Santiago de Chile, usually shortened to Santiago, is the capital and economic centre of Chile. With its museums, events, theaters, restaurants, bars and other entertainment and cultural opportunities, it is the political and cultural centre 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 metropolitan area has about seven million inhabitants.
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
Pricing in Chilean pesos. 1,000 Ch$ are about US$1.53. Can check current rates by Googling "Chilean pesos to USD."
Sernatur (State Tourism Agency), Av Providencia 1550. 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). We strive to help you make the right choices when visiting this beautiful country. We assist with digital or printed maps. Detailed information and assistance with security, accommodation, laws, travel insurance, crime spots, no-go areas, restaurants, please-go areas, nature, tour and travel guides etc.
Travellers from Australia have to pay a reciprocity tax/visa fee upon entry, but only by air. This is in response to those same countries' visa fees for Chilean citizens. The one-time charge is valid for as long as the passport is valid and can be paid in cash (USD) or credit card. The fee for Australians is US $112. There is no fee to enter by land.
Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, or simply Santiago International Airport and Pudahuel Airport ((IATA: SCL) (ICAO: SCEL) is the main Chilean gateway for international flights. The travel time to the city centre has been drastically reduced recently, with the construction of a new tollway, the Costanera Norte.
There are airport buses running on two slightly different routes to the centre of town operated by CentroPuerto and TurBus. The Centopuerto bus is a single decker bus with limited luggage storage space and a very narrow door to enter through. The TurBus is a double-decker with lot more room for storage. Both of these buses can be caught between airport exit doors 4 & 5.
Both charge Ch$1700 one-way, with Centropuerto running every 10 minutes to Los Heroes metro station and TurBus every 30 minutes. However, both buses also stop at the Pajaritos Metro station en route, and due to the heavy traffic east of Pajaritos during peak hours it is a good idea to alight here and take the Metro line 1 towards Los Dominicos to the city centre (10-15 min).
Transvip runs a shared-ride shuttle service and have a counter immediately after customs, before you exit into the main terminal. A ride to the city center (as of June 2011) runs Ch$6,500 (US $13).
Private taxis will charge about Ch$15,000 for a trip to downtown or Providencia.
Please note that unofficial taxis may take advantage of unknowing foreigners and charge as much as CLP $200.000 (US$400) for a trip to Centro or Providencia. It is easy to identify unofficial taxis, most drivers will not have any type of identification, and will insist on taking you to the ATM's around the airport where they will convince you to take out the highest allowed amount (200.000 CLP). Common sense and sticking to official taxis will get you to the city with no problem.
From Canada, Air Canada operates a flight from Toronto five to seven days per week.
From Europe, Air France operates to Paris, British Airways to London, Iberia to Madrid, and LATAM to Madrid and Frankfurt. Flight time is 14h from Paris (Air France), 14h 30m from London, 13h from Madrid and 18h from Frankfurt. Air France uses Boeing 777-200ER aircraft and Iberia Airbus A340 planes. Both British Airways and LATAM fly the new B787 aircraft on SCL-LHR (BA) and SCL-MAD-FRA (LATAM).
From Oceania, Qantas operates a non-stop flight from Sydney three times a week using a B747. LAN also operates one daily flight from Sydney to Santiago via Auckland. It's at least 12 hours each way. LAN also operates a Tahiti-Easter Island-Santiago route.
From the US, American Airlines and LAN operate flights from Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas. Some flights have layovers in Guayaquil or Lima, but all of them have non-stop services. Delta Air Lines operates non-stop flights from Atlanta and United Airlines operates non-stop flights from Houston. Many of these flights are overnight, and most use widebody aircraft such as the Boeing 767.
From Latin America, Latam - a OneWorld airline - (former LAN and TAM) has the most extensive network from/to Santiago: operates flights from Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Lima, Sao Paulo, Quito, Guayaquil, Bogotá, La Paz, Santa Cruz, Mexico City, Havana, Punta Cana, among others. Avianca - Star Alliance - has 3 daily non-stop flights from Bogotá and one from Lima. Copa Airlines operates 3 daily non-stop flights from Panama City. Also Aerolineas Argentinas, Gol (former Varig) Aeromexico and Sky Airlines operate from Santiago.
If you are renting a car, the rental car company counters are all located together to one's left after clearing customs in the international terminal. There is a separate set of rental car counters before customs,so you can rent a car while waiting at the baggage claim, but they are not always staffed. After you get your contract, you have to walk outside, turn left, and walk east, then cross the street to the south to a small lot where the rental cars are kept and present your contract to the attendant on duty to obtain your rental car.
When you return the vehicle, you must return to the same lot. Because the airport rental car lot is far too small, traffic jams and delays are frequent, so arrive early. At return, the attendant inspects the vehicle and fills out a return checklist form in carbon copy, then gives you one of the copies, which you bring back to the inside counter to close out your contract.
Entering Santiago by car, you'll probably find yourself on the Autopista Central. To use this freeway you need a "TAG" toll transponder, or a day pass which you can buy from service stations. One day passes are Ch$4400. You can also buy it after accidentally passing through it without one.
If you rent a car at the airport or anywhere in Santiago, the rental car company is required to include a TAG toll transponder in the vehicle and charge you for it.
There are bus connections to all major destinations on the continent.
The bus ride between Santiago and Mendoza in Argentina has beautiful mountain views (Andes mountain) and takes about eight hours, depending on the time spent at the Cristo Redentor checkpoint. Companies as El Rápido Internacional are usual to make this route. The border crossing is at about 2800 m in the Andes. Note that fruit, vegetables or animal products are not allowed in either direction; all luggage will get checked at the border. One way fares are listed at around Ch$17,000, but are often cheaper if booked in advance. There are also buses to and from San Juan, Argentina, with one way fares listed at around Ch$19,500.
One way fares to and from Lima are listed at around Ch$85,000, companies that serve the route include Cruz del Sur and Ormeño Perú.
The Principals Bus Terminals are located at:
Terminal Alameda: Universidad de Santiago subway station, Line 1. Private station for Turbus and Pullman buses. National and international departures.Has a hotel and a few convenience shops.
Terminal Santiago: Alameda 3848,Universidad de Santiago subway station, line 1; across the street from Turbus Terminal.
A little less safer than Turbus Terminal, yet not dangerous. Beware of pickpockets and people trying to sell you robbed goods (iPods and cellphones are a common target). Has a food court with local fast food restaurants and a McDonald's. Note that prior to national holidays, it may be extremely overcrowded.
Terminal Los Héroes: Tucapel Jiménez 21,Los Heroes subway station, Line 1.
Bus travel times to/from Santiago de Chile:
Sao Paulo (Bus company: Pluma): 54 hours
You can only use the ATMs operated by Banco de Chile or foreign banks,e.g. Santandar, Citi, etc. to withdraw cash using a foreign card. Unfortunately, the charges are steep. All ATMs have an identical user interface, too. The charge for withdrawing CH$140,000 was CH$5,000 and CH$6,000 for CH$150,000. So it appears that the charges are made up of a base transaction fee plus a charge for the amount being withdrawn. When the total fee is displayed on the screen, you will see a comment stating that 'it includes Govt. tax'; not sure what this is about.
Half a dozen of Bureau de Change are located on Agustinas, between Bandera and Ahumada should you wish to shop around for best rates. They only operate during business hours so changing money after 630 pm may not be easy.
Convert all your leftovers to another currency preferably not at the airport,before leaving the country since changing to another currency even in an adjacent country could trigger 40 - 50% commission
If you are staying in town more than a few days get a Bip! card at any subway station Ch$1350, minimum recharge Ch$1000. 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. Depending on the time of the day, combining bus and subway may add an additional fare of Ch$80 (peak) or Ch$20 (shoulder period). Notice that you still have to mark the card. For more information, see Transantiago official website.
Metro Santiago has a metro system with five lines and 94 stations, with many holding rotating art exhibitions. Trains run between roughly 6.00AM and 11.00PM, with each station posting the exact hours for the first and last trains. Buses run parallel to subway lines after hours. Tickets cost Ch$720 for peak periods (7.00AM to 9.00AM, 6.00 to 8.00PM), Ch$660 for shoulder periods (6.30AM to 7.00AM, 9.00AM to 6.00PM, 8.00PM to 8.45PM) and Ch$610 for low periods (before 6.30AM and after 8.45PM). Tickets are good for a single ride with unlimited transfers, and there is no time limit.
During peak hours, the trains are usually very packed with passengers, so that new passengers have to wait for the next train or try getting on the train with a little more insistence. Travelling with a lot of luggage during peak hours on public transports is generally not recommended.
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.
Rent a Car 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.
Attractions Santiago de 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 ($1500 one way, $2000 return), 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. The famous cableway (teleférico) was closed for years, but now it has been completely revamped and re-opened (prices from $1310 one way).
Plaza De Armas - The capital's main plaza, also the site of the national cathedral and main post office. It's 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 a 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 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 specially 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 it 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 are given in English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish (5000$).
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 site of the National Museum of Fine Arts and Modern Art Museum.
Theatre & Dance - Santiago offers much in the performing arts, most takes place Friday & Saturday, check listings in El Mercurio. $500-5000 CLP, most offer discounts with student ID, even to foreigners, just ask.
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 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).
Sky Costanera - Observation deck at the tallest building in South America. Has both an indoor and outdoor observatory that provide a 360° view of Santiago when the sky is clear. Tickets for weekends/holidays are priced higher than those for Monday to Thursday.
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 (from about 3 USD in the 2007 edition), 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 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: $1000. No pictures inside.
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino (Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art), Bandera 361, at junction with Españia,Plaza de Armas metro station. 10:00 - 18:00. The well put together Chilean Museum of Pre-Columbian Art houses various artefacts from Mesoamerica and South America, featuring cultures such as the Olmec, Maya and Inca civilizations. Descriptions on the artefacts 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. Ch$3500; Ch$3000 for ISIC (International Student Identity Card) holders and less for children.
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 style. $2100. 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). Tuesday - Sunday 10 - 18h, in summer until 20h. Opened in 2010, this musuem 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 and cost Ch$2000.
Cementerio General de Santiago, Av. Profesor Alberto Zañartu Nº 951 (Cementerios Metro Station). "M-F:. 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. Free, special guided tours from $2500 to $5000.
Cementerio de la Santísima Trinidad, aka Cementerio Católico, Arzobispo Valdivieso 555,Cementerios Metro Station. "M-Su:. 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. free.
Activities In Santiago de 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 centre from some great skiing. Not too expensive and they rent 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. Price for a basic tour is 9000 $ch which includes tasting 4 wines and a 45 minute tour of the beautiful buildings and vines although they offer lots of tours with more tastings and food for a higher cost.
To get there, take the metro to Quillin Station (line 4) which costs around $ch700 each way and takes about 40 minutes from downtown. When you leave the station go East,left as you exit the station on the street also called Quilin, 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.
Paseos en Bicicleta. Off the beaten track bike tours around Santiago de Chile's hidden gems and typical neighborhoods!
Foto Ruta Santiago (tours), Secret location. 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 neighbourhood. 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! $32USD.
La Bicicleta Verde or The Green Bicycle, Loreto 6, Bella Vista, Santiago,Just across the bridge from the Bellas Artes museum. 9am-6pm. La Bicicleta Verde is a good way to see lots of Santiago in a short time, since you cover much more ground on bike than on foot. The tours involve low-intensity biking, with stops along the way for the guide to explain. The morning tour (9:30am) 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). 10am and 3pm. Tours 4 Tips offers two different tours everyday, 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 10am and 3pm. The 10am "Offbeat" tour visits four markets (Mercado Central, Tirso de Molina, La Vega Chica and La Vega Central, and ends at the General Cemetery. The 3pm "Highlights," covers the Coup of 1973, along with the history, politics, religion and gastronomy of Chile's Capital with surprises en route.
Cooking in Chile - Cooking Classes, Bombero Nuñez 261, Bellavista, Santiago (Metro Bellas Artes / Metro Baquedano),10am and 5pm. Cooking Classes and Markets Tour. The 10am "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!
In order to work in Chile, a working permit needs to be obtained, which can be accomplished with the sponsorship of an employer. Though numerous people work illegally, it is obviously best to obtain a permit. Chileans dislike when people brag about working illegally and mostly when it is about people from developed countries,during the 80´s and 90´2 many Chileans left the country to work abroad and visa conditions were difficult, so bragging is a way of making fun.
There are numerous opportunities in the hostels that dot Santiago - contact them individually. Most offer free accommodation in return for work in the hostel, and require a minimum stay of 2 weeks.
Many foreigners also find work teaching English. The majority of institutions require a qualification such as CELTA or TESOL, and big employers include the Instituto Chileno Britanico and universities.
Santiago has a lot of shopping centres 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 centres are in Bellavista,though a bit more expensive.
If you need outdoor gear, there are several shops in Santiago with a particular concentration on the upper floors of the Costanera Center mall. Here you can find several high-end North American retailers like North Face, Mountain Hardware, and Columbia. There is also Chilean retailer Doite that sells supplies like gas, flashlights and cookware at reasonable prices.
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 Nunoa has some small shops in the plaza where you can buy books from Latin America (Neruda, Allende, Cortazar) and also handcrafts.
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 national and international food courts; the Thai eatery Lai Thai and the churrasco stall Carlitos el Rey are specially popular.
Restaurants,where you can have your Meals
Amadeus, Av. General Bustamante 50 (Between Buquedano and Parque Bustamante metro stations). Tasty wood fired pizzas that start at Ch$3500-4000.
Anakena, Av. Kennedy 4601 (in the Hyatt Regency Hotel). 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. M-Sa 1PM-3PM and 8PM-11PM. 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. Offers hearty Chilean meals and a range of local and imported drinks.
Boulevard Lavaud, Compañía de Jesús 2789,Cumming underground station. M-Th 10AM-1AM, F-Sa 10AM-3AM, Su 11AM-5PM. 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 Ch$3000-10000.
Café Dante, Jorge Washington 10 (Ñunoa). A meeting point for friends and family, with a lot of history and nice service serves realy 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). 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 Compania (Barrio Brasil). Big supermarket where you can gather the ingredients for your own meal. It also has simple take-away 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 of Santiago, so check on the url to find other locals.
Los Buenos Muchachos, Avda. Ricardo Cumming 1031. 12.30PM - 01.30AM. great food and great entertainment, what more does one need for a succesfull restaurant dinner.
Ciudad Vieja, Constitución 92, Providencia. 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. A typical Chilean experience Terremotos y Borgonas $.
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 Huerfanos y Companía por Teatinos). 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. $7000.
Club Santiago bar restaurant (Barrio Concha y Toro), Erasmo Escala (2120). 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 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 eletro-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 during Saturday nights. Moreover, Bellavista is the area that lasts the longest during Friday and Saturday nights, with most places closing at 4-5AM, and a few places,so called after hours run till 6-7AM.
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 neighbourhoods. Typically, females get in for free, while males pay around 3k-5k CLP. 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. 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 neighbourhood with plenty of restaurants, albeit expensive ones. Take the Metro to El Golf.
Plaza Nunoa 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. 10,000 pesos.
Batuta, Jorge Washington 52 Plaza Nunoa. 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.
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 that 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 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 flavour. If you fancy making a night of it, Bar Liguria is practically next door.
Pio Nono. til 5AM. 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 5AM. This Peruvian restaurant/bar plays music from all over Latin America at weekends until 5AM to a diverse crowd of locals with roots all over South America. Unpretentious and entertaining. CLP3000/litre Heineken.
Su Merced, Coronel Santiago Bueras 121 Parque Forestal. A wine and grill bar in the heart of Santiago with a nice view to Forestal Park. Locates within walking distance from Bellavista or Santa Lucia. Fine cuisine with grill specialities, along with an excellent selection of chilean wines.
Opa-Opa Comida Griega, Maturana 84 4 blocks from República or Cumming Metro Station. Evenings. Delicious greek food, exquisitely decorated in Greek style, quiet, soft background music, atmosphere reminiscent of the Greek Mediterranean islands.
Aji Hostel, Triana 863 Providencia (Salvador Subway station). Most of the rooms with private bathroom, private, mixed and womens only rooms. Sustainable and best value for money hostel in town: Solar energy for water heating, price always includes breakfast and dinner, activities like BBQ and free entrance club nigth, Wi-Fi, daily cleaning service. Very friendly staff and one of the best and safe location of the city.
Andes Hostel & Apartments, Monjitas 506,In front of the Bellas Artes metro station. Dorms (4-6 bed) mixed and women only, private rooms and apartments. Price includes breakfast, Wi-Fi and daily cleaning service. Great staff and fun weekly events.
Andes Property, Santo Domingo 755 Apartments in Bellas Artes, Providencia, and Las Condes. Nicely furnished 1 br apartments for short to medium stay. Well equipped for everything you'd need for your trip with comfy beds and great views of the city. I stayed in the one in Bellas Artes for 3 months, excellent option if you are staying for a while as it's waayy cheaper than hotels. English speaking owners.
Hostal Romandia Román Díaz 1403 Located in a quiet residential district, the Hostal Romandia is a central Santiago de Chile bed and breakfast style accommodation perfect for business travelers, students, or guests who want to get a good night's sleep in order to discover the fascinating city of Santiago's attractions during their stay.
Footsteps Backpackers, Almirante Simpson 50, Santiago, Chile. checkin: 1PM; checkout: 12noon. A nice little hostel not too far from the trendy area of Bellavista . Close to the station Baquedano on the main red line of the metro. Breakfast and Wi-Fi included. Good staff C$6,000, 8 dorm mixed.
Atacama Hostel Roman Diaz 130. Hostel is close to bars, restaurants, clubs and both the bus and subway station. Newly remodeled rooms are cozy and colorful, large common room with lots of places to hang out and TV and DVDs, the terrace is a great place for a BBQ and views of the city. The water temperature in the showers here can be a bit temperamental.
Hostal Santa Lucia 168, Santa Lucia 168. Looks toward the Santa Lucia hill and just blocks away from the centre. Great personal staff and good breakfast with fresh fruits.
Hostal del Barrio General Ekdhal 159, Barrio Bellavista. Hostel in a quiet area but nonetheless quite near to the hotspots of Barrio Bellavista. The rooms are not huge but very clean, including the bathroom. New owners as of August 2012. Very friendly and helpful staff. C$20,000 for a single with own bathroom. A breakfast of bread, ham, cheese, jam, tea and coffee is included. for contact page and to email a reservation. Fast response.
Hostal de la Barra, José Miguel de la Barra 451 near to Museum Bellas Artes and Parque Forestal.This hostel is run directly in a old building in the middle of Neighborhood Bellas Artes, it has high quality infrastructure and also has a very nice coffee shop next door where the breakfast is served: The drawback is the 6 lane road outside which is rarely quiet and the early morning revellers returning home. Sleep is at a premium here. Good points are the staff, the location and the nearby park areas.
casAltura Hostel, San Antonio 811 (near Parque Forestal, Santiago Centro). Spacious hostel in a beautiful old building with a roof terrace. The interior is modern, comfortable, and always clean. It opened just a few months ago so it can be a little quiet at times, but if you're not looking for a party hostel you're sure to enjoy the laid back atmosphere. Very friendly and helpful staff. Free internet and Wi-Fi. Dorms from Ch$10,800.
Castillo Surfista Hostel Maria Luisa Santander 0329, Opened by a California surfer in January 2012, this rapidly up and coming hostel is a new and rare accommodation that is located a short walk from everything, but the neighborhood is safe and quiet (close to Metro Baquedano in Barrio Providencia). Private rooms, shared dorms, SURF TRIPS, in house Spanish classes, and student housing in Santiago are available.
Dominica Hostel Dominica 24, Bellavista +5627327196 This newly restored old house was especially design to receive travelers. Full of common spaces and with a practical design of the dorms rooms. Located close to Cerro San Cristobal.
Hostel Bellavista, Dardignac 0184, Barrio Bellavista. Hostel located in a great area for dining out and nightlife but can be loud on the weekends. The staff is friendly with some glaring exceptions. There are several computers and free Wi-Fi, large common room equipped with a TV, DVD player, plenty of seating, pool table and a guitar. Very popular with young international backpackers and independent travelers.
Hostal Providencia Vicuña Mackenna 92-A, Providencia Rooms with private & shared bathrooms a house with an antique Chilean style with a modern twist. Staff is very helpful. Breakfast, BBQ, common areas with free internet and Wi-Fi, cableTV, books and DVD library. Located only 3 min walking from Metro Baquedano, Plaza Italia and walking distance to Bellavista neighborhood.
Hotel Angamos, Angamos 367. Small hotel with clean and tidy rooms, double beds and hot water on demand. If there is none, you simply ask the owners to turn it on. Family run business and you can turn up to at any time of day/night. Close to the centre and safe. There is no hotel sign, just ring the bell. C$10,000 per double room, includes breakfast.
La Casa Roja, Av Agustinas 2113. Hostel located in an old renovated mansion. The shared kitchen is huge and excellent. Its a party place, so it can get a bit noisy. Run-down area. Pool. Dorm rooms Ch$7,000. One night free every six nights if paid beforehand.
La Chimba Hostel, Ernesto Pinto Lagarrigue 262, Barrio Bellavista. Small award-winning budget hostel in Santiago's trendiest barrio. Friendly staff and great facilities. Near metro station, La Chascona Cerro San Cristobal and the city's best bars and restaurants. C$70.
Plaza de Armas Hostel, Compania 960, dpt 607 South side of the Plaza de Armas, Santiago Centro. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 11:00. On the central square with a great view out over the plaza near the subway and museums. Small (located on an upper floor of a building) but lively place with good staff. Free internet with 3 computers, Wi-Fi throughout the establishment, common room equipped with a two TVs and a DVD player. US$12-16 dormitory, US$34-38 double with shared bathroom, US$48-50 double with private bathroom.
Pure Lounge, Ernesto Pino Lagarrigue 160. A cozy hostel, very nicely decorated. Clean and quiet. US$16 for a bed in a 8 bed dorm.
Residencia Tabita, Príncipe de gales 81 off Moneda between San Martin and Amunategui. Cosy, friendly and quiet, but right in the middle of town. C$2,000 for unlimited internet access during your stay using Tabita's computer or Wi-Fi. Singles from 8000 pesos, 15000 for doubles.
Ventana Sur Hostel, Claudio Arrau 0340, Providencia Close to Santa Isabel Metro station. Chilled out hostel but there's always something going on. Good location with friendly staff who always go the extra mile and are great fun to hang out with. Pool, free internet and WiFi, continental breakfast included, Friday night BBQs, Wednesday free wine nights. Duvets in the dorms. US$11-12 Dorms, US$21 Single with shared bathroom, US$36-44 Double with private bathroom.
Casa Moro, Corte Suprema 177 3 blocks south from metro ¨la moneda. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 10:00. quiet street only 3 blocks from the city center. You will stay in a house built in 1942 and renovated in 2009. the house has lots of open/ communal space with two patios on the first and second floor and many sitting areas to enjoy. You can get to many of the large attractions in under 20mins walking. There are dinners offered and each room has a private bathroom. CH$45.000 - 120.000.
EcoHostel, General Jofre 349B (from the Metro Universidad Católica, walk to Av. Portugal and then south,three and a half blocks until you hit General Jofre. Turn right and walk half a block. Nice clean hostel with recycling bins and ecological spirit, away from the hustle and bustle of the city center while still being close enough to walk there. Wi-fi, hot water, nice kitchen, breakfast included; close to laundry and supermarkets. The noise from the communal area, though not crazy, can still reach the rooms around it at night, so if you are looking for quiet choose rooms in the back or upstairs. The hostel name is not written outside; look for the facade painting depicting a traveler and a travel guide. dm/d without bathroom CH$8,000/21,000
Middle Class Accomodation
Furchi E.I.R.L -Furnished Apartments-/ Bilbao3561, Av Francisco Bilbao & San Juan de Luz in Providencia, one block from Bilbao metro station. Furnished two bedroom apartment, 58 square metres that sleeps up to four people. Includes full kitchen, washing machine, LCD TV , Cable, Desktop Computer with Internet, WiFi, DVD player, stereo, Chilean Cell Phone and free phone local, national and international calls. The service also includes local access numbers in many cities around the world to call directly to the apartment as a local call. Also other apartmensts available in Santiago $95/night + $40 cleaning fee (USD).
Casa Bonita Bed&Breakfast, Pasaje Republica 5 in Santiago Centro, 100 mts. from the Republica metro station. Established in a national monument in a protected historical neigbourhood, opened at the beginning of 2009. It offers single and double rooms with or without private bathroom and also has rooms for three or four persons. All rooms have central heating, cable TV and Wi-Fi signal. Rates start from US$58 for a single and US$67 for a double. A varied breakfast, internet access and cable TV are included. This B&B is personally run by its owners, a Dutch-Chilean marriage.
Inmoba Apartments & Suites, Dr Ramon Corvalan 8 corner Av Libertador, metro Baquedano or Universidad Catolica. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12PM. Serviced apartments on the top floors of this primarily residential tower block on Av. Libertador between Baquedano and Universidad Catolica metro stations. Excellent views over the city from the balcony and a daily cleaning service. The apartments have kitchens with microwave, oven and hob but no meals are provided, although there are many restaurants nearby to suit all budgets if you prefer not to cook for yourself. Internet access ethernet cable provided, no wi-fi is included in the price. There is a certain amount of noise inherent in the location, although no worse than in any other city centre. Good value for money and almost like having your own flat in the city. USD60/night single.
Meridiano Sur, Petit Hotel, Santa Beatriz 256 Providencia. checkin: 2PM; checkout: Noon. Five double rooms and two singles with private bathroom, satellite TV and Wi-Fi. There is also a loft with room for five. with a lot of partying Rooms $72-135, Loft $260 (rates cheaper May-Aug).
MG Apartments, Pedro de Valdivia 263 near Av 11 de Septiembre, metro Pedro de Valdivia. Nice views over the city, towel changes must be asked. The apartments have complete kitchens with microwave, oven and hob but no meals or breakfast are provided, although there are many restaurants and cafes like starbucks nearby. Internet access (wi-fi) is included in the price. Furniture are modern and well conserved as the bed and pillows. There are cable TV and LCD monitors. Good cost-benefit and localization in the city. USD65/night double.
NH Ciudad de Santiago, Avda. Condell, 40. Elegant hotel located in the centre of the city, a short distance from the primary metro line. The hotel contains 122 suites with private bathrooms, and separate bedroom and living room. Rooms contain sofa, minibar, television and Wi-Fi while the hotel itself offers a gym, sauna and swimming pool.
High Class Accomodation
Hotel Fundador, Paseo Serrano 34. Newly renovated hotel that is conveniently located for sightseeing in the historic centre of the city. It also has a good quality restaurant. Rooms $145-$185 and Suites $205-$260 (Apr, Oct - Nov); $30-$50 cheaper at other times.
Grand Hyatt Santiago, Av Presidente Kennedy 4601. Has a 1000sq foot lagoon style pool, health club and several restaurants.
Meridiano Sur, Petit Hotel, Santa Beatriz 256 Providencia. checkin: 2PM; checkout: noon. Five double rooms and two singles with private bathroom, satellite TV and Wi-Fi. There is also a loft with room for five. $72-135, loft $260 (rates cheaper May-Aug).
The Ritz-Carlton, Calle El Alcalde No. 15 Las Condes district, near the El Golf metro station. The hotel is, as expected, very nice. There are restaurants and bars nearby, a small park across the street and the neighborhood is modern and organized.
Santiago Marriott Hotel, Av Presidente Kennedy 5741. A popular business hotel in the city, the Santiago Marriott Hotel is in the Las Condes district, near excellent dining and shopping. Offers comfortable accommodations, a Lobby Bar, two first rated restaurants, meeting space and other modern amenities and services.
W Santiago, Isidora Goyenechea 3000, Las Condes. Located in the heart of Santiago's business district, the hotel is very close to South America's tallest skyscraper: Torre Gran Santiago. It has a great bar/restaurant, one spectacular gym and spa (The O2), and plenty of fine restaurants in Isidora Goyenechea street.
Sheraton Convention Center and Resort, Avenida Santa María 1742. In walking distance of legendary sites including Pablo Neruda’s house, Parque Metropolitano Zoo, San Cristóbal Hill, the district’s best shopping, restaurants, and pubs, Sheraton Santiago Hotel and Convention Center is also just 12 minutes from the airport and an easy drive from Viña del Mar, world-class ski centers, lakes and mountains.
El Arca de la Ermita - Ecological Cabin. At about 20 minutes out of Santiago, on the road Camino a Farellones, district of Lo Barnechea, El Arca de la Ermita is an ecological cabin fully equipped that can host up to 2 people. Ideal to relax, have some rest during the trip and enjoy the nature. The surroundings are still quite natural and wonderful, the view of the Andes, the river and the birds singing, access to trekking routes, hammock, barbecue grill and a garden at your disposition. The cabin is at about 30 minutes from the ski centers; Farellones, Valle Nevado and the Colorado. As it is remote from the city, they offer transport from the Plaza San Enrique, district of Lo Barnechea and also a parking lot. The contact with the hosts, a young and dynamic couple, is very personalized and warm.
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 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 "Superclasico" 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 is 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 breakins.
There are some neighbourhoods/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 neighbourhood 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 armoured 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 neighbourhood 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, Nunoa, 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 neighbourhoods; "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.
If you wish to mail a letter or postcard, the biggest post office is Correo Central on the North Side of Plaza de Armas, a neoclassical building with French influences. There are several smaller post offices spread in the city, often close to the bigger avenues. However, Chilean mail has become infamous for not getting things delivered or mailmen opening the letters trying to find money or any valuable items,mostly on mail coming from abroad.
The largest and most trustworthy private mail company is Chilexpress, which has agencies on almost all mid-sized cities. Prices are a bit higher though.
If you are staying in the city for a while and expecting mail from abroad be aware that mail using the normal postal system is very slow. Postcards and letters from Europe can easily take 4/5 weeks to arrive at their destination in the capital.
Enjoy your stay in Santiago de Chile