As the capital of Chile, this modern, dynamic and smog-covered metropolis is the cultural and economic heart of Chile. Santiago has been often painted as a contrast to the other Latin American cities, mainly because Santiago, though loud, is cool and well-balanced with Latin and European cultural characteristics. Santiago bustles with nightlife, arts, music and restaurants, which are a joy to tourists. There are several attractions in Santiago and the key is to have patience as there are many attractions, the city pampers tourists with.
The Metro Subway is the cheapest and most efficient transport system, available in Santiago. Not only is it clean but it is also the quickest mode to commute around the city. The Metro has 5 lines and line 1 is the most accessed line. A prepaid transit card is the only way to pay for the metro travel and can be purchased at all Metro stations. Its popularity and convenience has made it the most preferred choice, and hence, it is usually crowded.
The Transantiago transit system is similar to the subway, but a recent introduction, aimed at reducing congestion in Santiago. It ensures that the system works seamlessly, but certainly provides, a commute option. The Santiago Bus system is adequate to transport tourists to various parts of Santiago. Recent amends to the bus system have led to the use of a prepaid card system for travellers.
Taxis and cabs are fairly priced and abundantly available for tourists. Taxis are different from Colectivos. Colectivos are cars without the yellow top; they are shared automobiles, with fixed routes and are charged a cheaper fare than taxis.
Rental vehicles are available aplenty for the people who are interesting in availing rental vehicle services. Parking is generally not a problem as various options are available. Traveling by foot is also an option that will take tourists to closer attractions, within the city area.
Top Sight Seeing Places
The historical Palacio de la Real Audiencia/Museo Histórico Nacional (museum) offers a deep dive into Chilean history. The mammoth tangerine-colored Palacio de la Real, erected originally by the Spanish to establish the court, it soon became the Chilean Government’s Congress.
The Central Market (Mercado Central) offers a glimpse of the Chilean agricultural production. All types of fruits, vegetables, seafood are displayed here. The lively staff and the onlookers offer a cordial setting for tourists. The market is featured with a lofty steel structure prefabricated in England and assembled in Santiago in 1868 and is an amazing sight.
Nobel Prize winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s one of the three homes, claimed to be his secret hideaway to spend time with his mistress Matilde Urrutia for whom he apparently built La Chascona (red tousled hair). Poet Neruda admired the sea and the dining room is themed around a ship cabin, and the living room resembles a lighthouse. This home is filled with a treasured glass collection, regal furniture and artworks that was lost during a dictatorship raid. The Neruda Foundation (Fundación Neruda) manages the property and the artefacts.
La Merced Museum possesses valuable collection of Barroque, pre-Columbian and Polynesian art for public viewing, and depicts the development of the Order of Mercy in Latin America. Exhibition starts with explaining Easter Island and several encounters between aboriginal and European travellers.
Outside the city
Alhué, as per Indian tradition is referred to as a town of ghosts is located 150 km from Santiago. Prior to an earthquake that occurred in 1985, almost 90% of homes were built in adobe, and even today, some remnant stones are visible, at street corners. This town is dirt-filled and dusty and offers a very different impression than Santiago.