Chile transportation guide, land, air, sea directory for getting around Chile during your trip. Travel transportation

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Chile transportation directory

Chile Transportation

Driving in Chile

Renting a car and driving in Chile is, generally speaking, easy and convenient. Santiago streets are well organised and signposted but, like in any big city, driving during rush hours can be stressful. Drivers normally drive fast although the traffic rules are respected, especially the stop and yield signs, and for pedestrian crossings. Urban buses, called "Micros" are a menace, try to avoid close contact with them, they are easily spotted, as they are painted yellow and white.

You should always carry your driver’s license and vehicle registration, since police checking are frequent. Most countries driver’s license are honored by car rentals and police controls, although strictly speaking an international license is required.

Seat belt is mandatory for the driver and companion. Smoking, using a cellular phone or a Walkman is prohibited for the driver. Chilean policemen (Carabineros de Chile) will schedule you an appointment with the local Judge in case of infraction and the driver’s license is always taken. Carabineros are always polite and comprehensive especially with foreigners.

Driving under the effects of alcohol is a severe offense. You could be fined or arrested depending on the level of alcoholic intoxication. Speeding is also punished. Maximum speed, where otherwise stated, is 100 Kph. In urban areas is 50 Kph.

There are many agencies that rent cars per hour, day, week or month. They generally require that the driver be over 21 years old, a valid national or foreign driving license, and a major credit card as guarantee. Check our Car Rental section.

Taxis

Many taxis are available, distinguishable by being black with yellow tops. All of them have their registration number visible and a taximeter. Taxi drivers are mostly kind and honest. Smoking is forbidden inside public vehicles.

The Metro

The Santiago subway or Metro is a model of cleanliness and good service. It is fast, secure and inexpensive. The metro network has three lines:

Red line West to East, crossing Downtown.

(Along Ave. B. O’Higgins, Ave. Providencia and Ave. Apoquindo)

Yellow line Downtown to Southwest.

(Along Gran Avenida)

Green line Downtown to Southeast.

(Along Ave. Vicuña Mackenna)

For more information on the Metro network check this site. 

Service goes from 6:30 to 22:30 on weekdays and Saturday and from 8:00 to 22:30 on Sundays and Holidays.

Urban Buses ("Micros")

Yellow and white urban buses are ubiquitous in all the GREATER Santiago, and will take you at incredible speeds and discomfort levels, especially during rush hours.

Interurban buses

There are several companies that service every city in Chile. Service is good and schedules mostly honored. Check our Ground Transportation section.

Interurban bus stations in Santiago 

Station Address Phone 

Terminal Santiago Bus Station Av. B. O'Higgins 3848, Santiago 779-1385 

Terminal Los Heroes Bus Station Tucapel Jimenez 21, Santiago 696-9087 

Terminal Alameda Bus Station Av. B. O'Higgins 3714, Santiago 776-1038 

Terminal San Borja Bus Station San Borja 184, Santiago 776-0645 

Terminal Norte Bus Station Amunategui 920, Santiago 671-2141

Countrywide Bus Lines

Chile boasts an extensive network of land transportation that joins most cities and destinations within the country, thus making bus transportation a convenient and economical way to travel from one point to another. 

The larger bus companies stop in Chile's main cities (Tur Bus, Tas Choapa, Lit, etc.) and smaller, more regional bus companies have the advantage of reaching more remote destinations. In general, bus transportation in Chile is good: comfortable vehicles, respect for departure schedules, and reasonable prices.

As a passenger you should keep in mind that for longer trips it is best to reserve your tickets beforehand, especially on weekends and holidays when the flow of passengers increases and ticket availability becomes saturated. Habitually, bus companies accept credit cards as well as cash and checks to pay for bus tickets.

Remember to be careful with your belongings when traveling. The bus lines take responsibility for the baggage that is transported in the luggage compartments, not those belongings that you carry with you. 

Trains

The ‘Sistema Estatal de Ferrocarriles’ (EFE) works only from Santiago to the south of the country, passing, among other cities, through Rancagua, Talca, Chillán, Concepción, and as the last station, Temuco. Trains have different types of coach for all kinds of necessities; this means of transportation is pretty comfortable and cheap; however, problems in the tracks or trains are normal, making trips longer than usual.

On the other hand, there is a system of ‘Metrotren’, traveling from Santiago to Rancagua, stopping at most of the towns between them. It is pretty fast, and its coaches are similar to those of the subway.

There is also a train in the extreme north of Chile, traveling from Arica to La Paz (Bolivia).

Ferrocariles del Estado 

In the transport of passengers by way of the Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado operates from Santiago to the south, in the city of Temuco.

On the other hand, in the north of the country a train that unites the cities of Arica and Tacna (respectively in Chile and Peru) exists on a eminently touristical journey. Only 2 years ago a railway operated from Arica-La Paz whose journey of 10 hours ran through the high plateaus and the Andean mountain range. It was a grand touristical attraction.

Destinies and Tariffs of Railways

From Santiago to the south the categories are salon, tourist and economy.

Salon Tourist Economy 

Rancagua One way $ 3.500 - - 

Talca One way $ 5.000 - - 

Chillán One way $ 7.500 - - 

Concepción One way $ 8.500 - - 

Temuco One way $ 9.500 - - 

Tariffs valid from 7th of July 2003

From Santiago to the south (Over night train to Talcahuano) in class preference.

From Santiago to: Upper Lower Depart. 

Talcahuano One way $ 10.000 $ 8.000 - 

Tariffs valid from 10th of March 2003 

From Santiago to the south (Over night train to Temuco).

From Santiago to: Beds in the cabin Depart. 

Temuco One way $ 19.200 $ 44.000 

Tariffs valid from 10th of March 2003 

* Service to Temuco suspended

For hours, reservations and other destinations call The Reservation Center and Information of E.F.E., at +56 2 376 8500

For mor e information visit:

Official site of State-Owned Railways (EFE) 

Non Official site of State-Owned Railways (EFE)

Ferries

La fragmentized geography of Chile in the austral and Patagonian zone makes the combination of land and marine transportation essential in some stretches of land.

In continuation, you will find the principle stretches covered by ferries and transship from Puerto Montt to the south.

Passages 

Puerto Montt - Chaitén - Quellón

Puerto Montt - Castro - Chaitén

Puerto Montt - Puerto Natales

Pargua - Chacao

General Carrera Lake 

O'Higgins Lake 

Punta Arenas and Stretch of Magallanes 

Punta Arenas and Beagle Cannel

From Puerto Montt to Chaitén and Quellón:

Ship: M/N Alejandrina (Navimag)

Information and reservations: in Santiago +56 2 442 3120, in Puerto Montt +56 65 253 318 and Chaitén +56 65 731 570

Itineraries: Puerto Montt-Chaitén-Quellón and vice versa

Departures: No information

Tariffs: No information

Ship: B Pincoya (Transmarchilay)

Information and reservations: in Santiago +56 600 6008687, in Puerto Montt +56 600 6008688 and Chaitén +56 65 731 272

Itinerary 1: Quellón-Chaitén and vice versa

Departures: Only in January and February

Duration: 6 hours

Tariffs: No information

Itinerary 2: Puerto Montt-Chaitén and vice versa

Departures: all year

Duration: 9 hours

Tariffs: No information

Itinerary 3: Hornopirén-Caleta Gonzalo and vice versa

Departures: Only in January and February at 15:00 hrs from Hornopirén and at 9:00 hrs from Caleta Gonzalo. Make Prior Reservations.

Duration: 5 hours

Tariffs: No information

Ship: B Mailén (Transmarchilay)

Information and reservations: in Santiago +56 600 6008687, in Puerto Montt +56 600 6008688 and Chaitén +56 65 731 272

Itineraries: between Caleta La Arena-Caleta Puelche and vice versa

Departures: Year around, 9 departures daily

Duration: 30 minutes

Tariffs: No information

Ship: La Quellonina

Itineraries: between Caleta La Arena-Caleta Puelche and vice versa

Departures: Year around, 9 departures daily

Duration: 30 minutes

Tariffs: No information

Between Pargua and Chacao:

Ship: RR Cai Cai, T Trauco and RR Tehuelche

Itineraries: between Pargua-Chacao and Chiloé Island

Departures: Year around, 24 hrs a day

Duration: 35 minutes

Tariffs: No information

Ship: RR Don Juan, Cruz del Sur and Gobernador Figueroa

Information and reservations: in Ancud +56 65 621 777

Itineraries: between Pargua-Chacao and vice versa

Departures: Year around, 24 hrs a day every 15 min

Duration: 35 minutes

Tariffs: No information

Between Puerto Montt, Castro and Chaitén

Catamaranes del Sur

Information and reservations: in Santiago +56 2 333 7127, in Puerto Montt +56 65 333 7127 and Chaitén +56 65 731 272

Itineraries: Between Pargua-Chacao and Chiloé Island

Departures: Year around, 24 hrs a day

Duration: 35 minutes

Tariffs: No information

From Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales:

Ship: M/N Puerto Edén (Navimag)

Information and reservations: in Santiago +56 2 442 3120, in Puerto Montt +56 65 253 318 and Chaitén +56 65 731 570

Itineraries: Puerto Montt - Puerto Natales and vice versa

Departures: Every Friday from Pto. Montt and Tuesdays from Pto. Natales

Duration: 4 days

Tariffs: No information

Ship: M/N Magallanes (Navimag)

Information and reservations: in Santiago +56 2 442 3120, in Puerto Montt +56 65 253 318 and Chaitén +56 65 731 570

Itineraries: Puerto Montt - Puerto Chacabuco - Puerto Natales and vice versa

Departures: Year around

Duration: 4 days

Tariffs: No information

General Carrera Lake:

Ship: Ferry Chelenco

Information and reservations: in Coyhaique, +56 67 233 466, in Chile Chico +56 67 411 368

Itineraries: Puerto Ibáñez - Chile Chico and vice versa

Departures: Year around. From Monday to Wednesday departures from Pto. Ibáñes.

Duration: 2:30 hrs

Tariffs: Passengers $1.500 and automobiles $16.000

Ship: RR Pilchero

Information and reservations: in Coyhaique, +56 67 234 240

Itineraries: Puerto Ibáñez - Chile Chico and vice versa

Departures: Year around. From Monday to Wednesday and Friday departures from Pto. Ibáñes.

Duration: 2:15 hrs

Tariffs: No information

Ship: General Carrera Lake

Operated by the Working Army Corps (CMT)

Information and reservations: in the military camp CMT in Cochrane or in the Management of regional road or highway transportation services in Coyhaique, phone +56 67 231 104

Itineraries: Puerto Yungay - Bravo River and vice versa

Departures: Year around. From Puerto Yungay it leaves at 12:00 hrs and returns at 13:00 hrs

Duration: 45 min

Tariffs: Passengers $1.500 and automobiles $16.000

O'Higgins Lake:

A municipal service exist with departures 2 times a week to places on the shores of the lake.

Punta Arenas and the Stretch of Magallanes:

Ship: Barcaza Melinka

Information and reservations: in Punta Arenas, +56 61 218 100

Itinerary: Tres Puentes (Punta Arenas) - Bahía Chilota (Porvenir) - Tres Puentes

Departures: Year around. The first week of the month weighing anchor on Wednesdays and Thursdays and the rest of the month Tuesdays to Saturdays

Duration: 2:20 hrs

Tariffs: Vehicle and conductor $21.800, adults $3.600 and children $1.800

Ship: Ferry Bahía Azul and Fueguino

Information and reservations: in Punta Arenas, +56 61 218 100

Itinerary: Punta Delgada - Bahía Azul

Departures: Everyday departures every hour and a half, between 8:30 and 23:00 hrs

Duration: 20 min

Tariffs: Vehicle and conductor $9.800, adults $1.200 and children $600

Punta Arenas and Canal Beagle:

Ship: Ferry Patagonia

Information and reservations: in Punta Arenas, +56 61 218 100

Itinerary: Tres Puentes (Punta Arenas) - Puerto Williams

Departures: Year around, 3 or 4 times a month. Reserve your passes at least one week in advance

Duration: 38 hrs

Tariffs: US$120 easy chair and US$150 berth. Minors under 10 years old have a 50% discount.