Patagonia and Altiplano Expedition | #2 – Arriving in Santiago de Chile

After a long flight from Berlin, we finally arrived in Santiago de Chile in August.

We were a bit nervous about the flight with Latam because they are currently under chapter 11 in the U.S. and are still struggling with their financial situation. But the option to get business class tickets from Latam for 1400€ (Berlin to Santiago via Madrid) was just too good to pass, especially with all the luggage that we needed for our trip. We were allowed to carry 9 bags of 23 kg in addition to 3 bags of hand luggage of 18kg. This is enough even if you travel for one year.

Luckily the flight was great and we even arrived in Santiago a bit earlier.

Just before the trip, we got advice from a friend from Israel (thanks Omer!) to put Apple AirTags in our luggage. Therefore we knew immediately after we landed that all our luggage had also successfully arrived in Santiago.

Our main task for the first two weeks was to buy a car including all the necessary paperwork. It’s possible to do this as a foreigner in Chile, but it’s not an easy task. I will make a separate blog post about this topic in the near future with all the details and also some important links.

In the meantime, while waiting for the international bank transfer to arrive and the insurance policy to be issued, we explored the most interesting areas of Santiago.

Our apartment was located in Providencia. This is a safe area with lots of nice restaurants.

Close to our apartment was also a Harry Potter café which Linnéa really enjoyed.

On the first day, we also bought some local prepaid SIMs from Entel. Entel is the recommended provider if you want to travel to Patagonia. It has by far the best coverage there. Without a SIM it’s now nearly impossible to get around in Chile. Just one example: most restaurants have their menus only online (with a QR code on the table to access the menu). Since our Spanish is very limited the translation apps are also extremely important to us (Google and Microsoft).

Foreign smartphones work only for 30 days in Chile without registration. Since we plan to stay longer in Chile we had to register our phones. The process takes some time but is not too complicated. Here you can find all the details:
After two days we got the confirmation that our phones are registered.

For three days we had a small rental car in Santiago. But since there are lots of traffic jams there are far better options to get around in Santiago. The metro is fast, cheap, safe, clean, and reliable. You pay a fixed price (0.5-1 $) whenever you enter the metro independent of how many stations you plan to ride. It’s very easy.

If you are lucky you can also meet Spiderman in the metro :-).

As you can probably guess Linnéa is not only a Harry Potter fan but also a Marvel fan 🙂

For places that didn’t have a metro station nearby, we used Uber in Santiago. It was our first experience with Uber and it worked extremely well. Normally you have to wait only 4-6 minutes until a car arrives and we had to pay between 4$ and 12$ for a ride in Santiago depending on the distance. Even if you only use Uber to get around in Santiago it’s still cheaper than a rental car and you have no problems at all with parking. We loved it and can highly recommend it.

One of the first places we visited in Santiago was Mercado Central. It’s an interesting and lively place where mostly seafood is sold, both at vendors and in restaurants like the Donde Augusto.

Close to the Mercado Central is the Plaza de Armas. Since this place is currently not considered very safe we didn’t spend much time there and didn’t take any pictures.

Next, we went to the art district Lastarria and to the small park at the Cerro Santa Lucía. From there you have a nice view of the city and the Cerro San Cristóbal.

Another nice area in Santiago is Bellavista with many restaurants and vibrant nightlife, especially on weekends.

From Bellavista, you can also take the cable car up to the Cerro San Cristóbal. The view from there is spectacular. What makes Santiago so special is that the Andes are very close to the city.

But our favorite place in Santiago, by far, was Barrio Italia. You can find there countless nice shops, cafés, restaurants, street art, and graffiti. All this is combined with a very relaxed atmosphere. We went there a couple of times and always found something new to explore.

2 thoughts

  1. Greta images , it brings back memories of our days in Santiago some years ago, enjoy your adventures and be safe.

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