Underrated Escapes: Everything You Need to Know about Santiago, Chile

Underrated Escapes: Everything You Need to Know about Santiago, Chile

Santiago, the capital and metropolitan hub of Chile, is like nowhere else on Earth and definitely deserves not only your attention but also the next available slot on your travel bucket list.  Jam packed with cultural events, a vibrant and dynamic nightlife community, delicious food, epic shopping, fascinating museums, gorgeous architecture, world class wine, and entertainment that goes until the sun comes up, the gorgeous city of Santiago has what you need to make a truly unforgettable vacation. Close to both the mountains and the ocean, this city is a perfect location to explore the neighboring natural beauty that South America has to offer – if you are an ambitious explorer you could ski or snowboard in the Andes AND dip your toes in the ocean on the very same day. Often overlooked because of the big city factor, Santiago is very much underrated, and here is why:

City Overview

Located in the central valley of Chile between the Andes to the east and the coastline to the west (a mere 90 minutes away), the fast growing city of Santiago is home to about 7 million people. The climate is Mediterranean, meaning it is blessed with hot, dry summers and mild winters. The best time to visit the city is in the shoulder season from late September to November, or from March to May since spring and fall are gorgeous seasons with lots of sunshine, less crowds, less tourists and more affordable flights. For all the wine connoisseurs out there, grape harvest wine festivals take place in April (remember the southern hemisphere experiences opposite seasons to the northern hemisphere). Snow lovers will enjoy winter sports in the nearby Andes from June to early September, but unfortunately the nearby snow makes for a smoggy, damp, and chilly Santiago during this time.

Santiago Chile cityscape

Getting There and Around

Santiago is home to the international Santiago Airport as well as bus terminals that connect to major destinations all over the continent. If arriving by air, check to see if you are traveling from a country that requires the payment of a reciprocity tax/visa fee upon entry so that you are prepared if necessary. Once you get to the city, you will enjoy the modern Santiago metro system. If you are in town for more than a couple of days, definitely purchase a Bip! card at any subway station which works for the subway and bus systems. The extensive bus and metro system cover pretty much anywhere you could imagine going. Keep in mind that trains and buses can get very busy during peak travel times in this booming city, so plan accordingly if you are in a rush or traveling with bulky luggage. Consider renting a car if you are interested in exploring the surrounding area.

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