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Santiago General Cemetery (Cementerio General)
Santiago General Cemetery (Cementerio General)

Santiago General Cemetery (Cementerio General)

Free admission

The Basics

All but two Chilean presidents can be found here—most notably Salvador Allende—along with artist Violet Vine and Los Jaivas musician Eduardo Alquinta. A more emotionally-charged memorial, however, is the Memorial del Detenido Desaparecido y del Ejecutado Político (Memorial of the Disappeared Detainee and the Political Executed), which was built in 1994 for the victims of Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship. It's not uncommon to see hundreds of scattered bouquets of flowers that have been placed by graves throughout the cemetery. Guided historical tours of Santiago, including specific ones about Pinochet's rule, typically include a stop at the cemetery.

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Things to Know Before You Go

  • Keep an eye out for telltale signs of damage, such as cracked stones and lopsided angles, from the earthquakes that took place in 1985 and 2010.
  • Some travelers find the cemetery to be a quiet retreat from Santiago’s bustling city center.
  • Bear in mind that the site can be upsetting to some, especially the sight of the graves of babies and small children.
  • There are flower stalls outside the cemetery selling decorations and trinkets to leave at the gravesites.
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How to Get There

You can get lost wandering around the cemetery grounds, so it’s best to join a guided tour or ask for a map at the entrance. The cemetery is accessible by public transportation; take Linea 2 (the yellow line) to the Cementerios stop. The entrance is right by the Metro exit. You can also reach the cemetery via several bus routes (the stop is also called Cementerios).

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When to Get There

During the week, you’ll most likely encounter the smallest crowds. Travelers and locals recommend avoiding this area at night. Overall, the spring and fall shoulder seasons are the best time to visit Santiago, when the hotel rates are lower and the weather is still pleasant. Typically, the largest number of tourists flock to Chile from December to early March.

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Wildcard

Santiago's Metropolitan Cathedral For those interested in religious architecture, Santiago's Metropolitan Cathedral (Catedral Metropolitana) is a must-visit attraction. In addition to its impressive ornate stone facade, the cathedral’s interior features a dazzling vault and adorned altar. Plus there is a small museum of religious artifacts. You can also attend services throughout the week here.

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