The Chilean capital is distinctly cool with its fine dining, sleek architecture, colourful culture and stunning Andean backdrop.
Considered as just a stopover point Santiago, is the capital and largest city in Chile. Located in a country filled to the brim with stunning landscapes, historic beauty, local charm and delectable foods, it is fast-becoming more of a destination than a stopover.
On foot; that's the best way to get a real feel for this diverse and ever-changing metropolis.
In downtown El CentroOpens external site in a new window and the surrounding Vitacura, Providencia and Las Condes districts you'll find museums, pedestrian malls, shops and restaurants of all descriptions and prices, as well as a pulsating nightlife.
Elsewhere, several impressive green spaces offer pockets of peaceful respite while traipsing about. Parque Metropolitano, also known as Cerro San CristóbalOpens external site in a new window, is the largest and most impressive. You can't miss it. Nor should you.
Another 'don’t miss' attraction is a visit to the nearby
Maipo ValleyOpens external site in a new window, Chile's original wine producing region. Roots here date back to the Conquistador era. Add in Viña del MarOpens external site and the UNESCO World Heritage port of ValparaisoOpens external site - with its colourful maze of coastal homes set on very steep streets - and you have the makings of a great day trip from the capital.
Further afield, there's the Isla Negra beach house of poet Pablo NerudaOpens external site, as well as ski resorts in the nearby Andean foothills like Cajón del Maipo.
No matter the season, your tastes or personal interests, Santiago won't disappoint on any level.
Leave the city for adventure, mountains, wildlife and remote islands.
If getting off the beaten track is your intention (and you don't want to risk wet weather), northern Chile's Atacama Desert might be worth considering? Most parts of this vast arid lunar-like landscape - wedged between the Andes and the Pacific - have not seen rain since records began.
White salt flats, rust-coloured valleys and snow-capped volcanoes dominate the vista, making for extraordinary changes in light. Sunrise is golden; midday is blinding white; while sunset oozes from red to pink.
Clear, clean skies also make this part of the planet perfect for star gazing. This explains why some of the world's major observatories are located here.
Rich mineral deposits (and adventurous tourists) support the few villages scattered throughout the region, where both Incan and Spanish influences can be seen.
San Pedro de AtacamaOpens external site in a new window makes a great base for exploring. Apart from several archaeological sites and museums, just out of town you can sandboard down giant dunes then wash the desert dust off in Cejar Lagoon.
But it's not all dust and desert. Near Copiapó, the camancha mist lingers over the land, nourishing natural reserves like the Fray Jorge and Pan de Azúcar National Parks.
It's just you and nature in Chilean Patagonia. Over 50 percent of the region (roughly the size of the UK) is a Protected Wilderness Area. Just choose your 'tools' and go: be that fishing rod, trekking boots, kayak or canoe; even a horse.
There's the jagged mountain splendour of Torres del PaineOpens external site, San Valentín and Cerro Castilla. There's the vast glacial expanse of the Ice Field plus the eerie beauty of General Carrera and O’Higgins Lakes. And along the coast, snow-fed lakes and rivers merge in a network of canals and fjords, which dolphins and whales call home.
If you’re interested in skiing South America’s best slopes, head to the Andes. Some of the most famous ski resorts quickly come into view as you leave the city and all of them have hotels, restaurants, equipment rental and ski slopes for everyone from beginners to experts who might even prefer off-piste skiing.
Easter IslandOpens external site, or Hanga Roa as it is called in the local indigenous language, is one of the most exotic places in Chile. It sits at the same latitude as Caldera, but is thousands of miles from the coast. Its indigenous culture has been admired for centuries for erecting massive stone monuments called moais over 800 years ago. These stone statues are scattered over a volcanic landscape surrounded by beautiful beaches. Here at the 'navel of the world', indigenous culture informs the décor and offerings of first-rate hotels and fine dining.
Chilean Peso (CLP$)
220V / 50 Hz
Santiago has four very distinctive seasons. Expect temperatures ranging from 0-12°C in winter, often exceeding 30°C during the summer months. Don’t be surprised to experience 15-20°C fluctuations in a single day.
From the airport
If you are staying in Santiago, you’ll need to take an official taxi or an organised private transfer. Buses are not an easy option. Santiago has abundant metered taxis, all black with yellow roofs.
In and around the city
If you want to travel by bus or metro look for TransantiagoOpens external site in a new window, a quick, cheap and efficient way to get around central Santiago. You'll need a tarjeta Bip! (a contact-free card you wave over sensors).
Driving in Santiago and beyond is a great way to get around and plan your own itinerary.
Santiago car hire
Book car hire with Avis, Budget, Hertz and Thrifty. Qantas Frequent Flyer members could earn Qantas Points^ with Avis and Budget.
Your flight with Qantas
Pack more into your trip with complimentary checked baggage allowance on every flight.
Book on qantas.com and enjoy the best deals on flights, car hire, activities, hotels and more.
Enjoy the freshest seasonal flavours on your flight to Santiago, with Neil Perry inspired menus in Premium cabins.
Enjoy our on-demand inflight entertainment in every seat, with the latest movie releases, TV shows, music and more.
^ You must be a member of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program to earn and redeem Qantas Points. Join online now. Membership and Qantas Points are subject to the terms and conditions of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program.
** Prices are per room, per night and vary depending on date of check in, length of stay and room type. Conditions apply.
~ Qantas activities are provided by Viator. Conditions apply.