Today I write this guide, given the growing number of stories I’ve heard from travelers who have had a hard time trying to get from the airport to the city of Santiago. The airport “Arturo Merino Benítez”, international and domestic flights, is located in the outskirts of the city of Santiago and above all if this is your first time in Chile, this information will be useful.
In addition to traveling a lot, I connect with travelers who come to the country in different ways and it gave me much courage to know of a Mexican exchange student, to which a taxi driver charged him $ 100,000 Chilean pesos (equivalent to about 147 US dollars ) For taking it from the airport to the metro station and buses “Pajaritos” of Santiago, which is only 15 to 20 minutes from the airport (which should not cost more than $ 10,000 pesos, $ 12,000 at most).
This coupled with the fact that in the last two opportunities that I have arrived at the airport they have tried to cheat me, they have motivated me to guide you about it so you don’t have bad times when you arrive to this amazing country. Here some considerations …
- To this day there is no metro line that reaches the airport, although its construction is planned, this will not happen until a few years later (between 2025 and 2045, a lot is missing). Therefore to get to the city you have 4 options to choose depending on the time of arrival of your flight to the country and the money you want to spend on your transport.
- Santiago Airport from 2016 has free Wi-Fi. This will help you stay connected and evaluate other options.
First things first…
Pass the immigration control of Santiago airport, retrieve your luggage and submit your statement to the “Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero” (SAG). You should know that the fines are very severe about the entry of plant or animal products into the country, since they are very cautious that vectors can enter that can cause infections, especially in the products that the country exports (Wines, salmon farming,Meat, etc.). If you have doubts about something you bring, you’d better declare it and ask, so you will not have any problems.
Upon leaving the luggage check by the SAG you will be in the arrival area of international flights at the airport and you will be quickly stalked by taxi drivers, legal and illegal. It will depend on you what you want to do. According to schedules and budget your options are as follows:
1) Bus Centropuerto / Turbus: these buses offer a shuttle service to the subway station and buses “Pajaritos”, neuralgic point that will connect you with the rest of the city of Santiago or take a bus to other cities of interest such as Viña Del Mar and Valparaíso, which are an hour and a half from Santiago and are very touristy.
- Advantages of this service: it is the most economical of the options, the one-way trip has a value of $ 1700 Chilean pesos (less than 3 US dollars) and $ 3000 if they buy round trip. They have good frequency, they leave every 10 to 15 minutes.
- Disadvantages: These buses operate only between 6 AM and 11:30 PM so if you arrive after that time, you should use another option or wait at the airport. The space for the luggage is a little uncomfortable and small, in the buses Centropuerto you must carry the suitcases with you on your own, in the Turbus sometimes there is someone who help you carry up the luggage, but anyway you must get it off.
The ticket is bought on the same bus and it is necessary to pay with Chilean pesos, so I advise you to change money before, but only what is necessary to move, because the change at the airport is not the best. You will find these buses leaving through door 6 of the airport on the first floor. For more information on times and frequencies, you can consult the pages of Centropuerto and Turbus respectively.
2) Taxi: just leaving the control zone will be besieged by official and unofficial taxi drivers. Before boarding any taxi ask the rate immediately, if the taxi driver tells you that it is according to metered, ask the approximate value. Tell him with conviction the place where you go and if it asks if it is your first time in Chile, tell him that you have been here before.
- Advantages of using taxi: faster and more comfortable, can be economical if shared with friends and operate 24 hours a day.
- Disadvantages: it is more expensive than taking bus. Even if it works all night, if your goal is to get to the metro in Santiago, keep in mind that this does not work all night. If you are not cautious you can be ripped off with prices. Always remember the license plate for any subsequent problem.
3)Transfer: it is a service shared with other passengers, which decreases the value a little, but this will always depend on the specific direction to which you go. Some companies that operate in the airport of Santiago are Delfos and Transvip, in whose pages you can consult in a specific way according to the direction to which you are going, the value of the trip. Of both I have used the second and are extremely serious and responsible.
- Advantages of using transfer: decreases the cost for being a shared service, but always depending on the distance that you travel.
- Disadvantages: More delays in getting where you go depending on where the other passengers go.
4) Car rental: It is certainly the most expensive option, but it can be useful if you want to travel at your own pace, without depending on the schedules of other types of transfer or other passengers. It will be essential to meet certain requirements, such as having a local or international driver’s license, being of legal age and having a credit card for the guarantee.
- Advantages: greater autonomy of movement without relying on schedules of the local means of transport.
- Disadvantages: Must accomplish the above minimum requirements for car rental. The traffic and the road signs in Santiago are a little chaotic, it can suddenly be stressful. Gasoline is expensive, this can further increase the cost.
Bonus track – Uber: Uber’s service has been running for some time now in Santiago and other regions of the country. To make use of this option, you will certainly be very useful the free wifi of the airport, just bother to caution on which floor will leave the airport. The app will tell you where to meet the driver, this is usually in the parking lot
If your destination is the “Pajaritos” bus and metro station, once you get there, do not neglect your luggage. It is a place with much movement of people and in an oversight can lose your things. In this station you are immediately connected with line 1 of the Santiago subway, backbone of the metro service.
In the ticket offices you have the option to buy an individual ticket, whose value varies according to the time you take it or a BIP card! Which will be useful if you will be traveling for several days.
The BIP card! Is charged with money and used as many times as you want. For more information on schedules, frequencies and planes of the Santiago metro, here you can consult the traveler’s guide.
You will also find the windows that sell microbus passages to move to cities like Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. Ticket prices are similar in all companies, buses leave from the same place.
Whichever option you choose, with these tips you will save bad times when you arrive to the country and you will be ready to enjoy all the good things that Chile has to offer. You will see that once you get to the subway, getting around is very easy. If you have any questions that I can help you with, count on me.