FOLLOW US

World Travel Guide > Guides > South America > Chile > Santiago

Santiago Weather

13°C

Local time Santiago

Currency

CH$

Getting around Santiago

Public transport

It is clean, friendly but can get very busy. Transantiago (tel: +56 600 730 0073; www.transantiago.cl) has an ambitious plan to overhaul the city's public transport infrastructure – due for completion in 2025, but so far has proved woefully inadequate to current needs.

Tarjeta bip! travel cards are valid for travel on Santiago's Metro system and buses; you can buy these at Metro ticket offices. Each single fare on a bip! card covers up to three interconnected metro/bus journeys over a period of two hours.

The modern Metro system, Metro de Santiago, (tel: +56 600 600 9292; www.metrosantiago.cl) is still the easiest way to travel around Santiago, and is for the most part clean, efficient and reliable. The Metro system has five lines which operate daily, closing overnight.

Santiago's city buses are run by private companies. Those on the major 'trunk' routes are painted white with green stripes, while other buses have different colours according to the zones they serve.

Taxis

There is no shortage of taxis, which are black with yellow roofs. Get a good idea of the price first. Taxis should have meters. Women travelling alone at night should exercise caution.

Radio Taxi Andes-Pacífico (tel: +562 2912 6000) and Radio Taxi Centro (tel: +562 2697 0106) are reliable, well-established minicab firms.

Driving

Driving in Santiago is a headache, with congestion to rival any European or North American metropolis. Many of the more upmarket hotels have a guest car park. There are two car parks close to Avenida Bernardo O'Higgins (Alameda). These are at Calle San Francisco 75 and outside Calle Santa Rosa 76. Many urban streets offer metered parking.

Car hire

Most car hire companies require the driver to be 22 years or over. Insurance is usually additional to the car rate and is recommended. Providers include Chilean Rent A Car (tel: +56 2 2963 8760; www.chileanrentacar.cl), Avis (tel: +56 2 2795 3971; www.avis.com) and Rosselot (tel: +56 3 2314 0300; www.rosselot.cl).

Bicycle hire

Cycling is becoming a lot easier in central Santiago. Many of the city's parks have cycle lanes, there is a lovely riverside route, and you can pedal along the winding lanes of Cerro San Cristobál.

La Bicicleta Verde, Loreta 6 (tel: +56 2 2570 9338; www.labicicletaverde.com) runs tours and hires out mountain bikes, cruisers and tandems.

Bike Santiago (tel: 600 750 5600, in Chile only; www.bikesantiago.cl) is the city's expanding bikeshare scheme.

Featured Hotels

SEE MORE

W Santiago

Starwood Hotel's W chain has landed in Santiago, with a blaze of imaginative lighting, colourful fittings and quirky furnishings. Compared with many of the W hotels around the world, this is tempered slightly by Chile's conservative tastes – no bad thing. The 168 rooms are well appointed. The level of service is unsurprisingly high. The rooftop pool is an interesting place to spend a few hours relaxing, and the bar is excellent.

NOI Vitacura

Overlooking the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, NOI Vitacura provides a sanctuary from the urban bustle of the capital. This sleek high-rise hotel oozes style through its contemporary design and sophisticated suites. The rooftop terrace offers a late night bar, pool and unbeatable views of the Andes on a clear day.

ChilHotel

Perhaps the most sensible option of any of the these listings, ChilHotel is practical, comfortable and affordable. On a quiet street within easy walking distance of the Metro in Providencia, it is the sort of place you would be happy to put your parents on a visit to the city with its good-value rooms (although some err on the small side) and polite service.

Hotel Foresta

This beautifully located hotel (right by Cerro Santa Lucía) has been around for a while. It has kept its old style, which means it is chock full of character, although sometimes this spills over into a slightly cluttered feel. However, the service is very attentive and with the arty district of Lastarria right next door, it is one of the best and most affordable options in town.

Ritz Carlton

Setting the standard for hotel opulence in Santiago, this is where the service is impeccable, Egyptian sheets adorn your bed and there is just about every luxury you could possibly desire within the hotel's walls. Gyms, swimming pools, three restaurants and an internationally renowned sommelier are all available to those lucky enough to stay here.

Happy House Hostel

A superb, ambitious renovation makes this colourful converted Barrio Brasil mansion the place to head to satisfy your old bohemian instincts - even though you now have more cash in your pockets. With everything from a games room to a delightful patio with views right over the city, this lovely relaxed place is for former backpackers who can afford to indulge themselves a bit more.