[All content and prices updated September 2013]

Why you should add Santiago to your Indie/RTW trip

  • Visit one of the most economically stable South American countries.
  • Chilean wine and red meat – neighbor Argentina gets all the hype when it comes to good, cheap wine and steak, but Chile’s offerings are much the same.
  • Santiago is the cultural and entertainment capital of Chile – plenty to do to keep yourself busy, particularly if staying for a while on a RTW trip.
  • The centralized location makes it a great jumping off point for travel to the rest of the country
    • The Lake District and Patagonia to the south
    • The Atacama Desert to the north
    • Argentina to the east
  • Want to ski in the Andes in the morning then head to the beach in the evening? You can do that from Santiago.
  • Santiago has a Mediterranean climate – warm, dry summers, and mild winters – you can’t beat that!

Indie travel tips for Santiago

  • Check out the Plaza de Armas, the city’s main plaza, with a large influx of Peruvian immigrants, and thus, Peruvian restaurants.
  • Go to La Piojera and drink a terremoto (literal translation: earthquake). This bar in downtown, near the Mercado Central, has been around for over 100 years, and the drink (rustic white wine, fernet, and pineapple ice cream – yes, ice cream) is sure to put you on your ass if you have more than one. The combination sounds odd, but it’s delicious.
  • After imbibing in the terremoto, either late that night or the following morning, when you’re craving grease, try some chorrillana or a completo
  • If you like exploring crazy, big, bustling markets, head to Mercado Central.
  • Take the funicular up Cerro San Cristobal for amazing views over the city and surrounding mountains. A great way to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city.


Santiago is a major hub in South America and a good place to fly in and out of, particularly if you’re adding it to your multi-stop itinerary. If coming from other parts of Chile or neighboring countries, bus service is generally very comfortable and affordable, though rides can be very long depending on where you’re coming from


Santiago has a large number of hostels scattered about the city, and they are the most affordable place to rest your head at night. Be sure to research the areas of the city as it is huge, and where you stay will impact your time in Santiago.