Santiago Travel Guide
Santiago is Chile's capital of cool. It's mostly a modern metropolis, but with more than 500 years of history under its belt and with relics from its colonial era still there. It has some of the most impressive high-rise architecture in the southern hemisphere, prestigious universities, both old and new, coming out of its ears, extensive suburban development fueled by a robust economy, American-style shopping centers with upscale brand-name stores, an underground metro that rivals any in the West, and a city center that buzzes with a distinct bohemian vibe. There are hip neighborhoods here such as Bellavista, packed with jazz clubs and cult music venues, and resurrected core districts such as the Lastarria that are as festive as any you're likely to find in Latin America, brimming with boho bars and one-off boutiques, and some of the coolest museums and art galleries for miles around. Indeed, here's a city that survived a decades-long dictatorship under the Pinochet-led military junta, along with earthquakes and an economic meltdown, and yet emerged as an Alpha World City that boasts South America's tallest building – think Gran Torre Santiago, 300 meters high! – and celebrates Lollapalooza with a bang.
Santiago is situated on the Mapocho River in the central valley of Chile. It lies at the foot of the Andes at an elevation of 1,706 feet (520 m), with the Andes, frequently covered with snow, providing a dramatic backdrop for the city.
Santiago is well connected to other latin capital cities, as well as to major cities within Chile. Its principal airport, the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, is the main hub of LAN and Sky Airlines and is located roughly 15 minutes from the city center. Several international carriers, including Aerolíneas Argentinas, fly in and out of Santiago as well.
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