Traveling in Chile
There is a wide range of quality services and options available, whether you decide to travel in Chile by air, sea or land.
Sunday, August 02, 2009
Metro de Santiago (Photo:Revista Placeres)
- Chile's jaw-dropping backpacker trail
LAN flies to all of Chile's major cities. The country's domestic airlines are Sky Airline and Aircomet. Companies such as Lasa connect Santiago with the Juan Fernández archipelago.
Chile has 365 runways, highlighting the following airports: Chacalluta (Arica), Diego Aracena (Iquique), Cerro Moreno (Antofagasta), Mataveri (Easter Island), Carriel Sur (Concepción), Maquehue (Temuco), Tepual (Puerto Montt), Presidente Ibáñez (Punta Arenas), Santiago International Airport (Santiago).
Chile has modern highways, many of which have been completed just recently. The country has the best road network in South America, highlighting Highway 5 running north and south. This highway goes as far as Arica and Puerto Montt.
Bus trips are inexpensive and cover major distances. These are an excellent option for people with more time on their hands than money. A Santiago-Puerto Montt trip usually takes 12 hours and costs an average US $20
There are three interurban bus categories: economy, semi-luxury and luxury. We absolutely recommend semi-luxury or luxury tickets for long distances. We also suggest that you check into last-minute ticket sales, especially with smaller bus lines.
The largest bus terminal in Santiago is the Alameda Terminal. Buses leave this terminal for the coast, going up north and down south. The address is Bernardo O`Higgins Ave. 3750, Universidad de Santiago subway stop.
The main lines operating at this terminal are Tur Bus and Pullman. These companies connect cities throughout the entire country by land. Access to some cities like Punta Arenas is only by plane. If you choose to travel to the city by land, the highway goes through Argentina.
Other bus terminals in Santiago
Northbound: North Terminal or San Borja (San Borja 184, Estación Central), Terrapuerto Los Héroes (Tucapel Jiménez 21, Santiago) and Torres de Tajamar (Avda. Providencia 1072, Providencia).
Southbound: Terrapuerto Los Héroes (Tucapel Jiménez 21, Santiago), Terminal Santiago (Avda. Bernardo O`Higgins 3848, Estación Central) and Torres de Tajamar (Avda. Providencia 1072, Providencia).
Renting a car
Renting a car is a comfortable option for traveling throughout Chile, especially if you combine this with other travel options: airplane and vehicle, or bus and vehicle. Several service stations from north to south offer fast food and rest rooms with showers, washing machines, and diaper-changing areas. There is a wide variety of vehicle rental options available from international and local operators. People drive on the right in Chile. Main roads are excellent although some secondary roads are sometimes in rough repair. Four-wheel drive vehicles are your best option for desert and mountain travel.
Some requirements for renting a car in Chile: Identity card or valid passport, minimum age 25, maximum age 75, some rent a car agencies offer vehicles for drivers under the age of 25, but charge an additional premium, driver's license from country of origin and credit card or personal check.
Terra Sur is a local railroad offering regular trips and is operated by the State Railway Company, EFE, Empresa de Ferrocarriles del Estado. Coaches are more expensive, with larger seats and laptop connections. The train also serves coffee, soft drinks, snacks and sandwiches. There are four southbound departures every morning starting at 7:30 AM, and one departure in the afternoon at 5:30 PM
Chile has several port terminals that are exclusively used for importing and exporting goods and merchandise. The exception is Puerto Montt, further south, an arrival and departure point with regular boat trips and cruises leaving to visit different islands, archipelagos, and the northern and southern areas of Chile's Patagonia.
Some of the most popular circuits:
- Puerto Montt-Quellón-Chaitén (Chiloé-Aysén)
- Puerto Montt-Chacabuco (Aysén)
- Puerto Montt-Puerto Natales (Torres del Paine)
- Punta Arenas-Puerto Williams (Isla de Navarino)
- Transmarchilay: Angelmó 2187, Puerto Montt. Phone: 56-65-270000/56-65-270700. www.transmarchilay.cl
- Aysen Express: Aysen Express SA. Carlos Condell 149, store 06, Coyhaique. Phone: 56-67-240956.
- Austral Broom: Avenida Bulnes 05075, Punta Arenas. Phone: 56-61-218100. www.tabsa.cl
- Naviera Cruz del Sur: Pilpilco 0150, Puerto Montt. Phone: 56-65-436410. www.pullmansur.cl