Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (IATA: SCL, ICAO: SCEL), located 15 km (9.3 miles) northwest of downtown Santiago, is Chile's largest airport and the busiest international air passenger gateway to the country. Before arriving in Santiago, flight attendants will ask that each non-Chilean passenger fill out the required Tourist Card (Tarjeta Migratoria).
For further information, please check the following link (in English):
Please remember to specify your arrival date, time, airline and flight number on the registration form.
If that is not possible upon registration, please send an email with that information to:
* Tourist Card
Santiago International Airport
To know whether you require a visa for Chile, please check the following link (in English):
Please contact the Chilean consulate closest to your city of residence to enquire about the exact requirements. For further information, see: http://chile.gob.cl/en/
Please note: MEXICAN and AUSTRALIAN nationals will be required to pay a Reciprocity Fee at the airport.
This Tourist Card will be stamped and returned to you by the International Police, with your passport, at the Immigration Check Point at the airport. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT THAT YOU DO NOT LOSE THIS TOURIST CARD. All hotels require that each guest present his/her passport and Tourist Card upon registration.
After claiming your luggage and going through customs, to avoid mishaps, please make sure you take an official taxi from the airport which is available to you upon exiting customs area. You will be asked to pay beforehand, you will be given a receipt and directed to board one of the official taxis outside the international arrival area.
For further information on Minbuses to Santiago, please check the following link (in Spanish): http://www.nuevopudahuel.cl/desde-hacia-el-aeropuerto?target=262
VERY IMPORTANT: The National Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) requirements for Chile are very strict. Every passenger arriving in Chile must declare all plant and animal products, as they may contain pests and/or diseases that could seriously damage the country’s agriculture. All persons above the age of 18 must fill out the joint CUSTOMS-SAG form that will be given to you before you arrive in Chile.
* Customs-SAG Form
Santiago, Chile’s capital, is the largest and most populated city, and also the country’s cultural, administrative and financial center. It sits in a valley surrounded by the Andes and the Chilean Coastal Range, at an elevation of 520 m above sea level.
Santiago is located in the Metropolitan Region of Chile, one of 15 in total in the country. It is the smallest region (15,403.2 km²), but the most densely populated, with an estimated 7,314,176 inhabitants. The Metropolitan Region of Santiago is made up of 5 Provinces, with 52 Municipalities (or Communes) in all. The Santiago Province alone consists of 32 Communes, some of which are: Santiago, Recoleta, Providencia, Las Condes and Ñuñoa.
Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino - Metro Station La Moneda, Line 1
National History Museum – Metro Station Plaza de Armas, Line 5
Cultural Center La Moneda Metro Station La Moneda, Line 1
Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos Metro Station Quinta Normal, Line 5
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Parque Forestal – Metro Station Bellas Artes, Line 5
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Quinta Normal – Metro Station Quinta Normal, Line 5
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes - Metro Station Bellas Artes, Line 5
Museo de Artes Visuales - Metro Station Universidad Católica, Line 1 or Metro Station Bellas Artes, Line 5
Museo Archeológico de Santiago - Metro Station Universidad Católica, Line 1 or Metro Station Bellas Artes, Line 5
Museo de Ciencia y Tecnología – Metro Station Quinta Normal, Line 5
Museo Ferroviario de Santiago - Metro Station Quinta Normal, Line 5
Centro Gabriel Mistral – Metro Station Universidad Católica, Line 1
La Chascona – Metro Baquedano, Line 1
Museo Violeta Parra – Metro Baquedano, Line 1
Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende – Metro República, Line 1 or Metro Toesca, Line 2
Museo de Arte Colonial de San Francisco – Metro Station Santa Lucía or Universidad de Chile, Line 1
Catedral Metropolitana - Metro Station Bellas Artes, Line 5
Mercado Central - Metro Station Puente Cal y Canto, Line 2
Estación Mapocho - Metro Station Puente Cal y Canto, Line 2
Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción, Cerro San Cristóbal – Metro Baquedano, Line 2
Sky Costanera - Metro Station Tobalaba, Line 1
Pueblito de Los Domínicos – Metro Station Los Domínicos, Line 1
Iglesia de San Francisco – Metro Station Santa Lucía or Universidad de Chile, Line 1
Cerro Santa Lucía – Metro Station Santa Lucía, Line 1
Parque Metropolitano – Metro Station Baquedano, Line 1 and 5
Parque Forestal - Metro Station Baquedano, Line 1 and 5
Quinta Normal – Metro Station Quinta Normal, Line 5
Barrio Bellavista – Metro Station Plaza Baquedano, Line 1 and 5 Barrio Italia – Metro Station Santa Isabel, Line 5
Barrio Lastarria – Metro Station Universidad Católica, Line 1 or Metro Station Bellas Artes, Line 5 Barrio Yungay - Metro Station Cumming or Metro Station Quinta Normal, Line 5 Barrio Brasil – Metro Station Cumming, Line 5 Barrio
París-Londres – Metro Station Santa Lucía or Universidad de Chile, Line 1 Barrio Concha y Toro – Metro Station República, Line 1
Santiago has a cool semi dry climate with Mediterranean patterns. Summers (November to March) are warm and dry, with temperatures reaching 35 °C on the hottest days. Winters (June to August) are more humid and cold in the mornings, with temperatures reaching 13 °C or more, and minimums of a few degrees above freezing.
boasts one of the most modern underground means of transportation in
Latin America. At the moment it has five Metro Lines. Two new lines are
in the process of being built.
To see the Santiago Metro Map, please click here: METRO MAP
The Plaza de Armas, the heart of the city’s old colonial core, is home to several neo-classical landmarks, for example the early-19th-century Royal Court Palace, which houses the Museo Histórico Nacional(National Historical Museum), and the 18th-century Catedral Metropolitana (Metropolitan Cathedral).
This main square is also home to the Ilustre Municipalidad de Santiago (Santiago’s Mayoral Building), designed by the Italian architect Toesca, built from 1785 to 1790, as well as the Oficina Central de Correos (Main Post Office), originally built in 1882, and remodeled in the neo-classical style in 1908.
Nearby is Santiago’s Mercado Central (Central Market), inaugurated in 1872. Once a market that sold fruits and vegetables, meat and poultry, and fresh seafood, today it is only dedicated to seafood and is considered to have some of the best restaurants to try traditional Chilean seafood dishes around the edges of the market itself.
few blocks away is what was once one of Santiago’s main train stations,
Estación Mapocho (Mapocho Station), today a concert hall and cultural
Santiago’s city center also features museums such as the recently remodeled Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino (Chilean Pre-Colombian Art Museum), and the Centro Cultural La Moneda (La Moneda Cultural Center) that sits below the Presidential Palace, el Palacio de La Moneda.
On Av. Bernardo O’Higgins (known locally as Alameda) is Chile’s oldest colonial-era building, the Iglesia de San Francisco, and also host to the Museo de Arte Colonial de San Francisco (San Francisco Colonial Art Museum).
Behind the church and museum is Barrio París-Londres, developed on the grounds of the church’s convent. This mini neighborhood is an intersection of two cobble-stoned streets, París and Londres, lined with European styled buildings from the 1920s.
east on Alameda is Cerro Santa Lucía (Santa Lucía Hill), a 65,000
square meter park, adorned with stairways, gardens and fountains, plus a
castle, Castillo Hidalgo, built as a fort to protect the city. Monday
to Friday a canon is shot at exactly noon.
Along the west side of Cerro Santa Lucía, next to the Terraza Neptuno entrance is the Centro de Exposición de Arte Indígena (Exhibition Center of Indigenous Art), a hidden gem for typical Chilean handicrafts. Artisans sell a selection of clothes, jewelry, musical instruments, herbs and condiments, scarves and ponchos woven from Alpaca made by different Chilean Indigenous communities.
Barrio Lastarria, adjacent to Cerro Santa Lucía to the east, is an old residential area found between the streets Miraflores and Av. Vicuña Mackenna to the west and east, and between Av. Cardenal José María Caro and Av. Bernardo O’Higgins (Alameda), running north and south. It is now host to many restaurants, bars, boutiques, cafés and art galleries, providing a lively and rejuvenated atmosphere.
Located in Barrio Lastarria are the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes (National Museum of Fine Arts) and one of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo’s (Contemporary Art Museum) locations, literally back to back to each other.
Alongside these museums is one of the city’s most beautiful parks, Parque Forestal, which runs along the southern bed of the Mapocho River, from Plaza Baquedano to Estación Mapocho.
Plaza Mulato Gil (Mulato Gil Square), named after the Peruvian painter José Gil de Castro, who settled here around 1800, can be found in the heart of this neighborhood. This is a small square surrounded by restored antique houses, home to the Museo de Artes Visuales (Visual Arts Museum) and the Museo Arqueológico de Santiago (Santiago Archeological Museum), plus a café and restaurant.
Lastarria is also home to the Centro Gabriela Mistral (GAM), a cultural and performing arts center, named after the first woman in Latin American and Chilean to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. The arts center has permanent and rotating art exhibits on the main and bottom floors, plus murals in the surrounding walls outside. At the moment it is being expanded to include a concert hall.
Further west, also in downtown Santiago, is the Museo de la Solidaridad Salvador Allende (Salvador Allende Solidarity Museum). The museum, named after former President Salvador Allende, houses a collection of 2000 works of art, including Miró, Matta, Tàpies, Calder and Torres García.
In that same area of Santiago are Barrio Brasil and Barrio Yungay, both classic residential neighborhoods, but also known for their bohemian nightlife, with cafés, restaurants, theaters, places to listen to music and dance.
Nestled in Barrio Brasil, between the streets Alameda, Erasmo Escala, Cumming and Brasil, is the mini Barrio Concha y Toro, resembling an old European city with cobble-stoned streets surrounded by old 20th century mansions.
Barrio Yungay was declared a patrimonial neighborhood in 2009 for its traditional central plaza, buildings and houses.
Today, many of the walls and facades of these buildings have been adorned with murals by local artists.
Barrio Yungay is also home to the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights), inaugurated in 2010, which seeks to draw attention to the human rights violations committed by the Chilean state from 1973 to 1990, and to promote respect and tolerance so that these events never occur again.
Across the street from the museum is Quinta Normal, a 40 hectare family- friendly park founded in 1842 as a nursery to imported species of trees, such as Monterey pines, Babylonian Willows and Sequoias. The park also houses the hands-on Museo de Ciencia y Tecnología (Museum of Science and Technology), the Museo Ferroviario de Santiago (Santiago Railway Museum) with 14 steam engines, plus the second location of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo.
Turning around, going in the opposite direction towards the Andes, to the east, is Plaza Baquedano, a large square that separates downtown Santiago and Providencia.
Before visiting Barrio Bellavista, two blocks south on Av. Vicuña Mackenna, is the recently inaugurated Museo Violeta Parra (Violeta Parra Museum), in honor of one of Chile’s most well-known, well-rounded and prolific artists.
Walking north from Plaza Baquedano, across the Mapocho River is Barrio Bellavista, a bohemian style neighborhood with all styles of restaurants, cafés, and boutiques, plus places to listen to music and theaters.
This neighborhood is also home to La Chascona, one of Pablo Neruda’s houses turned museum. Pablo Neruda is Chile’s second Nobel Laureate for Literature.
North of Barrio Bellavista is Santiago’s Parque Metropolitano (Metropolitan Park), the city’s largest park. It is Latin America´s largest urban park and the fourth largest in the world, with an area of 7.3 km² and is Santiago´s “green lung”. The park is comprised of four hills: Cerro San Cristóbal, Cerro Chacarillas, Cerro Los Gemelos y Cerro La Pirámide.
Here stands one of the Santiago’s iconic symbols, the statue of the Virgen de la Inmaculada Concepción (Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary Statue), at the top of Cerro San Cristóbal. At the foot of the statue is a small chapel where Pope John Paul II held mass during his visit to Chile in 1987.
City dwellers use the park on weekends to ride their bikes, take walks, view the city from above, go from one hill to the next on the cable cars, during the summer use the public swimming pools and also visit the zoo.
Once back in Plaza Baquedano, towards the east is Providencia. It is known for its large, old and elegant houses once owned by the Sanitago elite, now used mostly as business offices.
Barrio Italia is a small neighborhood in Providencia, between Av. Bilbao and Av. Irrarrázaval running north and south and Av. Salvador and Av. Seminario from east to west, mostly filled with boutiques, cafés, restaurants and places to listen to music, from jazz, rock, to Latin American folk. The street Caupolican hosts several of the city’s antique furniture stores.
One of Providencia’s newest additions is the Sky Costanera, this is a 300 meter skyscraper that provides a spectacular 360 degree view of Santiago.
Going even farther east, towards Las Condes, to the end of Line 1 of the Metro, is the historical neighborhood Los Domínicos. At the far end of the park is the San Vicente Ferrer Parish topped with two copper domes. On one side of the church there’s the entrance to the Pueblito Artesanal Los Dominicos (Artisanal Village Los Domínicos). This artisan village is home to some of Santiago’s best handicrafts: silver and lapislazuli jewelry and trinkets, woven shawls and scarves, ceramics, leather goods, toys, wood and copper decorative items, and much more.
Warning: Within every major city is a class of criminal adept at singling out vulnerable visitors from the resident population. Please be mindful of your belongings, when walking around and traveling on the Metro.