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Local transport

Local Transport

Taxi

Most Chilean cabs are metered. In Santiago it costs CH$300 to bajar la bandera (lower the flag), plus CH$130 per 200m. Taxi placards indicate authorized fares.

Colectivo

Handy taxi colectivos resemble taxis but run on fixed routes much like buses: a roof sign or placard in the window indicates the destination. They are fast, comfortable and not a great deal more expensive than buses (usually CH$500 to CH$1000 within a city).

Commuter Rail

Both Santiago and Valparaíso have commuter rail networks. Santiago's modern metrotren line runs from San Fernando through Rancagua, capital of Región VI, to Estación Central, on the Alameda in Santiago. Valparaíso's rail connects Viña del Mar and Valparaíso.

Metro

Santiago's superefficient subway is the metro. Try to avoid peak hours, which can get very crowded.

Bus

Chilean bus routes are numerous and fares run cheap (around CH$500 for a short trip). Since many identically numbered buses serve slightly different routes, check the placards indicating their final destination. On boarding, state your destination and the driver will tell you the fare and give you a ticket.

Santiago's bus system Transantiago has automatic fare machines. You can map your route online.

Hitchhiking

Thumbing a ride is common practice in Chile, and this is one of the safest countries in Latin America to do it. That said, hitchhiking is never entirely safe, and Lonely Planet does not recommend it.

In summer, Chilean vehicles are often packed with families on vacation, and a wait for a lift can be long. Few drivers stop for groups and even fewer appreciate aggressive tactics. In Patagonia, where distances are great and vehicles few, hitchhikers should expect long waits. It's also a good idea to carry some snack food and plenty of water, especially in the desert north.

Getting Around

Chile is an easy country to get around, with frequent bus and air connections, but those going off the beaten path will need a car. Drivers are generally courteous and orderly. Toll highways are common.

Air A worthwhile time saver for long distances, with economical regional deals sold in-country.

Bus The best way to get around Chile: frequent, comfortable and reasonably priced, with service to towns throughout the country. Less useful for parks access.

Car Renting your own wheels help to better explore remote regions like Patagonia.

Train Limited. A few lines can be useful for travelers in Central Chile.