The Lively and Fun Plaza de Armas, Santiago

The Paseo Ahumada is a four-block-long pedestrian mall filled with retail shops, handicraft vendors, musicians, cafes, restaurants, shoeshine stands, and blankets spread on sidewalks selling everything from Christmas wrapping paper to stacks of yellow underpants. (What’s with that?) The promenade eventually leads to Plaza de Armas, a gathering spot for Chilean immigrants and the city’s social hub since 1540. The Metro L5 Green Line stops right beneath the square, at Plaza de Armas stop; how easy is that!

Plaza de Armas is in the heart of Santiago de Chile’s historic district and the city’s most important buildings can be found here around the square:

- Palacio de La Moneda (Presidential Palace) seat of the President of the Republic of Chile.

- Correo Central (Central Post Office) dating from 1715 was the former Governor’s house, rebuilt in 1882 in a rococo style.


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A Santiago Like a Local Walking Tour

Yum… Steve and I l-o-v-e food, all food whether it be a high-class restaurant or a McDonald’s and have recently started booking private tours to learn about and taste local foods as well as to feel more like an insider. I don’t remember where we ate, stayed or even saw on two previous trips through Santiago; one in 1986 and another in 1996 but now looking forward to a more in-depth experience, I booked “Santiago Like a Local: Private Walking Tour with Coffee, Markets, Street Food” through Viator.

A negative with Viator was confusion over what time the tour would begin. Viator told us to call the night before to confirm timing; we did and were told 9:30a. Guide Christian then telephoned us a short time later to say 9:15a but didn’t actually arrive until 9:45a. No worries. We were prepared to cancel the tour and set off on our own to explore Santiago if he didn’t show.


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China’s Super Rich Travelers

When traveling, local newspapers are filled with interesting bits and bytes that we never read about back home, particularly in China. The China Daily had an article about China’s super rich travelers that blew my mind.

According to them, China’s “super travelers” take at least 18 trips a year and spend a minimum of $25,000 on at least one trip! W-O-W…

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How to Use the Metro in Santiago, Chile

If Marine Steve and I could learn to use the Beijing Metro, we could learn how to use the Santiago Metro! Their metro system is fast, clean and safe which is more than can be said for our Chicago subway system.

1. Santiago has four Metro lines. Main tourist lines are: Red L1, and Green L5 which serve downtown, Bellas Artes, Barrio Brasil, Providencia and Las Condes. I suggest looking the map over first to decide on a route. Other important stops frequented by tourists are: Pajaritos, Estacion Central, and Universidad de Santiago from where you can take buses to Valparaíso, and Vina del Mar.

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Hot off the press Air France fares to Dubai!

WOW — Just in from Air France, 24 hour sale on fares to Dubai today only, October 22,2014 for Travel between November 1 through December 12, 2014

Flash Fare to Dubai! 24 Hours Only
Of course all kinds of restrictions apply but take a look at these fares…

  • Houston – From $849
  • New York – From $899
  • Boston – From $949
  • Los Angeles- From $999
  • San Francisco – From $1049

 Visit the Air France website for other destinations with equally great fares.

Great fares to Europe and beyond.

Review of Holiday Inn Express, Santiago

The Holiday Inn Express Hotel is located in the upscale Vitacura/Las Condes area of Santiago, Chile; a city of 7 million people. This large business district is filled with many upscale condominiums, restaurants, stores, pharmacies, corporations and even the American Embassy! “Oh, say can you see?”..It was a 20 minute walk from the hotel to one of Santiago’s major sights, Cerro San Cristobal; a hill that features a zoo, beautiful walking paths and a golf course. In addition, Santiago’s cultural scene and downtown is nearby.

Santiago Arturo Merino Benitez Airport is 38 kilometers/24 miles away from the hotel. Taxis charge approximately $17 US for the 20 minute ride. We had an early morning flight to Calama after our first Santiago stay and opted for the hotel’s livery service back to the airport rather than trying to hail a taxi. Their service charge us double a metered taxi, 18,000 Chilean pesos/$32 US but worth the peace of mind.

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Singapore Airlines A380-800 – World’s Largest Passenger Aircraft

I’m a “glass is half full” person and the upshot of having our United Airlines flight from Singapore to Tokyo cancelled (after rising at 3:00a for a 6:00a flight to Narita Airport) was a chance to fly on Singapore Airlines A380-800, the largest passenger plane in the world. Not only is it the largest passenger aircraft but also the most fuel-efficient. Singapore Airlines is proud to be the first to fly the super jumbo.

Stats: Length 7.27 meters; wingspan 79.8 meters; cruising speed 0.85 Mach (Mach 1 is the speed of sound).

We haven’t flown Singapore Airlines in eons and never on this behemoth so it became a good thing and gave us, and you a chance to see what flying on this monster is like. Can you even get your mind around 800 passengers when the A380 flies with Economy only? Read more »

Santiago, Chile Information

Santiago’s one airport for domestic and international flights is Arturo Merino Benitez just referred to as Santiago International Airport and located approximately 17 kilometers/10.5 miles northwest of downtown.  Public transportation to and from the airport is either by taxi, minibus or airport bus.

Arriving at Santiago International Airport. After landing in Santiago at 12:05a (yes, that’s am), we got in line to pay not a “Visa Fee” but a “Reciprocal Fee” – a whopping $160 US per person. That was a $320 US fast dollars on the credit card and, “Thank you, Uncle Sam.” If we didn’t impose a hefty Visa fee on Chileans, their government wouldn’t have imposed a reciprocal fee on Americans. (See previous comment that Chile no longer requires a Reciprocal Fee from U.S. Citizens.)

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Flying Copa Air Business Class Chicago to Santiago, Chile

All International visitors to the United States who’s first Port of Entry is Chicago, will land at Terminal 5 at O’Hare International Airport. However, departing internationally from Chicago is a different matter depending on your carrier; American Airlines, Delta Airlines, United Airlines and many Star Alliance carriers leave from Terminals 1, 2 or 3.

Today was completely different for Marine Steve and myself. The first time in a gazillion years that we left out of International Terminal 5; a brand new experience. The only Star Alliance carrier available to Santiago, Chile is Copa Airlines, a Panamanian Airline, so Welcome to International Terminal 5 along with us…


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What to Know about Planning Travel to Chile

International Air? There are no nonstop flights from Chicago to Santiago on United Airlines, our carrier of choice. The best we could do, factoring in flying time and cost on a Star Alliance Partner was… Are you ready for this? COPA Airlines Chicago-Panama City, Panama City-Santiago in both directions and in Economy Class. A United Airlines itinerary partially using United equipment would have flown: Chicago-Houston-Panama City-Santiago. COPA it will have to be.

No airline flies to Santiago nonstop from the United States. Check out Flight Network, Orbitz, Vayama, Priceline and others before booking to see what works best from your country…


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