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 complete 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’s 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.
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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’s 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
Fuento Neptuno – What to see in Santiago Chile
Santa Lucia Hill
#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.
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Metropolitan Cathedral – One day in Santiago
Plaza de Armas
#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 the 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 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, a fitness center, 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 center 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
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Thanks for reading this article and if you have any questions at all about what to do in Santiago Chile, please leave me a comment below this post and I will get back to you as soon as I can.