Transportation in Chile

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gord99/5232560427/When you arrive in Chile, your transportation from the airport to Santiago, as well as your transportation from Santiago to your teaching site, will be arranged for you. However, you may still want to take some time to travel around on your own. Although Chile’s unique geography can make it a challenge to travel throughout the country, its public transportation system is reliable and straightforward.

Buses in Chile 

Buses are the most common way of getting around Chile. Within the cities, buses travel regularly along fixed routes, and give you a quick and inexpensive way to get around. A typical bus journey is around 300 Chilean pesos.

For long-distance trips, buses are the most popular way to go. Services run between just about every major city throughout Chile, as well as other South American countries. Since many of these bus trips can be 24 hours or more (Santiago to Punta Arenas takes about 40 hours, with one change-over), comfortable reclining seats and sleeper buses are available.

Trains in Chile

Because of Chile’s mountainous terrain, trains aren’t a particularly important or efficient means of transport. Although there are trains connecting a few cities, they often take longer than buses, offer a similar level of comfort, and are more expensive.

Air Transport in Chile

Flights operate between Chile’s major cities, giving easy and quick access to almost every part of the country. Prices on Chile’s domestic airlines are reasonable. Of course, ground transportation is still much cheaper, but if you need to avoid spending a whole day on a bus, then airlines offer a reasonable alternative.

Taxis and Collectivos

Taxis are generally a safe way to travel in Chile, provided you use caution and common sense. They are also easy to flag down in the major cities. They aren’t cheap, however! Typical rates are around 700 pesos per kilometer. Make sure to check that the meter is running and that the rate seems reasonable. Also, don’t trust the taxi driver to know where you are going, or to take the most direct route there. The more specific you can be with your directions, the more time—and money—you can save yourself.

For longer trips, you can negotiate a price beforehand, and get a slightly better deal than using the meter.

There are also on-call taxi companies that you can call to pick you up. Although their rates may be slightly higher than the taxis that you flag down on the street, you can rest assured that they are safe, reliable, and fairly priced.

Collectivos are taxis that run a fixed route. You’ll pay a lot less, but you’ll also find yourself packed into the vehicle with quite a few other travelers. For short trips, though, they can be a great way to save money.

Metro

Santiago, Chile’s largest city, has a fast and modern metro system. While this is a convenient way to get around the city, it is somewhat expensive compared to busses.  A single trip ticket costs between 520 and 620 Chilean Pesos, depending on whether you are traveling during peak times or off-peak times.

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