Santiago is one of my favorite cities in South America! Surrounded by the snow-capped Andes mountains and rich with colonial history, these are just some of the reasons why you should visit Chile’s capital city!
I spent one day in Santiago exploring some of the best sites in the city and have put together this guide of the 3 Best Things To Do in Santiago Chile to add to your itinerary.
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WHERE IS SANTIAGO CHILE & HOW TO GET THERE
Santiago is located in the middle of Chile and it is the country’s capital city with an estimated population of 5.6 million people.
The best and easiest way of reaching Santiago is by plane. Daily flights operate in and out of Santiago Chile Airport, connecting domestic and international travelers from around the world. Santiago City is a short twenty-minute drive from the airport.
Search All ∼ Flights to Santiago on Skyscanner.com
Exploring Santiago can be done either self-guided or with a tour company. I personally joined an 11-day tour with Tucan Travel covering the highlights of Chile, Argentina and Brazil, which included one day in Santiago.
Click Here to see the full itinerary of the 11-Day Highlights of Chile, Argentina and Brazil Tour.
3 BEST THINGS TO DO IN SANTIAGO CHILE
#1 SANTA LUCIA HILL
Santa Lucia Hill, also known as Cerro Santa Lucia, was the first awesome location that I visited upon arriving in Santiago de Chile and, in my opinion, it’s the perfect place to start your one day Santiago tour.
Santa Lucia Hill is the remnant of a volcano from 15 million years ago, located in the center of Santiago City.
The Santa Lucia Park has many features including ornate facades, water fountains, stone staircases, a small castle and a panoramic viewpoint at the top of the 70m tall hill.
It is approximately a ten-minute walk to reach the top of Santa Lucia Hill and marveling at the city from the topmost viewpoint is one of the best things to do in Santiago Chile.
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Santa Lucia Hill – Things to do in Santiago Chile
Fuento Neptuno – What to see in Santiago Chile
Santa Lucia Hill – Things to do in Santiago Chile
#2 PLAZA DE ARMAS
The Plaza de Armas is the main square in Santiago City and a must-see on everyone’s one day in Santiago itinerary.
Surrounded by large palm trees and historic buildings such as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago, Central Post Office building and Palacio de la Real Audiencia de Santiago.
Take a rest on one of the bench seats, feed the birds circulating the central fountain and take a happy snap sitting in one of the letters at the ‘Santiago’ sign.
Wandering around Plaza de Armas was one of my favorite things to do in Santiago Chile.
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Metropolitan Cathedral – One day in Santiago
Plaza de Armas – Things to do in Santiago Chile
Santiago Sign – What to do in Santiago Chile
#3 SAN CRISTOBAL HILL
San Cristobal Hill, also known as Cerro San Cristobal, is my favorite location in Santiago City. At 850m above sea level, the summit of Cerro San Cristobal boasts the most amazing 360° views of Santiago City and surrounding regions.
Atop San Cristobal Hill is a 22m statue of Virgin Mary, along with a chapel and an amphitheater.
It is free to visit San Cristobal Hill if you decide to hike up to the top, which takes around forty-five minutes, or alternatively, you can take the easy option and ride the funicular to the summit which costs 1500 Pesos one way or 2000 Pesos return trip.
I decided to hike up San Cristobal Hill as the queue of people lining up for the funicular was ridiculously long and time was of the essence to make it to the top in time for sunset.
If your legs aren’t painted on and you are keen to hike, just follow the sidewalk to the left once you enter the park for about five to ten minutes until you see the trailhead on the right-hand side of the road.
The trail is not steep at all and there are several park benches to take a rest along the way if you wish. The trail will lead you right to the top, emerging at Terraza Bellavista roughly forty minutes later.
Watching the sunset at San Cristobal Hill is one of the best things to do in Santiago Chile and a perfect way to end the day exploring this magnificent city!
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Cerro San Cristobal – What to see in Santiago
San Cristobal Hill – Santiago What To Do
Virgin Mary statue and Terraza Bellavista
WHERE TO STAY IN SANTIAGO CHILE
Santiago has thousands of accommodation options to choose from, so I have narrowed it down to a few of the best places to stay in Santiago to fit the needs of budget backpackers and luxury travelers. See the list of accommodations below that I personally recommend:
Luxury: The Ritz Carlton Santiago
Get treated like a celebrity at The Ritz Carlton! This 5-star hotel features a rooftop spa, heated pools, fitness centre and 3 restaurants. The rooms are stylish and spacious with incredible views of Santiago City. Wifi is free and breakfast is included!
Mid Range: Hotel Regal Pacific Santiago
Great location in the centre of Santiago, this hotel features a whirlpool spa, gym, sauna, racquetball court and 2 restaurants. The spacious rooms come equipped with cable TV, music player, work desk and free wifi. Perfect for couples looking to stretch their budget a bit.
Budget: Atacama Hostel Backpackers
A unique feature about the Atacama Hostel is that it’s an old 1930’s house converted into a backpackers. Centrally located and minutes walk to bars and restaurants. The Atacama has shared dorm rooms and private rooms available. Perfect for solo backpackers or travelers on a budget.
For all other Santiago accommodation, Click Here to search on Booking.com
MORE CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA TRAVEL GUIDES
If you are planning a trip to Central and South America, be sure to check out my other travel guides below that you might find useful while crafting together your itinerary:
- Mexico: 4 Week Mexico Itinerary
- Guatemala: 2 Week Guatemala Itinerary
- Cuba: 10 Day Cuba Itinerary
- Peru: Backpacking Peru – 3 Week Itinerary
- Bolivia: Things To Do In Bolivia
- Brazil: 2 Day Rio De Janeiro Itinerary
- Argentina: Things To Do In Argentina
- Chile: Things To Do In Chile
WHAT TO PACK FOR CHILE
Everyday Backpack: One of the best backpacks on the market! The Nomatic 20L Backpack is perfect for on the go adventures. Featuring multiple storage spaces for valuables, drink bottles, chargers, notebooks and more. This sleek backpack was designed for you.
Universal Power Adapter: Don’t leave home without one! I highly recommend getting this Universal Power Adapter so that you are able to charge all of your electronics when you’re on the road. Compatible in Asia, UK, Europe, Africa, USA, SA and Australia.
Hidden Money Belt: I never go on a trip without one! The best thing is they are always out of sight, hidden beneath your clothing. With RFID blocking, they are perfectly designed to keep your credit cards, cash and other valuables safe when you’re out adventuring!
Waterproof Phone Case: A waterproof phone case is a must-have item! This universal case will keep your phone safe from water damage, sand and scratches during your adventures. Suitable for all smartphone models.
Portable Charger: One of the best portable chargers on the market! The Anker Power Bank keeps your phone and accessories charged on those longer adventures. Featuring 2 USB charging ports, rechargeable battery, works with iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Oppo and Android.
Microfibre Travel Towel: To pack a towel or not to pack a towel? A standard bathroom towel can take up a lot of space in your travel bag. Get your hands on a quick-dry Microfibre Travel Towel which is perfect for the beach, backpacking, camping and general traveling.
Rain Jacket: A light-weight rain jacket is an absolute must when traveling! North Face waterproof rain jackets come in both men and women sizes, featuring a breathable mesh lining and adjustable hood that can be tucked away inside the collar.
Kindle: The best alternative for books! Kindle e-readers are perfect for long haul flights, reading on the beach or a quiet evening away from the bars. Kindle’s are waterproof with rechargeable batteries and adjustable light settings to suit indoor/outdoor conditions.
Packing Cubes: My favorite item in my backpack! Perfect for organizing your shirts, pants, jackets, socks, underwear and more. This 5 Set Packing Cubes makes packing easier and more efficient, adding extra space in your bag for your next trip.
Activated Charcoal Tablets: Want to avoid food poisoning? Most of us have been a victim of travelers diarrhea from eating street food. Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets are fast-acting and will rid your system of the bad bacteria that causes stomach upset.
MY CAMERA GEAR
Everyday Camera: The most affordable mirrorless camera on the market! I personally use the Sony A7ii Mirrorless Camera on all of my adventures. It’s compact, lightweight and super easy to use for all levels of photography. A 28-70mm Sony lens is also included.
Drone Camera: Take your photography to new heights! The DJI Mavic Pro 2 Drone is at the top of the game when it comes to high-quality images and video, easy to control functions and traveler-friendly capabilities. I guarantee you won’t regret purchasing one.
GoPro Hero 8: One of the most popular cameras on the planet! I love using the GoPro Hero 8 for all of my underwater shots and fast-paced adventures. The GoPro Hero 8 captures the best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use!
Camera Bag: My favorite camera bag I have ever owned! The Lowepro Protactic 450 AW II Camera Bag features a waterproof rain cover, drink bottle holder, padded compartments for cameras, drones, lenses, accessories and it also has a laptop pocket.
Selfie Stick: Everyone loves a good selfie, right!? The Sandmarc Metal Edition Selfie Stick is sleek, stylish and can extend to 1.2m. I find it much easier to take photos and videos with the GoPro when it is mounted to the Sandmarc Selfie Stick!
Camera Tripod: The Joby GorillaPod is suitable for all cameras. This tripod is easy to use and perfect for setting up a time-lapse video or even using it as a selfie stick. The legs are flexible so you can wrap it around a tree or a pole to get creative with your shot.
GoPro Dome: Have you ever wanted to capture those under/over water shots with the GoPro? This epic underwater GoPro dome housing is the best camera accessory to have to create the perfect 50/50 shot. I use mine every time I am in the ocean!
Memory Card: The best thing about SanDisk Extreme Pro is that it delivers maximum speed for images and videos. Having 64GB of storage means that you can store hundreds of files on this SD card for 2-3 days and not have to worry about running out of space.
External Hard Drive: As a photographer, my images and video files take up a lot of space on my MacBook so I use the WD Elements External Hard Drive to store everything. With 4TB worth of storage space, this is more than enough for 1 years worth of content.
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Before you go, don’t forget to check out My Online Shop!
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FINAL THOUGHTS OF THINGS TO DO IN SANTIAGO
Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions at all about Things To Do In Santiago Chile, please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
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