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Local transport

Local Transport

Bus

Chilean bus routes are numerous and fares run cheap (around CH$600 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.

Taxi & Ride Share Services

Most Chilean cabs are metered. In Santiago it costs CH$300 to bajar la bandera (lower the flag), plus CH$150 per 200m. Taxi placards indicate authorized fares. The ridesharing app Uber has drivers in many Chilean cities and towns, though the availability of cars can be poor.

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$700 to CH$1500 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, with some recent expansions. Try to avoid peak hours, which can get very crowded.

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, hitching is never entirely safe, and we don’t recommend it. Travelers who hitch should understand that they are taking a small but potentially serious risk.

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.