A little late to post but hopefully still helpful to some. Our Celebrity Eclipse cruise ended in San Antonio on 12/6/2019. We took a transfer/tour with Tours by Locals to Santiago where we stayed at a hotel in Lasterria for 2 nights, right next to Santa Lucia Park and 1 block from Lasterria street. It was a great location. Our tour was a perfect introduction to the city - our tour guide spoke of the protests and also let us know how close we were to many restaurants, shops, and bars. We walked many places during the day and in the evening and felt comfortable for the most part. We were amazed at the amount of graffiti, especially on monuments and public buildings. We were very disappointed that we weren’t able to ride the subway - the two closest stations to our hotel were not open due to the damage from the protests. There were also many street stop lights that were not working. We thought the local people were very nice and helpful. Friday evening we did see many people that we believe had dispersed after a protest walking on Lasterria as we were looking for a place to have dinner, some chanting and/or beating on items to make noise. But they were strung out in small groups, some families with small children, peaceful and not threatening. On Saturday morning we took a walking tour with Strawberry Tours (free - pay at your discretion) of the Central Market area - excellent! Have to say that we would not have done this on our own as the traffic and the amount of people on the street and in the markets was crazy! A tour guide was essential and ours was great. If you go, don't be fooled by what is called Central Market. That is just one small section of the markets and not very busy. Our tour started and ended at that location. The "real" markets are across the street where the majority of the Santiago people shop. We also saw and heard some more people that might have been "protesting" - more chanting and making noise. We walked to Plaza Italia on Sunday afternoon. There apparently was a small “protest” going on as we did see water cannons being shot at people, but we were still several blocks away and couldn’t really tell what was happening. By the time we walked the last few blocks, it had calmed down. Quite a few people around, but again very peaceful. It was interesting to see quite a few vendors with small carts hawking drinks and food - not missing a chance to make money! We are so glad that we did not cancel our plans to spend some time in Santiago. Although we were ready to get home and back to normalcy (16 day cruise), we could have used another couple of days to explore more of the city. Our hotel arranged our transfer to the airport Sunday early evening for our midnight flight to LAX. (17000 Chilian pesos - about $21 conversion rate at that time).
Santiago is having more than their share of problems right now, but like any big city, you need to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings. Many of the bad experiences being reported could happen anywhere. JMHO. Safe travels everyone.