Last update: 31/05/2016


Founded in 1541 by Pedro de Valdivia, the Chilean capital is today a modern, sprawling, and vibrant metropolis with over 7 million inhabitants (40% of Chile’s total population).

Flanked on one side by the Andes mountain range, and the Coastal range on the other, the city has a unique natural backdrop.

Santiago is a city where the traditional meets contemporary. Its historical center is home to countless monuments, quaint side streets, and colorful plazas. 


Useful Information about Santiago & Chile

About Chile
Everything you need to know about Chile prior to your trip. History, facts & figures, climate, geography, a map of the country, and much more.


Santiago is a fascinating city and this document serves as the perfect introduction, with heaps of information on its highlights, key areas, and history.

Upon Arrival

What happens upon arival to Santiago's international airport? This document offers the low-down on arrival procedures and getting from the airport into town.

Getting Around

Everything you need to know about getting from A to B in Santiago by bus, metro, taxi, or on foot. Includes information related to the School and Conference venue.



Santiago's cultural scene is rich and varied, and in this document you will find information on museums, galleries, live music, theater, and much more.

Food & Drink

Information regarding Chilean cuisine, typical dishes, wine, and other drinks. Also includes information on dining times and also tipping in Chile.


Restaurant Guide

A comprehensive list of recommended restaurants in Santiago, from cheap and cheerful to fine dining. The list is arranged by cuisine type.



For more information please contact our Travel Expert:
Gary James
Sense Chile


Santiago has an integrated system of urban transportation which was inaugurated in 2008.

Santiago’s Metro system is the most modern and efficient in Latin America, comparable to that of many European cities.

And taking a taxi in Santiago is safe and cheap, on top of that they are in abundance, both in the city and for journeys between the city and Santiago’s international airport.






The city’s cultural offerings now rank alongside those of Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, and Mexico City. Santiago is reinventing itself, with arts, nightlife, and restaurant scenes that have never been better, making this thriving and sophisticated metropolis into the civic, cultural, and historical nucleus of the country. 

The city’s art galleries are well worth a visit. Highlights include The Chilean National Museum of Fine Arts (Museo Nacional de BellasArtes or MNBA), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC), and the private galleries and artists workshops in the Vitacura area.

The city offers a wide range of museums, among the highlights is the splendid Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino, which houses more than 1,500 objects related to indigenous culture.

The fascinating Memory and Human Rights Museum has shone the light on the difficult and fractious history of the Pinochet years from 1973-1990.

And don’t miss La Chascona, the Santiago home of the late Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. Eccentric and absorbing, it is a fascinating insight into the life of a unique figure in Chilean culture.



Shopaholics will be happy in Santiago, with myriad shopping options from local artisan markets to huge malls.

Shopping highlights include lapislazuli,a semi-precious blue stone that makes for beautiful jewelry items. Wine makes a great souvenir or gift, and there are plenty of specialist wine stores in the city.

Other traditional items include woolen goods, indigenous handicrafts, and silver.





The culinary scene in Santiago is vibrant, with great food to be found in hole-in-the-wall ‘picadas’ to more sophisticated dining experiences in swish venues in the uptown areas.


The finest dining and most innovative chefs are found in affluent suburbs of Las Condes and Vitacura, with the terrific seafood serving as the base of many dishes.


Santiaguinos have dinner much later than in Europe and North America, normally from 8.00pm until late…very late.


A 10% gratuity is standard in Chile.



Chile is a producer of excellent wines, and most restaurants offer an extensive wine list.

Chilean wine is great value for money. A good bottle can be bought a local store for under US$10, and will normally cost double that in restaurants.

Chile has a burgeoning craft beer scene, with independent labels such as Kross, Kunstmann, and Guayacán the pick of the bunch.

Perhaps the most emblematic drink is the pisco sour, a heady mix of pisco (a grape brandy), lemon juice, and simple syrup. It is the perfect aperitif, so start your meal the way Chileans do.






Chile offers an incredible geographical diversity, making it one of the most fascinating countries on Earth. Its highlights include…

The Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth, scattered with a lunar like landscapes and home to the ancestral indigenous Inca and pre-Inca civilizations.

Chilean Patagonia is a dazzling array of ice fields, mountains, lakes, and pristine and untamed landscapes.

Deep into the Pacific Ocean lies Easter Island, the worlds largest ‘open air’ museum, and home to over 600 Moai – giant stone statues thought to be over 800 years old.

Attractions close to Santiago include the colorful port city of Valparaíso. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city is unlike any other with its chain of hills packed with brightly-colored houses, restaurants, and boutique hotels.

Wine is a big deal in Chile, and there are several superb vineyards within an hour’s drive from the city.

For adventure lovers, the Maipo Valley offers white-water rafting, hiking, and horseback riding.

Skiing in Chile is world class and there are several ski centers with a 90-minute drive from the capital with July the perfect month to enjoy the mountains.