What to do : 8 Tips while 8 Hours Transit in Santiago, Chile

Before, I had never imagined myself to visit a country in one of America continent or America latin countries. I knew nothing about it, except when I was kid, I have been exposed by a lot of America Latin’s telenovela.

Yes, I grew up with drama series telenovela, such as Amigos, Maria Bellen, Betty La Fea, etc. I know some of you, too!

Until few months ago, my husband bought me roundway ticket France – Chile to visit him during the end year holiday, because he has to work few months in Patagonia, Chile. When he offered that, I had kind of mixed feelings. I have never been imagine myself to be in America Latin’s country yet to be in Chile and yes, I knew nothing about Chile.

But here I am visiting the 16th country of my travel list.

My flight was direct from Paris to Santiago, the capital city of Chile. And I had transfer time in Santiago for few hours, before I continue my flight to Punta Arenas, to reunited with my husband there.

So I decided to made a short visit to the center of Santiago, even I had a little bit jetlag because of long flight around 14 hours from Paris to Santiago and the weather was pretty different in between France and Santiago. So, in this post I wanted to share my experience when I transit in Santiago for more or less 8 hours, before my next flight to Punta Arenas, Patagonia.

Put Your Luggage at the Airport Luggage Storage. If you have more times during your transit in Santiago airport but you have a lot of luggage that you don’t want to bring, here is the solution. By paying around 3.000 to 5.000 Peso, depends on the size of your luggage, you can store your luggage at the airport Luggage Storage in Gate 1 lobby, on the 1st floor. This price is lasts for 24 hours, yes they open for 24 hours!

Afterwards, you can walk again to the Gate 3 to find the bus counter which go directly to the Santiago center then buy the bus ticket to go to Santiago Central. There are several bus companies which can brings you to several places that you’d wish for. If you want to go to the central, you can buy ticket bus Centropuerto only for 3.400 peso for roundway ticket Santiago airport to Santiago central and return (for oneway ticket 1.900 peso). The bus departs every 10 minutes and stops in several stop.

Once you take the bus, the duration to go to central from the airport is around 45 – 60 minutes and take the stop in Los Heroes, which the last stop of the Centropuerto bus. Take a walk straight from the Los Heroes stop around 900 metres you will find a big square on the left with beautiful buildings of the Centro Cultural Palacio de La Moneda, La Moneda Palace & Constitution Plaza.

Centro Cultural Palacio de La Moneda
(cultural space for Chilean citizen where they can access to the cultural and audiovisual of the nation)
La Moneda Palace
(the seat of the President of Chile works also places for the offices of three cabinet ministers: Interior, General Secretariat of the Presidency and General Secretariat of the Government)
Constitution Plaza
(its a full square surrounded by other government buildings and the President palace)

Luckily, I visited Santiago during the summer. For your information, Chile starts the summer on December to February. But I was not expected that Santiago was as hot as my hometown in Jakarta. The weather was around 33 degrees. The streets, the people, the street sellers, etc was reminds me very well with Jakarta, especially the Kota Tua area.

Can you imagine I was not used any maps nor the Google map (as I did not have the Internet data) when I visited the town? I just used the street sign and by asking people on the street. But before I arrived in Santiago, I took notes on which places that I have to visit while in Chile and I tried so hard to remember the way.

For me, talking English in Chile was a little bit a challenge, as they did not really talk English that much, even in the big town. Just like when I asked a Policeman, nearby the Palace. I asked how to go to Plaza de Armas by sign language as he also did, but I understand what he said until I arrived there and took pictures of the Chilean monuments in Plaza de Armas.

This Plaza is the main square of Santiago, where you can see several important monuments, such as; Monumento al Pueblo Indigena (Monument to the Indigenous People) where this monument intended to the Mapuche people, the indigenous inhabitants of south-central Chile, which fought against Spanish conquerors for 350 years; Statue of Pedro de Valdivia the Spanish conqueror and the first royal Governor of Chile, etc. I really love this square because you can see there are a lot of tropical trees, beautiful statues and many street painters.

Plaza de Armas
Monumento al Pueblo Indigena
(Monument to the Indigenous People)

You can see famous buildings surround the Plaza de Armas also to visit the Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago de Chile which just located in the corner of the square. The Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, which had been constructed with neoclassical style around 1700s by the Italian architect.

Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago de Chile (left) and Oficina Correo Chile, the historic central post office and postal museum (right)
Museo Historico Nacional

Since I don’t have much times to visit the museum, so basically I just admired their city landscape and old architecture buildings with the neoclassical style. It was very interesting for me, because when in the town, I could feel I was in one of European country but with the weather and its people which just like when I am in my hometown. It’s a mixed feeling.

After walking around for almost 3-4 hours, I feel hungry and I was looking for place to eat. There are plenty of choices, when you are in the central. One that I remember so far, Chilean loves to eat everything with meat, either beef or pork. Since I am not eating pork, I looked either for chicken or seafood, instead. As you walk in the town, you will see there are bunch of local fast food restaurants. But I suggest you to try their local food, such as Empanadas (pastry filled with meat, cheese or chicken), Cazuela (homemade stew with beef, chicken, corn, rice and potatoes), etc. My favorite is Empanadas Quesso (cheese empanadas) and Empanadas Pollo (chicken empanadas).

After eat, because of the weather was too hot for me to continue to walk, I finally chose to go back to the airport. Once I back to the Los Heroes stop, I found easily the Centropuerto bus that departed few minutes after I went inside the bus. I slept for awhile in the bus because it was very hot outside and I still a bit jetlagged.

Once arrived in the airport, while waiting for the next flight to Punta Arenas, Patagonia, I decided to take a cup of coffee not to far from the boarding gate in domestic flight. You have to try a coffee product which called Patagonia Blend. It is not a sponsored post, but I love their coffee and cappucino vanilla, if you love the light and sweet one.

The last tips is very optional, but there are some things that they sell in the souvenirs shop at the Airport, which there is not in the town. If you will go to Punta Arenas or Puerto Natales, you will find a looot of souvenir shop with cheaper price if we compare with the one at the airport. As usual, it will be a little bit more expensive than the one in other town, but it is still worth to consider.

So that’s my travel tips for those people who may have long transit in Santiago before you will have flight to another part of Chile, it is absolutely depends on the person’s preference. But I wish you will have the best days in Chile, as I do.

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