Stray dogs everywhere!!
One thing we quickly realized is that there are lots of stray dogs in Santiago and those who do have an owner are rarely kept on a leash. The dogs we met did not seem dangerous at all, I would even say they're pretty well adapted to life in a bit city - we even saw one patiently wait at a crosswalk for the pedestrian light to go green before crossing the street! In general, dogs in residential areas seem to be in pretty good shape, while those living downtown are a bit more skinny but most don't look sick. In other words, even if you're not a big fan of dogs, I don't think you should be too concerned about the ones in Santiago :o)
central market located in majestic Mapocho Station
In Santiago, like most cities in Chile there is a fish and fruit market. The market is inside a beautiful old train station that dates back to 1905. This one is massive and seemed not to be a tourist spot even though it's mentioned in brochures. The amount and varity of fish, veggies, and fruits is astounding. It's a great people watching place too. This is also a great lunch spot, the cafes within the market serve the market fresh seafood.
Plaza de la Cultura s/n, Centro
Open Hours: 9am-6pm Mon-Fri
One of the pieces of infrastructure that has impressed me the most about Santiago is its Metro System. The Metro is fast, frequent, clean and safe. What more could a tourist or expat want in a transport system in a large city? The Metro company is constructing new metro stations and lines at quite a rapid pace after taking 20 years to contruct the two main lines. The pictures below offer a very useful Metro Map and also a picture of the Metro symbol which you will find above all station entrances.
The Metro offers one off tickets that you need to purchase at the "boleterias" at each station or if you are staying in Santiago for awhile and will use the metro a lot I recommend buying a Metro Card which costs 1000 CLP and then you pay to recharge it. The cost of each fare is slightly less using the card.
The Metro is open from 6:30 a 22:30 Monday to Saturday and 8:30 a 22:30 Sundays and Holidays.
The Metro has a different cost depending on the time of day travelling (rather than the distance). From 06:30 - 07:15 hrs.; 09:00 - 18:00 hrs. and 19:30 - 22:30 hrs costs 340 CLP per ride. Between 07:15 - 09:00 hrs. and 18:00 - 19:30 hrs. is the rush hour time and costs 430 CLP per ride.
Please be careful of pickpockets on the metro. I have never been stung however I have heard many stories from friends about this problem. If you are a guy don't keep money/wallets in your trouser pockets (especially not the back pocket) or in a suit jacket pocket. Guys seem to be targetted more than women and I think this may be because women usually have a handbag tightly clasped whereas men don't tend to carry bags.
Smoothies, Pannini and Hot Homemade Soups.
Don't let the rather plain facade of this little restaurant fool you. I think that this may be the only place in Santiago to get a real, U.S. style, thick, health food smoothie. The owner, a young American woman named Miriam Harrison, uses flaked ice and a variety of local fruits to create a wide array of these delicious drinks. The restaurant is clean, and the employees attentive and eager to please. Most of the young staff seem to be proficient in English, and the specials are written out daily on colorful chalkboards. Hot, homemade soups were the order of the day, as I was there in June, which is wintertime in Santiago. Ms. Harrison and crew also makes homemade cookies and muffins daily, as well as the sauces for the sandwiches. Her pesto sauce is a delight, rich and thick with the olive oil delivering the basil flavor perfectly. Likewise the tandoori paste for the chicken panini that I had one day. Freshness of product seems to be an important part of this restaurant's theme; everything that I had there excited the taste buds. As I am partial to a good cafe latte, I ordered one here and received a hot, well flavored beverage with just the right amount of foam. My favorite smoothie was "Banana All The Way",,,lots of banana, vanilla yogurt and soy milk. Unfortunately, I was not in Chile long enough to try all the different menu items at Suco. Whatever they have going with the pesto, I recommend! If the weather is cold, you must go with one of the soups; they are first class and a good value.
Well this is a popular tip, but GO to the Mercardo Central. If you like seafood of any kind you MUST come here. Just to wander about the stalls admiring every sort of creature that you can get from the see is nearly enough (though watch for the slippy floor, nasty bruised bums could result), but then to discover, tucked behind, a range of fabulous fish restaurants just polishes off the experience. We had a boozy lunch here and it was super. OK it is more expensive than the usual meal out in Santiago, but for the freshly caught fish, the superb wine and the atmosphere, it is worth it for a treat.