Santiago de Chile (usually just referred to as Santiago) is the capital and largest city of Chile, and the most modern city in South America. Regularly hit by earthquakes, the city has only a few historical buildings left and is instead comprised on mostly new skyscrapers and modern high rises. It's the gateway to Chile and to the mountains that encircle the city. Santiago's position in a coastal valley gives the city a Mediterranean climate, with hot and dry summers and cold but humid winters that very rarely see snow.
Though Santiago is a relatively large city and quickly growing, it's easy to get around using the extensive public transport system. The metro has five lines and nearly 100 stations so no matter where you are, you can explore other areas. But to be within easy reach of the city's main sights, look for accommodation in Providecia, a quiet residential and commercial neighbourhood with several green spaces and lots of options for dining, shopping and nightlife. The best hotels and hostels in Santiago tend to be here or downtown.
While Santiago itself offers several excellent museums and beautiful parks and plazas, many people use it as a base to get out and explore the attractions of the surrounding area, including skiing, wine-tasting, mountain climbing and even surfing at the nearby beaches. In fact, because Chile is so narrow east to west, it's even possible to spend the morning skiing off a mountain top and find yourself playing in the ocean surf or sipping a beach-side pisco sour just a few hours later.