Santiago, Chile | Cruise port of call | CruiseBe
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Santiago, Chile

Santiago de Chile, usually shortened to Santiago, is the capital and economic center of Chile. With its museums, events, theaters, restaurants, bars and other entertainment and cultural opportunities, it is the political and cultural center of the country. Its central location makes it a convenient base point to further explore the country. Due to its proximity to both mountains and the Pacific Ocean, It is possible to ski in the nearby Andes and later be on the beach, all in the same day.

Santiago is a fast growing city located in the central valley of Chile between the Andes mountains range to the east and the Cordillera of the Coast to the west. 


The climate is Mediterranean, with mild winters and very warm and dry summers. During winter, it usually only snows up in the Andes, which are an hour and a half from the city. Temperatures at night can fall to around 0ºC/32°F in... Read more

Santiago, Chile

Santiago de Chile, usually shortened to Santiago, is the capital and economic center of Chile. With its museums, events, theaters, restaurants, bars and other entertainment and cultural opportunities, it is the political and cultural center of the country. Its central location makes it a convenient base point to further explore the country. Due to its proximity to both mountains and the Pacific Ocean, It is possible to ski in the nearby Andes and later be on the beach, all in the same day.

Santiago is a fast growing city located in the central valley of Chile between the Andes mountains range to the east and the Cordillera of the Coast to the west. 


The climate is Mediterranean, with mild winters and very warm and dry summers. During winter, it usually only snows up in the Andes, which are an hour and a half from the city. Temperatures at night can fall to around 0ºC/32°F in the coldest days, but the accumulation of snow is very rare. It gets progressively hotter towards the summer. Summers are fairly dry although you may experience some humidity at times. The temperature can reach as high as 35ºC/95° F. Due to the inversion effect in the Santiago basin and other factors, winter air quality in this area can be unhealthy, in large part due to high concentrations of particulate matter.

Visitor Information

  • Pricing in Chilean pesos.
  • Sernatur (State Tourism Agency), Av Providencia 1550, ☎ +56 2 7318336 and +56 2 7318337. The main visitor information office.
  • Chile Tourism Support (Live Travel Support Chile), Santiago & Vina del Mar. Chile Live Travel Support - Chile is one of the first countries in Latin America to adopt the Live Travel Support Service - All the Live Support Agents are residents in Chile, all are bilingual (English/Spanish - Spanish/French - etc). 

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Santiago, Chile: Port Information

The closest port to Santiago is Valparaiso Cruise Port.
Cruise ships dock at the pier. There is a free shuttle bus which will transport you to the cruise terminal (Muelle Prat).
A taxi will cost you a lot. The best way to get to Santiago is on public transport or on a tour. It takes about 90 minutes to get to Santiago from Valparaiso.

Get around Santiago, Chile

If you are staying in town more than a few days get a Bip! card at any subway station. This radio-frequency card works for both subway and bus. With this card, you pay the first use and allows free-charge for a total of 3 times including the first use, for a 2-hour period if you take up to 3 different buses without subway. 
  • The metro system is the second largest in Latin America and has five lines and 108 stations, with many holding rotating art exhibitions. The lines 1,2 and 5 pass through the historical center and 4 and 4A mostly serve the east of the city. As it is a very popular mode for getting around, the metro can be crowded during rush hours.
    Trains run between roughly 6 AM and 11 PM; each station posts the exact hours above the staircases leading down into the stations. Buses run parallel to subway lines after hours.
  • Buses are mostly modern and run around the clock on the main lines. The only way to pay your fare is by bip!-card. You can buy this card and charge it in any metro station or in some stores.
  • Renting a Car is also a very good decision if you want to get around Santiago and its surroundings. You can find excellent cars, great service and cheap prices at Chilean Rent a Car. The company is conveniently located few blocks away from Metro Baquedano in Barrio Bellavista, a "must visit" in Santiago.

What to see in Santiago, Chile

  • Parque Metropolitano - This vast park is home to Cerro San Cristóbal. From the top there is a beautiful view over the city and, on a clear day, the Andes. The summit can be reached by funicular, cable car, or a 40-60 minute hike. In the park, there is also a botanical garden, zoo and two swimming pools. Pope John Paul II visited its summit in 1987.
  • Plaza De Armas - The capital's main plaza, also the site of the national cathedral and main post office. It's a few blocks from the traditional Central Market and has its own Metro Station. During the last years, Plaza de Armas has been used as a meeting and recreation place for the community of Peruvian immigrants. This has led to lots of cheap international calling centers, traditional Peruvian restaurants and Peruvian spice and food stores, being an interesting place to walk during day hours.
  • Catedral Metropolitana - The aforementioned National Cathedral, formed by the Palacio Arzobispal (the main office of the diocese), the Templo del Sagrario (Sacred Temple, standing in the place of the first chapel ever in Santiago and hosting a very beloved statue of Our Lady of the Carmel) and the temple itself. A nice neoclassical-style building with several interesting spots and views, including the tomb of statesman Diego Portales, the crypts of many bishops and archbishops, several altars, etc. Free access, if you get there in specific hours you may be able to attend mass itself.
  • Mercado Central - The central market of Santiago de Chile. It was opened in 1872 and Fermín Vivaceta was in charge of its construction. The market replaced the Plaza del Abasto, which was destroyed by a fire in 1864. Now it's a rather thriving place with not only market-like stands selling food (especially fresh seafood) but also many restaurants.
  • Mercado de Abasto Tirso de Molina, better known as La Vega - another market that is few blocks away from the Mercado Central and very close to Patronato. It sells groceries, vegetables, and fruits (including traditional Peruvian ingredients), but also has restaurants and some cheap clothes in its second floor.
  • Santiago Centro - The Centro (Downtown) area is a nice place for a stroll down some of its major Paseos (streets turned pedestrian walkways), but be aware of pickpockets. There are also many stores, shopping arcades, fast food restaurants, coffee shops, etc.
  • La Chascona - One of three homes of the famous poet Pablo Neruda, La Chascona (meaning tangle-haired woman, after his third wife) is in the artistic Bellavista neighborhood. The house is filled with lots of quirky artifacts collected by Neruda throughout his life, as well as artwork by some of his famous friends. Audio guide tour is given in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.
  • La Moneda Palace - Presidential Palace, guided one-hour tours are free, unfortunately with a reservation of at least 7 days in advance. 
  • Centro Cultural Palacio de La Moneda - An underground cultural center under the La Moneda Palace, with rotating art and cultural exhibitions all year. Local crafts and souvenirs are available at middle-high prices in the local gift shop. A café is also within the facilities. Note that most exhibitions are not free of charge, however, prices are very affordable.
  • Parque Forestal - A long park that runs parallel to the Mapocho River, also the site of the National Museum of Fine Arts and Modern Art Museum.
  • Theatre & Dance - Santiago offers much in the performing arts, most take place Friday & Saturday, check listings in El Mercurio. 
  • Centro Cultural Matucana 100 - Inaugurated in 2002, Matucana 100 is an excellent exhibition venue for a variety of arts. From Metro Quinta Normal, walk south on Matucana (towards Alameda), M100 is on the left-hand side.
  • Teatro Municipal - Historical performance venue, including international dance and opera, worth a visit even if just from its outside.
  • Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral (GAM) - An impressive-scale cultural center. The original building was built in 1972 to host the Third UNCTAD meeting, but after the coup it was seized by the military and transformed into the Diego Portales center, hosting a good part of the Junta's executive power until the return to democracy; it was destroyed in a fire in 2006, then rebuilt into the GAM itself. The center has an art and film focused library with free WiFi, a theater, concert halls, a restaurant, a café, and public spaces for resting. Located on Universidad Católica metro station (Line 1).
  • Jazz Clubs - Santiago is home to an impressive jazz scene, with several intimate clubs scattered throughout the city. The Club de Jazz de Santiago is arguably the best. Located in the northern part of the Nunoa neighborhood, this small club routinely brings in some of the best local, national, and international artists specializing in everything from Latin jazz to blues to bossa nova. Check music listings in El Mercurio.
  • Festival de Jazz de Providencia - A very good jazz Festival takes place during summer (typically each February) in Providencia. The Festival de Jazz de Providencia takes place each year in Mapocho's riverside and showcasts the best local bands and some international guests. Tickets are cheap, so it's a good alternative for summer nights.
  • Cerro Santa Lucia, Junction of Santa Lucia and Bernando O'Higgins (Santa Lucia metro station). A park with fountains and stairs leading up to a fort and viewpoint the top. The summit has a great view of all but the skyscraper-obscured city center. Charles Darwin visited this peak at one point in his travels; his words are immortalized in a plaque at the summit. Free; registration at entrance required.  
  • Iglesia y museo de San Francisco, Av. Lib. Bernardo O'Higgins 834, 6398737. Museo: M-F: 9h30-13h30 15h00-18h00, Sun: 10h00-14h00. The oldest church in the city, and the museum hosts quite the beautiful collection of Colonial religious art. In the plaza, in front of the church, there is a Moaï from Easter Island. Close to the Metro and the París-Londres sector, full of architectural gems.  
  • Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino (Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art), Bandera 361, at the junction with Españia (Plaza de Armas metro station), 56 2 9281522, 10:00 - 18:00. The well put together Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art houses various artifacts from Mesoamerica and South America, featuring cultures such as the Olmec, Maya, and Inca civilizations. Descriptions on the artifacts and the ancients' way of life are well-written and in both English and Spanish. Highlights include a Mayan stone stele and Andean mummies, which precede their Egyptian counterparts.   
  • Palacio Cousino, 438 calle dieciocho, M-F: 9h30-13h30 14h30-17h00, Sa-Su: 9h30-13h30. Old palace owned by a wealthy Spanish-Portuguese family. The architecture is a mix of Spanish and French styles. Guided tour only. No pictures inside.  
  • Parque Bicentenario, Bicentenario Avenue, vitacura. Parque Bicentenario, Bicentenario Avenue. Beautiful park. Large extension of grass, children games, dog games, a very nice pond with black neck swans. There is also a restaurant, a cafe (Le fournil) and Vitacura's city hall. Trails for walking and bikes.  
  • Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos, Matucana 501 (Metro Quinta Normal), (562) 2 597 96 00. Tuesday - Sunday 10 - 18h, in summer until 20h. Opened in 2010, this museum shows the basic timeline of Pinochet's dictatorship and commemorates the human rights violations committed by his regime during that period. The museum itself is free of charge. Because many exhibits in the museum lack of written description, visitors are encouraged to use one of the audio guides that are available in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. 
  • Cementerio General de Santiago, Av. Profesor Alberto Zañartu Nº 951 (Cementerios Metro Station), (56) (2) 26377800. The oldest graveyard in Santiago, with lots of sights like the Memorial to the victims of Pinochet's dictatorship, the Patio 29 (where the remains of said victims were illegally exhumated and pretty much hidden) and the tombs of many Chilean presidents, sports people, politicians, and artists like Violeta Parra, Eduardo "Gato" Alquinta and Victor Jara. Generally free, but there are some affordable thematic guided tours; the night ones (at around 20:30-21:00) are cheap and interesting, but tour-goers MUST reserve a spot at the main page.   
  • Cementerio de la Santísima Trinidad, aka Cementerio Católico, Arzobispo Valdivieso 555 (Cementerios Metro Station), (56) (2) 23741445. Second oldest Santiago graveyard, exclusively dedicated to the Catholic community; it was created in 1878 and inspired after Genoa's Staglieno graveyard. Recently renovated to preserve its rich historical and architectural legacy. There are many classical-style statues and mausoleums, now sorta co-existing with newer and more modern graves and a large central garden with magnolias, oaks, etc. 

What to do in Santiago, Chile

  • Mountain climbs. Many mountains are found in and all around Chile that are great for climbing. Cerro Provincia is a popular day trip that can also be turned into longer hikes.  
  • Skiing. Santiago is not too far (around 1.30-2 hours from downtown depending on the center) from some great skiing. Not too expensive and they hire out all the equipment you need at the resorts. Some of the tour companies offer the service. 
  • Wineries Visit the Cousino Macul winery and vineyards. Tours are in English and Spanish. 
To get there, take the metro to Quillin Station (line 4), takes about 40 minutes from downtown. When you leave the station go East (left as you exit the station) on the street also called Quillin, the road winds past new houses of the same name as the vineyard and you'll arrive there after about a 40-minute walk.
  • Spicy Chile Tours. Spicy Chile is one of the more experienced free walking tours companies in Santiago. They have 3 different tours daily, from Monday to Saturday. The guides mix historical information with the best anecdotes and recommendations so you can get full advantage of the city. One of their daily tours is "Good Morning Santiago" which is a good way to start once you hit Santiago. It introduces the city while you discover all the highlights, mixing historical monuments, such as Santiago's Cathedral, with the main institutional buildings like La Moneda, and even passing through the traditional "Café con Piernas". The meeting point is in front of La Moneda Palace, in the corner of Teatinos and Lib. Bdo. O'Higgins just a few steps away from Metro Moneda, and starts from Monday to Saturday at 10 AM and 2 PM.
  • City Trekking Guide - Get to know the locals and their typical meals and beverages. You will get around by using only public transportation and walking, in order for you to experience the everyday life of Chilean people while discovering the city surrounded by authentic Chilean culture. Guides who speak Spanish, English, German, Portuguese and even French. Phone Number(+569)58657393/(+569)61584637.
  • Paseos en Bicicleta, +56 2 7618339. Off the beaten track bike tours around Santiago de Chile's hidden gems and typical neighborhoods! 
  • Foto Ruta Santiago (tours), Secret location, (+569) 87666844, 14:00-18:00. Foto Ruta is a city tour with a twist. Offering a new and creative way to see Chile's capital. A set of clues will lead you on a journey of discovery around a selected neighborhood. Foto Ruta will give you a greater understanding of the city and teaching you how to take great photos along the way, its fun, sociable and a great way to see the city! 
  • La Bicicleta Verde (The Green Bicycle), Loreto 6, Bella Vista, Santiago (Just across the bridge from the Bellas Artes museum), (02) 570 9338, 9 am-6 pm. La Bicicleta Verde is a good way to see lots of Santiago in a short time since you cover much more ground on a bike than on foot. The tours involve low-intensity biking, with stops along the way for the guide to explain. The morning tour (9:30 am) is the best option, covering the Bella Vista neighborhood, Neruda's house, La Vega central market and more. Tours available in English or Spanish. The guides are super friendly, and the tours include a snack and drink which is a nice chance to chat with the guide and ask questions. You can also rent bikes to go on your own.  
  • Tours 4 Tips, Museo de Bellas Artes (Metro Bellas Artes), 56 322 -3148700, 10 am and 3 pm. Tours 4 Tips offers two different tours every day, taking you to hidden gems and Santiago landmarks just on the basis of tips. The guides are dressed like "Wally' from the children's book "Where's Wally," and meet in front of the Museo Bellas Artes at 10 am and 3 pm. The 10 am "Offbeat" tour visits four markets (Mercado Central, Tirso de Molina, La Vega Chica, and La Vega Central) and ends at the General Cemetery. The 3 pm "Highlights," covers the Coup of 1973, along with the history, politics, religion, and gastronomy of Chile's Capital with surprises en route. Informative, Fun and Well Paced!  
  • Cooking in Chile - Cooking Classes, Bombero Nuñez 261, Bellavista, Santiago (Metro Bellas Artes / Metro Baquedano), 56 9 7669 39 49, 10 am and 5 pm. Cooking Classes and Markets Tour. The 10 am "Offbeat" tour visits four markets (Portal Fernandez Concha, Mercado Central, Tirso de Molina, La Vega Chica.) Classes are fun and hands on, Simple and easy to follow recipes. Includes wine, pisco sour, empanadas and more! Great fun and recommended! 

What to eat and drink in Santiago, Chile


  • Amadeus, Av. General Bustamante 50 (Between Buquedano and Parque Bustamante metro stations).   
  • Anakena, Av. Kennedy 4601 (in the Hyatt Regency Hotel), +56 2 3633177. Designed to look like an outdoor market with a number of dishes that combine Asian, European and South American cooking styles. 
  • Aquí Está Coco, La Concepción 236 (Providencia), +56 2 2358649, M-Sa 1 PM-3 PM and 8 PM-11 PM. Seafood is this restaurant's specialty and its menu has a wide variety of fish and shellfish to choose from. There are a number of other dishes for the non-seafood lover as well. Currently under renovations following a fire, will reopen sometime in January. 
  • Bar Nacional (Matias Cousiño 54), Paseo Huérfanos 1151, +56 2 6965986. Offers hearty Chilean meals and a range of local and imported drinks.  
  • Boulevard Lavaud, Compañía de Jesús 2789 (Cumming underground station), +56 2 6825243 (, M-Th 10 AM-1 AM, F-Sa 10 AM-3 AM, Su 11 AM-5 PM (from 31st October 2010). In Barrio Yungay, Boulevard Lavaud is more than a coffee and restaurant, is part of Santiago history. Better known as La Peluqueria Francesa, is part restaurant, part antique store, and part hair salon.
  • Café Dante, Jorge Washington 10 (Ñuñoa). A meeting point for friends and family, with a lot of history and nice service, serves really good Doritos.  
  • Plaza Café, Av. Brasil 221 (Barrio Brasil). Pleasant place to eat a cheap three-course lunch.  
  • Ocean Pacific, Ricardo Cumming 221 (Barrio Brasil), +56 2 6972413. Stylishly blue decorated restaurant that has a broad range of seafood. The take-away parlor next door with the same name, has excellent empanadas.  
  • Santa Isabel, Ricardo Cumming and Compañia (Barrio Brasil). Big supermarket where you can gather the ingredients for your own meal. It also has simple takeaway items such as chicken or rice. This one is actually a part of a big supermarket chain that is present in many Chilean cities aside from Santiago.
  • Los Buenos Muchachos, Avda. Ricardo Cumming 1031, +56 2 698 0112, 12.30PM - 01.30AM. great food and great entertainment, what more does one need for a successful restaurant dinner.  
  • Ciudad Vieja, Constitución 92, Providencia, +56 2 2489412, M 12:30-18:30, Tu 12:30-00:00, W 12:30-01:00, Th-Sa 12:30-01:30. A great "sanguchería", where you can have some of the most gourmet sandwiches in the city. Its located in the hip Bario Bellavista, and you can also have a drink with friends at very economical prices.  
  • La Piojera, Aillavillu, (0)2 696 1682. A typical Chilean experience Terremotos y Borgoñas $. 
  • Buffalo Waffles, Merced 315. Great waffles with different toppings, salty and sweet ones. Perfect for the late dinner or as a snack to go. 
  • Restaurant Cruz Coke 350, Pasaje Doctor Eduardo Cruz Coke 350 (Entre Huérfanos y Compañía por Teatinos), 226995465, Mon-Fri 12-16, Mon-Sun: 1800-0000. Open for lunch, Restaurant Cruz Coke 350 also offers personalized packages for dinners, farewells, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. during the evening. Offering a range of food and an enviable wine list, this former house will offer you more than just beautiful views and fantastic customer service. 
  • Club Santiago bar restaurant (Barrio Concha y Toro), Erasmo Escala (2120), 26734700, 12:30 pm - 02:00 am. Traditional food and drinks. Great ambients and service at the Santiago.  


Nightlife choices vary widely across the city and their location usually reflects their price and style.
  • Barrio Bellavista and Barrio Brasil are popular spots close to the city center. Bellavista can be reached by Metro to Baquedano, or by bus to Plaza Italia. Cross the bridge will bring you to Pio Nono, which probably has the highest density of bars in Chile. Bellavista has a wide range of choices from popular places to upscale, such as a jazz bar. In addition, there are discos with all kinds of music, from contemporary electro-pop to salsa and merengue. This is probably the only barrio where you can find a disco that has a predominately gay audience. It is a fun atmosphere and features drag-queen shows on Saturday nights. Moreover, Bellavista is the area that lasts the longest during Friday and Saturday nights, with most places closing at 4-5 AM, and a few places (so-called "after hours") run till 6-7 AM.
  • Plaza San Enrique is a park located in Lo Barnechea (at the far north-east of the city) which is surrounded by nightclubs. The most popular one is Sala Murano (it can get very crowded!). People who attend are mostly 18-25 and it is one of the safest places to party. Most people there are from upper-middle to high class, so it is more expensive than other neighborhoods. Typically, females get in for free. You can get there by micro, but though buses do pass later on, you might have to wait up to an hour for it.
  • Boomerang, General Holley 2285 (Providencia). High scale pub and cocktail bar.  
  • La Casa Club, Santa Filomena 11 (Providencia), +56 2 7350503. Five-level club with each floor catering to different musical tastes, laser show, bar, and special events, highly recommended.  
  • Barrio Manuel Montt has a small and unique atmosphere with mid-range prices. It can be reached at Metro Manuel Montt (line 1).
  • Isidora Goyenechea is a very nice and safe neighborhood with plenty of restaurants, albeit expensive ones. Take the Metro to El Golf.
  • Plaza Ñuñoa is a district east of the central area and is another popular spot nightlife spot.
  • The Santiago Pub Crawl. Your night is planned out for you so you don't have worry about where to go, you meet people from all over the world, cover a lot of ground and it's great value for your money.
  • Batuta, Jorge Washington 52 (Plaza Ñuñoa), +56 2 2747096. A good spot to see mainstream Chilean rock and metal bands, although it is expensive by Chilean standards.  
  • Suecia is roughly located at Providencia and Suecia, in between Metro Tobalaba and Los Leones (line 1). It is a boulevard of bars and discos about 3 blocks long. It used to cater to a foreign and upscale audience, but it seems now that the most entertaining bars moved to Manuel Montt. (Not there anymore, all bars and clubs closed)
  • Vitacura is located pretty far east (towards the Andes). It is composed of bars and some places where you can dance. The places are nice and although they certainly lack cohesiveness as nightlife (since bars only recently started opening there) it can be fun to go. It is more expensive than other areas of Santiago and frequented by people that live in the eastern (wealthier) side of the city. Although you can get there by bus, it will be hard to leave on anything but a taxi since buses don't run late.
  • Bar Catedral, Merced 395. Nice bar downtown between lounge bar and more folklorica. Good rock bands often come to play.  
  • El Candil, Providencia 1421 (metro Manuel Montt). til midnight. A quiet bar/restaurant in Providencia. The traffic outside is noticeable but not excessive and drinking outside here has a genuinely pleasant urban flavor. If you fancy making a night of it, Bar Liguria is practically next door.  
  • Pio Nono. Til 5 AM. Pio Nono in Bella Vista has an intense feeling, bars line the street on either side. The area has a very youthful quality but older visitors shouldn't be intimidated. One of the most lively areas of the city at the weekend.
  • Bar Liguria, Av Providencia 1373 (metro Manuel Montt). This bar looks like a 1950's American diner and plays music ranging from classic 1950s rock to what you'd hear in a mid-2000's London pub. For all that, it's clearly no tourist trap and the clientele are mainly local. At the weekend the bars on Pio Nono are probably a better bet, but for a mid-week drink, this is well worth a visit. It is also a great restaurant during the day! It serves many local dishes and drinks, including great wines.  
  • La Leyenda, Alameda con Santa Rosa (metro Santa Lucia). Til 5 AM. This Peruvian restaurant/bar plays music from all over Latin America at weekends until 5 AM to a diverse crowd of locals with roots all over South America. Unpretentious and entertaining.
  • Su Merced, Coronel Santiago Bueras 121 ((Parque Forestal)), +56 2 2584 7230. A wine and grill bar in the heart of Santiago with a nice view of Forestal Park. Locates within walking distance from Bellavista or Santa Lucia. Fine cuisine with grill specialties, along with an excellent selection of Chilean wines.  
  • Opa-Opa Comida Griega, Maturana 84 (4 blocks from República or Cumming Metro Station), 26714066. Evenings. Delicious Greek food, exquisitely decorated in the Greek style, quiet, soft background music, the atmosphere reminiscent of the Greek Mediterranean islands.

Shopping in Santiago, Chile

Santiago has a lot of shopping centers or "Malls", as known by the locals. The main ones are:
  • Mall Plaza Vespucio
  • Mall Plaza Oeste
  • Mall Portal La Dehesa
  • Mall Parque Arauco
  • Mall Alto Las Condes
  • Mall Florida Center
  • Mall Plaza Norte
  • Costanera Centre
  • Persa Bio-Bio
In the malls, you can find a variety of retail stores and Falabella, París and Ripley, the most famous department stores in Chile. The biggest ones are Parque Arauco and Alto Las Condes, they both have good restaurants and the former has a good agenda of free music and shows. You can get to the former from Escuela Militar metro station and to the latter from Los Domínicos; ask locals for directions if you're unsure of how to take buses.
Alonso de Córdova Street and Nueva Costanera Avenue are very exclusive areas where you can find high fashion and luxury stores like Louis Vuitton, Hermés or local designers. In this area, you find great restaurants and art galleries.
If you prefer buying handcrafts, the ones in the Centro Artesanal Santa Lucia are good and relatively cheap compared with other handcrafts stores. Other handcrafts centers are in Bellavista (though a bit more expensive).
Close to Los Domínicos metro station is Pueblito Los Domínicos steps from Los Domínicos metro station; it is more expensive but has a wide variety of local handcrafts and antiques, as well as a small exhibition room and a bonsai exhibition behind it. It is very pretty with an artificial stream in a colonial-looking atmosphere. Half of the people there are usually tourists during the summer, so you won't be alone!
Plaza Nuñoa has some small shops in the plaza where you can buy books from Latin America (Neruda, Allende, Cortazar) and also handicrafts.
If you're already kinda familiar with Santiago, you can also go to Patronato which is located near to the downtown area and it's easy to reach by metro (Patronato metro Station). There you'll find cheap clothes, food, and products of all kinds, as well as some foreign stores (mainly Chinese, Koreans, Peruvians and from the Middle East), thus allowing you to save quite a bit of money. It would be better to go alongside a local, though, since it's easy to get lost due to the very short and slim streets and the very high quotient of visitors. Beware of pickpocketers.
Similarly, those who want more surprises and know the basics about Santiago can go to the famous Persa Bio-Bio (Bio-Bio Persian market), located in the Franklin area, also not too far from downtown and near to the metro (Franklin station). It can be described as a giant flea market that opens every weekend business hours. It offers antiques, tools, handmade furniture, craftsmanship, Cheap Chinese stuff, many food stores, etc. Again, it's not a place for novices: a local's presence would be desired, as it may get difficult to find someone English-spoken in the market. You will find most of antiquities and very cool rare stuff in Persa Victor Manuel between Victor Manuel and San Isidro. A place very skipped by tourists but a visit is extremely advised. Persa Bio-Bio may take you 4-6 hrs to discover, but it also offers very nice and cheap international food courts.

Safety in Santiago, Chile

Santiago's air quality can decline during the winter (May-September). The locals welcome the rain which falls during winters as it cleans the air. Be sure to carry bottled water with you during the summer and avoid food or drink from street vendors. Be prepared for sauna-heat on the metro during summer.

By South American standards Santiago is a safe city, but visitors should be aware of pickpocketing and other petty crimes. Avoid parks at night and don't wear expensive looking jewelry or watches even during the day. If you're alone, avoid large crowds of people, especially downtown.

If you happen to have bad luck and get robbed, do as you're told by the criminal and if you don't understand Spanish, give away your false wallet. Thieves in Chile are often impatient and don't read very well. They are likely to beat the bejeezus out of you if you don't give them something that at least appears to be valuable.

Don't flash your cell phone or camera. Carefully hide such valuable when not using them. If you're getting robbed and the criminal has spotted the camera expect to give it away too if you want to stay out of the hospital.

Do always count your money out loud to taxi drivers before handing, as they don't have the best reputation.

If someone approaches you on the streets and promises to get you better chances at changing your dollars/euros into Chilean pesos, NEVER accept their deals. They're con-people who take advantage of foreigners not knowing the details about currency and confuse them with big words to take their cash away. Only change your money in legal currency exchange centers, which may take more time but are much more trustworthy. There's one in the Airport but it has poor exchange rates, and there are many more downtown and in financial areas or in the malls.

If you are going to see a football match (soccer game), be careful with the "barras bravas" who are the most fanatic but also dangerous fans. They are often involved in troubles with the police both inside the stadium and outside. Avoid buying tickets in the sections where the bravas dominate which it often does behind the goals. The middle section is the safest but if you have a friend who wants to support Colo-Colo and another Universidad de Chile, for example, avoid showing it. Even if the middle section is safe, showing different shirts can cause you trouble. Either go with the same shirts or dress neutral. Other football matches not being the "Superclásico" between Universidad de Chile against Colo-Colo should be pretty safe. Walking to the stadium you will find people begging for some pesos so they can see the match. Avoid giving them if you want to stay out of trouble. The barrio where the Estadio Nacional is located in a place which is normally peaceful, except during football matches, when football fans tend to get rounded up. You have to walk with precaution and keep your eyes on other people when it's crowded. It's better to take a taxi to the arena, or a rental car if you can find a place to park it (but beware of break-ins).

There are some neighborhoods/barrios that should be avoided. Even if few carabineros and locals speak English, they are the ones who know which areas are to be avoided since some of them are accessible by metro. If you see fewer tall buildings and more houses with barred windows and entrances, then turn back. The changes happen very slowly, unlike some other Latin American cities, so you'd have to travel quite a lot from a wealthy safe neighborhood to a dangerous ghetto. Avoid especially La Legua (not to be confused with La Ligua in the V Región or La Lengua on sale at the carnicería) which is famed in Chile for its high crime rates and single police cars won't even enter the area. When police have to enter this area they sometimes use armored cars. When it comes to nightlife, keep an eye on your surroundings if you go to Bellavista. Some parts of it are frequented place by criminals and fights involving stabbed people sometimes happen on public streets. This happens mostly on the western side of the neighborhood; the half east of Pio Nono is usually safer, albeit less interesting.

Try staying away from the following comunas: Lo Espejo, La Pintana, Puente Alto (especially the Plaza de Armas), La Cisterna, San Joaquín, El Bosque (not to be confused with a neighborhood located around metro El Golf, which is in Las Condes), San Ramón and La Granja unless you know exactly where you're going. Though these places are not completely unsafe for the most part, they can have a few unsafe spots and don't have much touristic significance.

The safest comunas are Providencia, Vitacura, Ñuñoa, La Reina and Las Condes. All of them have lots of local security guards, besides Carabineros, and locals are more likely to speak English, especially young people. They are not completely safe, though: petty theft still takes place, so keep your eyes open. Lo Barnechea can be tricky as it is the only comuna that has both extremely wealthy and extremely poor neighborhoods; "La Dehesa" is wealthy and safe, "Cerro Dieciocho" is as dangerous as Cerro Veinte and La Legua.

The subway (Metro) is regarded as safer for travelling amongst the locals, even though security has increased in the buses after the introduction of Transantiago. Although some locals still prefer using the subway especially when it gets darker, since almost all the stations have guards. Don't expect the staff to speak much English. Pickpockets are very active on the metro cars, especially during peak travel hours. Always take off your backpack and wear it on the front when you are walking in Santiago Centro.

You can trust in the Carabineros (Chilean Police). Although you can hardly find one who can speak English, they will try to answer your questions, solve your problems or give you orientations. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BRIBE Chilean Police.

Download the SOSAFE app, as it is connected to the local security guards. In case of a police emergency dial 133 or 911 (both of them work), if you don't speak Spanish they will communicate you to a special communication center that speaks Spanish, English, French, and Creole. For Ambulance dial 131 or the nearest hospital, for Firefighter (Bomberos) dial 132. Remember the ABC Rule:

- 131 A for Ambulancia (Ambulance)
- 132 B for Bomberos (Firefighter)
- 133 C for Carabineros (Police)

Language spoken in Santiago, Chile

Spanish is the official language in the country and is spoken everywhere. Chileans use a distinct dialect called Castellano de Chile with a variety of differences in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and slang usage. Spanish-speaking foreigners won't have problems understanding it and will only think it sounds funny, but non-native speakers often struggle to understand it, even with years of practice. For example, Chileans tend to drop the "S" sound at the ends of their words. Instead, they replace that sound with an "H" sound (i.e. the word "tres" is pronounced "tréh"). On the other hand, standard Spanish is not the first dialect of choice, but people would generally be fairly fluent.

Here are two of the most common Chilean expressions:
  • Huevón (pronounced usually as way-OHN) could be translated into different words according to its context. Originally a swear word meaning "jerk", it can be used also as "friend" or "dude".
  • Cachar (pronounced ka-CHAR) comes from the verb "to catch" and means "understand". Also, is commonly used in a weird conjugated form as cachai' at the end of the sentences, similarly to "y'know", and in a colloquial manner it can also be used to mean sexual intercourse.
English is widely understood in large cities, especially Santiago, and to a much lesser extent in Valparaíso, Concepción or La Serena. English is now mandatory in schools, so younger people are far more likely to speak English than older people Most Chileans over age 40 are unlikely to speak English unless they are tourist industry workers.

Indigenous languages including Mapudungun, Quechua and Rapa Nui (in Easter Island) are spoken in Chile but only among indigenous people, who are less than 5% of the population. Many people identifying with one of these groups are not able to speak the language of their ancestors and speak only Spanish instead.

Many Chileans understand some French, Italian and Portuguese and also there are some German speakers, especially in the south of the country, where a lot of German migrants arrived in the second half of the 19th century and some around the time of World War II.


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