September 1, 2022
By Kiran Sidhu
If you’ve been on a long flight from Europe or the United States, chances are that you will have some time between landing at Santiago Airport and catching your connecting flight. If so, don’t worry — there’s plenty to do! Chile is a country with a rich history and culture, and it’s easy to see why its capital city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America.
Santiago is known for historical monuments such as the Museum of History and Human Rights, La Moneda Palace, and Sky Costanera. Here we’ve highlighted some sightseeing destinations and exciting things you can do during your transit layover in Santiago while waiting to board your next flight. By the way, there are luggage storage networks like Airkeep that will protect your luggage while you tour the city.
In this article, we'll take a look at:
If your layover occurs during the day, you are in luck. The most fascinating destinations in Santiago are within a ten to 20-minute distance of the airport. So, you can quickly grab a couple of hours of sightseeing and fun before returning in time for your next flight.
In global business travel, or even for vacations, visiting a museum in a new city is a wonderful way to quickly get familiar with its cultural history. In Santiago, the Museo de la Memoria y los Derechos Humanos (Museum of Memory and Human Rights), located on Matucana Street, documents the human rights abuses suffered during the 17-year dictatorial regime of Augusto Pinochet. Not far away is the Museo Artequin, an art centre with exhibitions and creative workshops. The Artequin Museum is housed in the Paris Pavilion at the Quinta Normal Park
Price per person: free (but you can leave a voluntary contribution)
Duration: 2 hours (Between 10:00 am and 5:00 am daily)
Location: Quinta Normal (both museums are within walking distance of each other)
Distance from Santiago airport: 15 to 20 minutes
Chile’s wine tradition goes back to the 16th century, with influence from Bordeaux such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc. The influence of immigrants from Spain, Mexico, the US, the Canary Islands, etc. would give Chile’s wines the distinctly diverse winemaking styles that have now come to be associated with the country. There is no better way to experience this than to visit the local vineyards and experience Chilean traditional winemaking yourself. Two places you should consider for wine tasting in Santiago are the Vina Cousino Macul and the Vina Santa Carolina. They both offer tours of their facilities and a chance to taste some of Chile’s best red pais and wines.
Price per person: from about €18
Tour Duration: 1 hour
Distance from Santiago airport: 35 to 40 minutes
While on a layover from a long flight, especially as a business traveller, it would be helpful to find a serene environment to take a quick walk, just to stretch your legs. Thankfully, Santiago’s gardens and parks will guarantee you such an experience, with tranquil spaces to enjoy the wonders of nature in the country. Located within a short distance from the airport is the Jardin Mapulemu, which is a 4-hectare botanical garden featuring sprawling flora from different regions in Chile. If you want a livelier experience, then the Parque Bicentenario is not far away. In addition to the ample green space, the latter has a playground for leisure activities, or you could just enjoy gorgeous views of Santiago’s downtown skyline.
Price per person: free entry
Duration: 2 hours (Between 9:00 am and 6:00 am daily)
Distance from Santiago airport: 20 to 25 minutes
Suppose you are interested in history and the arts. In that case, the city is full of neoclassical architecture, so you’ll want to take a stroll through the streets and see some of the city’s most famous buildings such as the Renaissance revival-styled Iglesia San Ignacio; La Moneda Palace, which houses Chile’s President, the Plaza De Armas, the main square of Santiago, and the Second Empire-styled Palacio Cousiño. Among churches with the most impressive historical and cultural stories behind them, consider visiting the Santiago Metropolitan Cathedral, which seats the Archbishop of Santiago and was built in baroque style; the neo-Byzantine-styled Basilica of Lourdes, and the neo-gothic Basilica del Salvador. All these buildings are within a 5-minute distance of each other; so, you are guaranteed an eventful walk.
Price per person: free
Duration: 1 to 3 hours
When booking trips for employees, particularly if your company aims to be eco-friendly, consider this option because Santiago is one of the greenest cities in the world. So, if you’re looking for some fresh air and exercise, why not rent a bike to see some of its beautiful parks and historical buildings? You can also take a ride on La Bicicleta Verde—a bike path that stretches from downtown all the way to Providencia. Renting a bike can be done online, and there are different options available to choose from, including beach cruisers, mountain bikes, tandem bikes, and kids’ trailers.
Price per person: from €10
Duration: Half-day (1 to 4 hours) and full-day rentals are available
Distance from Santiago airport: 20 minutes
Inclusions: Bilingual tour guides are available
Barrio Concha y Toro is one of Santiago’s neighbourhoods with the richest history and culture, boldly noticeable in its street plan, which is influenced by Medieval architecture. This neighbourhood is located north of downtown Santiago and contains an eclectic mix of buildings, like the Plaza Yungay monument, as well as streets that were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Here, you can enjoy an authentic Chilean experience by exploring the colourful streets and meeting locals.
Price per person: free
Duration: 2 hours
Location: Barrio Brasil
As a passenger in transit, if you arrive in Santiago in the evening, you would be excited to find out there are still engaging sightseeing experiences you could enjoy before your next flight is available. Thankfully, you don’t have to travel too far away from the airport to experience these.
If you’re looking for something to do on your long layover, this is a wonderful choice. Enjoy the night lights at Vasalfa Turismo, where you can relax and enjoy some of the best views of Santiago’s skyline and impressive buildings. You’ll also want to take advantage of the various fabulous food and drink options available. Include this in your corporate travel booking ahead of time to ensure that your employees have opportunities to loosen up while representing your company abroad.
Duration: 1 to 2 hours
Distance from Santiago airport: 25 to 30 minutes
If your layover is in the evening and you are feeling adventurous, you could go paragliding at Parapente Colina. The freedom of coasting through the breeze can help you relieve the tenseness of your plane flight. The instructors are friendly, and the gliding flights are safe. So, you don’t have to worry about getting injured ahead of the arrival of your next plane. More so, you get to experience a closer view of Santiago’s sunset. But if you still want to enjoy the sunset without going up in the air, a visit to Mirador Pablo Neruda will satisfy your curiosities. Besides visiting the historical museum and Pablo Neruda’s house, you also enjoy a good vantage point from which you can observe the city.
Price per person: about €17
Distance from Santiago airport: 15 to 40 minutes
You cannot get a better view of Santiago’s skyline than at the Sky Costanera, a 984-feet tall observation deck with 360° panoramic views of the entire city. Being located on the tallest building in Latin America, the platform offers spectacular views of everything from parks and gardens to churches and neoclassical architecture. It’s usually open until 9 pm, so even if there’s only an hour or two before your flight departs, you can still check it out before heading back to the airport. Add this to your company’s business travel experience for employees and you would have found a way to raise their satisfaction.
Location: Barrio Suecia
The business travel experience is supposed to be enriching and satisfying. Long layovers may hamper that experience, but not if you can plan short, fun activities ahead for members of your team. Using a travel management software solution will help you achieve this seamlessly. Sign up for a free trial or book a demo of TruTrip to see what this looks like.
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