Santiago enjoys international air service from most South American capitals and some provincial cities, and from Europe, North America and the Caribbean, and across the Pacific. Domestic air service is available from Arica, near the Peruvian border, to Punta Arenas, in the far south, and to Easter Island (Rapa Nui) and the Juan Fernández archipelago.
International and domestic overland passengers arrive by bus from Peru, Argentina, and many destinations throughout the country. Regular passenger train service connects Santiago with the southern cities of Temuco and Concepción; a separate line runs from Temuco to Puerto Montt.
LAN’s domestic service LanExpress (Huérfanos 926, tel. 02/5263000) flies northbound to Arica and intermediates, and southbound to Punta Arenas and intermediates. Its competitors, Sky Airline (Andrés de Fuenzalida 55, Providencia, tel. 02/3533100) and Aerolíneas del Sur (Roger de Flor 2915, Las Condes, tel. 02/2109000), an Aerolíneas Argentinas affiliate, have fewer destinations and flights, but their services are growing rapidly.
Santiago’s four bus terminals are all on or near the Alameda; some companies have offices at more than one.
Tur-Bus and Pullman Bus are based at the Terminal de Buses Alameda (Alameda 3750, tel. 02/2707500; Metro: Universidad de Santiago) for a wide variety of destinations. Most southbound carriers use nearby Terminal Santiago (also known as Terminal de Buses Sur, Alameda 3848, tel. 02/3761755).
Northbound long-distance carriers use Terminal San Borja (San Borja 184, tel. 02/7760645, www.paseoestacion.cl; Metro: Estación Central). Some northbound carriers also use Terrapuerto Los Héroes (Tucapel Jiménez 21, tel. 02/4200099, heroebus [at] entelchile [dot] net), where some Terminal Santiago buses pick up additional passengers. Most international carriers use Terminal Santiago, but the handful that use Terminal los Héroes are specifically mentioned below.
Fares can fluctuate both seasonally and among companies, so comparison pricing is advisable. Correlation between distance and price is imperfect—some longer trips can be cheaper because competition is greater to certain destinations.
From the Estación Central (Alameda 3322, tel. 02/3768500), EFE (Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado, www.efe.cl) has a nightly 10:30 p.m. train to Temuco and intermediates; continuing to Puerto Montt requires changing trains at Temuco. There are 9:30 a.m. and 10:45 p.m. trains to Concepción and intermediates, and nine more daily to Talca, eight of which continue to Chillán.
Trains are few compared with buses, and fares have increased since the system’s modernization. Sample destinations and fares, depending on the type of seat and the scheduled day of departure, include Curicó (US$10–21), Talca (US$17–33), Chillán (US$17–33), Concepción (US$17–22), and Temuco (US$19–35).
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition