The only airport of Santiago is Pudahuel, also known as Arturo Merino Benítez (AMB) or SCL (IATA abbreviation). The airport is under a series of expansion works but it’s still easy to get around. The “low cost” trend which arrived rather late to South America caused several airports to build more gates or new runways.
There are five types of means of transportation you could use:
- Rent a car
- Take a taxi
- Take an Uber
- Use a shuttle van to your hotel
- Take a shuttle bus to downtown Santiago
Renting a car
Most Rent A Car services are located in the public hall but you can find some of them in the arrivals area. Some of the companies are the international ones we are used to and others are local rent a car companies. Of course, they will provide the necessary information you need after this point.
Taxis and Shuttle Vans
This is a little bit complicated because some services aren’t legal but they look for passengers and ask people to use their services. Do not accept these services because they claim to be cheaper but they will rip you off.
Now there is a legal taxi service called Via Controlada. You have to look for a stand or office called “Ground Transportation” which are located either in the arrival zone or in the public hall. You can get your taxi or a shuttle vans (“transfers”) from here. Shuttle vans or transfers take several passengers together and leave them in their hotels or designated location. You can rent a van for yourself but it will be more expensive. Some people use them to go to areas to which a taxi wouldn’t be useful like going to Valparaíso or Viña.
What about Uber?
Uber and similar services are illegal in Chile so they aren’t allowed to get to the airport. Still, some Uber drivers will attempt to serve the airport hoping for a good trip since the airport is relatively far from the city (remember the airport is in the west side and you’d probably go to downtown or the eastern side of the city). There have been some issues with drivers and the police so I can’t really recommend Uber for getting in or (especially) out of the airport. Also, Uber has become less reliable over time (too many drivers, less restrictions).
You can take the bus!
A lot of people don’t even consider this option, especially foreign tourists from wealthy countries because they can afford other options but also sometimes because public transport or transit, especially buses are uncommon but it’s a valid option if you aren’t carrying a lot of stuff or if you’re planning to go to another city right away (i.e. traveling to Valparaíso/Viña) by bus already.
Centropuerto and Turbus are similar but they don’t stop in the same areas except the first Metro Station. Both services will leave you in downtown Santiago but both of them stop at Pajaritos subway station of Line 1 (the red line) which connects the city from East (Pudahuel) to West (Las Condes) through the Alameda – Providencia – Apoquindo, the main artery of Santiago.
Centropuerto departs 24/7 (every ten minutes during the day, every hour in the evening from 12 AM-6 AM).
Centropuerto stops at Los Héroes station (which is also a Line 1 station and connects to Line 2). Turbus stops at Alameda Bus Terminal. There’s also a Metro station here (Universidad de Santiago). This location is farther away from the East end of the city than Centropuerto. None of them will leave you anywhere near Providencia or Las Condes but the Metro Line 1 (Dirección Los Domínicos platform) will!
It’s a good option if you don’t need to be super comfy because it’s cheap, just CLP 3200 (5 USD round trip). You can buy the ticket in the bus but you’ll have to pay with cash so make sure to exchange a few bucks before in the airport. Both bus companies depart from the arrivals area.
Any questions or comments?
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