We flew into Santiago, Chile from Costa Rica to begin our trip in South America. It was so exhilarating because we were finally on our journey! We were surprised to be meet at the airport with dry desert and desolate looking areas. Despite the heat and dryness, Santiago is a really fun place.
There are lots of parks, museums, and neat buildings to see. It’s a bustling city that is fairly easy to find your way around considering how enormous it is! We heard that the nightlife was hopping too, but be careful wandering around the streets at night time!
A Ride on the Santiago Chile Subway
The Santiago subway system is very cheap and gets you around the city quickly. It’s the perfect way to go exploring beyond the 5 blocks around the hostel. We bought a subway card and put a little money on it, and had no problems.
To get from the Santiago airport to the downtown area, however, you need to take a bus or a taxi. The bus was easy to find and cheap to ride, though you need the local currency (pesos) right away. The taxis are always expensive, but will take you right where you need to go.
San Cristobal Hill
The San Cristobal Hill is a nice way to get an overall view of the city. A tram takes you up the steep mountain (or you can take the stairs!) and there are lots of things to check out at the top. They have little shops and restaurants but most of all, the view is spectacular! This was pretty much an all day thing for us because we also took in the National Zoo which is in the same area on the hill. Some say San Cristobal is over-rated but we really enjoyed it. It’s a nice way to get a little breather away from the city too!
Museo de Derechos Humanos
The Museo de Derechos Humanos is a free admission museum we stopped in to see. It is pretty neat, and they offer headphones for English translation. It is all about the Chilean history of unfair human rights and mistreatment of Chileans from the president of the time. It’s very interesting. Fairly close to the museum is a park with a pond that has a light show that starts at dark!
The local mall is huge and fun to see! It is located not far from the main bus terminal, Central Station. There are a lot of locals’ markets nearby so it’s worth heading that direction to see all the hustle and bustle.
This city has some very impressive murals and graffiti. It seemed like it was on every building and wall we saw! Most of the paintings actually great artwork and added to the overall feel of Santiago!
On our way out of town we headed over to the main bus terminal, Central Station to find a bus or train headed that way. We ended up taking the train because it sounded fun and the prices were about the same as taking a bus. The train stops in a lot of towns but there is always a sign so it’s easy to tell where you are on the route.
We headed to Rancagua after Santiago but didn’t actually find much there for us so the same day we booked it to Curico where we stayed the night.
If you have time, check out Valpariso and Viña del Mar to the North. We didn’t get a chance to go there, but heard it was fun!
Santiago is a fun place to visit for a few days to get your bearings after you get off the plane! Don’t pass it up.