10 Things to Do in Santiago, Chile

July 29, 2015


It’s quite possible, while exploring remote parts of the world like the Falklands and South Georgia, to find yourself in the enviable position of spending time in Santiago, Chile. If, for example, you travel on one of several Quark Antarctic Express Fly/Cruise expeditions, you can fly from Port Stanley in the Falklands to Santiago, and can choose a post-trip option – extending your Antarctic expedition even further.

Enjoy these 10 things to do on a layover in Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city:

 La Chascona
La Chascona Casa Museo - Photo Credit

1. La Chascona Casa Museo

For visitors interested in an eclectic, fairytale-like tour of a national landmark, La Chascona Casa Museo is the perfect stop. This self-guided audio tour of poet Pablo Neruda’s third home is brief but intriguing. The house is rumored to have been built for Neruda’s last wife, Matilde, his secret lover while he was still married to his second wife.

 Piscina Tupahue in Santiago Metropolitan Park - Photo credit: Corina Hitchcock
Piscina Tupahue in Santiago Metropolitan Park - Photo credit: Corina Hitchcock

2. Parque Metropolitano 

If you have hours to spare or an entire day, visit Parque Metropolitano, an urban park spanning four communities, considered one of the largest in the world. There are a number of activities and sites to keep you busy, including the Chilean National Zoo, spectacular views of the city, two public swimming pools, and the funicular, a national monument from 1925.


3. Andes Treking Tour 

Tour companies in Santiago like Turismo Flecha Extrema provide opportunities to trek the Andes Mountains as soon as you arrive in Chile. All equipment is provided, as well as transportation and food, allowing for a convenient way to explore the Andes in a short period of time.

Paranormal Santiago Tour
Paranormal Santiago Tour

4. Santiago Freak Day Tours 

There is no shortage of walking, treking and biking tours, but if you prefer a tour unlike any other, you might consider Santiago Freak Day Tours. These tours are intended to showcase Santiago’s B-side and offer a variety of themes ranging from Paranormal to Boho to Origins of Santiago, and include trained actors reenacting important moments in Santiago history.


5. Barrio Lastarria

One of the trendiest areas, yet full of historic buildings, Barrio Lastarria is a favorite neighborhood for walking, dining at interesting restaurants, and even wine tasting at various wine bars. Barrio Lastarria is also a fun place to just linger among Bohemian street vendors and market stalls.

 Mural in Bellavista - Photo credit: Corina Hitchcock
Mural in Bellavista - Photo credit: Corina Hitchcock

6. Barrio Bellavista

If you’re looking for evening activities, Barrio Bellavista is considered Santiago’s nightlife central. A neighborhood full of quirky art and shops, its various pubs, bars, dance and music spots come to life in the evenings.

 Fruits and vegetables for sale at one of Santiago's markets - photo credit: Corina Hitchcock
Fruits and vegetables for sale at one of Santiago's markets - photo credit: Corina Hitchcock

7. Free Walking Tours 

There are a number of walking tours to choose from, many of which are free. The Local Pulse Tour features a guide who takes you to the heart of his hometown, sampling local food, visiting local bars, sharing cultural tidbits, and exploring some of the less-touristy areas of Santiago.


8. Municipal Theater (Teatro Municipal) 

An important site to visit in Santiago is the Municipal Theater, originally built in the mid-1800s. Stop by and view what is considered one of Santiago’s architectural gems, or catch one of several opera or piano concert performances. Some shows are free to the public.

 Metropolitan Cathedral Santiago
Metropolitan Cathedral Santiago. Photo Credit.

9. Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana) 

Catedral Metropolitana is one of South America’s major tourist attractions, with its collection of breathtaking, historic cathedrals. If you are visiting Santiago for a short time, you can stop by for a relaxing views of the church’s paintings, wood carvings, and monuments.

10. Bio-Bio Market 

If you feel like shopping, but prefer a different experience than the typical shopping mall, the Bio-Bio Market is a nice stop in Santiago for items you won’t find in department stores. Bio-Bio is known for all things vintage, from antiques to second hand furniture, books, and jewelry. You can also take a break from shopping and catch a performance by a street band, or sample local treats. 

Santiago, Chile, is just one of several pre- and post-trip options available to enhance and extend your polar cruise. Contact an experienced Polar Travel Adviser to learn more about all our layover options.

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