The Chilean capital is becoming one of the must-see capitals in South America. Its culinary offerings are competing against those of Lima and its arts and culture exhibits rival those of Bogota. Nestled in between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean, this metropolitan city home to seven million residents is bursting with energy. From the towering skyscrapers to the world-class chefs, Santiago de Chile is becoming more than just an entry point to visitors looking to explore the rest of the country. Here are some Santiago de Chile travel tips worth noting when planning your trip.
Santiago de Chile Travel Tips
When is the best time to visit?
The best time to visit Santiago will depend on what activities you wish to partake. Winter activities include skiing in the Andes and hiking at the Atacama Desert. Summer is the best time to visit and explore nearby Valparaiso and Torres del Paine. Santiago’s climate is similar to most Mediterranean cities where winter temperatures rarely go below freezing (0ºC/32°F). Summer can be toasty, but the heat is generally dry.
A quick of word of caution when staying in Santiago during the winter season…the air quality can be hazardous due smog, particles from copper mines located just outside the city, and thermal invasion. Carry a handkerchief or limit your outdoor exposure.
What about money and logistics?
Entry and exit requirements
One of the best things about traveling to Chile is the ease of entry. Any resident of the European Union as well as the United States and Canada require no visa if staying less than 90 days.
There are several ways to get around Santiago. If you’re staying near the center, walking is your best option. Most of the attractions are within blocks and there are plenty of bars and restaurants worth trying within the same vicinity. Those staying in neighborhoods further east such as Costanera and Las Condes are better off using public transport. One of the best Santiago de Chile travel tips is getting a Bip! card especially if you plan to use the metro or bus to get around. The city’s metro system has five lines and 94 stations throughout the city and there are buses that will take you to the center of town. Traveling by taxi is relatively inexpensive ($3-5 each way) as well and likely the most efficient way of getting around.
The official currency of Chile is the peso. As of December 2017, one dollar is roughly CLP 620 while one Euro is around CLP 730. One of the most important Santiago de Chile travel tips deals with cash withdrawals. Bank fees are quite expensive so have cash ready and exchange only the amount you might need at designated bureaus. Despite the less than favorable rates, this is still a better option.