Things you need to know about Santiago before PoplusCon

16 Apr 2014 by Catalina Margozzini

Here’s some important information about Santiago you should read before coming to PoplusCon!

Santiago: Getting around.

During the days of the conference we will probably be moving around in groups. Nevertheless, it’s useful to know how to get around Santiago.

Buses

In order to get around in buses - or micros - you will need a Tarjeta Bip (this card is the only accepted payment method and is the same for metro), which you can buy and charge at any Metro Station. In www.transantiago.cl you can find all buses routs in Santiago.

Metro (subway)

Santiago has a slick, clean and efficient metro system that is always being expanded so more citizens can reap the benefits. Many already do - nearly a million passengers travel daily. Santiago's metro system has a few separate lines that interlink. For destinations along these lines, it's far quicker to take the metro than a bus. The metro operates 6:30am to 10:30pm Monday to Saturday, and 8am to 10:30pm Sundays and holidays. The trains are clean and frequent, but can get busy in rush hour. If you're in Santiago for more than a few days, get a Multivía card (Tarjeta Bip). It costs US$1.70, but you can charge it up as much or little as you want, and each journey costs slightly less than if you buy them individually. Fares vary depending on the time of day. The normal rate (US$0.55) is available 6:30am to 7:15am, 9am to 6pm and 7:30pm to 10:30pm; the peak-hour rate (US$0.70) applies 7:15am to 9am and 6pm to 7:30pm. Metro map here

Connecting Metro and bus rides

While travelling by bus or metro you are able to connect up to 3 times within a 2-hours period with no extra cost. For instance, you might need to take 1 metro ride and 2 bus rides in order to get some places, you'll have to check your TarjetaBip 3 times but it will be charged just once (the first time).

Taxi

Santiago has abundant metered taxis, all black with yellow roofs. It costs about US$0.35 to start the meter, and about US$0.17 per 200m. Most Santiago taxi drivers are honest, courteous and helpful, but a few will take roundabout routes. A handful have 'funny' meters. Always carry cash when travelling in taxi.

Bicycle

Rampaging micros mean that Santiago's streets are not that safe for bikes, but recent cycle lanes have improved the situation. There are also a lot of public paths that can be used, as well as quieter roads, so don't be put off. Santiago is certainly compact enough to get around by bike and the climate is ideal for it - even if the smog isn't.

Health

Here’s a list of medical services: Clínica Santa María - This medical center is closest to the conference venue. and very close to the hotel. (http://www.clinicasantamaria.cl/ Tel 56220190000, Av. Santa María 0500)

Clínica Alemana (562 22101111, www.alemana.cl; Vitacura 5961, Vitacura)

Clínica Universidad Católica (562 23696000; www.clinicauc.cl in Spanish; Lira 40, Centro; Universidad Católica)

Posta Central (562 26341650; Av Portugal 125, Centro; 24hr; Universidad Católica) Santiago's main emergency room is here.

Money

You're never far from an ATM in Santiago: in any bank or subway station. Exchange houses are clustered on Agustinas between Bandera and Ahumada. Cambios Afex (56226881143; Agustinas 1050, Centro; Universidad de Chile) is efficient. There is also a whole bunch of cambios (money exchangers) on Av Pedro de Valdivia in Providencia, although some will not change traveler's checks apart from US dollars.

1USD = $550 chilean pesos aprox. £1 = $920 chilean pesos aprox.

Safety

Santiago is quite a safe city, but just like in any large city in the world, you should look after your belongings (i.e. don’t count your cash in public, don’t leave your cel phone or laptop unattended).

Contact & emergency Numbers

Here’s a few contact numbers from Ciudadano Inteligente staff in Chile:

Felipe Heusser +56995779645 María Luisa Sotomayor +56992379372

Ciudadano Inteligente office: +56224192770

Police

The police are called “Carabineros”. They are dressed in green. Police Emergency number: 133

Important to know. What to do in case of an earthquake

Don’t panic. Chile is a seismic country, but there’s nothing to worry about. Earth movements are very common on a daily bases, but all buildings have to be constructed according to very strict international seismic regulations, so movements are barely felt by people. Nevertheless, if there’s any strong earth movement during your stay, you should: 1) Keep calm and stay where you are. 2) Move away from falling objects. 3) Move away from large glass windows. 4) Open the door if you’re inside a room. 5) Stay inside.

You should not: 1) Panic 2) Go down the stairs 3) Run 4) Go outside during the earth movement.

Weather & what to pack

Weather is quite nice this time of year in Chile. Mid autumn means having a high pick of 24 Celsius (75 Fahrenheit), though mornings can be a bit chilly (around 7 Celsius, or 44 Fahrenheit),as can nights, so you should pack warm clothes as well. There’s also a saying in Chile: “Abril, lluvias mil”, which means in April we can get very rainy days, so don’t forget your umbrella.

It’s important to note that we will be doing some walking around, so you should definitely pack comfortable shoes for the conference.

No special clothing will be necessary.

Food, special allergies

Dietary requirements will be considered in all meals during the conference. Nevertheless it’s important to note that not all restaurants in Santiago accommodate all dietary requirements, so if you go out, do ask in advance at the restaurant.

Customs

Chile is a very strict country regarding anything entering or leaving the country. At the airport, right next to customs you’ll find the country’s agricultural and livestock service, and it’s very important that you declare any goods with animal or vegetable origin. In this form you’ll find more information. If goods are found and have not been declared, fines can be very high.

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