Santiago de Chile
SERNATUR (State Tourism Agency). Main office: Av. Providencia 1550. Phone: 7318336 – 7318337.
Santiago 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. Private taxis will charge about $15,000 for a trip to downtown or Providencia. Tur-bus is a nice alternative, you´ll find them in a kiosk right after customs. They charge $4.800 for door-to-door mini-van service, leaving every 15 minutes, or $1.300 for a bus to the Tur-Bus station, which connects directly to the Metro. Another alternative are the Centropuerto buses, which connect you with the Metro Line 1 (red line) and charge about $2 USD.
From the US, American Airlines and LAN operate flights from Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Dallas. Some flights have layovers in Guayaquil or Lima. Delta Air Lines operates direct flights from Atlanta. Many of these flights are overnight, and most use widebody aircraft such as the Boeing 767.
Air Canada operates a daily flight from Toronto.
From Europe, Air France, Iberia, LAN and Lufthansa (code-sharing with SWISS) operate daily flights into Santiago from their hubs. Some flights stop in Sao Paulo or Buenos Aires. Please note that flight times from Europe vary between 18 hours from Frankfurt (due to stop-over in Sao Paulo) to 12 hours from Madrid and is considerably tiring! Most routes to Europe are operated with Airbus A340s.
From Oceania, Qantas and LAN operate a daily code-sharing flight from Sydney to Santiago via Auckland, New Zealand. It's at least 12 hours each way. LAN also operates a Tahiti-Easter Island-Santiago route.
Entering Santiago by car, you'll probably find yourself on the Autopista Central. To use this freeway you need a "TAG", which you can buy from service stations. One day passes are Ch$3500. With a bit of planning and consulting your map before you head into the capital, you can avoid using the freeway altogether. This is best done by not entering from Ruta 5.
There are bus connections to all major destinations on the continent.
From Mendoza in Argentina it's a beautiful eight hour bus ride crossing the Andes. The border crossing is at about 3200m. Be aware that it is not allowed to bring fruit, vegetables or animal products into Chile, and all luggage will get checked at the border.
The Principals Bus Terminals are located at:
Bus travel times to/from Santiago de Chile:
If you are staying in town more than a few days get a bip!-card at any subway station ($1200, minimum recharge $800). This card is good for both subway and bus, and allows you free transfers between the two (you still have to swipe your card, but there is no deduction) in a 2 hour period.
Go wine tasting, right in the city. Concha y Toro (http://www.conchaytoro.com), is one of Chile's largest producers, and they have a modern, Napa Valley-style tasting room and gift shop set up. Tours are given regularly in both Spanish and English, and they can be booked via email. It is probably one of the few wineries in the world that is easily accessed by public transportation from a major city. From the center of town, it should take around an hour to access by subway and bus. If you go to the travelers information center on Avenida Providencia, you can get a promotional pamphlet for this winery with a discount on the entrance fee. Also at the end of the tour you recieve a free Concha y Torro wine glass that you use during the tasting.
Many mountains are found in and all around Chile great for climbing.
In order to work in Chile a working permit needs to be obtained, which can be accomplished with the sponsorship of an employer. However, numerous people work illegaly, but it is obviously best to obtain a permit.
Santiago has a lot of Malls the principal are:
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 centes are in Bellavista (though a bit more expensive).
Choices vary widely and their location usually reflects their price and style. For instance, Suecia, Vitacura, and Isidora Goyenechea are more expensive and upscale, being closer to wealthier parts of the city, while Bellavista, Plaza Nunoa, and Brasil are more popular. Manuel Montt is somewhere in between and though small has a very unique atmosphere.
On the edge of the Barrio Paris Londres, the Hotel Fundador is conveniently located for sightseeing. It also has a good quality restaurant. Another place is Providencia, a quiet nightboardhood you can go to SuitesChile apparts with gym, pool, internet, tv, near restaurants, shooping and bar.
The Ritz-Carlton is, as expected, very nice. It is across the street from a small park and a stone's throw from El Golf metro station. There are restaurants and bars nearby and the neighborhood is modern and organized.
Hostel Bellavista is located in a great area for dining out and nightlife. The staff is helpful and friendly, and the atmosphere is very warm. There are several old computers from which you can access the Internet for free, and there's a large common room equipped with a TV, DVD player, plenty of seating and even a guitar.
The Plaza de Armas Hostel is a lovely, extremely clean hostel which is located right in the central square with a great view out over the plaza. Small (located on an upper floor of a building; so no patio) but very friendly and lively place with really good staff who take you out to the clubs.
Hostal de Sammy is a great, rather worn-down place with a lot of facilities at no extra charge: internet access (computers in the lobby and WiFi), complete breakfast until 1 PM, living room with a huge big screen TV and 100's of movies to watch, game room with pool table - table tennis - Playstation 2, kitchen, clean rooms, DVDs, free rental of bikes and a lot more. It's good value for money (5000 pesos for a bed in a dormitory), though none of the toilets or showers work regularly. The staff is helpful, if loud, and there are some adorable pets.
Hotel Tabita, phone 6715700 - cosy, friendly and quiet, but right in the middle of town, Principe de Gales 81 (off Moneda between San Martin and Amunategui), firstname.lastname@example.org, singles from $7000.
Internet and post offices.
By South American standards, Santiago is a safe city, but visitors should be aware of pickpocketing and other petty crimes. But if you compare Santiago with other cities in South America, it is by far pretty secure. Avoid the city parks at night and don't wear expensive looking jewlery or watches even in the middle of the day. Avoid large crowds of people. Also if you are blonde or ¨gringo/gringa¨ expect a lot of attention as Chile is not very diverse racially.
If you are going to see a football match, be careful with the "bravas" who are the most fanatic but also dangereous fans. They are often involved in troubles with the police both inside the stadium and outside. 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 ot of trouble.
The barrio where the Estadio Nacional is located is a place where you have to walk with precaution and keep your eyes on the people when it's crowded. It's better to take taxi or car to the arena if you can find a place to park your car.