San Antonio, Chile, is a busy port city surrounded by hills and coastal dunes. It lies on the north end of the Maipo River in the Valparaiso region of Chile. San Antonio is the capital of Chile’s San Antonio Province, but it’s that other Chilean capital – Santiago, the capital city of Chile – that draws people to this port.
The cruise port in San Antonio, Chile is the gateway port of call for the much larger city of Santiago, which is located about 90 minutes to the east of San Antonio. South America cruise passengers can take a shore excursion there or use public transportation.
The main attractions to see while in the San Antonio, Chile cruise port are the iconic nearby cities of Chile, of which the capital city of Santiago is one of the most sought after. Santiago is an energetic metropolis with a robust food scene and plenty of arts and culture to experience. Some of the can’t-miss things to see and do in Santiago include the stately University District, the 16th century Plaza de Armas, the gothic Metropolitan Cathedral de Santiago, and the Royal Palace, which also serves as the National History Museum.
Another popular city to visit during a cruise to San Antonio is Valparaiso. Located about an hour and 15 minutes away from San Antonio, Valparaiso is a vibrant coastal city known for its steep streets and funiculars. You’ll also want to visit the eclectic-looking La Sebastiana Museo de Pablo Neruda, a museum that was once the home of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. The architecture of Chile has a distinct influence from the European settlers that came here in the 19th century, and a great place to soak it all in is in Valparaiso’s pretty Plaza Sotomayor.
If big cities aren’t your style and you want to check out a smaller Chilean city, head to Viña del Mar, a small resort city located on the coast a short distance to the northwest of Santiago. It’s nicknamed the Garden City due to its many gardens. Its most famous garden is no doubt the “Flower Clock,” an actually working clock made from flowers and other plants. The beaches of Viña del Mar are a great place to relax and while away part of a day.
Chile is home to some fabulous wineries, and a wine-tasting tour is a great way to spend the day while in the San Antonio, Chile cruise port. You’ll drive past scenic vineyards in Casablanca Valley to beautiful wineries and tasting rooms. Be sure to try the Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. These varietals are some of the best that Chile is known for.
San Antonio is a common homeport for South America cruises, so you may be disembarking in San Antonio at the end of your cruise. If your cruise does end in San Antonio, you can even do an excursion that includes an airport transfer to Santiago Airport.
Take a hike or rent a bike and ride up the side of San Cristobal Hill, a famous hill in Santiago that has a popular lookout point at the top with gorgeous views of the surrounding city and mountains.
For nature, head to the El Yali National Reserve in the southern part of the Valparaiso region or the Maipo River Wetland. Both are important parts of the ecological makeup of Chile and are home to many birds.
Wherever you’re spending your day while in the San Antonio, Chile cruise port, you’ll want to make sure you try some of Chile’s delectable cuisine. Traditional cuisine includes empanadas stuffed with meat, cheese, or even mussels; pastel de choclo, a corn casserole filled with meat; and a completo, which is a Chilean-style hot dog typically served with tomatoes, avocado, sauerkraut, mayonnaise, chile, green sauce, and cheese.
The history of San Antonio stretches back for millennia. Fishermen and ranchers were some of the original settlers. In 1590, a distribution center for farming produce and fish was built in San Antonio for products heading to Santiago. Over time, the port grew and turned into the modern and busy port it is today.
The San Antonio cruise port is located right by the city of San Antonio and is within driving distance to Santiago. In addition to being a cruise port, the harbor is also the largest cargo port in South America.
From the San Antonio cruise port, you’ll be able to find buses heading into both San Antonio and Santiago that leave fairly regularly. One of the easiest ways to get around this region, though, is on a shore excursion. This helps ensure you’ll quickly get to the destination of your choice from the port with a guarantee that you’ll be back to the ship before it leaves for the next port. If your cruise is ending in San Antonio, booking an excursion to the airport will give you peace of mind that you’ll get to your flight on time.
While in Santiago, a great place to go shopping and get some souvenirs to remember your cruise by is Los Dominicos Handicraft Village, which has a variety of independent shops with artisans selling their wares.
If you have some extra time to go shopping before getting back on board the ship, head into San Antonio and visit one of its shopping malls, such as Centro San Antonio, Arauco San Antonio, or Costanera San Antonio Shopping Center.
Businesses in the city centers typically accept credit cards, but you may find that some smaller shops and businesses located outside the city don’t. The cash to have on hand while exploring destinations near the San Antonio cruise port is the Chilean peso. Tipping is expected when dining out in Chile, and most restaurants and bars will have already added a 10% service charge to your bill. If not, 10% is generally the expected tip amount in Chile.