After exploring the great city of Santiago rest at a comfortable, safe hotel near Santiago International Airport.
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas (Arms Square)Distance from Santiago Airport: 25.4 km
Santiago’s focus since colonial times is its main square, the Plaza de Armas, in the heart of the old town. Surrounded by the grandest of the city’s surviving Spanish public buildings, it acts as a haven from Santiago’s often oppressive traffic. Local artists come here to sell their latest canvasses and although visitors are unlikely to pick up an undiscovered masterpiece, it is a good spot for an atmospheric outdoor drink. The square’s western side is taken up entirely by the Metropolitan Cathedral, built in the mid-eighteenth century with the later addition of its two bell towers in the early nineteenth century.
Palacio de la Moneda (Moneda Palace)Distance from Santiago Airport: 25.6 km
The bombing of Moneda Palace by air force jets during General Augusto Pinochet’s coup against Salvador Allende’s Socialist government in 1973 is one of the twentieth century’s most enduring images. It was in this colonial building that Allende finally took his own life with a gun given to him, according to local legend, by Fidel Castro.
Museo Casa La Chascona (La Chascona House Museum)Distance from Santiago Airport: 26.7 km
Nobel-Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda’s Santiago pied à terre, La Chascona, is situated in the lively Bellavista neighbourhood. It has been meticulously restored since it was vandalised by supporters of General Pinochet and now houses a collection of Neruda’s possessions.
Fernando Marques de la Plata 0192
Tel: (2) 777 8741.
Museo Chileno de Arte PrecolombinoDistance from Santiago Airport: 25.8 km
(Chilean Museum of Pre-Colombian Art)
The Museum of Pre-Colombian Art houses a collection to rival any in the world. Located in a handsome colonial building, the Palacio de la Real Aduana (Royal Customs House), it treats visitors to an endearing display of artefacts from Latin America’s pre-Hispanic civilisations.
Tel: (2) 695 3627.
Palacio de Bellas Artes
Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts)Distance from Santiago Airport: 25.4 km
This fine arts museum, housed in a turn-of-the-century copy of Paris’ Petit Palais, evokes the city’s aspirations to lift itself out of the cultural wilderness.
Tel: (2) 633 0655.
Iglesia de San FranciscoDistance from Santiago Airport: 25.9 km
Hemmed in by the hellish traffic along Avenida Bernardo O’Higgins, the Church of San Francisco and its adjacent Franciscan Monastery are a welcome island of serenity. The church was originally built in the late sixteenth century by Chile’s conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, although regular earthquakes have ensured little of the original structure remains.
Avenida Bernardo O’Higgins 834
Mercado Central (Central Market)Distance from Santiago Airport: 25.4 km
A wrought iron structure shipped out piece by piece from England in the nineteenth century is home to Santiago’s Central Market, on the south bank of the Mapocho River. Although this impressive building still has a fish market, it has become an unashamed tourist trap full of overpriced ‘rustic’ restaurants.
Puente and San Pablo, near Plaza de Armas