We highly recommend long flights that keep you in the same time zone. Makes everything so easy physically.
We had two delayed flights that didn’t cost us very much time. Flying out of Dulles, we were delayed because of storms in Atlanta. It just shortened our layover. We boarded on time to Santiago, but the wing had a part that had to be replaced. We sat, it was hot and we took off over an hour late. But a 9 hour overnight flight was perfect for sleeping, and we landed only 20 minutes later than scheduled.
To make things easier on arrival, we had our hotel arrange for a car to meet us. Immigration was easy, with a short line and pleasant official. Our suitcases came off quickly and Customs went fast too. So off we were less than an hour after landing.
Our hotel, The Aubrey, is in the Bellavista neighborhood, close enough to walk to most everything but elegant and set in the bottom of a mountainous park. They greeted Ellen, who had made the reservation, by name even before we introduced ourselves. What a way to make you feel welcome! Even though we arrived at 10am, they invited us to breakfast.
We then set off walking. First stop, of course, was to get SIM cards. We were looking for Movistar, but came across Claro first. Even though the woman working there spoke no English, we worked out the card, how much to put on it and what plan we needed. It entailed stepping out to a kiosk on the street to put money on the SIM, but by the time I got back, she had both phones working. $4.50 each for 2GB if data.
We found a futbol store, and got my souvenir, a Chile National team soccer jersey.
We returned to the hotel, long enough to have afternoon tea, relax a bit and have a Chilean pisco sour. Almost as good as Perú!
Dinner was just a short walk away at El Meson Nerudiano, a seafood restaurant. Our waiter, Alejandro, engaged us in conversation about food and Trump and our travels. Made the meal even better than the excellent food.
No jet lag allowed us to fully enjoy the day, while a low pressure schedule meant we could just admire the city and the people. Great start!