If you’re looking to experience views over Santiago and some of the hustle and bustle of life in Chile’s capital, Cerro San Cristóbal is a great place to visit. This hill is one of the highest points in the city and there are gardens, vendors, various activities, and other sights to see here. A jaunt over to Cerro San Cristóbal makes for a great half-day activity in Santiago.
Getting to Cerro San Cristóbal
Cerro San Cristóbal sits just northeast of the Plaza de Armas. It is part of the Parque Metropolitano de Santiago, which is the largest urban park in all of Latin America. We walked to the park while exploring the city, but it can also be reached by taking the metro to the nearby Baquedano, Salvador, Valdivia, or Universidad Católica stations.
Once at the base of the hill, you can get to the top or various attractions within the park by hiking, taking the gondola, riding the funicular, using the shuttle buses, or a combination of these transportation methods. More on those options below.
Things to do at Cerro San Cristóbal
Cerro San Cristóbal and the park it sits in offer quite a few activities to enjoy when you visit. Here are some of the options.
Hike or Bike up Cerro San Cristóbal
There are various trails leading up Cerro San Cristóbal, offering a nice way to enjoy a bit of nature while in the city. Trails vary in length and difficulty, and some of the trails separate bikers and hikers.
We chose to hike starting near Pio Nono, and we really enjoyed getting to see some of the park. Search the Cerro San Cristóbal map on AllTrails showing the many trails winding through the park (I haven’t been able to link it without it pulling up an error page). There are also maps near some of the trails and guards and some vendors that you can ask if you are unsure of which way to go.
Take the Teleférico
Another way to get to the top of Cerro San Cristóbal and see some incredible views over Santiago is to take the teleférico. There are three stations: Oasis at the base of the hill near the Japanese Garden, Tupahue half way up the hill, and Cumbre at the top.
The teleférico is open Tuesday through Sunday. Ticket prices begin at $1600 CLP per adult to ride from Oasis to Tupahue. Prices vary for weekends and holidays and if you decide to take a longer ride or combine the cable cars with a bus to see the park. With current health measures, tickets must be purchased online before your visit.
Click here for updates, ticket information, etc.
Ride the Funicular
In addition to hiking, shuttles, and the teleférico, visitors also have the option to take the funicular. This rail trolley has the Pio Nono station, a station at the Zoo, and the Cumbre station at the top of Cerro San Cristóbal.
The funicular is open daily except the first Monday of the month. Tickets begin at $800 per adult to ride from Pio Nono to the Zoo on weekdays. Like with the teleférico, prices vary on weekends and holidays and for other ticket options. You can buy tickets at the station with card or cash.
For updates and more information on the funicular, click here.
Take in the Views from Terraza Bellavista
Terraza Bellavista is an open observation deck atop Cerro San Cristóbal. This spot offers stunning views over Santiago. From way up on Cerro San Cristóbal, you can see the skyscrapers and sprawling urban landscape below. On clear days, you may also be able to see the towering peaks around Santiago.
There are viewing scopes, spots to sit and take in the views, and some vendors if you’d like to grab a snack or drink. With such amazing views, this peak is a popular place to watch the sunset!
Enjoy the Gardens
The Japanese Garden and Mapulemu Garden both sit within Parque Metropolitano de Santiago. Though fairly small, both parks provide lovely natural spaces to learn about and see various plant species. Entrance to these gardens is free and they are a great quick stop if you visit the park.
Visit the Zoo
The National Zoo sits just at the base of Cerro San Cristóbal and is a popular place to visit among local families and tourists visiting the area. It hosts a variety of animals, from lemurs and flamingos to giraffes and pumas.
The zoo is open Tuesdays through Sundays and tickets are $4000 CLP per adult. Buy your tickets here and check here for updated hours and further information.
Hit the Pool
There are two pools within the park. Piscina Antilén is not far from the Japanese Garden and offers a great place to escape the heat while taking in the city and mountain views. This pool is open Fridays through Sundays in the summer and costs $7500 CLP per adult.
Piscina Tupahue is slightly larger and sits close to the Mapulemu Garden. This pool is also open Fridays through Sundays in the summer and costs $6000 CLP per adult.
We visited Santiago in the winter, so the pools were not open. But we heard that these pools get pretty busy in the summer, so it is best to go earlier in the day and avoid weekends.
Visit the Santuario Inmaculada Concepción
Right on top of Cerro San Cristóbal is a church and large figure of the Virgin. This monument was built here in the early 1900s. Visitors can enter the church and walk the terraces around it if there isn’t a wedding or other event going on.
Learn more about the history of the Sanctuary, mass, and other events here.
What to Bring to Visit Cerro San Cristóbal
Water: It can get very hot here, especially in the summer. So, bring plenty of water to stay hydrated as you explore the park.
Payment Method: Bring payment for any of the activities you may want to do. We recommend having some cash because some of the activities and vendors do not accept card.
Tickets: If you purchased any tickets online, make sure you bring the e-ticket or printed ticket per the instructions given upon purchase.
Comfortable Walking Shoes: Wear comfortable shoes for walking the steps and trails around the park.
Sun Protection: Some places around the park are not well shaded, so bring along your hat, sunglasses, and/or sunscreen.
Misc. Items: For if you’re planning to bike, swim, take a picnic, etc.