osorno, Punta Arenas, Temuco, and Valdivia.


International flights into Santiago include Atlanta, Aukland, Bogota, Buenos Aires, Campinas, Concepcion, Cusco, Guayaquil, Houston, Lima, Madrid, Mendoza, Mexico City, Miami, Montevideo, New York, Panama City, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for flying to Santiago.

Search for a flight to Santiago:

Plan on traveling by bus? There are also bus routes to Santiago from surrounding cities.

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Entry Requirements for Chile

Before booking your trip, you'll want to know if there are any specific requirements for entering. Here's what you need to know to visit Chile.


Visa Requirements for Chile

There are 95 different nationalities that can enter Chile visa free for up to 90 days. Those countries can be found be found on the offiicial visa page for Chile. If your country does not fall into the list, you must in fact get a visa before entering the country.


Covid Entry Requirements for Chile

In order to enter Chile one must either be vaccinated, or present a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of flying.


Chile is now open to all travelers, and does not require any extra tests or vaccinations.


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Local Adjustments for Santiago

When traveling to any new country, there are plenty of local things to adjust to. Here are a few to keep in mind while traveling to Chile.


What is the Language of Santiago?

The official language in Chile is Spanish. However, out of all Spanish-speaking countries, we believe Chileans are the most difficult to understand. They speak extremely fast, run their words together, and even have plenty of different words than other Spanish-speaking countries.


Nevertheless, it is still helpful to learn a bit of Spanish before going! Just don't feel bad if you have a hard time understanding the locals.


What Currency Do I Need in Chile?

The currency used in Chile is the Chilean Peso. Currently (As of January 2024) 1 USD is equivalent to 930.27 Chilean pesos. Credit card is taken in many restaurants, hotels, and shops. However, you may want to take some cash out for smaller shops, street food, and local attractions.


What Plug Type is Used in Chile?

The country of Chile uses plug types C and L. Plug type C is the one with two round pins (like Europe), and plug type L has three pins across. They run on a 220 V supply voltage and 50Hz.


Is it Ok to Drink the Water in Santiago, Chile?

The tap water throughout the country of Chile is safe to drink, and that includes the city of Santiago.


How Much Do You Tip in Santiago, Chile?

The universal average tipping culture is 10%, and that is exactly what is expected throughout Chile. Some restaurants may already add it to the bill, but you are always encouraged to leave a bit more.


Things to Do in Santiago, Chile

The city is full of fun things to see! Here are some of our favorites for a quick trip to Santiago de Chile.


1. Take a Free Walking Tour

One of the best ways to experience a new city is by taking a walking tour. While we think the paid ones are usually overrated, we do love the free walking tours. This is because when people work for tips they usually are much more engaged, and give so much valuable information.


If you want to learn more about the history of Santiago, and get local recommendations, we definitely suggest signing up for a free walking tour.


We used Guruwalk, and did the Yungay neighborhood tour, which we highly recommend.

Yungay, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Yungay, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Yungay free walking tour, things to do in Santiago Chile
Yungay, things to do in Santiago, Chile

Free walking tours are a great way to see the hidden gems in Santiago.


2. Walk Around Cerro Santa Lucía

This is way more than just a hill. Cerro Santa Lucía is one of the public parks most visited by national and foreign tourists. This makes it one of the most recognizable icons of the capital and the country.

You can find various tree species, ornamentation of European origin and relics of the Chilean colonial past. Also, in Cerro Santa Lucía attractive spaces stand out, such as the Castillo Hidalgo, and the Neptuno and Caupolicán terraces.

Free bilingual tours are held on Sunday at 10:00 a.m, and on Mondays it is closed to the public.

Cerro Santa Lucia, things to do in Santiago Chile
Santa Lucia Hill, things to do in Santiago Chile

Cerro Santa Lucia is one of the top tourist highlights in Santiago, Chile.

3. Discover Barrio Bellavista

This extensive area combines the most varied clothing and handicrafts trade with multiple international food restaurants offering various specialties.


Intellectuals and artists, such as the poet Pablo Neruda chose it as a preferred space. Bellavista neighborhood is also one of the most important meeting points of bohemian Santiago.


You can find the largest urban park in Santiago de Chile here. From here, it is possible to have the best panoramic view of the city. Together with the possibility of enjoying swimming pools, gardens, funicular and cable car, this neighborhood is one of the most important attractions in the city. We recommend visiting it.

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things to do in Santiago, Chile pin
things to do in Santiago, Chile pin

4. Visit La Chascona

La Chascona is one of the three houses that the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda owned. You can find it in Bellavista neighborhood of the Providencia commune in Santiago de Chile.


Currently, it is a museum that houses the author's collections and is the headquarters of the Pablo Neruda Foundation. It was declared a National Monument in 1990.

La Chascona, things to do in Santiago, Chile

5. Take in the Views at Sky Costanera

With its 300 meters height, the Sky Costanera (a.k.a. Gran Torre Santiago) it is the tallest tower in South America. Since march 2020, it is also the second tallest building in Latin America (after the opening of Torre Obispado in Monterrey, Mexico).


The building consists of a shopping center, two hotels and two office towers conform it. Believe it or not, it's one of the world's mega-structures located in a high seismic risk sector. We suggest heading here in the late afternoon, watching the sunset, and staying for a drink while the night sky lights up. 


Sky Costanera is open from 10 am to 10 pm, and tickets are 18,000 pesos for adults, and 6,000 pesos for children. They are sold with time slots, but you can stay as long as you wish.

Sky Costanera, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Sky Costanera, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Sky Costanera, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Sky Costanera, things to do in Santiago, Chile

Sky Costanera has the best views of Santiago.

6. Explore Barrio Lastarria

The neighborhood is an active cultural, gastronomic and tourist center. Since 1997 it has been a Typical Zone, which is a big deal in here. Chile has a National Monuments Law that determinates specific areas that they consider a representation of Human Evolution.


In 2018 the travel section of the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia. considered it "one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world".


7. Check Out Plaza de Armas

A lot of major cities in South America (especially in Peru) will have their main plaza named "Plaza de Armas". Under the Plaza is currently the Plaza de Armas station of the Santiago de Chile Metro, opened in 2000.


You can find a lot of movement here, as it is one of the top things to do in Santiago, Chile. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops in this area.

Plaza de Armas, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Plaza de Armas, things to do in Santiago, Chile

Plaza de Armas is the main square in Santiago, Chile.

8. Admire the Metropolitan Cathedral

One of the top things to see in Santiago is the Metropolitan Cathedral, which is located in Plaza de Armas. You can go in and visit for free of charge and enjoy the beauty inside.

Santiago Cathedral, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Santiago Cathedral, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Santiago Cathedral, things to do in Santiago, Chile


9. Go to Museo de La Memoria y Los Derechos Humanos

This iconic museum was dedicated to commemorating the victims of human rights violations during the military dictatorship that took place between 1973 and 1990.


It also has a documentation center, a digital library and a area for cultural activities.

Museum in Santiago, Chile

10. Visit Palacio de la Moneda

The "White House" of Chile. It houses the General Secretariat of the Presidency, and the General Secretariat of the Government.

Palacio de la Moneda, things to do in Santiago, Chile

Want to take a tour around Santiago? Here are a few that you can sign up for:


11. Hike Cerro San Cristobal

Cerro San Cristóbal is the second highest point in Santiago de Chile, at 845 meters. For exactly this reason, it has been an important place for Chileans for centuries. You can go up in 4 different ways: by walking, biking, by car (although you can't make it to the very top by car) and by Funicular (cable car).

Cable Car, things to do in Santiago, Chile

The Funicular itself is a thing; it has 3 stops; the first, at the foot of the hill, the second, in the middle of the road and serving the Santiago de Chile Zoo, and the one at the top of the hill, where the viewpoint and the Sanctuary are.


We recommend you to check the sunset time and go to the Fonicular just before so you can enjoy stunning views of the whole city while the sun sets.

Sky Costanera, things to do in Santiago Chile

The top of the hill has beautiful views over the city.

12. Walk around Mercado Central

Located in the historical city center, this amazing food market has preserved traditional Creole recipes — its specialties include typical dishes such as marshal, paila marina, and fried fish — 3 forming part of the Chilean culinary heritage.


The government declared it a Historical Monument in 19841 and it's part of the «Santiago patrimonial» circuit of the «Capital Route». National Geographic magazine highlighted it as the «fifth best market in the world»

Mercado Central, things to do in Santiago, Chile

13. Eat a Parrillada at a Food Market

South America is well known for the quality of its meat (we also talk about this in our Buenos Aires Travel Guide), so if you're visiting Santiago de Chile make sure to stop at a food market and ask for a Parrillada, a combination of different meats that is just delicious.


The magic about Parrilladas is that they involve much more than just food; it's an event itself because people gather around and talk to each other while waiting for the food, with some wine or beer. It's definitely a fun thing to do!


Other than Mercado Central, you can also check out Mercado Tirso de Molina and La Vega, which both have great Chilean food and local products.

market, things to do in Santiago, Chile
market, things to do in Santiago, Chile
market, things to do in Santiago, Chile

Santiago is full of great markets.

14. Browse the Colorful Streets of Barrio Italia

Looking for one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Santiago? Well, Barrio Italia is full of cute shops, colorful art, and beautiful cafes. If you're a digital nomad, then this is definitely the place you'll want to hang out.

Barrio Italia, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Barrio Italia, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Barrio Italia, things to do in Santiago, Chile

Barrio Italia is one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Santiago.

15. Roam the Japanese Gardens

Looking to enjoy some greenery right inside the city? One of the best things to do in Santiago, Chile for some nature is to head to the botanical gardens. They're open daily from 9 am to 6 pm, and are closed on Mondays.


16. Admire the Murals of Yungay

While Barrio Italia is becoming more and more popular, Yungay is one of our favorite neighborhoods in the city. It is full of history, and is covered in colorful artwork.


There is also a spring festival here every year in Ocotober, where artists come together and paint the walls of this quirky neighborhood.

mural in Yungay, things to do in Santiago, Chile
mural in Yungay, things to do in Santiago, Chile
mural in Yungay, things to do in Santiago, Chile
mural in Yungay, things to do in Santiago, Chile

Yungay is home to the best murals in the city.


17. Enjoy Dinner & a Show

If you're looking for a fun night out, then look no further than Los Buenos Muchachos. It's more than just a dining experience, but a full show with local music, dancing, and celebrating Chilean culture. It then finishes off with the dancefloor opening and a DJ playing until 2 am.

llos buenos muchachos, things to do in Santiago, Chile
mural in Yungay, things to do in Santiago, Chile
mural in Yungay, things to do in Santiago, Chile

18. Visit the Museo de Sonido

Another of our favorite attractions in the Yungay neighborhood is the museum of sound, formally known as Museo de Sonido. It celebrates the registration and production of music, and is free of charge to enter. It is a real hidden gem in Santiago, and also has an enclosed patio with a quaint cafe.

museo de sonido, things to do in Santiago, Chile
museo de sonido, things to do in Santiago, Chile
museo de sonido, things to do in Santiago, Chile

19. Check Out the Gabriela Mistral Education Museum

One of the most iconic women in South American history is Gabriela Mistral, and the school that she attended can be visited right in the neighborhood of Yungay! You can go inside for free and learn all about her and the impact she had for locals and the surrounding countries.

Museum Gabriela Mistral Education, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Museum Gabriela Mistral Education, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Museum Gabriela Mistral Education, things to do in Santiago, Chile

20. Visit the 2nd Oldest Barber Shop in the World

Another unique attraction in Yungay is the Peluqueria Francesa, which is the second oldest barber shop in the world! 

barber shop in Yungay, Santiago
barber shop in Yungay, Santiago

Not only is the barber shop itself beautiful and has a ton of history, but it has an adjoining restaurant that is also worth a visit.

beautiful restaurant in Santiago, Chile

There is also a beautiful restaurant attached to the barber shop.

21. Check Out the Biggest Temple in South America

This is one of the most impressive temples in the world, and the biggest one on the continent of South America. It is a bit outside of the city center, but worth checking out if you have some extra time in Santiago.


It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, and closed on Mondays. From Tuesday to Friday is opens from 9 am to noon, and then again from 2:30 pm to 6 pm, and it is open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 am to 6 pm.


22. Visit a Winery

Did you know that Chile is home to some of the best wine in the world? Not only that- but the wine region is just outside the city of Santiago! The most convenient one is Casablanca Valley, and one of the most popular is Maipo Valley, which are full of dozens of great wineries to choose from.


You can easily sign up for a winery tour leaving from Santiago, or rent a car and make a reservation on your own.

winery, things to do in Santiago, Chile
winery, things to do in Santiago, Chile
winery, things to do in Santiago, Chile
winery, things to do in Santiago, Chile
winery, things to do in Santiago, Chile

There area lot of great wineries outside of Santiago. 

23. Take a Day Trip to Valparaiso

Just a little over an hour from Santiago is a beautiful port town on coast called Valparaiso. It's a backpacker's paradise, and full of vibrant colors and fun nightlife. Stay tuned for our upcoming travel guide for everything you need to know!

Valparaiso, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Valparaiso, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Valparaiso, things to do in Santiago, Chile
Valparaiso, things to do in Santiago, Chile

Valparaiso is a great quick getaway from Santiago.

I took a day trip to Valpariaso with Julio Private Tours, and had one of the best tours of my life! This family-run company shows you the ins and outs of the city, bringing you to all of the hidden gems in the area.

24. Go On an Excursion to Cajon del Maipo

Another great day trip from Santiago is Cajon del Maipo, which is a beautiful region to the south west. With a beautiful lake and mountains as the backdrop, this is certainly one of the best things to do in Santiago's outskirts.

25. Soak in some Hot Springs

Right by Cajon del Maipo is another incredible place out in nature, Termas de Valle Colina. These natural hot springs are the perfect way to relax out in nature, and can be visited by a tour from Santiago, or by renting a 4x4.


26. Take a Cooking Class

One of the best things to do in Santiago, Chile is to enjoy the rich flavors of the cuisine, and what better way then to take a local cooking class. Learn how to make traditional dishes, drink wine, and learn all about the culture from the local experts themselves.


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How to Move Around Santiago, Chile

As always, when moving around the first and most important thing we recommend you to do is to consider what kind of things you want to do and how far are them from each other.


For a big city like Santiago de Chile, we believe it's not necessary at all to rent a car, since public transportation works perfectly fine and there are a lot of places that you can visit by just walking.


Many places can be reached easily by walking, but if you want to travel quickly the best option is the metro. You'll need a card for using the metro, which is 1,500 pesos, and then it's 750 pesos per trip. There are also buses, Ubers, and taxis that you can flag down all around the city.

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Local Food & Drink

In case this is the first blog post you are reading of ours, let us tell you that we are big fans of local food, and we truly believe in the power of avoiding tourist traps. Local food can always be found in small, hidden places. They are cheaper, tastier, and by going to small businesses you are helping a lot of families rather than corporations.


If you visit Santiago de Chile (or basically any other place in the world) and you want to taste real local food, don't be shy and ask people around you for advice on the best meals and the best restaurants; it will surprise you how many locals enjoy giving advice to tourists.


Fun Fact: Chileans typically eat a ton of bread for breakfast, a big lunch, and then have tea time, which is the last meal of the day for most people!


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Here's a list of our favorite Chilean meals:

Empanada de Pino

Yes, :"pino" is "pine", a tree, but don't worry, this is far from being a tree dish. Empanadas de pino are made with ground beef, beef broth, flour, paprika, cumin, salt, peper and oil. Some people like to add black olives, raisins and hard boiled eggs.


The way of doing it is to cook the meat with the spices first, then adding the broth and cook for half an hour and then let it rest and cool down to use it as a fill for the empanada dough.


Cazuela

The casserole is a vegetable soup with meat, either chicken, beef or lamb. It is a very typical winter food and very common both in the north and south of the country. It is a dish that you will find in any Chilean restaurant.

cazuela from Santiago
cazuela from Santiago

Caldillo de Congrio

It is a well-known dish from north to south of the country: a fish or crab broth. The version of the poet Pablo Neruda is the tastiest, which also has shrimp and cream.


Curanto Al Hoyo

This is not just a meal, it is also a celebration. You need to prepare it for several people (minimum of 25 people) in a huge hole in the ground. Curanto carries seafood, potatoes, veal, chorizo, chicken and seaweed, which serve to flavor and separate the food into layers.


They cook it with the coals above the hole, with which a very special mixture of flavors is achieved. It's not so easy to find in regular restaurants since it does need a lot of people involved to eat it. A type of curanto a la olla, also called pulmay, is something you can find in restaurants and served with the broth from the stew itself. Delicious!


Carbonada

This is a traditional meal from Chile, Argentina and Bolivia as well. It's made with corn, meat (preferably veal, although you can do it with loin etc, lamb or goat), sweet potatoes or peach apricots (dried peaches). The dish is similar to stew, and definitely something you'll want to try while in Santaigo.


Pastel de Choclo

This is a pie with corn bread, minced beef, and then topped with toasted sugar. It sounds like a super odd dish, but it is actually one of our favorites!

Pastel de Choclo, Chilean food in Santiago

Porotos Granados

The granulated beans are the summer version of the Chilean beans. It is a very tasty dish and is prepared with vegetables, mainly green corn. The winter version is the bean with reins, which is made with noodles instead of green corn.


Chupes

It can be crab, guatitas (which are cow's entrails), spider crab (common giant crab in Patagonia) or loco (typical southern seafood), with a dough of bread, onion and cream, served in a bowl earthen.


Lomo a lo Pobre

Despite its name (Literally meaning "tenderloin to the poor style", it is one of the most expensive dishes on the menu. The tenderloin or steak "a lo pobre" is a fillet of pork or beef steak with fried potatoes, with egg and onion.


An incredible pump of flavor, and very tasty, you also have the version with chicken, salmon or any other meat.

Lomo al pobre

The Best Restaurants in Santiago

One of the best things to do in Santiago, Chile is to explore all of the great restaurants in town! We've picked a handful of our favorites, all which were recommended to us by locals.


  • Liguria: one of the best restaurants for local food
  • Chipe Libre: known for their incredible pisco sours
  • Bocanariz: fine dining restaurant known for their wine pairings
  • Galindo: another local favorite for traditional dishes
  • Boulevard Lavaud - Peluquería Francesa: part of an old barber shop that has live music and a lot of unique cultural details
  • Espacio Gargola: the most beautiful restaurant with a ton of history and art
  • Los Buenos Muchachos: fun restaurant with a folklore show
cute restaurant in Santiago, things to do in Santiago, Chile
cute restaurant in Santiago, things to do in Santiago, Chile
cute restaurant in Santiago, things to do in Santiago, Chile
cute restaurant in Santiago, things to do in Santiago, Chile

Espacio Gargola is one of the most beautiful restaurants in Santiago.


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Where to Stay in Santiago

There are a ton of different neighborhoods that you can stay in while visiting Santiago. Here are some of the best ones to consider:

  • Centro: the most centralized location surrounding Plaza de Armas
  • Bellavista: the fanciest neighborhood closes to the parks
  • Lastarria: home to a lot of museums and shopping
  • Bellas Artes: right between Lastarria and Plaza de Armas
  • Barrio Italia: a great one for digital nomads as it's trendy and has a lot of cafes
  • Barrio Yungay: our personal favorite! It has a ton of cool art, and great restaurants, but is still close enough to most of the best things to do in Santiago, Chile. Last time I stayed at Origenes, which was a super affordable hostel with a really incredible host.
Origines Hostel in Yungay, Santiago
Origines Hostel in Yungay, Santiago
Origines Hostel in Yungay, Santiago
Origines Hostel in Yungay, Santiago

Origines Hostel is a super affordable and fun option in Yungay.


Is Santiago Safe?

Like most South American capital cities, you'll want to be extra careful. There tends to be a lot of petty crime throughout South America. So be sure to leave your expensive jewelry at home, and dress modestly. Keep your items zippered at all times, and pay attention to all of your items.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting Santiago, Chile

Now you know the best things to do in Santiago, how to get around, and how to keep yourself safe. Here are a few more things to keep in mind.


Weather in Santiago

Similar to Buenos Aires, Santiago experiences all 4 seasons, with hot summers and cold winters. It never really snows, and the weather is pretty dry in the summer months.


Being surrounded by the mountains, you'll be able to appreciate stunning views. Wait for a day that it rains, and the next day will have the best visibility.


What is the Best Month to Visit Santiago, Chile?

The best time to visit Santiago is in the summer months from November to March. this is when there are warm sunny days, and plenty of sunlight to enjoy the city. January is particularyl the best month to visit Santiago though, as this is when you'll find the most festivals and events like live music throughout the city.


How to Pack For a Trip to Santiago, Chile

When it comes to packing for a trip to Santiago we suggest bringing comfortable shoes to explore, and nice clothes to dress up and go out in. Bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated, and a backpack or purse that can stay securely closed. Make sure to pack layers, as nights can get chilly.

Packing is a big to do to begin with. Travel to South America is quite different than when traveling through Europe or North America. As the best spots to hit are in nature as opposed to big cities, there is much more to keep in mind. With so many different

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How Many Days Should You Spend in Santiago, Chile?

There are a lot of fun things to do in Santiago, Chile, and also some really great day trips around it! We would suggest dedicating a full 2-3 days to explore the city itself, and then a couple of days for the other cool places to see nearby.

things to do in Santiago, Chile
things to do in Santiago, Chile
things to do in Santiago, Chile
things to do in Santiago, Chile


We found Santiago de Chile to be a beautiful, modern city with a lot to offer to its visitors. Whether you're traveling for a few days or staying for longer, this place will surely cover your expectations.


And if you're traveling through South America, check our Travel Guides to ensure you get the best out of this beautiful continent!


Need help planning your next trip? We've got you covered! Now with Scratch Your Mapa Travel Planning you can sit back and relax while we do the hard work. Want to know more? Take a look at some of our travel planning services.


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