San Martin De Los Andes

San Martin Argentina

Experience Chile can include San Martin de Los Andes in your itinerary as part of your South American travel trip under an all-inclusive program with transfers, and accommodation included. Suggested minimum stay is 3 nights.

Ideally a trip here would be suited to an add-on if you are coming from Pucon in Chile or Bariloche in Argentina.


San Martin de Los Andes is a picturesque and rather quaint Alpine-style town with wooden chalets, boutique-style hotels, cosy restaurants, gift, and chocolate shops.

Located in the northern sector of the Argentine lake region and over the Andes Mountains, close to the Chilean border (45km) at the eastern end of Lake Lacar on the valley floor, which is walled either side by steep-gradient hills.
San Martin serves as a stop-off point en route from Pucón or to Termas de Puyehue (in Chile), or to Bariloche in Argentina or as a place to visit for a few days in order to get some of that "Argentine flavour".

The route south from San Martin to Bariloche can be self-drive either via the unpaved road (best to try this route in the summer) that passes through the high-elevation but beautiful Nahuel Huapi National Park (750,000ha) which is known for its wildlife and spectacular geographic scenery of lakes, mountains, hanging glaciers, waterfalls, rapids and snow-covered peaks or via the lower, paved route passing through the "seven lakes" - beautiful but less dramatic.

San Martin Places of Interest

The village with is chocolate-selling shops, walks in natural woods, fly-fishing and boating are among the various options. One of the main interests is the drive over the Andes from / or to Pucón in Chile - very beautiful, or the equally picturesque crossing from Puerto Pirehueico and on the ferry along the incredibly narrow Lake Pirehueico to Pueto Fuy in Chile and on to Panguipulli.

Clothes to Bring

Summer clothes with warm tops for cool evenings. Sunglasses, hat and sun-protection cream.

Experience Chile Itineraries San Martin de Los Andes

We can arrange accommodation here and would suggest a minimum of 3 nights. Usually, people will have a car and drive in from Pucón, in Chile and either return back to Chile or continue on the Argentine side to Bariloche and then come back into Chile.

Alternatively, the crossing from San Martin to Panguipulli via the lake Pirehueico (just south of Pucón) in Chile is beautiful.

We can arrange the rent-a-car (for which you need a permit to take over the border) and an itinerary program based under bed and breakfast. If you fly in from Buenos Aires to Bariloche, we can arrange a private transfer into Chile or vice-versa from Pucón to San Martin.

Puerto Madryn

Puerto Madryn Argentina

Experience Chile can include Puerto Madryn in your itinerary as part of your South American travel trip under an all-inclusive program with transfers, accommodation and tours included. Suggested minimum stay is 3 nights.

However, if you do decide to come here, flights are operated only from Buenos Aires, which is a 2hr flight each way. The airport at Puerto Madryn is Trelew.
Therefore, to get here and then move to somewhere else will require back-tracking to Buenos Aires.


The destination of Puerto Madryn, which is 1,130km south of Buenos Aires and on the Atlantic coast, has become the base from which to see an amazing variety of marine wildlife that lives in and around the bay of Golfo Nuevo.

In this area it is possible to see elephant seals, sea lion colonies (the Punta Loma sea lion reserve is southeast of Puerto Madryn) and the beautiful sight of southern Right whales that come into the bay during breeding season between June to mid- December and with their young around September / October time.

Breeding Season

The sea lion breeding season runs from late December to late January, but visiting is usually good until late April. Bull elephant seals start to claim their territory in the first half of August and the breeding season is in late September until early October. Orca whales can be seen attacking seals at "Punta Norte" during February and March.

The land is also a wildlife haven for guanacos, rheas, Patagonian hares and armadillos.

Puerto Madryn Brief History

Founded in 1865 by the arrival of 1,500 Welsh immigrants, who named the natural harbor Porth Madryn, after Sir Love Jones-Parry, whose estate back in Wales was called Madryn. The small settlement developed further when the Central Chubut Railway was built and opened in 1888, linking Madryn to Trelew, where most flights arrive to.

Puerto Madryn Places of Interest

Right Whales: June to mid December
Orca Whales: February - March
Sea Lions: Late December to late January
August: Bull Elephant Seals

Clothes to Bring

Summer clothes with warm tops and pants. Hat, sun glasses and sun-protection cream.

Experience Chile Itineraries Puerto Madryn

We can arrange a 2, 3-night program at Puedrto Madryn (or longer), whereby you will arrive, be transferred to your hotel and then be taken each day on the various excursions, taken back to your hotel each day and on the final day be taken to the airport.

Flights will operate out of Buenos Aires which we can get for you, or you can also arrange if you prefer.

However, if you want to see whales and you cannot get ot Puerto Madryn, trips are also possible out of Punta Arenas in Chile.


Salta Argentina

Experience Chile can a stay at Salta within your South American itinerary. The best way to get here would be with a flight from Buenos Aires. However, a rather long land transfer can also be arranged between Salta and San Pedro de Atacama, or vice versa.


Located in the north-west of Argentina, close to the border with Chile (San Pedro de Atacama in Chile is on the other side of the Andes from Salta) it has a registered population of around 550,000 people. The city is in the northern Argentine desert, 1,152mt above sea level in the foothills of the eastern edge of the Andes Mountains, offering a warm, dry climate for most of the year.

About Salta

Salta was founded on April 16, 1582, by the Spanish conquistador Hernando de Lerma, in order to establish a settlement between the Spanish Colonial capital in Lima, Peru and Buenos Aires in Argentina. During the independence struggle (1816 – 1821) Salta was of strategic military and commercial importance between Peru and key cities in Argentina.

After the war of independence, the city was in disarray and financially bankrupt throughout much of the 19th century. However, in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the arrival of immigrants from Italy, Spain, and the Arab countries, particularly Syrians and Lebanese, revived trade and agriculture all over the area while further enhancing the city's multicultural flavour

Salta is similar in style to the Andalucía towns of Southern Spain. However, the local culture is a mix of Spanish and gaucho (mestizo, corolla, both indigenous and nonindigenous peoples) traditions, giving the city a distinctive identity and somewhat different from southern Argentina cities that tend to be in a more traditional European in style.

Salta Places of Interest

Each year Salta is becoming a more popular tourist destination because of the beautiful natural geographic scenery and colonial architecture.

The city centre features several impressive buildings dating back to the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Clockwise around the Nueve de Julio (9th of July) Square are the neoclassical Cathedral, the French style Museum of Contemporary Art, the Cabildo (in former times, the city's town hall) and the neoclassical Museum of High Mountain Archeology. This museum houses artefacts from the Inca civilization, including the magnificently preserved mummies of three Inca children.

Within walking distance of the 9th of July Square are the impressive Saint Francis Church and the city's two pedestrian streets: Alberdi and Florida. The three blocks in Balcare Street closest to the train station are now the centre of night life in Salta, with restaurants, pubs and cafés on both sidewalks and concerts every night. Rising imposingly in the east is San Bernardo Hill. Its summit, from which visitors can get a panoramic view of the city and the entire valley, can be reached by car, cable car or stairway.

One of the main activities in Salta is the April Culture Festival, which lasts the entire month and offers a wide variety of activities, such as culture display performances, handcrafts exposition, and live orchestra performances.

Clothes to Bring

Summer clothes, light tops ad pants with warmer tops and pants for cooler evenings. Hat, Sunglasses and sun-protection cream.

Experience Chile Salta Itineraries

We can include Salta as an all-inclusive or part inclusive itinerary into the rest of your South American travel itinerary and would suggest a minimum of 3 nights if arriving by air from Buenos Aires and 4 nights if coming over from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile.


Mendoza Argentina

Experience Chile can include Mendoza in your itinerary as a precursor to / or end of the rest of your South American travel trip. Alternatively, if you are a wine lover, you may wish to include a visit to some of the Mendoza wineries. We would suggest a minimum of 3 nights here. The flight from Santiago is around 1hr and from Buenos Aires around 3hrs.


The city (population circa 130,000 in 2023) is located almost opposite Santiago de Chile on the other side of the Andes Mountains, making the city almost a neighbour to Santiago, and quite far west from Buenos Aires. The main highway between Santiago and Buenos Aires passes through Mendoza (in reality it clips the outskirts) and is used as a stop-over by most travellers taking this route.

Brief History of Mendoza

It was 1561 when Pedro del Castillo founded the city and named it Ciudad de Mendoza del Nuevo Valle de Rioja after the then governor of Chile, Don Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza. Prior to this the area was home to three indigenous tribes over varying periods: the Huarpes, the Incas and the Puelches.

In 1818, Jose de San Martin, then governor of Mendoza, supported Bernardo O’Higgins in Chile to fight for Chilean independence from the Spanish. The city endured a major earthquake in 1861 that killed around 5,000 people, but was rebuilt in a more robust way with numerous large and small plazas with wider streets and pedestrian areas.

Getting Here

Arrivals by air from Buenos Aires (about 3hrs) and from Santiago (only 1hr) or a road transfer from Santiago (about an 8hrs transfer considering border-crossing bureaucracy both sides.

Mendoza Places of Interest

There are a number of vineyards to visit and within the city Mendoza has a number of museums, including the Museo Cornelio Moyano - a natural history museum; and the Museo del Área Fundacional (Historical Regional Foundation Museum) on Pedro del Castillo Square.

The Museo Nacional del Vino (National Wine Museum), is 17km southeast of Mendoza and focuses on the history of winemaking in the area. There is also the Casa de Fader at Mayor Drummond, about 14km south from the city - a historical, 1890’s mansion that was home to Fernando Fader, an artist of repute.

As with all wine-growing regions, there is an annual Grape Harvest (Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia), which occurs in late March each year.

Specifically, Mendoza is excellent for producing the Malbec varietal wine.

Clothes to Bring

In the summer months (Dec, Jan Feb) light tops and pants as well as warmer tops for cool evenings. Hat, sunglasses and sun-protection cream.

Experience Chile Mendoza Itineraries

Should you wish to visit Mendoza we would suggest an itinerary that includes a minimum of three nights in Mendoza. This will allow time to visit some wineries and do a city tour. Obviously, if you want more or less time this can easily be arranged.

We would suggest a flight from Santiago (or Buenos Aires), whereupon we will include the transfers and accommodation required in Mendoza as well as any tours. Alternatively, we can just arrange your accommodation – it’s up to you.

Foz De Iguazu

Foz de Iguazu Argentina

Experience Chile can add Foz de Iguazu to the start or end of your South American itinerary and route you via Buenos Aires - although we can also route you via Brazil if required.

The usual program consists of transfer in and out, a two-night stay and one full day visiting the falls, but this can be extended if you wish. We will arrange accommodation in any of the hotels in, and around the Iguazu water falls as wells as options further into the forest. The flight from Buenos Aires is around 3.5hrs.


The River Iguaçu (Rio Iguazu), which means “big”, is the river that leads to the falls and has its source 19km upstream where the River Alto merges into it. The Rio Iguazu (meaning big) is then swelled by some 30 other rivers as it flows across a plateau and swirls around a number of islands before it opens up to a width of 4km. Continuing its downward journey it moves fast and furious over rapids for 3.5km until speed and gravity bring it thundering over a 74m high precipice of 270 separate waterfalls spanning 2,430m.

One waterfall, called the “Devils Throat”, is set in a U-shaped vertical arc, measuring 150m in diameter and 700m in surface length, is accepted as the most impressive sight as well as straddling across the border division between Brazil and Argentina.

A permanent mist hovers over the area and on both sides of the falls are national parks full of beautiful flora and fauna.

Foz de Iguazu The Argentine and Brazilian Sides

Two-thirds of the falls lie within Argentine territory and the other third in Brazil. The water of the lower Iguaçu collects in a canyon that then drains into the Paraná River - a short distance downstream from the Itaipu Dam. The point at which all these water flows meet marks the border between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.

Most visitors reach the falls coming from the Argentine side through the city of Puerto Iguaçu. However, visitors should be aware that Brazil and Paraguay require citizens from some countries to obtain entry visas, which is often time-consuming. For example, North American visitors from Argentina who want to cross over into Brazil to see the falls from that side need an entry visa to enter Brazil and this can mean having to visit the Brazilian consulate at the nearest city in Argentina, in person.

International Airports

There are two international airports that service Iguaçu Falls (one in Brazil and one in Argentina), although each is several km from the actual falls: the Brazilian Foz do Iguaçu International Airport (IGU) and the Argentine Cataratas del Iguaçu International Airport (IGR).

Clothes to Pack

Summer clothing, light tops, shorts, light pants, and warmer tops for cool evenings. Hat, sun-protection cream and sunglasses.

SUGGESTION: For the tours that take you under the waterfalls it is suggested you use a set of "older clothes" for that day because although you will receive wet weather tops you may still get wet underneath.

Experience Chile Itineraries

Should we include a visit to the Foz de Iguazu in your Southern America itinerary we would suggest a minimum of two nights in order to relax upon arrival, have a full day and second night and then travel back to Buenos Aires or on to a place in Brazil. Naturally, you can stay for longer.

A visit to Iguazu is ideal at the beginning or end of your South American itinerary and particularly convenient if you are passing through Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires Argentina

Experience Chile can include Buenos Aires into any larger travel itinerary you have. For example, it can be built in as a precursor to visiting Foz de Iguaçu and / or prior to (or at the end of) the rest of your South American adventure. We can include a Tango show, and any tours we include will be private with a guide. It you have the time a minimum 3-night stay would be advised. In addition, we can offer accommodation in many types of hotel according to your budget and preferred style.

Unsuspecting visitors to Buenos Aires CAN be targets for robbers. The country has endured and continues to endure severe economic problems (meaning it is low cost for the visitor), but also resulting in desperate people after money. Particular tricks of the trade to rob tourists are: distraction such as pretending to have difficulty looking at a map whereupon you, the visitor, will go to help and then at this point you will be pick-pocketed; having liquid squirted over you and then having a second person pretend to help and clear the liquid off you and at this point you will be pick-pocketed; direct robbery - having earrings, jewellery and watches snatched off you in a "hit and run". As long as you DO NOT advertise your wealth (jewellery, watches, bulging wallet) and do not fall for the above tactics you should be OK, but be aware and always use the hotel taxi service.


Buenos Aires, meaning “good air”, is the capital city of Argentina and a large, sprawling metropolis that is home to over 12 million people. It is, unsurprisingly, the largest city in Argentina, but it is also occupies a large, flat area forming the second-largest metropolitan city in South America, after Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Influenced by early European settlers (largely from Italy) it is often referred to as the “Paris of South America” due to its historically elegant, European style buildings, nightlife and in particular the Tango dance. The city is located on the southern bank of the Rio de la Plata (or River Plate) delta.

Buenos Aires offers the visitor a glimpse of past affluence and a Latin vibe. A stay here is a great way to start or end your South America itinerary.

About Buenos Aires

Since the beginning of the 20th century Buenos Aires has undergone continual re-development resulting in the loss of many of its original and beautiful buildings of importance. However, there are still some elegant examples of architecture from the early 1900s particularly from the affluent period between the 1920's and 30's, when Argentina as a world economic power. Like Santiago, the city centre has maintained its original layout since its foundation and more recently the old dock area has been completely re-developed into a spacious, modern, commercial sector of hotels, offices and fashionable restaurants.

Rich Culture

Buenos Aires is culturally rich and home to the Teatro Colon – an internationally-rated opera house as well as a number of symphony orchestras and choirs. There are several museums offering exhibits of varying types: fine arts, decorative arts, modern arts and even sacred art; and homes of recognized cultural icons that have been preserved for public viewing. There are hundreds of bookstores and cultural associations, and the city has the largest concentration of working theatres in South America, in which many a Tango show is performed.

Key Places of Interest

Among the attractions that Buenos Aires has to offer are the football matches at the famous Boca Stadium, Tango shows, city cultural tours and out-of-city excursions to any number of estancias. For the visitor, one particular location of interest in Buenos Aires is: San Telmo (cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, street performers and tango dancers). One of the more affluent areas is that of Recoleta where there are up-market boutique stores, top hotels and restaurants.

Clothes to Pack

In summer months (Dec, Jan and Feb) it can be quite humid and hot. Summer clothes, light tops and shorts or light pants with warmer tops for cooler evenings. Hat, sunglasses and sun-protection cream.

Experience Chile Itineraries

If you are arriving to Buenos Aires to begin or end your South American adventure, we would suggest either a logistical one night lay over as a minimum, or preferably allow for a three-night min stay over. During this period, we can include a private city tour and visit to the Tango.

We can also build in a trip to the Iguazu falls for a night or two. Other options include a trip over to Uruguay for a day or night.

From Buenos Aires we would usually route you to (or from) Bariloche, El Calafate and / or Ushuaia. From El Calafate you can visit El Chalten as well as “hop over” (6hr road transfer) to Torres del Paine. From Bariloche you can get to the Chilean lake region.

Ushuaia serves as the arrival or departure point for expedition trips to Antarctica as well as Patagonia cruises to Punta Arenas, both of which we also arrange.


Bariloche Patagonia Argentina

Experience Chile can arrange a few nights in Bariloche as part of your wider South American travel itinerary or as a stay prior to taking the boat over to Chile or vice versa. You can also stay here prior to going south to El Calafate (El Chalten, Ushuaia) or after staying in El Calafate. If used as a standalone itinerary we suggest a minimum of 3 nights and other than that, one night if for logistics only.


Bariloche, formally known as San Carlos de Bariloche, is the largest city in the Argentine lake region in the Rio Negro province, with a population of around 130,000 in habitants. Located in Patagonia 1,680kms southwest from the Argentine Capital Buenos Aires. The city is situated on the southern shore of the large lake Nahuel Huapi. It is a rather large, lake-side development that serves as a principal base from which to explore the wilderness of the “Nahuel Huapi” National Park.

The area around Bariloche is very similar to the Alpine regions of central Europe. Particularly, forested mountains, rivers and lakes. In addition, the original European settlers from Germany built many of their dwellings in the same, German, Alpine style. Therefore, the city, with its surroundings, is often referred to as being very “Alpine”.

In the summer months, due to the natural geography of the area, most activities are centred around the outdoors such as lake bathing, kayak, canyoning, stand-up paddle, white-water rafting and sailing to mentioned a few, plus fly fishing. In the winter the snow-covered Andes offer skiing and snow-based activities.

Moreover, Bariloche also offers a number of mountain-trekking trails with simple refugios (operated by the Club Andino Bariloche) for overnight stays. On the

Bariloche History

History says that the Bariloche of today began when, in 1890, Carlos Wiederhold (a Chilean with German ancestry) settled by the lake Nahuel Huapi and opened a small convenience store. Over the subsequent years other settlers from Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Italy and Chile, constructed their homes near to the store. In the 1930s the city began to take on its appearance of an Alpine village with many buildings constructed from locally-sourced stone and wood, and between1935 to 1940 the town was further urbanized forming its current day, street grid layout.

It is also the end, or start (whichever way you do it), of the Cruce de Lagos boat cruise that crosses the lakes between Argentina and Chile. The cruise takes a full day passing through scenery of outstanding natural beauty, with an option to overnight en-route beside a Chilean lake. A visit to Bariloche is also an option from the natural hot-spring health spa Termas de Puyehue, in Chile, as it is close to the Argentine border.

Bariloche enjoys a cool-temperate climate with dry, often windy summers and rainy (snow on the mountains) winters. In the summer months of December to March the days are usually sunny and windy with temperatures between 18°C to 26°C, but cold nights (2°C to 9°C).

Experience Chile Custom Itineraries

Andes Lake Crossing
As mentioned above, this option involves crossing the Andes between Bariloche and Puerto Varas in Chile. Each city (Puerto Varas being a village in reality) is more or less opposite the other on each side of the Andes.

Particularly this trip includes crossing several lakes as well as a bus trip through the forests of the Andes. Travellers can do the trip, either way, in a long day or stop over night at Peulla, on the Chilean side, with a previously arranged reservation.

Andes Road Crossing
The alternative to crossing the Andes between Puerto Varas and Bariloche (or vice versa) is, instead of by boat, you take the bus option, either as a private transfer, or on a tourist bus. This transport method is quicker than the navigation option mentioned above.

In addition to all the above options, we will build in the required nights in both Bariloche and Puerto Varas.

Rent a Car

We can also arrange a self-drive for you with a car rental with a stay at the relaxing and excellent thermal spa centre in Chile called Termas de Puyehue, on the Chilean side not far from the border control.

Road Distances Between Bariloche and Places in Chile:
Frutillar: 300km
Osorno: 250km
Puerto Montt: 390km
Puerto Varas: 318km
Valdivia 348km

Note: If you are coming from, or going to southern Patagonia, such as Torres del Paine, the above fits perfectly into any itinerary pre or post Torres del Paine, or El Calafate (and El Chalten), as well as Punta Arenas.

Near to Puerto Varas is Puerto Montt and its airport with flights north to Santiago, or south to Punta Arenas. And, on the Argentine side, Bariloche offers direct flights to Buenos Aires and El Calafate, and from El Calafate there are flights to Ushuaia.

Galapagos Islands

Ecuador, Galapagos Islands

Here at Experience Chile we can arrange two different ways for you to experience the Galapagos Islands. One involves being based at one or two hotels and venturing out on daily tours, and the other is aboard one of our partner yachts where you cruise between some of the key islands.

On this page we offer a short description of these two options, as well as information about the Galapagos Islands followed by examples of itineraries we can arrange for you.


Ecuador, Galapagos Islands are renowed world wide for their incredible variety of endemic flora and fauna, particularly marine life. It is a respected, remote area in the Pacific Ocean, where man-made development is restricted to the very minimum in order to preseve the islands as a sanctury for wildlife to continue to flourish.

It should be noted that the only exception is a scientfic research base and a few restricted tourist hotels at specified locations. Specifically, the Charles Darwin Research Station on the island of Santa Cruz contines to support scientific studies as well as protect the indigenous vegetation and endemic life of the Galapagos.

The Galapagos comprise a volcanically-formed archipeligo of 13 large islands that cover areas between 14 – 3,588 km2 (5.4 – 1,771 miles 2) as well as 6 smaller slands and islets. The zone where the islands are located is about 1,000 west from Ecuador and lie along the equatorial line. In total the combined islands land mass adds up to 8,010 km2 (3,093 miles2) dotted over 59,500 km2 (23,000 miles2) of the Pacific Ocean.


Written history stipulates that is was the bishop of Panama, Tomás de Berlanga, who, on route to Peru, stumbled across the islands in 1535 when his ship drifted way off the plotted course. He decided to name them “Las Encantadas” (the enchanted). Amoung is written accounts he recorded seeing enormous tourtoises.

As a result of this discovery it was common for Spanish sailors and pirates to stop off here on the to, or on the way back from hunting whales and seals. It remained independent of any governent control for about 300 years until Santa Maria Island was claimed by Ecuador in 1832.

However, it was not until 1835, when the naturlist and explorer Charles Darwin visited and made ground-breaking discoveries of new animal and vegetative species that he documented at the time. Such was the impact of his discoveries that he propsed the theory of evolution in his book “The Origin of the Species”, first published in 1859. After that the islands became known to the outside world.

In 1935 the islands were designated a Wildlife Sanctury by the Ecuadorian governent, which later aquired National Park status in 1959. Morover, in 1878 UNESCO declared the islands as a Marine Resources Reserve with a view to protecting the waters in and around the area the islands occupy.

Getting Here

To get to the Galapagos you will need, in the fist instance, to get to Quito or Guayaquil in Ecuador. From here is it about a 1.5hr or 2.5hrs flight respectivley.

About the Main Islands

San Cristóbal Island
Historically this island was initially named Chatham by Captain James Colnett who dedicated the island to the First Count of Chatham – William Pitt. However, in 1973 it was renamed after the patron saint of sailors – San Cristobal (Saint Cristopher).
In 1866, Ecuadorian Manuel J. Cobos, arrived to the island as part of a two-boat flotilla and desmbarked at the “Bahia Naufrago” with a group of 10 workers. Specifically they were here to build a sugar mill called the “Hacienda El Progreso”. Consequently, this provided the island with an economy for the next 25 years (1879 – 1904). Much later, in 1952, a fishing industry was established, which continued to 1960.

Santa Cruz Island
Occupying an area of 986m2, and located in the centre of the islands, Santa Cruz is inhabited (pop 20,000 approx). Its highest point is 864m above sea level (absl) is a dormant volcano. It is estimated that the last eruption was over a million years ago.
Specifically this islans is known for its beautiful beaches, natural charms, unique animal species, lush vegetation, volcanic craters and tunnels.

Isabela Island
Covering around 60% of the land mass of the island archipeligo, this island is the youngest, in terms of geological formation. Its active volcanic activity means that the land mass is still being created, much like some of the islands of Hawaii. Amoung its six volcanoes the highest point on the island is the Wolf volcano at 1,707m absl.

It should be noted that it is good for seeing on the coastal areas flightless cormorants, penguins, blue footed booby’s, marine iguanas, sea lions, red crabs and pelicans. In addition, further inland are iguanas, turtiles, finches, flamingoes, cormorants, Galapagos pigeons and hawkes as well as very interesting varieties of vegetation.
At Puerto Villamil there is the ruin of a penal colony built by the prisioners, stone-by-stone.

Floreana Island
Covering an area of 173 km2, with around 100 inhabitants, this is a quiet and charming island, full of nature.
Here there is the historic Post Office Bay, long trails for walking, amazing scenery and a lot of penguins.

Bird Watching

The Galapagos islands are a haven for bird watchers, both serious (twitchers) and casual. Thus far 179 species of birds have been recirded, of which 45 are endemic and unique to the Galapagos Islands.

Some of the Birds

Galapagos Penguin
This is an endemic bird inhabiting the Fernandina and Isabela islands and, apart from being the smallest penguin on Earth, it is also the only penguin that lives, unbelieveaby, in the tropics. Typically the bird lays two eggs that are incubated for 40 days by both parents. And, incredibly, both parents will be known to swim up to 50kms a day in search of food, which is small fish and crustacians.

Flightless Cormorant
On Fernandina and Isabela Islands there are small colonies of 30 to 30 flightless cormorants. Easily identified by its short wings, webbed feet and piercing blue eyes. Its nest is created from dead seaweed. Reproduction is between May and October each year, and their eggs hatch after about 35 days of incubation.

Española Island is where the Albatross birds nest. They are monogramos and their mating ritual involves a long, complex dance with movements that are synchronized. Noted to be the largest birds in the Galapagos archipeligo, they have a yellow beak; pronouced, black eyebrows, a white neck and drak brown upper wings. Reproduction is between January through to March, whereupon a single egg is laid and then incubated by both parents for 60 days.

Galapagos Hawk
Found on a number of islands the hawks are the only natural predator of the marine iguana. It has been observed that on the islands of Marchena and Pinta the female will mate with several males. They feed on smaller birds, mammals and lizards.

Red Legs Booby
Easily spotted by its deep red, webbed feet, this sea bird is endemic to the Galapagos. Mainly found in Punta Pitt on San Cristobal Island, where Nazca and Blue-footed Boobies are also found. In length this bird measures between 66 to 77 cm from head to tail, covered in brown or white feathers. Typicaly its diet consists of squid and fish. Evey 15 mths the femaile lays one egg.

Example Galapagos Itinereries

It is important to note that these itineraris below are only examples. Experience can and will develop a custom-made itinerary for your needs, just ask. However, by reviewing the option below you should get more of an idea of the type of trip you want.

Island Hopping Itinerary on a Chartered Yacht with Crew

Galapagos Island Hopping

5 days/4 nights

Day 1: Quito/Guayaquil – Baltra – Puerto Ayora
Flight from Quito or Guayaquil to Baltra´s airport where a naturalist guide would transfer you to Puerto Ayora. On the way, we will stop by in order to visit the highlands. Then, you will have lunch at the harbor, and eventually, we continue with the transfer to the hotel. After a short break is made, we will visit the Charles Darwin Station. At the station, we will be able see a variety of species of Giant Tortoises in captivity. We will watch their different size and age, and learn the Islands they originally come from. We will listen about the ongoing conservation efforts directed at preserving the Giant Tortoises, as well as the environment of the archipelago as a whole. Then, return to the hotel for dinner and accommodation.

Day 2: Navigation (Bartolome or North Seymour or Plazas or Santa Fe)
After breakfast, the guide will meet you in the hotel´s lobby in order to take them to the dock, and start the tour. Lunch will be included onboard the small yacht. In the afternoon, you would return to the port.

Only one of the islands you will visit this day
• North Seymour Island is a spectacular place to hike, swim, and enjoy snorkeling. The main attractions are: the frigates, boobies, gulls, hawks, green sea turtles and the famous Galapagos Sharks.
• Bartolomé Island is the most attractive landscape of the archipelago. This island is undoubtedly the most photographed in all the Galapagos Islands. You can appreciate a spectacular view of two beautiful bays and observe the fascinating formations of lava and volcanic cones. 2
• Two islands form Plazas. The turquoise waters of the channel contrast brilliantly with the white sand and black lava coast. It is a wonderful spot to observe marine life, including manta rays. Coasts are a perfect spot for snorkeling activity.
• Santa Fe Island (Spanish: Isla Santa Fe), also called Barrington Island after admiral Samuel Barrington, is a small island of 24 square kilometres (9.3 sq mi) which lies in the centre of the Galapagos archipelago, to the south east of Santa Cruz Island. Geologically it is one of the oldest, since volcanic rocks of about 4 million years old have been found. The vegetation of the island is characterized by brush, palo santo trees and stands of a large variety of the prickly pear cactus Opuntia echios. Then, the passengers would return to the hotel for Dinner and accommodation.

Island will be chosen according to available spaces

Day 3: Santa Cruz – Isabela
After breakfast, the guide will take you to enjoy Tortuga Bay. Here, you walk for 45 minutes approximately, through a cactus trail on to the first beach, which is called Playa Brava due to its strong currents. On this beach you would see a lot of marine iguanas, marine birds and pelicans. After visiting Playa Brava, we continue with an additional 15min walk in order to reach Playa Mansa. This second beach is a natural lagoon visited by blue footed boobies and pelicans. It is also a beautiful place for swimming and taking sun. Afterwards, we will have lunch at the port. After lunch, you will go to the port in order to embark on a public speedboat that will take you to Isabela Island (approximately 2-2.5 hour navigation). On your arrival, a person will take you to the hotel for check in. Afterwards, we visit the Lake of the Flamingos. Dinner would be provided at port. Then, you would return to the hotel for accommodation.

Day 4:
This day you will have the opportunity to choose a full day tour from the next two options (only one):
Please advise which one you would like to do:

Full Day Isabela (Option 1)
Approximately at 7:30 am, the trip to Sierra Negra Volcano will start. The passengers will be transported by bus or other transportation for about 45 minutes to the Galapagos National Park control site in order to record the visit. Then, we will begin a trek to the Sierra Negra and Chico Volcano. During the trek (about 3-4 hours) a box lunch would be provided. In the afternoon, we will return to the hotel. After a short break, we will be transferred to the Concha Perla for snorkeling. Then, you would return to the hotel for Dinner and Accommodation.

Full Day Isabela (Option 2)
Breakfast. Prepare to go to Tintoreras Islet. Go to the dock of Puerto Villamil in order to embark on small speedboats. After a short ride (approx. 20 min.), we arrive at Tintoreras. After the hike through the islet, we will snorkel. We can see starfish, multicolor fish, sea-urchins, and with luck manta rays, sharks, and sea lions that may swim with us close up. Return to hotel for lunch. In the afternoon, visit the Giant Tortoise Breeding Center of Isabela, where we will be able to see a variety of species of giant tortoises in captivity. Visit the Wall of Tears. The wall has a length of 100m and a height of 7m. The name is derived from the difficult and painful nature of the conditions in which the prisoners were forced to work. Visit a Lava Tunnel near the Wall, as well as visits to Mirador Orchilla, Estero de Isabela, and Playa del Amor. Then, you would return to the hotel for Dinner and Accommodation.

We recommend option 2 for older people, who cannot make a trekking tour of several hours.

Note: Please note that all tours on Isabela Island are shared with other persons (except for the first class hotel category, the Sierra Negra tour is private – Tintoreras is always shared).

Day 5: Isabela – Santa Cruz – Baltra
At 05:30 am, you will be transferred to the Port for embarkation. At your arrival at Santa Cruz around 08:30, a guide will be waiting for the transfer to the airport in Baltra, so you can take your flight back to Quito or Guayaquil. On the way, we will make a brief stop in order to visit two sunken “holes”, similar to craters, known as “Los Gemelos”.

Note: To execute this itinerary, it is important to choose a late flight that departs not before 12pm from Baltra.

Cost on application due to various rates depending on numbers of people, and level of hotel (for the hotel nights) however, as a guide, for 2023 – 2024 approx from USD5,000 to USD9,000 (less per person when there are groups of 10 or more).

Accommodation in double rooms
All meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner). First day: lunch and dinner. Last day: breakfast
Transportation and Maritime timed views
Bilingual naturalist guide (English, Spanish)
Scheduled Visits
Snorkeling Equipment
All Transfers from Puerto Ayora – Isabela Island – Puerto Ayora
Shared tours on Isabela Island
Navigation tours are shared

Not Included:
• Air Ticket
• Galapagos National Park entrance fee USD 100.00
• INGALA Migration Control Card USD 20.00
• Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
• Tips

VIP Yacht Cruise Itinerary


Day 1: Embarkation at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island.
Upon arrival at the airport you will be met by a member of our team and transfered in a cross-island minivan and ferry to Puerto Ayora, which will take around 1.5hrs.
Here you will be welcomed aboard the Agua Mare, the Galapagos Island’s first luxury 50m super yacht. The 16-strong crew will then look after your every need during your cruise.
Lunch will be served and then, at your leisure, you can select your snokeling kit and optional wet suit for your personal use during your stay.
In the afternoon there will be a visit to the Darwin Station National Park Headquarters, located at the Fausto Llerena Breeding Centre. Here, our scientific team and expedition leaders will guide you through the grounds where you can see giant reptiles as well as learn about the conservation program of tortoises and land iguanas.
After the educational tour guests will then have some leisure time to explora the main town of Puerto Ayora.

Day 2: Punta Cormorant, Bahía Post Office, and Mirador De La Baronesa,

Floreana Island
For your second morning in the Galapagos, we will be anchored in the southern part of the Archipelago at Floreana Island. After breakfast, the morning wet landing excursion will take you to a big brackish water lagoon to observe Greater Flamingos, ducks, black-necked stilts and other shore birds at Punta Cormorant. You will be able to observe where sea turtles nest at night, and spot stingrays and sharks swimming very close to the shore. Later you will return to the boat to prepare for kayaking or take a short tender ride to Devil’s Crown for snorkeling.

Enjoy a splendid lunch consisting of fresh Ecuadorian recipes with an Andean twist before heading back out to Floreana to pay tribute to an old island tradition at Bahia Post Office. The visit will follow another quick tour of what once was a fishing enterprise in the 1920s before continuing onboard the tenders to visit Mirador de la Baronesa. Another delicious feast showcasing Japanese technique combined with Peruvian seasoning using only the freshest local fish and seafood awaits when you return onboard Aqua Mare. Stay out on the upper deck with a cocktail if you would like to admire the northern and southern hemispheres’ starlit skies tonight.

Day 3:Punta Moreno And Bahía Urbina, Isabela Island
After a night of sailing, the morning sees our beautiful superyacht anchored on the western side of Isabela Island. As the biggest and youngest in the Archipelago, Isabela was formed by five relatively young volcanoes and is characterized by giant tortoises and marine iguanas. For the morning excursion, a hike at Punta Moreno takes us to the mangroves and gas-rich basaltic lava rocks resulting from a large basaltic lava flow which came from the Cerro Azul volcano on Isabela hundreds of years ago. There are mangrove lagoons along the shore and small saltwater lagoons inland, where you will observe ducks, shore birds, stilts, blue-winged teals, flamingos, and gallinules.

After the visit you will have the opportunity to go snorkeling near the shore or return to the yacht to rest and enjoy the majestic landscapes Isabela has to offer. In the afternoon, the boat will sail north to Bahía Urbina, a 6km point, once underwater and uplifted in 1954 up to 3m above sea level. Here you can see tortoises, land iguanas and the biggest marine iguanas roaming free in the Archipelago. We end the day with an unforgettable view of Isabela’s five volcanoes as we dine on refreshing seafood salads, baked fish, potato llapinggachos, tuna crudo, barbequed plantains, and shrimp ceviche beneath the stars.

Day 4: Punta Espinoza, Fernandina Island, And Caleta Tagus, Isabela Island
Start the morning early with a workout on our upper deck at our next anchorage point of Punta Espinoza, part of a huge lava flow formed from one of the many eruptions of La Cumbre volcano, known to be one of the most active volcanoes in the world. Famous for its large colonies of marine iguanas, flightless cormorants, Galapagos penguins, Galapagos hawks, lizards and snakes, you will spend the morning onshore with the option to snorkel before returning to the yacht for a sumptuous lunch and lecture on the geology of the Galapagos from one of our expert scientist guides.

As Aqua Mare crosses the Bolivar Channel back towards Isabela Island, prepare to channel your inner pirate for the afternoon excursion visiting Caleta Tagus, once a favorite anchorage spot for pirates and whalers. Here we will hike to see Darwin Lake, a saltwater lake trapped inside a tuff cone. If you would rather not hike, you can take your pick from our eight double kayaks, snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, or a ride on our elegant black tenders to explore the cove and its surroundings. Return to the yacht for evening sundowners and head to the bridge after dinner for a chat with our captain as we cross the equatorial line twice while rounding the top of Isabela Island sailing to our next anchorage point.

Day 5: Puerta Egas, Playa Espumilla, And Caleta Bucanero, Santiago Island
For those who missed the equatorial crossing the night before, ask our crew for your very own equator crossing certificate - although this is usually reserved for our young explorers, even the young at heart will proudly be able to take this home! This morning sees us disembark on the black sand beaches of Puerto Egas, northwest of Santiago Island. Once the location of a salt mine (1967), today you can take a two and a half-hour hike to find the abandoned mine turned into a shallow saltwater lake. For those who prefer to stay by the beach, you will be able to walk the intertidal zone to the fur seal grottos or snorkel to watch sea turtles, sea lions and white-tipped sharks.

We head back to the yacht for lunch encompassing flavors of the South American Pacific coast and Peruvian Nikkei style crafted by Pedro Miguel Schiaffino. Then our tenders will continue their adventure to Playa Espumilla, where a wet landing will set us upon a golden sandy beach, a well-known breeding ground for sea turtles. You will also visit Caleta Bucanero, a 17th century pirate rest stop where pirates used to stock up on fresh tortoise meat and fresh water. The day will end with a choice of snorkeling, kayaking, or stand-up paddle boarding before winding down back onboard with Happy Hour over a glass of our special Aqua Bloody Mary as the crew prepares for departure to our next adventure.

Day 6: Rábida Island And Caleta Tortuga Negra, Santa Cruz Island
Awake to the sounds of nature and a fresh breakfast before departing by tender to Rábida Island, also known as the red island. The color is the result of oxidation of very old porous lava. You will be able to hike, take out one of our eight double kayaks, stand-up paddle board, or snorkel, as well as observe hundreds of sea lions who have made their home on the beach.

After lunch, you can listen to an afternoon lecture on the evolution of Darwin’s finches presented by our expert guides in the panoramic lounge. The Aqua Mare will sail towards the north of Santa Cruz Island, to Caleta Tortuga Negra, a mangrove estuary that is home to sea turtles. This is a tender ride excursion as there is no landing site, but you will be able to spot green sea turtles, as well as three different types of sharks: the black tip, the Galapagos, and the famous blue shark. End this glorious day by discovering more of our signature Ecuadorian cuisine with an Andean twist courtesy of Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino - we recommend the Galapagueña lobster lettuce wraps with Acevichado dressing

Day 7: North Seymour Island And Mosquera Island
Your penultimate day in the Archipelago begins with refreshing breakfast before heading out to North Seymour Island, formed by uprisings of underwater volcanic lavas some 3.1 million years ago. The island is mostly known for its healthy population of land iguanas, blue-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and Great frigate birds. After a morning full of fun activities, you will head back to the yacht for a delicious lunch aboard Aqua Mare.
For the afternoon excursion, hop on to one of our tenders for a wet landing onto Mosquera Island. While the rock pile is one of the smallest in the Archipelago, it is home to one of the largest colonies of sea lions in the Galapagos, and if you’re lucky you may even spot migratory orcas. Around sunset you will return to the sleek comfort of Aqua Mare for your last evening aboard. Swap notes on everything you’ve experienced during this most incredible adventure with your friends onboard and toast farewell with something special from our curated wine list.

Day 8: Daphne Island And Disembarkation at Baltra Island
The last day begins with a luxurious breakfast set against the morning sunrise before setting out for one final excursion by tender. You will enjoy the views of the fragile visitor site of Daphne Island, a scientific use zone for scientists studying Darwin's finches. You will observe Nazca boobies, red-billed tropic birds, and blue-footed boobies nesting at Daphne Major terraces, which is also the site of a 40-year study on the evolution in Darwin’s finches, demonstrating evolution occurring over short periods of time.
We return to the ship for a refreshing juice and to pack up the last of your belongings as we set sail to Baltra Island, bidding farewell to our crew and beautiful home for the past week. You will be escorted to the airport for your flight back to the mainland and onward journey home with all the wonderful memories we hope you will cherish forever..

All meals while on board
Selected premium wines and beer, non-alcoholic drinks
Excursions with knowledgeable local guides
Group transfers to/from vessel when traveling on recommended flights
Internet connection

• Our design suites are some of the largest in the Galapagos, including a stunning 80 sqm Owner's suite
• Suites range from 172 square feet (16 sqm) to 861 square feet (80 sqm), inclusive of ensuite bathrooms
• Ensuite bathrooms fitted with Italian marble, spacious walk-in shower plus rainshower, and equipped with natural organic hair and bath amenities
• Large closets with electronic safe
• Wall-to-wall carpeting
• Full walnut veneer wood panelling
• Large windows to allow plenty of natural light

Lower Deck 102 Cabin 28m2 – 13800 U$/person ½ Dbl cabin (2 cabins availible)
For charter of the yacht other dates need to be chosen

Example of Hotel Based Galapagos Itinerary

Day 01: Quito - Galapagos

Transfer from the Hotel to the airport to take your flight to Galapagos.
Welcome at the Baltra airport and transfer by public buses to the tip of the Itabaca canal, where  you will proceed by a public ferry service in the Island of Santa Cruz. Transport will be waiting in order to transfer you to Puerto Ayora, area where the hotels are located on the Island. On the way, you will have the opportunity to visit the lava tunnels and a Turtle reserve. Visit to the Scientific Charles Darwin Station, where you can learn more about the Galápagos Islands; the species that live in this enchanted place, its origin, the theory of Evolution, the conservation programs, and observe some Giant Turtles in captivity. (Transfer operates daily at 13h00). Accommodation in Galapagos.
Meals: breakfast
**It will be possible to operate transfers without visits and without guide at the following times: 10h00 and 15h00** (previous request)
Day 02: Galapagos
Breakfast at hotel. Excursion in boat to one of the following Islands: Bartolomé & Bahía Sullivan,  Seymour & Bachas, Plazas & Punta Carrión, Santa Fe or similar ones. Lunch included and return to Puerto Ayora to accommodation.
Accommodation in Galapagos. Meals: breakfast

Day 03: Galapagos
Breakfast at hotel. In the morning excursion to Tortuga Bay Beach, after 40minute walk (approx.) we will arrive to this magic place, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Galapagos, with white sand and green mangroves. “Playa mansa” is where we can swim and enjoy of the beach.  Free time for lunch (not included). In the afternoon, tour around the bay on board a yacht, starting with a visit to “La Lobería”, named because of the presence of sea lions. Here you will be able to swim or snorkel. Then we proceed with our tour to the “Canal del Amor”, a marvelous site where nature gives us an unforgettable view; at the end of this channel, just a few meters forward, a viewpoint where we can observe reef sharks; from here we continue with a short walk to see the marine iguanas that inhabit in “Playa de los Perros”.  Punta Estrada will also be visited. Return to Puerto Ayora.
Accommodation in Galapagos. Meals: breakfast
Day 04: Galapagos
Breakfast at hotel. Free day to choose any extra activities of your own choice and accommodation
Accommodation in Galapagos. Meals: breakfast
Day 05: Galapagos 
Breakfast at hotel. Excursion in yacht to one of the following Islands: Bartolomé & Bahía Sullivan, Seymour & Bachas, Plazas & Punta Carrión, Santa Fe or similar ones. Lunch included and return to Puerto Ayora to accommodation.

** Tour Operations in Galápagos, may change due to climate conditions, operations, and logistics and are also subject to availability and itinerary changes, days of excursions, etc. However, the operator  Guarantees the number of excursions and visits to be met, but does not guarantee the itinerary or specific place to visit.
Day 06: Galapagos - Quito
Breakfast at hotel. We will pick you up at your hotel to go to the canal of Itabaca, where a ferry will take you to Baltra Island. At the port you will board a public bus that takes you to the airport. On the route from the hotel to the canal, you will have the opportunity to make a brief stop at the craters "Los Gemelos", crater holes formed by the collapse of materials, surrounded by scalesia's forests. (Transfer operates daily at 07h00, 09h00 and 12h00). Includes only transport.
Flight Galapagos – Quito
Arrival and connect to the international flight
Flight Quito – Lima.
Arrival and transfer to the selected hotel

Quito/Galapagos  Includes:
Transfer  Airport / Hotel 
1 night in  Quito
Transfer  Hotel /Airport
Transfer Baltra / hotel in Puerto Ayora, visiting the highland part of Santa Cruz Island (Includes lava Tunnels and a turtle reserve) + Visit to the Scientific Charles Darwin Station. (Transfer operates daily at 13h00).
5 nights of accommodation in Galápagos (Santa Cruz Island) with breakfasts
Excursion to Tortuga Beach & Bay Tour
2 Full day Excursion in yacht to one the following islands Bartolomé & Bahía Sullivan, Seymour & Bachas, Plazas & Punta Carrión, Santa Fe or similar  ones (Lunch included)
Transfer hotel / airport with a stop at Los Gemelos craters. (Transfer operates daily at 07h00, 09h00 and 12h00).
Hotel taxes
The program doesn´t include:
Air tickets, taxes, and surcharges.
International or domestic border taxes.
Meals and services not mentioned in the itinerary.
Personal expenses.

Important notes for Ecuador
- The indicated tours will be in SIB shared service with bilingual English / Spanish guide.
- The operation of Galapagos tours, are subject to space availability and to change itineraries, departure days, etc. Due to climatic, operational and logistic conditions, our company Guarantees the number of excursions and visits to be made, but not the specific itinerary or place of visit.
** Transfers in Galapagos in shared service are operated
** Transfers in Galapagos in shared service are operated (Transfer operates daily at 1:00 p.m.)
** Transfers can be operated without visits and without a guide at the following times: 10h00 and 15h00
- Galapagos migration control card: US $ 20.00. This tax can be paid directly by passengers (cash only) before flying to Galapagos
- Galapagos National Park Tax: US $ 100. This tax can be paid directly by passengers (cash only) upon arrival in Galapagos. (US $ 50 for residents in Mercosur countries and Andean Pact)
- Food not indicated in the program, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
- Medical services, travel insurance and other unspecified.
- Gratuities and personal expenses.
- Entrance fees to museums, churches, national parks and no tourist attractions.

For either a hotel-based itinerary or yacht-based navigational itinerary please get in touch and we will arrnage what you need.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, Peru

Here at Experience Chile, we can arrange two different ways for you to experience Machu Picchu. One involves hiking the Inca trail, which requires a lot of walking and sleeping in tents for several nights.

The other enables for a day trip out of Cusco by train.

On this page we offer a short description of these two options, as well as information about Machu Picchu.


Machu Picchu, also referred to as the Citadel, is the “jewel in the crown” of Peru’s tourist destinations. Above all it is a fascinating ruin and archaeological site located at 2,430m above sea level (asl) in the Peruvian jungle, 80kms northwest of Cusco. Considering its proximity to the Equator, summers (June, July and August) are hot, wet and humid. Particularly, the rainy season is between October to April and the peak visitor period is July and August.

Tourists can either trek the famous Inka Trail over a few days to get to Machu Picchu or take a train from Cusco. The route follows the Urubamba River through the Sacred Valley. Apart from being based at Cusco, there are options to overnight near the Citadel at Aguas Calientes, a village at the base of the valley below Machu Picchu, or just outside the entrance to the Citadel.

It should be noted that there is a daily visitor limit of 1,116 people. Therefore, getting access must be arranged well ahead of time.

What is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is a ruin that historians claim was built by the Inca people in the 15th Century. However, there are also alternative theories such as that it was built by extra-terrestrials. Whichever theory you believe, the site was built by a civilization that possessed intelligence and advanced knowledge.

For example, the site itself is atop of almost vertically sided, 450m-high mountain peaks. The solid rocks that form the terraces and buildings are cut in a precise way, with what had to be by precision tooling (not by the grinding of stones as visitors are regularly told), and locked together, cleanly, without any mortice or other substance.

Moreover, apart from being able to cut the rock into exact, required shapes, the other big mystery is how they were then lifted into place considering their immense weight.

There is also an astrological observatory, perfectly aligned with certain stars and planets as well as a technologically advanced (for the period) water irrigation system.

Visitors marvel at how on earth the place was ever built, because no one has yet figured it out. In addition, the surrounding scenery and location is one of “jaw-dropping” beauty. Another key point is that often in early morning, or after a rain shower, the area is filled by the beauty of mist clouds that slowly pass around the ruins as well as below eye level around the contours of the canyon sides.

Considering its mystic and setting in a dramatic location, it was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1891 and a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.

Machu Picchu Recent History

There is debate among historians and archaeologists as to when Machu Picchu was constructed. For all intents and purposes, the current date period is sometime in the 15th Century. However, others would say long, long before that. Above all, one date that everyone agrees on is when a “modern foreigner” stumbled across the Citadel, and this was in 1911 when the American explorer, academic and historian of South America studies Hiram Bigham III arrived. At that time a lush jungle was hiding the ruins and they could not be seen from afar. He was responsible for bringing Machu Picchu to the attention of the outside world.

Hiram initiated a program of studies and secured support for excavation and cut back the Jungle overgrowth from Yale University and the National Geographic Society as well as the government of Peru.

Huayna Picchu

When you are at the Citadel, staring in awe at the scenery and trying to figure out how it was constructed, and why, you may notice another peak that appears to be isolated and higher than Machu Picchu. This is called Huayna Picchu. Only if you have a head for heights and are physically fit should you consider climbing Huayna Picchu, however, from here is a unique view back to the Citadel.


It should be noted that the circumference sectors of the Citadel are immediately in line, and on top of, vertical mountain sides that drop perpendicular down to the valley floor some 450m below. Some tourists have fallen to their deaths because of lose soil, tripping over something, taking pictures or feeling giddy from the altitude. Therefore, visitors need to be careful here.

Remember to take: Insect repellent and sunscreen, warm clothing, hat and sunglasses, camera, trekking gear.

Machu Picchu Quick Info

Altitude: 2,430m

Location: 80km northwest of Cusco.

Getting Here: Flight from Lima to Cusco, which takes around 1hr. Then a 3.5hr train ride to Aguas Calientes, the closest village in the valley floor below Machu Picchu, followed by a 35min bus ride up a meandering, steep mountain side.


Cusco is a fascinating, large Inca city, full of historical culture, churches, bars, restaurants, markets and general activity. It lies at an altitude of 3,400m asl, which is higher than Machu Picchu, and for most people poses a challenge when adjusting to the altitude. Therefore, for rest and pleasure, it is recommended to stay for the first two nights at least at Cusco, adjust to the altitude and discover the secrets of the city prior to going on to Machu Picchu.

In Addition, Cusco has its own impressive Inca ruins to admire.

From Cusco, the visitor can either join the walkers and trek the 80km to Machu Picchu, sleeping in tents on route, or take the 3.5hrs train ride to Aguas Calientes in the Sacred Valley.

Accommodation at Machu Picchu

There is one hotel just outside the main entrance to the Citadel and this is called the Sanctuary, currently managed by Belmond.
This is a high end, mid-level hotel and offers guests the chance to stay looking around the Citadel after the other visitors have left as well as being able to get into the site first thing in the morning.

However, most people, if staying overnight, will stay down at Aguas Calientes, located in the valley floor.

Experience Chile Itineraries

Experience Chile will be pleased to arrange an itinerary that includes some nights at Cusco, the train ride to Aguas Calientes, transport up to the Citadel and return to Cusco.

Alternatively, we can include accommodation at either the Sanctuary lodge outside the entrance to the Citadel or at the village Aguas Calientes, which is below the Citadel.

In addition, we would arrange pleasure or logistical accommodation in Lima pre and post your visit to Cusco and Machu Picchu.

Please just state what you would like.

Please Take Note of Prohibited Items, Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Entry into Machu Picchu

Pertaining to Entry into Machu Picchu
1. Carry backpacks, bags or purses larger than 40x35x20 cm (16x14x8 inches).
2. Enter with food or kitchenware, i.e. plates, cutlery, thermoses, etc.
3. Have with any illegal substance or to be under the influence of any substance.
4. Take in any type of alcohol or be under the influence.
5. Enter with umbrellas, walking sticks, portable chairs, tripods, monopods, selfie sticks or other photography/film stabilization accessories.
6. Bring in animals, except guide dogs.
7. Feed domestic or wild animals
8. Come in with any type of aerosol.
9. Deface or alter any part of the ruins, or leave any type of graffiti.
10. Enter with any type of musical instrument, megaphone or speakers.
11. Make loud or disturbing noises (scream, whistle, clap, sing, etc).
12. Use virtual apps in narrow paths or outside designated explanation areas
13. Enter with heels or hard-sole shoes.
14. Access with baby strollers.
15. Enter with knifes or Weapons of any kind.
16. Come in with banners, posters, or other objects of this type, clothing intended for advertising purposes, costumes, among others. Film or photograph for advertising purposes.
17. Generate turmoil, undress, lie down, run and/or jump.
18. Climb or lean on walls and/or structures. Touch, extract or move lithic elements such as rocks and stonework.
19. Disturb, collect or remove flora or fauna.
20. Carry out activities that distort the sacredness of the monument, such as fashion shows, dances, social commitments, obscene acts contrary to morality and good manners, perform any kind of activity that implies the impairment or deterioration of the monument, its natural environment and/or facilities.
21. Smoke or vape or start a fire of any kind.
22. Litter.
23. Stray from the established circuits/routes.
24. Sell or trade inside the monument and surrounding areas, until Puente Ruinas.
25. Fly over with paragliders, drones or any type of craft.

Performing acts or entering with objects prohibited in the above list will generate an immediate expulsion of the visitor without reimbursement and the start of legal actions if necessary. The park guards of the Ministry of Culture and the agents of the National Police are the authority within the monument premises.

Santiago Immigration

Arrival Immigration and Customs, Santiago de Chile Airport


Santiago airport underwent an impressive expansion program in 2021 with large, modern and airy passenger terminals with long, automated walkways.
Upon arrival into this enormous space, as with any international airport, passengers will be required to firstly pass through passport control (immigration), collect their luggage (if you have any) and then pass through the Chilean agricultural and food control (SAG) and Chilean customs.
Here, below we explain a little about these processes.

Immigration Papers

Upon arrival to Chile, through ANY border control point, you will be given a little form to fill out and is usually given to you on board your incoming flight. You then surrender this form to the immigration official at passport control. He or she will then hand back to you a piece of paper that looks like a “supermarket till receipt” at first glance. This is your PDI TOURIST VISA and enables you to legally stay in Chile for three months as well as AVOID VAT room tax at hotels. Therefore, KEEP it with you for hotel check-in.

NOTE: If you lose this document, it will delay your departure and make it rather difficult and tiresome as new paperwork will need to be raised and questions will be asked as to why you do not have the original. You will need to pay a fine, but NOT at the airport – at an office in Santiago city. Therefore, to avoid a very complicated life, do NOT lose the tourist visa!

Avoiding VAT Tax at Hotels
If you are a foreigner NOT residing in Chile, in other words you HAVE the entry tourist visa, then you will NOT be charged VAT (IVA) by hotels for accommodation. However, to qualify for this exemption you MUST present a valid passport AND your PDI entry tourist visa at check-in to the hotel.

Customs (Aduana)

You are NOT permitted to import the following items when entering Chile:
Fruits, seeds, cheese, meat, vegetables or non-processed animal products, firearms, munitions, explosives, or illegal drugs.

NOTE: Luggage is x-rayed upon entry and sniffer dogs check out luggage too. Check out the web site:

Passengers are entitled to enter, free of customs duties and taxes, all merchandise that represents their luggage.

Luggage is understood to include:
Travel necessities (suitcases, bags, and personal effects), clothing, adornments, electrical toilet appliances, articles for personal use (alarm clock, camera, typewriter, portable calculator) that are used and appropriate for the normal use of the person importing or exporting them and which are not for sale. Objects for use exclusively for their profession or trade, provided they are used, portable, manual, of simple manufacture, that do not need to be installed for their normal use and relate to the traveller’s profession or trade.

Up to a volume not exceeding 400 cigarettes, 500 grams of pipe tobacco, 50 cigars and 2.5 litres of alcoholic drink per adult person (over 18 years old).

· House furniture.

· Household goods, crockery, linen goods and paintings.

· Musical instruments.

· Electrical or electronic goods, spares and appliances.

· Office installation.

Agricultural and Livestock Service (SAG)
These guys monitor all agriculture and livestock entering the country to ensure, as best they can, that no agricultural or other diseases enter the country.

Therefore, anyone arriving to Chile from outside the country’s borders cannot bring in the following items below, and if you have any of these they MUST be declared. Failure to declare any of these will result in a heavy fine.

NOT Permitted to Bring in to Chile are:

· Milk, butter, cream and cheese.

· Fresh fruit and vegetables.

· Meats of any kind, cured meats and sausages.

· Seeds, grains, dry, desiccated or dehydrated fruits.

· Fruit, ornamental or forestry plants of parts thereof: twigs, cuttings, bulbs, etc.

· Flowers, dried flowers and garden plants. Soil.

· Word or bark.

· Insects, snails, etc. Bacteria and fungus for scientific research purposes. Bees, honey and bees’ wax. Animal semen, biological and veterinary pharmaceutical products.

· Small animals and pets (dogs, cats, etc.). Birds.

· Live species and their products or by products, prepared from wild fauna.

Important to bear in Mind
You will be asked to sign a sworn statement regarding the above. Making a sworn declaration that is not true constitutes a crime and can be punished by a prison sentence of between 61 days and 3 years. Refusal to make the declaration may be punished by a fine too.

Check out the web site:


Vitacura, Santiago de Chile


The suburb of Vitacura covers a sector north of Las Condes, following the path of the Mapocho River, below the volcano-shaped hill, or mountain, called Manquehue. Directly under the Manquehue hill, as well as covering its eastern side, are some of the most impressive-looking houses in Santiago, many in the style and size of those found in the Hollywood Hills of California.

This district is primarily comprised of residential houses as well as more recently, modern apartment blocks and modern office buildings, including the Sanhattan area.

Nueva Costanera Mall

In addition, Vitacura contains the exclusive shopping and restaurant street called Alonso de Cordoba, along with another street that intersects it called Nueva Costanera. Along Nueva Costanera is a very exclusive, small, mall called Mall Nueva Costanera and to the north of this mall, two blocks away is a fine park called Parque Bicentenaria, which is very nice to walk in. This is a great place to come and enjoy a coffee or tea in the middle of the open terrace or a meal too.

Adjacent to the southern border of the Mapocho River is a kind of “restaurant mall” called Borde Rio, where there are numerous restaurants offering varied food styles.

Las Condes

Las Condes and Neighbourhoods, Santiago de Chile


Metro Stops West to East:
Tobalaba – El Golf – Alcantara – Escuela Militar – Manquehue – Hernando de Magallanes – Los Dominicos

Las Condes is the district adjacent to the eastern “border” of Providencia. Known as a more affluent and “up-market” suburb than Providencia and Downtown Santiago, it contains, mainly, residential houses and apartments. However, all along its main avenue, which is also called Las Condes, there are numerous modern office buildings, the majority of which were constructed since 1995, as well as some fine restaurants along the street called Isidora Goyenechea.

Most of the interesting part from the point of view of the visitor is around the El Golf area.

Once the metro passes Alcantara and heads past the Escuela Militar (which is where the military officer-training school is also located) the avenue is, side to side, modern office buildings, until reaching Los Dominicos where it is into an affluent residential sector.

At the Manquehue metro, south side, is a modest-sized shopping mall.

The most exclusive area within Las Condes is a sub-district called “El Golf”.

Avda. Kennedy

The southern side of Avenida Kennedy is in the Las Condes district. It is a 3-lane highway (each side) with exotic palm trees lining the central reservation all the way along. The highway runs west to east from the Sanhattan area in Vitacura all the way to the eastern district of Lo Barnechea, and the road that leads up the Andes to the Ski Centres of Valle Nevado, La Parva and Farellones.

On the southern side of Kennedy are two large shopping malls. One, which is more east than the other (remember that going east means heading towards the Andes) is called Alto Las Condes. This is very modern, large, and on three floors with food court, supermarket, hardware market and cinemas.

The other mall is at the western end of Kennedy, closer to the ring road called America Vespucio Norte. This mall is called Parque Arauco and covers a huge area, also three floors, cinemas and food courts. However, this mall has a number of hotels close by, such as the Boulevard Suites, the Marriot, Marriot Courtyard, Mandarin Oriental and on the opposite side of Kennedy (therefore technically in Vitacura) is Double Tree by Hilton, Hotel Kenney and Renaissance Santiago

El Golf Neighbourhood

Metro El Golf (northern exit)
El Golf is located north-east of the Tobalaba metro stop and immediately north of the El Golf metro stop. Within this “barrio” is the Los Leones hill, upon which are some lovely, private houses that overlook the exclusive Los Leones Golf Club the other side.

Also in this sector are modern office buildings, and top-end restaurants along the street called Isidora Goyenechea with underground car parking under the same street.
This area emits the “wealthy” vibe and is, indeed, nice. Consequently, some of the best hotels in Santiago are also in this area or close by.


Providencia and Neighbourhoods, Santiago de Chile


Metro Stops West to East:
Baquedano – Salvador – Manuel Montt – Pedro de Valdivia - Los Leones – Tobalaba

Covering an area of 14km2, containing a population of around 120,000 people, Providencia is a mid-level, middle-class, mainly residential district. It starts at the eastern line marking Santiago Centro (so, effectively where the Metro station called Baquedano is located) and runs east for a few kms to Tobalaba whereupon the district of Las Condes begins.

Providencia is, logistically, a good location for visitors. It is considered reasonably safe and handy to get into downtown, should you wish to venture that way, but also handy to go uptown. There are also a number of shops, a small shopping mall (called Panoramico Vivo), plus a small “artistic mall” (called the “Drug Store”), as well as restaurants, cafes and offices. Mainly, these commercial options are located either side of the main drag also called Providencia, especially between metro stops Manuel Montt, then running east to Tobalaba.

In addition, Providencia does offer some particular places worthy of a visit (detailed further below) and these are:
The Costanera Observation Tower
The San Cristobal Hill
Barrio Italia

Places of Interest close to, or within Providencia are:

The San Cristobal Hill

Metro Baquedano (northern exit) or Pedro de Valdivia (northern Exit)
This is the quite large hill that is visible from many points in Providencia and where there is a white-coloured statue of the Virgin Mary at the western end at the top. The highest point is at 880mt above sea level. The Virgin Mary statue, seen from almost every point in the city, was sculptured by Frenchman Jaconetti out of metal and given to Chile by France in 1908. The entire hill (cerro) comprises the Parque Metropolitana, covering 712 hectares which makes it one of the largest parks in the world in terms of surface area.

Getting to the top will enable the visitor to enjoy a panoramic view over Santiago and incredible unspoilt views of the Andes on one side, and the Precordillera Mountains on the other. There are restaurants and cafes at the top as well as two swimming pools and a zoo.

Access is either by car, funicular railway or cable car.

Driving up from the western side at the end of Pio Nono street, which is in the area called Bellavista, or, also from this same entry point is the more fun option of riding up in the funicular railway. This is quite a steep, but short ride up the side of the hill, stopping halfway for people to get off and go to the zoo and then ending at the top just under where the Virgin Mary statue is.

Funicular Operating Times:
Mon 13:00hrs to 20:30hrs; Tue to Sun 10:30hrs to 20:00hrs

The other entry point is at the northern end of the street called Pedro de Valdivia, which runs north off the Providencia Street, close to the metro station of the same name (Pedro de Valdivia). At the end of Pedro de Valdivia (north) is a cable car service that also runs up to just below the Virgin Mary statue.

Cable Car Operating Times:
Mon to Fri 14:30hrs to 20:00hrs; Sat, Sun and Public Holidays 10:30hrs to 20:00hrs

Cyclists and hikers as well as those who like the funicular railway, or teleferic cable car, enjoy the park to its full. There are many grassy areas, some on a slope, to sit upon and admire the view, however picnics are not allowed.

One suggestion is to go up on the funicular railway and down on the teleferic cable car.

Barrio Bellavista Neighbourhood

Metro Line 1: Baquedano (northern exit)
Sandwiched between Downtown and Providencia, on the northern side of the Mapocho River, across from the Parque Forestal, at the base of the San Cristobal hill is a small area called Bellavista (which means “beautiful view”). This term comes from the “beautiful” view over the city from top of the San Cristobal hill, where the large, white statue of the Virgin Mary is located. Access to this hill is from the end of the main Pio Nono Street in Bellavista. Information on the San Cristobal hill is in our Providencia page.

Night Life
Bellavista comes to life at night. It is known for its bohemian vibe with lots of bars, restaurants and nightclubs frequented by Santiago’s younger population.
Indeed, it can be a good place to come for evening entertainment, especial a place called “El Patio” which occupies and area between the two streets of Pio Nono and Constitucion.


Museo Neruda La Chascona (located in Bellavista)

Nearest Metro: Baquedano (northern exit)
Closed on Mondays.

Culturally, Bellavista is the location for one of the three houses previously owned by Chilean Nobel-Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. He had this property built and then named it La Chascona after a red-haired lover he was associated with.

The entire house is now a museum where visitors can walk through the small rooms and view the various paintings, ornaments and sculptures as well as furniture that once belonged to Pablo Neruda. The visitor service also includes the option of an audio guide that explains what is in each room in your preferred language.

In addition to the interior exhibition there is a small art gallery and café with a terrace, book shop as well as reproductions for sale of some of the objects in the house.

The small property is in a short side street just off the street called Constitucion, which runs parallel to the Pio Nono street, but curves in at the end where the funicular is. It is just off this curve where the side street to the house can be found.

The Costanera Centre (Observation Deck)

Metro Tobalaba (northern exit)
This is a large multiplex of mall, cinema, supermarket and offices. Opened in 2015, it is the largest shopping mall in South America, occupying over 4 levels with an open atrium in the middle, on one side. It is full of all kinds of different shops as well as a large supermarket and equally large hardware store. Therefore, only come to the mall if you are a “shopper”.

However, what makes Costanera Centre a draw for visitors is the tower. At the northeast corner of the complex is the tallest, man-made building in South America. It is 300mt high and at the observation deck at the top there is a fine (on a clear day) 360 view over all of Santiago. As a visitor, a trip to the tower is well worth it in order to get an orientation of the city.

Barrio Italia Neighbourhood

Metro Salvador (southern exit)
Located about 11 blocks South from the Salvador Metro in Providencia (quite a hike if walking, therefore a taxi is suggested).

This is a much larger bubble than other places like Barrio Brasil in downtown. It is, effectively, within a residential neighbourhood, with tree-line streets containing some great restaurants, bars, shops, art galleries and cafes, as well as antique furniture shops all combining to create a “vibe” and atmosphere, especially for evening dining.

This district used to be known as the “hat makers” place, because this is where the hat makers were concentrated. And, today, in some areas the old warehouses that were occupied by production facilities have been reclaimed as bohemian bars and restaurants, emitting a kind of “loft” feel. The main action is located on the Avenida Italia near Avenida Condell and between the Francisco Bilbao and Sucre streets.

Among the boutique shops there is a modern gallery of shops located between Avenida Italia and Condell. And, on a corner called “Jazz Corner” there is a nearby jazz club.


Santiago Downtown and Neighbourhoods


Line 1 Metro Stops of Significance
West to East: Republic – Los Heroes – La Moneda – Universidad de Chile – Santa Lucia – Universidad Catolica

Santiago was founded in 1541 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Valdivia, and the land of Chile claimed on behalf of the Spanish crown. The original location for the base of power was around the Plaza de Armas, whereupon today there are still some of the original buildings from that period.

The centre of Santiago (Santiago Centro), also known as the downtown area, is where the history of both Santiago, and Chile is found, together with cultural places of interest. Outside of the downtown area Santiago, towards the east, is a modern city, which was developed long after the original conquistadores had died.

For information on the history of Santiago and Chile please refer to our page on that or click here: Santiago History

Further below we offer brief descriptions of the places of interest within downtown Santiago, including the neighbourhoods of:
Barrio Yungay
Barrio Brasil
Barrio Paris-Londres
Barrio Lastarria

In addition, we talk about the museums, buildings and places of general interest.

However, before we do, the visitor should be aware that downtown Santiago is a very busy place. Streets are usually very active with many pedestrians, which enables this part of the city to maintain is “Latin flavour”, much more than in the more modern districts. Therefore, for the visitor, the downtown area will give you a glimpse of “the real Chile”, but, as an “outsider” please be alert and aware when walking around and do not “advertise” on your person any valuables.

Downtown Santiago

Principal Places of Interest for the Visitor
The information below has been grouped together in areas where ALL the relevant places of interest can be found within, or close to THAT area. Be it an historic building, museum, or general place of interest.

Below, the information is in a list form, starting with the area located most west in Downtown Santiago and then moving towards the east.

Barrio Yungay Neighbourhood

Nearest Metro Line 1: Republica (north exit)
Located 6 blocks west from Bario Brasil, and then 3 blocks north is the small Yungay Barrio, or 4 blocks north of the metro stop Republica. This was the first neighbourhood in Santiago that drew in the “intellectuals” of the day and where artists, academics and politicians lived and thus created yet another “bubble” of historic Santiago from the early 1990’s. Among the nostalgic experiences here are the pedestrian paths of Adriana Cousiño, Lucrecia Valdés and Rodríguez Hurtado, that have colourful buildings.

Within this area is the Museum of American Popular Art as well as the Novedades and Camino theatres. Indeed, the preserved architectural history in this sector is regarded as “not to be lost” and has been declared a National Monument. One of the suggestions is to take a leisurely walk around the Yungay Plaza and see the church of Los Capuchinos sculpture of Roto Chileno – a character derived from the Battle of Yungay in 1839.

Barrio Brasil Neighbourhood

Nearest Metro Line 1: Republica (northern exit)
Located 7 blocks west from the Moneda Palace and 6 blocks north of the Metro stop called Republica is Barrio Brasil. This is a very small “bubble” of historically pleasing buildings in the old European style where there are a few cool restaurants and bars.

The Moneda Palace Area

Palacio de la Moneda Presidential Palace (formally the Royal Mint)
Metro Line 1: La Moneda (northern exit)

Located between streets Morande and Teatinos in the centre of Downtown. 
Built between 1784 and 1805 (20 years) under the supervision of Italian architect Joaquin Toesca, the low-lying, Neoclassical, symmetrical building was the Royal Mint, which is where the name "moneda" came from because "moneda" means money.

However, after forty years it was used as the presidential palace for Chilean presidents starting with Manuel Bulnes in 1848 and ending with Carlos Ibañez in 1958 when it stopped being the residential address of the president, but continued to be the official seat of government from where the president works. The Palace interior courtyards are open to the public during the day.

The president usually enters each day from the northern side when the Carabinero guards stands to attention as he walks through. In front of the Moneda Palace, northern side is a grass covered plaza called

Particular areas of interest is the grass covered Plaza de la Constitution where there are also some trees, and diagonal walkways cut through from corner to corner. This is immediately in front of the Moneda Palace (which is the north side). Around this Plaza are sculptures of past presidents of Chile such as: Eduardo Frei Montalva, Diego Portales, Salvador Allende and Jorge Alessandri. And, lined on each side of the square, separated only by a road width from the plaza, are government institutions such as the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of the Exterior, the Central Bank as well as the council office for Santiago city.

On the other, south side, of the Palace, what some may say is the “real” front is another open space. As a way to mark the 200 hundred years of Chilean independence (in 2006) from the Spanish State, the government converted what used to be a car park into what is now known as “Citizenship Square”. Under this, quite large space is an underground, cultural centre known as the La Moneda Cultural Centre.

Moneda Cultural Centre

Palacio de la Moneda Presidential Palace (formally the Royal Mint)
This is a modern, sub terranean venue on three underground floors under Citizenship Square in front of the La Moneda Palace. It was designed by Chilean architect Cristian Undurraga and finished in 2006 as a project to mark the Chilean Bicentenary Independence year as well as put Santiago on the “cultural map”.

Here, there can be very interesting exhibits, as, for example there was when original paintings by British artist Turner were displayed here, accompanied by reception and a viewing of a documental film about the artist.

In addition, there are functions here for product launches and to show case exhibitions.

There are three exhibition halls, two cinemas, a design gallery and a visual arts documentation centre, plus a café and hand craft shop.

The mix of modern interior design together with good lighting and large spaces within an historic setting has been executed exceptionally well. When inside this building one could easily be forgiven for thinking that you are in New York or London such is the look and ambience.

Museo de Arte Precolombino

Bandera 361 corner with Compañia

Metro Stop: Universidad de Chile (northern exit).

One block right from Moneda Palace to Bandera Street and then 3 blocks up.
Considered to be one of the best museums in South America that chronicles over 4,000 years of Pre-Columbian civilization.
Closed Monday.
Open: Tue to Fri 10:00hrs to 18:00hrs. Sat, Sun and Holidays 10:00hrs to 14:00hrs. 

Palacio Cousiño (Colonial Home)
Dieciocho 438

Metro Line 1: Los Heroes (Southern exit)

Taxi needed or a good walk south, about 6 blocks, from Metro Line 1: Los Heroes. 
An elaborate 19th-century mansion dating back to 1871. Built by the Cousiño family from wealth accumulated from coal and silver mining. Well preserved images from an elite life.
Open: Tues - Sun: 09:30hrs - 12:30hrs. 14:30hrs -16:00hrs. Tel: 698 5063

Barrio Paris-Londres Sub District

Metro Line 1: Universidad de Chile (southern exit)

A small, historic area located behind, but close to the San Francisco church. Narrow streets and interesting, old European style architecture.

Located on the south side of the main Alameda Avenue, on the opposite side of the road to Moneda Palace some 5 blocks east, and in between metro stops Universidad de Chile and Santa Lucia.

Just behind the San Francisco Church is the historic, old 1920’s European-looking neighbourhood called Paris-Londres. In places there are still cobbled streets, small cafes, restaurants and little plazas. And, of course there is the San Francisco Church, beside which is the Colonial Museum containing archaeological artefacts from the time of the conquest.

One particular building in this neighbourhood at Londres 38 is a beautiful building, declared a Historical Monument and where victims under the last dictatorship are remembered.

Iglesia de San Francisco

Metro Stop: Universidad de Chile (southern exit)

Constructed between 1586 and 1628 (44 years), this is the OLDEST building in Santiago having survived three major earthquakes. The small, carved Virgin del Socorro on the main alter, was brought to Chile by Pedro de Valdivia, on his saddle, in 1541.

Museo Colonial de San Francisco 
Alameda 834

Metro Line 1: Universidad de Chile (southern exit)

Located along the side of the San Francisco church (dating back to 1618 having survived all the earthquakes, entrance is by the church). Colonial building displaying numerous artefacts and an attractive central garden.

Area Around the Plaza de Armas

La Plaza de Armas 
Metro Line 5: Plaza de Armas (northern exit)

The OFFICIAL centre of Santiago and CHILE. This where all the national road distances are measured from. The first public space laid out by Pedro de Valdivia in shortly after his arrival in 1541, when he constructed a fort on this spot, hence the name Plaza de Armas (Plaza of Arms). It is in this area where people used to congregate and come to market. A number of important buildings such as the Cathedral, Governor's Palace and the Law Courts were built close the plaza.
Museo Historico Nacional (National History Museum)

Located beside the Plaza de Armas and next to the "Correo Central" (Central Post Office, see below). The building now housing the history museum was built by the Spanish Crown between 1804 and 1807 to be a courthouse, however, after just three years the first military junta met here in 1810 to plan the overthrow of the then Spanish Governor. Eight years later it was used as the first Congress building and then became the seat of government, until 1846 when President Bulnes moved the government to La Moneda.


Located beside the "Plaza de Armas", on the corner close to the "Correo Central". The Cathedral was built in 1785, with Italian influence in its design from the Italian architect Joaquin Toesca, who also designed La Moneda Palace. It is the FIFTH church to be on this site as the previous buildings were demolished by native Indians or earthquakes (1552, 1647 and 1730).

Correo Central (Central Post Office)

Built in 1882 on the foundations of what was previously the Governor's residence, which explains its elegant interior, which later became the Presidential Palace, during the colonial period. This building is next to the now National History Museum.

Mercado Central (Central Food Market & Restaurants)

Metro Line 2: Cal y Canto (southern exit)

The building was constructed between 1868 and 1872 with sections prefabricated in England and designed by Fermin Vivaceta for the purpose of exhibiting works of art, but it quickly became used as a market. Today the market is still active, and it is an interesting place where to eat. A number of restaurants that specialize in fish dishes surround the principal hall where one can eat and admire the fish, meat and vegetables on display amid the flurry of market activity.

Barrio Lastarria Neighbourhood

Metro Line 1: Universidad Católica (northern exit)
This is a small corner of downtown located adjacent to the Providencia district, and bordering to the southern side of the Parque Forestal, as well as being only a few meters from the northern exit of the metro stop Universidad Catolica. Here, there are older, European-style buildings, boutique-style restaurants, and cafes as well as an arty cinema and two drama theatres. And, spread out along a pedestrian pathway between the streets Rosal and Merced, there is an antiques fair, with stalls offering books and interesting artefacts from the past. More recently another pedestrian access route has been created via the Gabriela Mistral Cultural Center from the main Alameda Street.

It certainly has a “vibe” not found in other parts of the city, and is popular with visitors coming to Santiago.

The history of Lastarria goes back to the 16thC when two vineyards surrounded the immediate area. These two vineyards were then divided into smaller lots. Today, the dividing lines separating some of these lots is where the streets of Padre Luis de Valdivia and Victoria Subercaseux are positioned, as well as the other streets and passages that intersect into Lastarria from the Alameda and Merced as well as the Parque Forestal.

In the centre of Lastarria there is the Church of Veracruz, built between 1852 to 1857 in the neoclassical form.

Also, in and around Lastarria is the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Visual Arts and on its periphery, the Bellas Artes, the Museum of La Merced and the Museum of Santiago.

In recent years a new gastronomic sector has been created called “Plaza Lastarria Boulevard” and here there are numerous restaurants offering fine food and a nice atmosphere, some with outdoor “al fresco” eating areas.

Museo Arqueologico de Santiago 

Lastarria 321

Metro Line 1: Universidad Catolica (northern exit)

Set amid the historical, small Lastarria neighbourhood, with interesting cafes and art galleries, this museum offers a number of exhibits from the indigenous peoples of Chile.

Museo de Bellas Artes (Beautiful Arts Museum)

Metro Line 1: Santa Lucia (northern exit)

Founded in 1880, the Bellas Artes (Beautiful Arts) is located within the Parque Forestal, beside the Jose de Miguel de La Barra road which passes by the front entrance.

The Bellas Artes is Santiago's fine arts museum, displaying permanent collections of French, Italian, Dutch and Chilean paintings and often hosting very interesting visiting exhibits including, when they are on tour, some World-renowned exhibitions.

The Bellas Artes Building
The actual building was designed by Frenchman Emile Jéquier's, who based the façade and the entrance on the Petit-Palais in Paris. The look and history of the building was considered to be of high importance to Chile and therefore it was declared a National Monument in 1976, and at the same time the library was created containing material, primarily, on over 2,000 Chilean artists.

Once inside the Bellas Artes you will notice a dome above the central hall. This was constructed in Belgium and shipped to Chile in sections. The same company that built the dome also constructed the roof covering the Mapocho Central Train Station (now not in service). On the surface of the outer wall there are 22 acknowledgements of iconic artists such as Rembrandt, Da Vinci, Velásquez and Guiotto. There is also reference to the Chilean sculptor and painter Guillermo Córdova.

On Show
The Bellas Artes Museum has over 5,000 different artistic artefacts on display covering painting, photography, sculpture, video, architectural design and even performance art. In the main hall is the permanent exhibition, but in the breakout rooms, which are on various floors, there are temporary displays.

The Parque Forestal
This is a city park with many trees, hence the name “forestal”. It was established over 130 years ago and offers residents, as well as visitors, a chance to walk through a green space under the cover of tree shade. The Park runs adjacent to the south side of the Cardenal Jose Maria Caro main road which, in turn, is adjacent to the south side of the Mapocho River, and fills the space from close to Bellavista at the eastern end to the old Central train station, at the western end, making it a much longer space than wide.

Cerro Santa Lucia

Metro Line 1: Santa Lucia (northern exit)
History tells us that THIS is the spot where Pedro de Valdivia officially founded the new settlement of "Santiago de la Nueva Extremadura" (named after his birth town in Spain) on February 12, 1541. At that time the area around Santiago was populated by native Mapuche Indians, scattered around the valleys and hills of the Central Valley.

When Valdivia arrived, Santa Lucia hill was barren and rocky, yet to-day it is covered in lush vegetation and has beautiful gardens in which to walk. It was mostly ignored until 1872 when Vicuna Mackenna (the intendente, or mayor of the city) oversaw the construction of new streets and turned Santa Lucia into a terraced garden for "the people" with the muscle power of over 150 prisoners.

It is a nice place to walk within, with a lot of tree shade and the Hidalgo Castle, which is used these days mainly as an event centre.

Teatro Municipal

Agustinas corner, with San Antonio Street

Metro Line 1: Santa Lucia (northern side)

Opera and Ballet March to December.
This is another iconic building for Santiago. An elegant theatre that hosts mainly classical concerts, ballet and opera.

Santiago Clothes to Pack

Clothes to Pack and Wear when in Santiago de Chile


Most people will visit Santiago at some time during the summer months. This means December, January and February. During this period the climate and overall weather system is Mediterranean but moving more towards a semi-desert climate. This means long, hot, dry days and short, warm to cool nights.

Therefore, visitors need to pack summer clothes such as:

Light pants (trousers), short-sleeved shirts, shorts, light shoes, light shirts, light sweaters, light jacket as well as sunglasses and a hat. Ladies should consider light skirts and dresses, light pants, light shoes, light blouses and short-sleeved shirts, a hat and sunglasses.

However, always add in an outer jacket in case it rains and for cooler evenings.

If you visit in the winter, you will need heavier clothes in general plus a scarf, hat, overcoat / fleece, and raincoat in your wardrobe. The winter months are May, Jun, Jul and August.

Santiago Climate & Weather

Climate and Weather, Santiago de Chile


Santiago de Chile used to enjoy an envious Mediterranean climate. Winters were short, with little rain and summers were long, dry and hot with mostly cloudless sunny days and cool evenings. However, over the past decade this has changed in line with the overall World-Wide climate warming. Now there is clear evidence, both in registered figures as well as seeing actual reality, that the Central Valley of Santiago, where Santiago is located, is changing to a desert climate. There is considerably less rainfall during the winter months and hotter days during the summer months.

Summertime Dec – Mar

Santiago is at an altitude between 600 and 800mts enabling it to “escape” from any lower-level cloud as well having air which is drier than at a lower altitude. This enables for there to be high, daily temperatures, but with little moisture in the air he does not feel as hot as if, for example, you were in Miami with the same temperature.

The central part of Chile is not too far from the Tropic of Capricorn (in the north), therefore, summer temperatures are higher than those further south, and getting higher each year with Global warming taking place.

To the west is the cold, Pacific Ocean, generating in the summer, cool air that then hits the Chilean coast, continuing on over the coastal mountains until it hits the Andes. This fresh, cool air keeps most of the Central valley, which contains Santiago, clear and cooler than it would otherwise be.

To the east are the high-altitude Andes mountains, that act like a curtain, keeping hotter air in place longer than it otherwise would be.

The clothes that most people wear during these months tends to be shorts, short-sleeved shirts, light skirts for the ladies, light trousers (pants), summer shoes, sunglasses and always a hat.

Wintertime June – Aug

Due Santiago’s place on the line of longitude, the sun rises and sets more quickly than, say, Punta Arenas in the far south. Also, the seasons are less marked. The winter in Santiago is short, although, officially it is May to Sep, the actual winter is more like June, July and August. During this period some days and nights can be cold on occasion, but usually, days are cool to mild. Santiago is rarely at a below freezing temperature.

During 2021 the rainfall was almost non-existent, and this was on the back of very low rainfall during 2020. Therefore, there is a draught in the Central Valley, and this looks like continuing in the future with low rainfall becoming the norm.

Should you visit during the winter it is important to have heavier, winter clothes, an overcoat, scarf and maybe a hat for the colder times.

If it rains it is for a short period and obviously for such days, you need a raincoat and umbrella.

Santiago Accommodation

Santiago, Chile, Hotels and Accommodation


There are hotels and there are hotels. Some hotels offer modest rooms in non-descript buildings and other hotels offer comfy, cosy rooms in modern, fresh, and clean buildings. Also, some hotels are large and impersonal others are smaller and “boutique” in style. Some are up-market, others are mid-level and then there are the ones that are low level.

In addition, some hotel accommodation is in run-down, “not so safe” areas and other hotels are in safer neighbourhoods close to transport, shops and restaurants.
Therefore, navigating the vast myriad of accommodation options can be a daunting task. This process is not reflected in any of the online hotel reservation sites either.

Experience and Local Knowledge

Here at Experience Chile, we have not only been based in Santiago, Chile for over thirty years, we have local, personal knowledge about what is what when it comes to hotels in the various neighbourhoods of the city. Particularly, we have invested considerable time and energy visiting numerous hotels in order to really know what they are like.

Within this section of our site, we show case only those hotels that we consider worthy to be our partners. That is not to say that “the rest” are not worthy, but it means that we have selected only a few establishments to work with based upon numerous factors. For example, location, security (if the area is considered “safe” or not, overall feeling of the hotel, room comfort, cleanliness, professionalism of staff and value for money, among other things.

The Suburbs and Neighbourhoods of Santiago

It should be noted that there are only a few areas of Santiago that the visitor will be interested to know. These are:

Eastern Downtown

There are two neighbourhoods on the eastern edge of the older, downtown area of Santiago that are of some interest to the visitor. One is called Lastarria, and the other is called Bellavista. Lastarria comprises of a few visually pleasing historic buildings. On the other hand, Bellavista is considered to be the “artistic” neighbourhood full of bars and restaurants but thronging with younger people. It can be quite noisy at night as well as a place for unscrupulous people, therefore one needs to be vigilant here.

Further East of Downtown and into Providencia

This suburb is a mix of older, large houses together with 1960’s apartment blocks and 1970’s commercial malls. However, there are also some modern and rather pleasant “bubble areas” of good restaurants. The metro line 2 also runs right through Providencia. Logistically, staying in Providencia is handy to get into downtown, and be in a relatively “safer” area as well as be well positioned to get over to Las Condes. In Providencia the main metro stops are: Baquedano, Salvador, Manuel Montt, Pedro de Valdivia, Los Leones and Tobalaba.

East of Providencia and into Las Condes

Considered to be one of the wealthy suburbs of Santiago, Las Condes is home to modern apartments blocks built in the 1980’s and 1990’s, state of the art tall office buildings, high-end boutiques, and large shopping malls. Key metro stops on the metro line two that are in Las Condes are: Tobalaba, El Golf, Alcantara, Escuela Militar and Apumanque.

Notably, within Las Condes is the high-end neighbourhood of El Golf where there are great restaurants and the largest shopping mall in South America: the Costanera Centre.

As far as staying overnight in Santiago is concerned, Las Condes is one of the best places to be.

East of Las Condes and into Vitacura

Moving further east, and therefore away from downtown, and a step east from Las Condes is the suburb of Vitacura.
This is, perhaps, the wealthiest are of Santiago, full of houses with gardens and modern office towers. Yes, there are still apartment blocks, but not as many as in the other suburbs.

We view Vitacura as being an excellent place to stay overnight because it is “safer” than the other suburbs and also quieter. However, there are currently no Metro stops that are located in Vitacura. On the other hand, access to the main Americo Vespucio and Costanera tunnel roads that lead to Santiago airport, is more direct from Vitacura than from other neighbourhoods.

Santiago Places of Interest

Santiago de Chile Main Places of Interest

Note: ExperienceChile.Org can arrange airport transfers in and out, accommodation in Santiago, pre and post the rest of your trip, as well as build in local Santiago tours and excursions to vineyards, and / or destinations on the coast.


The first thing to point out is that on this page is a brief summary of the key places of interest in Santiago.
Many more places, along with more details, can be found by linking to this page:

Santiago de Chile, the capital, is a mix of the historic and the modern in terms of architecture and “interesting” areas.

In reality, a “place of interest” will vary from person to person. For example, some people may find two historic, streets worthwhile visiting, whereas others may feel “what’s the point”!

Therefore, here, we are going to highlight the main day time places of interest that most visitors to the capital usually find interesting to see when they are here.

However, perhaps the most impressive and obvious place of interest is the Andes Mountains, visible from many places in city, especially from a high vantage point, and this view is “a must” to see when in Santiago.


In addition, there are the vineyards that, although not in the city, are accessible for half day and day tours from the city, as is Valparaiso or Zapallar on the coast.

The Key Areas Containing Places of Interest in Santiago are:

Downtown, with sub district Lastarria
Providencia, with sub district Bellavista
Las Condes, with sub district El Golf
Vitacura, with sub district “Sanhattan”

What follows is a brief mention about the principal places of interest for the visitor within each of the above-mentioned suburbs of Santiago. More information can be found in the introduction page for Santiago here:

Downtown Santiago (the Centre of the City)

Known for a number of “historic pockets” of older buildings, and museums as well as the presidential La Moneda Palace.

Downtown Santiago is the part of the city that the Spanish conquistadores established when they arrived here in 1541. Consequently, it is the only place in Santiago where there is anything that resembles architectural history.


Line 1 Metro: Universidad Catolica
One if the most interesting of the small, historic neighbourhoods is Lastarria and this is worth an exploration as well as a place to stop for a coffee or lunch.
Almost adjacent to the suburb of Providencia border, as well as being next to the southern side of the Parque Forestal. Lastarria comprises, older, 19th Century European-style buildings, boutique-style restaurants, and cafes. It certainly has a “vibe” and is popular with visitors coming to Santiago.

La Moneda Palace

LINE 1 Metro: La Moneda
The building is only three floors in height and designed in a double square shape with two inner courtyards. Originally the “the Mint”, where Chile’s money was manufactured, it is now the seat of the President of Chile. At the side facing the main O’Higgins Avenue is a large exterior space under which is the Cultural centre – also a place of interest, and at the opposite side is a plaza.

The public are allowed to pass through the inner court yards on certain days.

Plaza de Armas

Practically all Chilean villages, towns and cities, have a central plaza. Santiago, despite its present-day size, also has its original central plaza called The Plaza de Armas, which used to be the central hub around which, in the day, Chile’s initial administration centres were situated.

Today there are still some of the old, original buildings that played a significant role in Chile’s history, as well as a plaza to wonder around and think back to how it once must have been.

Pre-Columbian Museum

As far as museums go, the Santiago Pre-Columbian Museum is considered to be “World Class”. It showcases many artefacts from the period prior to Christopher Columbus arriving to the “New World”.

Central Market (Mercado Central)

Metro Line 2: Cal y Canto (southern exit)
Santiago’s Central Market is the main market for fish, vegetables, meat and fruit. In addition, there are a number of local stores that sell natural, herbal remedies. In the same area, but on the other side of the Mapocho “River”, is the “Vega”, which is the main market in Santiago for fruit and vegetables and an interesting place to wonder through.

However, the Central Market is often interesting to look around and see the varieties of fish that are harvested from the Chilean Pacific as well as the cuts of red meat. In the atrium area there are numerous restaurants that offer fresh sea food. Consequently, this is a popular lunch-time stop off.

Bellas Artes (Fine Art Museum)

Metro Line 1: Santa Lucia (northern exit) or Universidad Católica (northern exit)
The building housing Santiago’s Fine Arts Museum, called “Bellas Artes”, dates back to the 1800’s. Located bsdie the tree-lined “Parque Forestal”, the museum often showcases travelling World Class art exhibits as well as permanent art and sculpture exhibits.

San Francisco Church

Metro Stop: Universidad de Chile (southern exit)
Considered to be the “oldest building” in Santiago, constructed between 1586 and 1628 (44 years), it has survived three major earthquakes. It is said that the small, wooden-carved Virgin del Socorro that sits on the main alter, was brought to Chile by Pedro de Valdivia, on his saddle, in 1541.

Behind the church is the Colonial Museum “Museo Colonial de San Francisco”
Here there are numerous artefacts and an attractive, inner garden.

Providencia (East of Downtown)

Places of interest include the San Cristobal hill with the Virgin Mary overlooking the city, a touristic cable car and Bellavista where one of Pablo Neruda’s houses is open to the public.

Sub District Bellavista

Line 1 Metro: Baquedano
A short walk north from the metro stop called Baquedano is the bohemian sub district of Providencia. At the end of the Pio Nono Street (in Bellavista) is the station for the funicular railway that leads up to the viewing platform at the base of the Virgin Mary almost on top of the San Cristobal hill, which is in the “Parque Metropolitana”. There is also a cable car that descends down and long a stretch of the “Parque Metropolitana” to ground level.

From here is an impressive view over most of Santiago and the hills beyond, not to mention the Andes mountains.

Pablo Neruda’s House (La Chascona)

Also, in Bellavista is one of the hoses of Chile’s Nobel-Prize winning poets, Pablo Neruda, called La Chascona. Today this is a small museum which is open to the public.

The Sky Tower at the Costanera Centre (Metro Tobalaba)

One of, if not, “the” latest tourist attraction and therefore place of interest in Santiago is the Sky Tower that forms part of the Costanera Centre shopping mall. This is easy to spot because the tower is the highest building in Chile and, thus far, South America.

From the top floors there is a spectacular viewing platform that opens up an excellent 360-degree view over all of Santiago. On a clear day this is an excellent option and one from where you can initially become oriented for your stay in Santiago.

Santiago History

The Brief History of Santiago de Chile


What follows is a very brief, chronological breakdown of the most important events that have led to the creation of Santiago, and also the Chile we know of today.

The 1500’s

Colonial Spain
1500’s The Spanish, who conquered practically all of the America’s, had its colonial power based for South America, in the region in Lima, Peru. At that time Chile was then a backwater – not considered particularly important and only a place “yet to be explored”.

1536 Diego de Almagro led an expedition, on horseback, from Peru into Chile but did not get anywhere near to the future site of Santiago because the journey was fraught with difficulty.

1541 Pedro de Valdivia. The man bestowed with the honour of being the original Spanish conquistador was Pedro de Valdivia. In 1540 he led an expedition from Peru to Chile arriving in 1541 to the site of where Santiago is today.

Valdivia “founded” Santiago officially on Saturday 12 February 1541 and named the settlement “Santiago del Nuevo Extremo”, after the name of his hometown in Spain. The actual place for this ceremony was at the foot of the hill called “Huelen” (by the indigenous natives), but renamed “Santa Lucia” by the Spanish.

He organised a local form of government and set about mining in the areas that were rumoured to have had gold during the Inca period, but he and his men endured constant attacks from native Indians who were trying to repel them.

It was clear that a more secure base was required, and they set about building an infrastructure which led to the development of a fort and aptly named it the “Plaza de Armas” (Armed Plaza). Shortly after completion of the new plaza many of the buildings were destroyed by the rebellious, native Mapuche Indians.

Naturally, the new settlers set about rebuilding and stuck to within the limits of the natural boundaries of the Mapocho River and Santa Lucia hill. Urban development continued to grow for the next decade and began to resemble a colonial settlement of importance. However, the “Conquistadores” were here in search of mineral wealth and therefore “followed their noses” to the south of Chile to the area of Arauco, deserting Santiago which then became more of a staging post.

Mapuche Indians
1553 A violent backlash from the southern Mapuche Indians forced the Spanish invaders to retreat back to Santiago, reigniting population growth in Santiago once again.

1586 Construction on the “Iglesia de San Francisco” (Church) began and continued over a 44-year period until 1630. The church holds an item, which is on display, that Pedro de Valdivia brought with him on horseback all the way from Peru. Chile was now governed from Lima under the Viceroy of Peru and forced to trade with Spain via Lima. Restrictions were put in place to forbid “Chile” (not yet a country in its own right) to trade directly with any other country, which resulted in uncontrolled smuggling.

The Spanish Crown, as “owners” of the land called Chile decides to divide up the agricultural land and large houses between the leading families in Chile who, as a result, became extremely powerful and rich. With large swathes of land being owned by so few people, including the Jesuit church, a new underclass was created and known as “inquilinos”. The “inquilinos” were only given permission to farm by the landowners if they worked for the landowner, thus creating a “serfdom” of workers who were at the mercy of the landowners they served.

Early economic demand focused on livestock and horses to generate leather and grease needed for the mines in Bolivia, as well as the continuing war against the Mapuche Indians in Chile.

In to the 1600’s
1626 There were around 500 houses and a population of 11,000 now in Santiago.

Earthquake & Land Prices
1687 A massive earthquake destroys the wheat crop in Peru, which then enabled the superior quality Chilean wheat to fill gap and supply the miners working there. This, in turn, led to a rise in the price of Chilean wheat, which determined the price of land in Chile throughout the 18th century.

Consequently, any person owning land had the opportunity to increase his wealth, whilst the workers only continued to be workers, receiving as little pay as the landowners could get away with.

On to the 1700’s

1740 Direct trade with Spain was now permitted.

1750 Chile is allowed to mint its own currency.

1760 It is accepted, or agreed, that tenants working the land should provide a son or daughter to the landlord for household duties i.e. a maid.

By the end of the 18th century, after 250 years of colonial rule, Santiago had virtually been destroyed, once by native Indians and twice by massive earthquakes. The population at this time was around 50,000 people.

1784 Construction on La Moneda Palace begins and takes 20 years to complete.

The 1800’s
Independence and Political Unrest
1808 The French, under Napoleon, successfully invaded Spain resulting in confusion among the Spanish colonies as to where their allegiance lay, this in turn, weakened Spanish colonial military control, which led to the beginning of the independence movement.

1810 A local military “junta” was formed. This “junta”, along with patriots loyal to the Chilean independence movement fought many battles against troops loyal to the Spanish crown. These battles continued through to 1818.

The First President & Independence

1818 “President” Bernardo O’Higgins.
The illegitimate son of a Peruvian Viceroy, Chile’s first elected leader following independence from Spain in 1818.

There were two key men who played a vital role in bringing independence to Chile. One was Bernardo O’Higgins, born in 1778 in Chillan (southern Chile) as the illegitimate son of an Irishman, Ambrose O’Higgins.

Ambrose O’Higgins rose through the Spanish colonial ranks to become Governor of Chile and then Viceroy of Peru. Ambrose sent Bernardo to London to be educated and during his time there he met with a number of exiles who were plotting to overthrow their own Spanish rulers.

In 1817, after his father died, Bernardo returned to Chile to inherit his father’s estate and take his surname: O’Higgins. Bernardo O’Higgins led his own army of men to take on the Spanish Royalists, but after one serious defeat he retreated over the Andes to nearby Mendoza, in Argentina, where he met up and joined forces with the other key player in the Chile independence movement: Jose San Martin de Los Andes.

San Martin de Los Andes had been planning to enter Chile from Argentina and overthrow the Spanish too. O’Higgins and San Martin de Los Andes joined forces and after winning a major battle in 1818 at Rancagua (just south of Santiago) O’Higgins was asked to be the “Supreme Director” of the newly independent Chile.
Independence was officially claimed in February 1818 with Bernardo O’Higgins as head of the first Chilean government. As you travel throughout Chile you will notice a street named after him in almost every Chilean city, town or village.

Independence Day is, however, celebrated on the 18 September each year and known as the “dieciocho”, which means 18.

After independence from Spain, which was 277 years after Pedro de Valdivia, first arrived at the Santa Lucia hill, Santiago began its journey to become a serious urban base.

Economic Boom
1822 Valparaiso was declared a free port by the independent administration, which enabled it to develop into an important financial centre and principal through-fare for business connected to the booming nitrate mining in the north and successful cattle ranching in southern Patagonia. Also, at this time, over 30 canals were constructed in the fertile, central valley, to provide much needed irrigation to the crop and fruit farming in this area.

1848 La Moneda Palace becomes the residence and working place for the president of Chile (like the White House in the USA).
1851 The first vineyards begin to appear.

1857 17 Sep 1857 the principal theatre (at the time) of the country was inaugurated with the opera Errani performed by an Italian company.
1872 Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna initiated the change of the Santa Lucia hill by using 150 prisoners to dig, move rocks, shift earth and plant trees.

Northern Land Grab
1879 Arturo Pratt and “The War of the Pacific”
Chilean naval hero who led the winning naval battle against Peru. On 21 May 1879 Pratt, on board the Chilean ship Esmeralda, beat the Peruvians in a maritime battle in the Pacific Ocean opposite the northern city of Iquique. This led to Chile gaining all the land north between Iquique and up to Arica, and in the process, also cutting off Bolivia from the sea.

On to the 1900’s
1900 The first significant fruit harvest is reaped. Santiago is booming from mining and agriculture. New constructions go up and areas are gentrified (Santa Lucia Park), but the vast majority of the population live as servants to the rich landowners.


With a growing economy people came to Chile to make money and live well. Large houses and mansions were built. The State commissioned the construction of a new Congress building and Municipal Theatre. It was the newly arriving Europeans who drove the pace as they set about recreating the kind of European environment they were used to but leaving the poorer natives and mix-raced peoples to fill in where they could, many flocking to Santiago in search of a better life, but often living in simple shacks and treated as second-rate citizens.

As Santiago entered the 20th century it expanded eastwards, towards the magnificent Andes mountains, creating new “barrio altos” (literally meaning “higher settlements” both in terms of new wealth and also higher altitude). Many large farming properties (haciendas), a result of land being handed down the family line from the days of the Spanish conquerors, get broken down into smaller holdings thus forcing agricultural workers to leave the land they worked, to look for more affluent work in the nitrate mines in the north as well as in Santiago. The Santiago population is now around 600,000 people.

Telephone lines go up. The Panamerican highway is constructed north and south from the capital. Hydroelectricity provides energy. Demand from the USA and Europe to fuel World War II provides a boost to the economy.

Economic Depression

1920 The nitrate mining industry collapses, which leads into the 1920 great depression, which leads to social tension and unrest.

1925 The National Library is created and inaugurated.
1952 The population in Santiago reaches over 1 million people.

Social Injustice

1970 Pressure is on to reform the land ownership problem (too few landowners with vast swathes of land but too many poor people with nothing to speak of).

Military Coup

1973 President Salvador Allende (democratically elected in 1970 as the first ever communist president of Chile) is ousted in a bloody military coup led by Augusto Pinochet, head of the army and lead figure in the military junta.

Modernity Again
1975 The first metro line opens on May 15 operating from San Pablo to Central Station

The New Millenium 2000’s
1990 – Democracy returns to Chile with the election of President Aylwin when he assumes the presidency in March of 1990.
1992 – With the return of democracy to Chile the country is no longer considered a “pariah state” and international airlines begin flight routes to Santiago, foreign investment begins to flow in and the economy starts to post impressive growth figures.
1995 – More and more construction projects begin to take shape, new roads are built, old roads are resurfaced.
1999 – Various areas of Santiago, especially the sectors of Providencia and Las Condes see major infrastructure redevelopment with modern offices and apartments blocks being completed and new developments planned still.
2000 – Santiago airport has been redeveloped; many regional airports have been replaced by modern, new airport terminals.
2010 – A major earthquake hits the central part of Chile, but damages very little considering its ferocity. Although there was some damage to a few highways and some buildings and a tsunami claimed some lives further south, near Concepcion, it was impressive how the structures of the country resisted the major forces of energy.
2015 The Sky Costanera centre and tower are opened. Since the return of democracy, the country has undergone a radical redevelopment and Santiago, in its eastern suburbs, as well as other parts of the city, look like a fully developed, modern city. The figures that register poverty are down and there is an overall “good feel” about where Chile is heading.
2019 – Civil unrest suddenly erupts after the cost of metro ticket increases for use during the peak period and a Chilean government minister suggests that to avoid the increase people should get up earlier. The unrest spreads throughout the country with metro stations, churches, shops, and properties being torched and destroyed.
2020 – The Covid-19 virus hits Chile and the country invokes lock down controls and curfews to control the contagion.
2021 - Chile elects the youngest president in its history, 36 year old Gabriel Boric, a socialist politician. He takes office in early 2022.
2022 – Lock down ends and Chile begins to open its borders.
2023 - Present day Santiago and Chile as you see it.

Santiago Arrivals & Transfers

Arrival to Santiago via the Airport


Herewith below we will describe, firstly, what the transport options are around the airport, followed by an historical account of the airport development. For information about immigration and customs please refer to the separate page on that or follow the link here: Santiago Airport Immigration and Customs.

For direct information about the airport please use these links:

Transport at Santiago Airport

Private Transfer Pre-Arranged
This is what we do. We can have a driver and private transfer waiting to meet you at in the arrival hall ready to take you away to your hotel. No fuss, no hassle.

The best way to get a taxi is to get your ticket BEFORE entering the airport arrival hall.

There will be some “official” taxi companies selling tickets. You pay there and then when coming into the arrival hall a representative will escort you to the taxi. This is by far the least stressful and more secure way to get a taxi.

However, there are several people constantly crowding around the arrival sector (where friends and family wait) touting for business. They often do not respect personal space and can be very irritating and, potentially, out to scam you, or worse, rob you, so be very careful if you opt for these guys.

Next to the taxi service BEFORE exiting into the arrival hall, so this is the space just after customs, there are also minibus transfer companies in the same area as the official taxi companies, selling tickets.

The minibus companies offer either a shared transfer with other passengers or a private transfer. The shared transfer means you need to be patient whilst the bus drops off other passengers before they drop you off, unless you are, of course, the first to be dropped off. They will visit many hotels or private homes, for example, dropping people off at each location. The private option means you pay a premium for the entire bus, but you get door-to-door service.

Regular Bus
For those on a budget, there is large regular bus that shuttles regularly from the airport to the bus terminal in downtown Santiago. Tickets on sale at any of the regular bus counters in the terminal.

Rent a Car
If we have arranged a rent a car for you, you will need to go to the respective car rental desk in the arrival hall and sign the paperwork. You will likely have to walk a fair distance, unless you take the shuttle bus, to where the rent a car is waiting for you. Once you have familiarised yourself with the car and set off on the drive be careful of Santiago traffic. There will be a road toll to pay, but this is automatically charged to a device in the car called a Tag. See below.

The airport is located about 30km from the centre and other suburbs of Santiago and the drive time takes about 30min via modern automatic-pay toll roads but can take a lot longer when there is lots of traffic on the roads.

All rental cars will have on the interior of the car windscreen a small device called a TAG that is automatically charged when passing under infrared beams at set intervals on the highway. You will hear a “beep” each time it is charged. To cover this cost the car rental company will add an extra charge for the Tag, unless we have included that for you.

About Santiago Airport

The international airport serving Santiago de Chile is called Comodoro Arturo Merino Benitez (who founded the Chilean air force), however, it is often also called Pudahuel. For all intents and purposes, it is better known to the arriving visitor as Santiago Airport, so we will stick with that.

Santiago airport has seen exponential growth since 1992, both in terms of passenger numbers passing through, and physical expansion of infrastructure. It has undergone two radical infrastructure changes since its original inauguration in 1967. The original terminal being a very modest one building room about the size of three tennis courts.

First Expansion 1994
Since the original, rather simplistic terminal was opened in 1967 there was a fresh impetus after Chile returned to democracy, to make Santiago Airport more in line with other world, international airports in order to cope with the large planes now descending on Santiago and increasing passenger numbers.

Therefore, in 1994 began the construction of a new, large, single building terminal under one, wide-span roof. This offered 90,000sqm of space and was positioned at a perpendicular angle to the original terminal. The new terminal was clean, spacious with shops and cafes “air side” – in other words after passing through immigration to leave the country, but also with some cafes and restaurants in the check-in side too. After the opening of the new terminal, suddenly Santiago airport “looked” like a “real” international airport.

Accompanying this new terminal came new car parking, and overall modernity as well as a new airport hotel in front of the building. The now old terminal continued to be used, initially, for domestic passengers only and the new one for international arrivals and departures. However, in 2001 all passenger traffic passed through the new terminal, and it was not long before everyone realised that the building and facilities were not going to be big enough to cope with the ever-increasing increase in passenger numbers.

This terminal, mentioned above, is now the domestic passenger terminal and has four floors and on each floor are these services:

Level 1 (Ground Floor)
Arrivals and Transport.

Level 2

Level 3
Departures, Check-in, Boarding Gates and Immigration.

Level 4

Useful Numbers
Airport General: +56 2 2690 1796

Lost and Found: +56 2 690 1707

Continued Passenger Growth

Due to incredible growth in air traffic and visitors coming to Chile the new terminal reached its projected capacity of 9.5million passengers earlier than forecast (2008) and it was very clear that further expansion was required. However, this time those in control felt that an overall strategic plan was required for the entire airport and not just build another terminal, or only expand the existing one.

This strategic, master plan was to consider growth of passenger demand to 14 million annually before 2034 (almost 5 million more than in 2008) and up to 50 million by 2045 – a massive increase.

At the end of 2019, pre Covid-19, the passenger numbers passing through Santiago airport had reached 24,654,705.

Second Expansion 2015

With a consortium in place the next phase of expansion started in October 2015, with continuous development to take 20 years. Included in this plan was a new terminal covering 175,000m2, allowing for passenger number capacity to increase to 30 million annually, but with enough flexibility to handle 45 million passengers.

The objective was for the new terminal to be able to process all international flights by the end of 2021, whereupon the older terminal will be used for domestic passengers only.

The Terminal Buildings
As previously mentioned, one, large terminal developed in the first expansion is still operational and perfectly good, but now for domestic use since 2021.

The new terminal is joined to the “phase one new terminal” at right angles and has been in use since 2018. It is very large and almost the twin, in style, to the international airport terminals at Madrid, Spain.

This new terminal is incredibly spacious with a high, arching, one span roof supported by cement-angled bases upon which are bolted painted steel pillars; modern seating, shops and cafes at key locations and generally pleasing.

In line with the main terminal there are also “break off” terminal “arms” that lead to the gates for embarkation or disembarkation.

With the expansion of the Santiago Airport passenger terminals, car parking and general facilities arriving or departing can now be an arduous process, therefore we advise allowing extra time to navigate the journey through immigration and on to your gate waiting area.

Also, during the high season holiday months of January and February, for both Chileans and foreign tourists, immigration and customs control can, on occasion, be under severe stress because the authorities find it difficult to cope with the flow of passengers. Therefore, depending on the situation when you arrive, or depart, you may need some patience!


Santiago de Chile

Note: ExperienceChile.Org can arrange airport transfers in and out, accommodation in Santiago, pre and post the rest of your trip, as well as build in local Santiago tours and excursions to vineyards, and / or destinations on the coast.


Santiago de Chile is the capital of the country. The city is a mixture of large suburban sprawl and modern, bustling, dynamism all surrounded by the huge, glaciated, snow-covered Andes mountains to the east, and the lower, coastal mountains to the west, creating a stunning spectacle on a clear day.

The surrounding mountains create a natural bowl at the base of which Santiago sits. However, at one end, in the downtown area, the altitude is 543mt above sea level, which rises up to 800mt in the eastern, up-market suburbs, therefore most of the city is built on a slope.

Mediterranean Climate

One of the positive aspects to Santiago is the favourable Mediterranean climate it enjoys (average summer daytime temperature is 30°C), with long, hot and usually cloudless summer days running from November to March. The summer is also a period of little smog. Rain, if it comes, is usually in June, July and August, although with global warming there is a lot less precipitation these days. However, when it does rain it also means it snows in the mountains and therefore there is skiing at the ski centres, usually in July and August. But, unfortunately, one of the negative aspects to life in Santiago in the winter is its serious smog problem, which can be especially bad in the months of June, July and August.
Santiago is the fifth-largest city in South America, home to over 7 million people and the central base for 50% of the county's manufacturing industry.

Visitors to Santiago

For the visitor arriving to Santiago to start, or end, their Chile travel itinerary, there are only a few areas worthy of consideration. These areas, or districts, are located in a linear layout that follow the contours of the Mapocho River. Most of the business activity (not industrial) is also concentrated into these areas too.

The Metro Line 1, conveniently follows the linear area of most interest for the visitor, running east to west (or, of course, in reverse). Within the information below we will include the names of the metro stops.


What is interesting to note is that the historical sector of Santiago is, effectively, the downtown (Santiago Centro) area. The centre of the city is where the “conquistadores” settled and founded Santiago. Downtown contains not only the history of Santiago but also, to all intents and purposes, maintains a visual record of the early formation of Chile. It also offers a glimpse of the "old days", people-filled streets that are a little chaotic, older buildings, and "South American-style" cafes.

Going East Towards the Andes

Once downtown Santiago became “saturated”, residents began occupying land and newly-constructed houses to the east of the centre of Santiago. These areas are, in order east to west, Providencia, Las Condes, Vitacura and the residential areas of Lo Barnechea with La Dehesa.

The New Districts

As the population grew, together with an increase in personal affluence (for some), the new districts began to take shape. Considering that this process happened, little-by-little, there are a number of buildings that stand as historical “time capsules” that show us a glimpse of the chronological change in architecture style over past times. Although these areas, today, contain numerous modern apartment and office buildings, there is still considerable, older building architecture that show cases the “fashion” and affluence of previous decades. What follows is a general historical categorization of the historic growth of the city. It was always the “newly rich” who occupied the newest buildings, and this is still true today.


For example, Providencia, immediately adjacent to downtown (eastern side), is primarily a middle-class residential area, with many of the first residential houses constructed during the 50’s.

Las Condes

Then, adjacent to the east of Providencia is Las Condes, considered to be a “notch” up, socially, from Providencia, with initial constructions more in line with the style of the 60’s and 70’s, however, now along the Las Condes Avenue there are very modern office buildings that went up in the late 90’s and early 00’s. For this to happen all previous houses that were built in the 50’s and 60’s in that area were demolished.


Following this pattern, the next district to the east and adjacent to Las Condes, considered to be another “notch up” the social scale is the area of Vitacura. Here, numerous residential houses and apartments were built during the 70’s and 80’s. But, more recently in the early 00’s, one area nicknamed “Sanhatton” (the area by the Mapocho river, next to El Golf in Las Condes) went gone up after 2010, and which is a bubble of ultra-modern office buildings resembling parts of New York.

Lo Barnechea and La Dehesa

And, most recently, developed over the past twenty years, is the even more up-market zone of Lo Barnechea and La Dehesa with some very large, residential properties.

Therefore, the further you go east from downtown Santiago the more affluent are the people and the area (generally speaking).

The districts of most interest to the Visitor to Santiago are:

We will briefly describe below these areas, with more information in the individual pages (see menu bar):

Downtown, with sub district Lastarria
Providencia, with sub district Bellavista
Las Condes, with sub district El Golf
Vitacura, with sub district “Sanhattan”

Santiago Centro, also known as Downtown

The downtown area of Santiago is the area that contains the museums, historical buildings, and small “bubble” areas of charm. The city was founded by the Spanish Conquistador Pedro de Valdivia in 1541.

Santiago is home to a large part of Chilean history, which can be seen through its museums and historical buildings such as the Palacio de La Moneda (current seat of government), but more so around the Plaza de Armas, which was at the heart of the original Santiago. It is next to the Plaza de Armas where some of the original buildings remain from the first days of establishing Santiago as a functioning out post for the Spanish crown, making it the then “nerve centre” for political power, general administration, religion, and high society. From this base developed the nation of Chile.

There are two interesting buildings beside the Plaza de Armas. Both are neoclassical monuments. One is the Palacio de la Real Audiencia, built in 1808, and now where the National Historical Museum is located. The other is the 18th Century Metropolitan Cathedral. There is also the old Post Office building, next to the History Museum and this, too, has some elegance to it.

Such is the importance attributed to the Santiago central Plaza de Armas it is also the point zero from where all road distances are measured, running north and south from Santiago.

Today, since its foundation in 1541, greater Santiago has emerged as a vibrant, modern, and cosmopolitan city that maintains, in sectors, evidence of some of its more historic beginnings.

Sub District Lastarria

This is a small corner of downtown located adjacent to the Providencia border, adjacent to the southern side of the Parque Forestal and north of the metro stop Universidad Catolica. Here, there are older, European-style buildings, boutique-style restaurants, and cafes. It certainly has a “vibe” and is popular with visitors coming to Santiago.

Sub District Bellavista

Line 1 Metro: Baquedano

Sandwiched between Downtown and Providencia, on the northern side of the Mapocho River, across from the Parque Forestal, is a small area called Bellavista (which means “beautiful view”). This term comes from the “beautiful” view over the city at the top of the hill called San Cristobal, which has the statue of the Virgin Mary at the top, and access to this hill is from the end of the main Pio Nono Street in Bellavista.


Culturally Bellavista is home to one of the houses owned by Chilean Nobel-Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda. The house is called La Chascona and is now a museum showcasing ornaments and furniture that belonged to Neruda.

Night Life

Bellavista comes to life at night. It is known for its bohemian vibe with lots of bars, restaurants and nightclubs frequented by Santiago’s younger population.
Indeed, it can be a good place to come for evening entertainment, especial a place called “El Patio” which occupies and area between the two streets of Pio Nono and Constitucion.

Providencia (east of Downtown)

Metro Line 1

Including These Metro Stops (east to west):
Baquedano – Salvador – Manual Montt – Pedro de Valdivia – Los Leones - Tobalaba

This is an area that developed, mainly from the fifties onwards. It contains many residential houses and apartments, as well as a main shopping throughfare each side of the main street also called Providencia as well as cafes and restaurants. The metro line 1 follows under the main Providencia street.

Las Condes (east of Providencia)

Metro Line 1

Including These Metro Stops (east to west):
Tobalaba – El Golf – Alcantara – Escuela Militar – Manquehue – Hernando de Magallanes – Los Dominicos

Las Condes has the reputation as being an “up market” district. This is where there are “larger” and “nicer” houses and apartments, compared to Providencia and Downtown Santiago. There are also two large, modern shopping malls: Alto Las Condes and Parque Arauco as well as a smaller mall called Manquehue. More recently there are state-of-the-art, newly-constructed office buildings.

Also, within the boundaries of Las Condes is the current, largest shopping mall in South America, where there is also the tallest man-made tower. This is all at the Costanera Centre. Access from Tobalaba Metro, north exit.

Sub District El Golf

The immediate area of Las Condes, adjacent to Providencia, bordering the southern banks of the Mapocho River is known as “El Golf”. This is considered to be an “exclusive” neighbourhood. It is where many of the “up market” restaurants can be found along the street Isidora Goyenechea, as well as new office buildings, the new financial district, nice houses and apartments. Access to the El Golf sector can be from the Tobalaba Metro, but direct access is the northern exit of El Golf Metro. The Costanera Centre, mentioned above, can be considered to be in the El Golf neighbourhood too.

Vitacura (north-east of Las Condes)

No Metro Here

The district of Vitacura is considered to be even more affluent than Las Condes. This area is still, overwhelmingly residential containing nice houses and some newly constructed apartment buildings.

For visitors, the reason to stay in a hotel in Vitacura would be because it is a nice area, but not close to a metro stop, nor anything cultural. However, malls, shops, restaurants are all within easy reach.

There is one particular street in Vitacura that has a claim to fame and it is called Alonso de Cordoba, a street with high-end boutiques and shops in general. There is also a street called Nueva Costanera where there are some fine restaurants as well as an “up-market”, small, but exclusive mall. And, close to here is an excellent park called “Parque Bicentinaria”.

Sub District “Sanhattan”

Sanhattan is actually a nickname for a small sector comprised of extremely modern office buildings that are tall and “glitzy”, making them look like they are in New York as in Manhatton! This sector is within the other sub-sector called El Golf, bordering Las Condes. This sector is adjacent to the Costanera Centre mentioned above in Las Condes.

Lo Barnechea and La Dehesa (north of Vitacura)

No Metro Here

As a visitor you would not normally spend time coming to these two districts, but we feel we should mention them. These areas are principally modern, affluent, residential neighbourhoods that have been developed since 1990.

More information about the above districts can be found in the individual menus for each one.

Suggestions for Souvenir Shopping

These items below are some of the more typical associated with Chile. At the airport are shops offering such items as well as in some of the malls.
Lapis Lazuli: A blue stone very popular in jewellery.
Alpaca Knitwear
Soft Woolen Sweaters
Mapuche Ceramics

Accommodation Easter Island

Chile Hotel Accommodation Easter Island


Experience Chile Easter Island Office
The first thing we wish to point out is that we have a partner representative who lives and is based on Easter Island. Moreover, this means that we can offer local help and assistance to our clients as well as truthful local knowledge about services and facilities.

Although Easter Island is a major tourist destination, its hotel accommodation offering can be described as poor, with some exceptions.

The vast majority of options are simple, rustic level homes that either offer accommodation or that have been converted into small hotels. These options have rooms that are simply furnished, usually with not much space and bathrooms that have “seen better days”.

However, over the past decade there has been a birth of newer, more modern hotels that cater for today’s more “sophisticated” and demanding guest.

These properties are spread around the one and only village called Hanga Roa.

Here at ExperienceChile.Org, we make regular inspection visits to all the key destinations in Chile, and this includes Easter Island. Therefore, from our last visit we include only those few hotels that we feel meet our inspection requirements. Please click on the links to get to the full hotel presentation page.

Currently, we work with these partners on Easter Island:

Hotel Altiplanico
Charming rooms, but basic and artistically “quirky” with mattresses atop of a raised cement base. Good breakfast and nice views to the ocean. Not in the village.

Hotel Explora
Only all-inclusive programs. Not central, nice views to the ocean. Good food, spacious rooms.

Hotel Nayara Hanga Roa
Located right in the centre of Hanga Roa village, ocean-view rooms, spacious rooms.

Having said that, should you want us to arrange your stay at Easter Island with a hotel that is not yet one of our partners, no problem, please just let us know which hotel and we will endeavour to include it in your Easter Island itinerary.

Please Email Us

Other Hotels on Easter Island

The following are other hotel options that we can offer with a degree of confidence and would be delighted to include in your itinerary if you prefer.

Takarua Lodge
This is an 8-guest room property offering an ocean view, breakfast on each guest room terrace, nice rooms with good quality sheets and towels. Recommended by many clients.

In Addition, the following properties may be of interest.

This is a centrally located property, simple, offering “bungalow” units for accommodation.

Hotel Otai
Centrally located in Hanga Roa but can be noisy at night. Nice garden and pool area, air conditioning in rooms.

Hotel Iorana
All guest rooms have a view to the ocean, as well as air conditioning and T.V. in the room. Reports that service is not “the best”.

Hotel Gomero
This is a small property with good superior rooms, air conditioning, centrally located, but quiet and with a good service.

Vai Moana Hotel
Culturally themed hotel in a charming style, considered to be a good option.

Please Email Us

Activities Easter Island

Easter Island Activities


For the vast majority of people who come to Easter Island they will be very interested to see the mystic Moai Statues and other archaeological sites. However, there are also some great activities to participate in as well. For example, hiking, scuba diving, horse riding, biking, kayak and snorkelling, as well as swimming in the sea.

Here we will briefly detail where some of the activities can be done.

Scuba Diving

The sea water around Easter Island is known for its clarity with visibility reaching as far as 60m under water. This, together with an agreeable water temperature make underwater diving a pleasurable experience.

It is true that the reefs around the Island are not, perhaps, as extensive or colourful with those around other Polynesian Islands, but nevertheless, there some reefs with coral such as the “Porites Lobata”, which can grow up to 5m in width and can be found in the Hanga Roa bay at 18m deep. In addition to the coral there are 160 species of sea creature living under water, of which 26% are endemic to Easter Island, as well as tropical fish and sea turtles around Hanga Roa bay.
And, apart from the life to observe, there are underwater volcanic caves, cliffs and lava platforms.

The scuba diving schools are located on the quay around Hanga Piko, the small harbour where fishing boats are located on the Hanga Roa coast.


Although there are no forests to walk through, or incredible, high mountains to wander between, Easter Island does offer some interesting trekking trails.
Due to its “easy geography”, walking on the Easter Island trails is not arduous and it does allow you, the visitor, to access parts of the island you would not otherwise get to see.

NOTE: Always take water and snacks with you, ideally in a small backpack, as well as hat, long-sleeved shirts and something in case of a rain shower.

Out of the many trails available, the following are suggested.

From Hanga Roa to Rano Kau Volcano (2hrs, 5km, rated easy).
The trail head is by the Hanga Roa Sernatur tourism office located by the coast by Pea Beach, and leads south in the direction to Rano Kau Volcano, passing by the Navy (Armada) Coast Guard office, where there is a compass on the exterior wall showing the distance from Easter Island to known cities around the world.
Follow the path along the coast and past the harbour of Hanga Piko (on your right). You will be able to get to the Ana Kai Tangata cave if you wish, and further along is the CONAF National Park Office. At this point the trail turns inward and a sign indicates the start of an incline up the side of the Rano Kau volcano. From here it is uphill all the way.

On this trail you will get elevated views down to Hanga Roa village and the airport. After about one hour you should reach the rim of the volcano crater and viewpoint. The trail also follows the rim of the crater to the ancient village of Orongo, therefore, this is a great way to get some exercise, take in some great views and arrive to one of the key archaeological sites on the island as well. To get back to the village you will need to return the same way or have someone collect you.

From Ahu Akivi to Terevaka (4hrs, 8km, rated medium difficult).
The good thing about this trail is that is starts and ends at the same place and will take you to the highest point on the Island at 511m above sea level where there is almost a 360° over the entire Island, and then you return to the start point.

The trail is marked only by the well-trodden wear of horses and other hikers. There are no other markers, but it goes up hill all the way until you reach the summit, whereupon there is a heap of stones marking the spot. Along the trail there are sectors that are littered with small rocks and boulders.

From Tahai to Anakena Beach (6 to 7hrs, 18km, rated medium difficult).
Note: No natural shade on this trek. Take a hat, and protection for arms and legs as well as bottled water and some snacks.

This is a trek along the northern coast of Easter Island whereupon the terrain and landscape are more or less as they have always been, in other words it has not changed for hundreds, even thousands of years.

The route, in reality, follows the natural, northern curve of the Island taking in more than half of the coastline.

If it is possible, try to have a guide who can not only accompany you, but explain about archaeological sites on the route, because these are not so easy to find.
Starting from Tahai (where there is an Ahu Tahai), which is in the northern coastal area of Hanga Roa, further along the coast (north) from Poko Poko Beach; the trail will follow the shore all the way to Anakena Beach (so take your bathing costume!).

Also, near to the start point is the Rapa Nui Museum, if you wished to check it out.

After the first 1km you will see the Ahu Te Peu, also on the coast, and here the path joins the almost sea level base of the Terevaka Volcano (the summit of which is the highest point on the Island). A further 1.2km will bring you to the ruins of the Ahu Maikati Te Moa, followed by the Ahu Vai Mata 3km later. This trail also passes a simple dwelling where a sheep farmer lives.

At around the 13km mark you will see the Hanga Oteo bay and 5km after this point is the sandy, Anakena Beach.

If you take your bathing costume you will likely feel like a dip in sea at Anakena beach, especially having generated a lot of body heat from the walk.

From Anakena you will need transport back to Hanga Roa, unless you fancy walking back the way you came.

Horse Riding

There are various local options to ride atop a horse to get to some of the sights. The best option is to consult locally, unless we have booked you into a top end hotel whereupon this activity will be arranged for you.


Cycling around enables quicker access to sites, compared to walking, as well as providing useful exercise. It also allows access to places that could be considered too far to walk to (and back).

There is bike rental available at a number of the tour agencies along the Hanga Roa main drag, or if we have booked you on an all-inclusive program the bikes will be provided.

The Main Bike Trails

From Hanga Roa to Orongo
Similar to the trek up to Rano Kau crater, but this time on a bike, you can follow the road that the cars use to get up to the same spot. It is about 6km from the village to the viewpoint at the edge of the crater.

From Puna Pau to Ahu Akivi to Ana Kakenga to Tahai
This is a circular route starting from Hanga Roa village towards the airport, however, instead of getting to the airport you turn left on the parallel road to the runway and head towards Puna Pau, whereupon the road surface changes to unpaved. This will lead to the Pukao Quarry where the red-coloured hats that sit on the Moais were created.

After viewing this area, you need to cycle back to the fork in the road and at this point turn left and ride for about 3.2km to Ahu Akivi, where there are 7 Moai’s.

After this there is a sequence of caves (Ana’s). At 1km beyond Ahu Akivi is the Ana Te Pahu, then a further 1km is the Ana Te Pora on the coast.

Here is the point to start the return, but following the coastal route all the way to Ana Kakenga (the cave of two windows) and then Tahai – an excellent place to view the sunset from.

From Hanga Roa to Anakena Beach
There is one, principal, paved road, that goes down the spine of the Island. To get to Anakena you need to get onto this road that leaves Hanga Roa at a point halfway along the road which is parallel to the runway where there will be signs indicating the way to Anakena.

The distance from here is about 16km involving some slight inclines, but also declines, especially the final part. It will take around 1.5hrs to cycle. As an option, 1km before arrival to Anakena there is a turn off to the other, smaller beach, called Ovahe (but less crowded).

In order to get back to Hanga Roa you will have two options. One is to go back the same way you came, but the first part will require a tough uphill sector. The other is to take the southern coastal route, but this involves rocky stretches and takes double the time to cycle.

From Hanga Roa to Rano Raraku to Ahu Tongariki
Following the road parallel to the airport runway, at a point halfway along will be the turn that leads on to the main Island Road. Then, after about 2km there will be a sign and turn right to the “coastal road”. On this road, after about 12km you will get to the Rano Raraku Volcano and Moai Quarry.

On the way you will be able to stop off at various archaeological sites such as Ahu Hana Te’e, Ahu Akahanga and Pap Vaka. Then, about 1.5km beyond the quarry, on the coast is the large Ahu Tongariki with its 15 upright Moai’s.

Boat Tours

Considering that Easter Island is smack, bang, in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean, it would be surprising if there were no boat tours. Fortunately, there are! Departing from the Hanga Piko harbour, which is the key at Hanga Roa village, trips include getting out to a place on the ocean with a view to the Rano Kau volcano as well as near to the Islets (Motu’s) Nui, Iti and Kao, where participants in the Bird Man competition had to swim to. If the sea is calm, there are opportunities to snorkel in this area.

Seeing the Island from a point on the ocean offers a unique and interesting perspective of the geography.


Also available from the key at Hanga Piko harbour there are kayaks for hire whereupon you can kayak around to Ovahe and Anakena beaches, but the distance is many kilometres, and you need to get back – basically you need to be careful.

Places of Interest Easter Island

Places of Interest, Easter Island, Pacific Ocean


Should you make it to Easter Island (Rapa Nui), also known as “Isa de Pascua”, what is there to do? Effectively, the entire island could be seen as a giant open-air museum. It is a fascinating place or those who revel in archaeology, petroglyphs, ancient history, and artefacts, but Easter Island is much more than that.

It is, perhaps, one of the most “mystical” places on Earth. It is a “pinprick” of land amid the massive, Pacific Ocean and totally remote from all other inhabited corners of the World. That reality is what makes Easter Island so special, and one of the places to visit when you can.

However, it is not a “stereo typical” tropical paradise, so do not come here if that is what you want.

The Key Places

Among the numerous sites to visit the key places that any newcomer should see are:

Rano Raraku Volcano and Quarry

This is where the Moai’s were carved out from the volcanic rock, and where many finished Moai’s are scattered around as well as some left unfinished in the quarry wall.

Ahu Tongariki

The Ahu Tongariki, close to Rano Raraku, has 15 upright Moai’s on an Ahu, all in a line with the dramatic high cliff backdrop of Poike Volcano and the Pacific Ocean.

Rano Kau Volcano

Many aerial pictures of Easter Island show a large, circular, water-filled volcanic crater covered with clumps of vegetation and this is the Rano Kau Volcano. Fascinating to see, close to Orongo village and incredible views from the crater rim.


The ancient village of Orongo, near to Hanga Roa and just off the rim of the Rano Kau Volcano. Here there are ancient, stone huts with immense significance to the history of the culture of the Island.

Anakena Beach

Only if you seek a trip to the beach, this is the one to come to. Sandy with turquoise-coloured sea, warm water, tropical fish in the water and coconut, palm trees in the background.


The “stars” of the Island are, of course, the vast Moai Statues and the questions that accompany them such as who built them? How were they put into position? And why?
More information below on two key locations for Moai.

Easter Island is Not the Caribbean

Coming to Easter Island is not like going to a Caribbean Island, or Tahiti insomuch that is it not a typical, tropical paradise island with lots of golden, sandy beaches and palm trees, no. Nor does it have any high-rise hotels or apartment blocks either. It is, as we say, rustic and undeveloped – thank goodness!

It is a volcanically-created island and its coast is almost entirely made up of sharp and rugged ancient lava flows, and vertical cliffs that meet the Pacific Ocean, apart from a few “gaps” where beaches have been established.

How Long Should I Plan for Easter Island?

In our view you should plan for a minimum of four nights on Easter Island, but if you have the luxury of time and money, make it five, only to be able to enjoy the sensation of being “totally cut off” from the World.

Normally, your time would be occupied by having a rest day on day one, followed by two days touring the historical and geographical sights and a final fourth day doing an activity or relaxing.

In addition, depending on the weather, there are boat tours from the small harbour, Hanga Piko at Hanga Roa, as well as kayak, canoeing, diving and snorkelling, hiking and biking options.

Other activities are to get up early to see the sun rise at the Ahu Tongariki location, horse ride, visit caves that were used by the indigenous people as shelters and lookouts, and trek from Hanga Roa village all the way around to Anakena beach, among other trails.

The Right Hotel Matters

However, if you are at the right hotel, which is where we can help, you will be able to enjoy time by the pool on relaxing days and just absorb the remoteness, which, in itself is a unique experience on this Island. If we arrange for you an all-inclusive program and one of the top hotels you will have guided tours, shows and comfort to enjoy.

Below we will talk about only the principal places of interest, however, when on the Island you will find that there are many more.

Moai’s and Ahu’s

What is an Ahu?
An Ahu, is the name given to the mound that supports standing Moai Statues.

Easter Island is, literally, covered with sites where there are Ahu’s with Moais standing upright, as well as one particular place where Moais are not yet finished, and half embedded in the ground – at Rano Raraku, the quarry.

Ahu Tongariki

The Ahu Tongariki is the largest ceremonial Ahu to have been constructed on the Island and also considered to be the most significant megalithic monument in all of Polynesia.

Upon the Ahu Tongari (the name means easterly wind) are 15 upright Moai, facing inward to the Island, as opposed to facing out to sea.

This Ahu is located near the Rano Raraku Quarry. If standing in front of the line of Moai’s, looking at the Ahu with the sea behind, on the left, on the southern side of the Poike volcano, there is a high cliff face that drops vertically down to the Ocean below creating quite a dramatic view. However, if you turn around so that the Ahu is behind you, to the left (if looking from the sea) is where the Rano Raraku Volcano and Moai quarry is located.

Therefore, a trip to see this Ahu can also include seeing the Moai quarry.

The main base of the Ahu measures about 100m in length and has extensions that make the full length closer to 200m and this has been constructed to be aligned with the rising of sun during the summer solstice.


After a major 9.5 Richter scale earthquake on mainland Chile (epicentre Valdivia) on the 22 May 1960, a tsunami wave was generated, which travelled across the Pacific and hit Easter Island with all its force. The wave is estimated to have been 10m in height and travelled inland to the Rano Raraku Quarry, which is some 1km inland from the coast and about 1.5km from Ahu Tongariki. Hango Roa village, being on the other side of the Island escaped any damage. The consequence of the tsunami was that the Ahu at Tongariki was destroyed with the Moai’s being toppled and pushed inland by about 100 meters. However, a few months later a massive restoration project managed to put the Moais back on the Ahu and once again upright.

Also, close to this sacred site are petroglyphs both at the base of the Ahu and on a wall about 200m in front of the Ahu.

Ahu Tahai

Close to Hanga Roa village is the Ahu Tahai, comprising three ceremonial Ahu’s, making it the largest and best restored archaeological site near to the village.

Known to be one of the oldest archaeological sites on Easter Island, and one which was a village in its own right, dating back to 700AD. From here there is a slope that leads down to a natural inlet enabling easy access to the sea for fishing as well as a supply of potable water from underground springs.

The area covered measures around 200m west to east and 250m north to south. In order to create more of a level area, the settlers had to fill it with thousands of cubic metres of stone and earth and then level it out.

The Moai