Info about getting from the airport, public transportation and more.
Getting From the Airport
At the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, you can rent a car, take a bus or choose private transportation. The buses take you downtown to Los Héroes subway station for CLP $1,800 and leave every 10 minutes from 6 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. (and hourly overnight). After you pass customs, you’ll see several companies offering official private and shared transportation options, with rates varying according to the distance. Avoid informal taxis outside the arrivals area.
The subway offers fast, reliable service. Since it’s connected to the bus system, Transantiago, you can transfer from the subway to a bus for free. You can also transfer from bus to subway, for little to no cost up to 90 minutes after the start of your trip. To use the system, buy a Bip! card at any subway station for CLP $1,500 and keep a sufficient balance on it.
Ride-sharing apps are commonly used but not legal yet, although Cabify vehicles are registered with the Ministry of Transport. While there are many taxis available on the streets, you’re best off ordering one using the app SaferTaxi, since its drivers are identified and rated. Though more expensive, radio taxis are reliable, too.
Radiotaxi Al Minuto: 56-2-2519-9300
Radiotaxi CentrOriente: 56-2-2622-0022
Make use of Santiago’s many bike lanes and download the MoBike app, which lets you rent for longer stays, or you can pay CLP $399 for every 20 minutes. (There’s also a one-time refundable deposit of CLP $9,990). When you’re finished riding, just park your bike in a public space.
Canadian Andrea Palmer, CEO of Awake Labs, takes us to her favourite spots.
Andrea Palmer is the founder of Awake Labs, a company dedicated to autism health, and the creator of a wearable device called Reveal that monitors anxiety in autistic children. With the S Factory, a Chilean start-up program for female entrepreneurs, she developed a prototype alongside data scientists in Santiago. “It’s the largest city in Chile, but each comuna has a different feeling and something unique to discover.”
1. Parque Bicentenario
My colleagues from the S Factory and I packed a picnic and spent our spare time building an underwater robot to test out in the park’s North lagoon, where locals race their remote-control boats amid swans and flamingos. It’s a great spot in upmarket Vitacura to spend the day lounging on lawn chairs under big umbrellas, away from the busy city.
Av. Bicentenario 3800
2. Centro Artesanal Santa Lucía
There are tons of booths selling local handicrafts, like lapis lazuli jewellery, copper goods, handcrafted leather and colourful indigenous items with Mapuche prints – all great souvenirs to bring home. The ceilings are low and the hallways are narrow so it’s crowded, but there’s a fun energy. And it’s right by the Santa Lucía Hill, one of a few spots that offers 360-degree views of the city.
Alameda 510, 56-2-263-26618
3. Holm Ensaladería
This is an amazing brunch spot that doubles as a bakery. Most of the bread in Santiago is white, but Holm makes really delicious breads with ingredients like nuts and whole grains. The last time I went, I had the lentil-pea hummus with whole-wheat bread that has sesame seeds baked inside the dough. The meal was massive but so good I ordered seconds.
Padre Mariano 125, 56-9-4227-4411
4. Mesón Nerudiano
I love the mystical atmosphere at this restaurant modelled after the interior of poet Pablo Neruda’s home. The patio has a waterfall and is surrounded by trees, so it feels like you’re in a forest outside of the city. Try the pisco sour and a shrimp ceviche while live Chilean folk music plays in the background.
Calle Domínica 35, 56-2-737-150-42