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Santiago

Why visit Santiago?

This sprawling city, with its many parks and green spaces and superb views of the surrounding mountains, is a wonderful place to spend a few days and can also be a useful base from which to visit the central coast, ski resorts and wineries. There are some excellent museums, theatres, shops and art galleries here, nightlife is great and the city plays host to a number of festivals and other cultural events, such as Chile’s largest arts festival, Santiago a Mil (January). Wandering through the various neighbourhoods, each with its own distinct character, is a delight.
Reasons to visit Santiago include:

  • The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino (Pre-Columbian Art Museum) houses superb pottery and textiles. 
  • There are many fine historic buildings, including the Presidential offices in the Palacio de la Moneda, the 16th century San Francisco Church, the Municipal Theatre national opera house and the colonial La Casa Colorada. 
  • Santiago’s main historic square - Plaza de Armas – has been called the ‘heart and soul of the city’. Important buildings here include the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral, Natural History Museum and Central Post Office 
  • Museo Ralli – works by Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte are on display along with a magnificent collection of Latin American art. 
  • The bohemian Barrio Bellavista neighbourhood has many restaurants and bars, and you can visit the former home of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. 
  • Shop for traditional artisan goods in the Santa Lucia Market or Los Dominicos Village, or enjoy the sight, sounds and scents of the fruit, vegetable and food stalls in the La Vega Central Market. 
  • Take the funicular railway up San Cristobal Hill to see the statue of La Virgen, presiding over panoramic views of the city. 
  • Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos – this striking contemporary building tells the story of the human rights violations Chile experienced from 1973 to 1990 in a series of immensely thought-provoking exhibits. 
  • Enjoy a picnic in one of the city’s parks or public gardens such as Cerro San Cristóbal, Parque Bicentenario or Parque Quinta Normal, or discover the work of Chilean artists in the Parque de las Esculturas (sculpture park). 
  • Head out of the city into the foothills of the Andes, to the Sanctuario de la Naturaleza El Arrayán nature sanctuary. 

When to go to Santiago

This is a year-round destination. January is high summer, when many residents head out into the country, so the city is less busy.

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Santiago accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT -4 hours

Flight time:

There are direct flights from London Heathrow to Santiago, which operate 4 times a week and take 14 hours 40 minutes. The Chilean airline, LATAM, flies via Madrid.

Language: The official language is Spanish. but other local languages are also spoken. English is spoken quite widely.

Visas:

Visas are not currently required for British passport holders staying for up to 90 days, who are issued with a ‘Tarjeta de Turismo-Tourist Card’ on arrival. You must retain this and present it to immigration on departure.

Health:

Generally none is compulsory but we recommend the following: hepatitis A and B, typhoid, diphtheria, meningitis, tetanus, rabies and polio. There is no malaria in Chile. A yellow fever certificate is required if you are coming from an infected area.

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