With its colorful houses tumbling down the hillside to the port and its historic center designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Valparaiso is one of the most picturesque towns along Chile’s Pacific Coast. Here are your options for touring Valparaiso from Santiago.
Plaza de Armas
Plaza de Armas, Santiago Centro, Santiago de Chile
Whether you choose to explore the capital on a walking tour, cycle between the sights on a bike tour, or customize your own itinerary on a private tour, a Santiago city tour isn’t complete without a stop at the Plaza de Armas. Santiago tours often combine a half-day tour of the historic center with a cable car ride to the top of San Cristóbal Hill, a tour of the atmospheric Bellavista neighborhood, or wine tasting in the nearby Maipo Valley. If you prefer to explore at your own pace, hop-on hop-off bus tours also connect the Plaza de Armas with other Santiago attractions.
Sebastian was an exceptional guide with thorough knowledge of not just the geography of Santiago but also provided a fascinating insight into its history, politics and social structure. I have never had a better city tour in any part of the world than this.
Andrew_D, Feb 2020
Things to Know Before You Go
Plaza de Armas is a must for all first-time visitors to Santiago.
There are a number of cafés and restaurants around the square, but for budget options, try the surrounding streets.
As in all large cities, keep an eye on your belongings—pickpockets are common around the square.
The Plaza de Armas hosts various festivals, events, and markets throughout the year, including Santiago’s Independence Day celebrations.
Santiago’s main tourist office is located at the north end of the square.
How to Get to There
Most of Santiago’s central attractions and hotels are within walking distance of the Plaza de Armas, and the towering spires of the plaza’s Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago (Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago) are hard to miss. Numerous buses stop on and around the square, while the closest metro station is Plaza de Armas on the L5 green line.
When to Get There
The Plaza de Armas is busy at any time of day or night, and if you’re staying in the city, you’ll likely pass through at several times during your stay. For crowd-free photos of the square’s buildings, an early morning visit is the best chance, while weekend afternoons are the liveliest time, with live musicians and street performers providing entertainment.
Plaza de Armas Landmarks
The magnificent 18th-century Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago stands proud at the northwestern edge of the square, opposite which is the Central Post Office (Edificio del Correo Central), housed in the stunning former Presidential Palace. Next door is another national monument, the neoclassical Town Hall, while just off the main square, the colonnaded facade of the 20th-century Palace of Justice (Palacio de los Tribunales de Justicia de Santiago) is another photo-worthy sight.
- Museum of Memory and Human Rights
- Ahumada Boulevard (Paseo Ahumada)
- Club Hipico
- La Moneda Palace (Palacio de la Moneda)
- Plaza de la Constitucion
- Chilean Museum of Pre-Colombian Art (Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino)
- Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana)
- Aquamundo Aquarium
- Central Post Office
- Santo Domingo Church (Iglesia de Santo Domingo)
- National Museum of Natural History (Museo Nacional de Historia Natural)
- Santiago Central Market (Mercado Central de Santiago)
- Red House (Casa Colorada)
- La Vega Central Market
- Chilean National Library (Biblioteca Nacional de Chile)