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Santiago Airport to City

Arriving in Santiago: From the Airport to the City

Bienvenidos!

You have arrived at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport, Santiago’s main international airport and the gateway for many visitors to Chile. For a complete city guide, check out our Ultimate Guide to Santiago.

Hopefully, your trip was great and you are looking forward to exploring Santiago. Your Airbnb is most likely, however, in downtown or beyond - at least 17 kilometers away. Therefore, as you exit the terminal amongst the throngs of people, you may ask yourself - “what in the world is the best option to get to where I want to go?”

HostTonight has a few suggestions of how to get to the city from the airport:

Taxi Santiago Airport

Taxi

Immediately, many taxi drivers will approach you. These are, relatively speaking, a perfectly fine option; however, Santiago, like many other Latin American countries, has crooked drivers. Be sure to check if a) they have a meter running, b) the meter is set at 300 pesos once you set off, and c) the taxi has sufficient identification. If a driver asks you to take money out from an ATM, walk away. (There is one ATM in the terminal available to you once you get through customs. Here is a map of the airport. Look for the “Cajero Automatico” icon)

EasyTaxi is typically the safest option. (keep an eye out for the blue and/or yellow sticker markings) A fare from Santiago Airport to downtown should cost somewhere between $7,500-$10,000 Chilean pesos during low traffic, $15,000-$20,000 Chilean pesos during normal traffic. (Note, you can only pay in pesos. It is also wise to have exact cash on hand when paying so the driver does not shortchange you.)

Private Shuttle

Many private shuttle companies have their booths set up right outside of customs. They drive groups of people to certain parts of Santiago. There are currently two options: Transvip and Delfos. Each company is more or less the same with two options - compartido (shared) and privado (private). Compartido costs around $8,000 CLP per person, making it the best option for solo travelers. Both companies are similar, but Transvip is generally recommended. You do not need to feel pressured to book one inside the airport before passing the final scan; there are kiosks outside in the main area as well. Both accept credit card.

Bus

There are no local buses that stop at the airport, but there are shuttle bus services run by Centropuerto and Turbus. They both will take you to the city center for about $3.500 Chilean pesos and will drop you off at the Universidad de Santiago metro station, next to the city’s central bus terminal. You will likely need to take a metro to your next destination, or you may be in walking distance. Be sure to map out where your Airbnb is before you arrive in Santiago. Unless you are a budget traveler, we don’t necessarily recommend this option, as the bus transfer plus the metro fee together does not save you that much money and may take significantly longer, depending on the time of day.

Santiago Metro Airport

Metro

There is no metro connection to the Airport, although many of the shuttle buses will stop at Pajaritos metro station. It is, however, not recommended if you have big bags due a general lack of space in the trains and you may be exposed to pickpockets or thieves looking out for tourists. It is especially inadvisable to use the metro with a lot of bags during peak travel times. Rush hour in Santiago is typically chaotic and the trains are consistently packed.

In order to use the metro in Santiago you either A) buy a single-trip ticket, or B) buy a smart card, called a “Bip Card” which you will need to purchase and fill up with a minimum amount of pesos (altogether starting at about $2.500 Chilean pesos depending how much you put on the card). If you are staying long term in Santiago, this is a smart option as it will save you time and money getting you around town. (This includes the local buses, which only accept the Bip Card.) Furthermore, save a current copy of the metro map to your phone or print one out before arriving in Santiago.

Uber

Uber will tell you that there are many ride options available at the terminal; however, be mindful that A) Uber is technically illegal in Santiago, and B) these may just be taxi drivers looking for a fare. If you decide to take an Uber, be sure that the driver has accepted the fare and everything is running smoothly, or likely he will simply demand a high cash fare on arrival. However, unless you have phone coverage in Chile, this option is inadvisable in general.

Car Rental Santiago Airport

Car Rental

Alongside the private taxi booths beyond customs are also a variety of car rental companies. Knowing Spanish is a real help here. Renting a car with an automatic transmission is significantly more expensive than renting a manual (with cambios).

Bike

Most roads leaving the airport are major highways. It is extremely inadvisable to bike from the airport into town.

Hitchhiking

Don’t do it.

 

And there you have it - getting from the airport to the city, a task that travelers often forget to plan for. Don't get cheated out of your hard-earned money, and we’ll see you when you arrive

Content by Nicholas Siler