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Getting around by air

Chile has direct connections with North America, the UK, Europe, Israel, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to its neighboring countries. International flights within South America are fairly expensive unless purchased as part of intercontinental travel. There are bargain round-trip fares between Buenos Aires or Lima and Santiago.

Departure Tax & Arrival Fees

A one-time reciprocity fee is charged to arriving Australians (US$117), valid for the life of the passport. A Chilean departure tax for international flights is included in airfares.

Airports & Airlines

Long-distance flights to Chile arrive at Santiago, landing at Aeropuerto Internacional Arturo Merino Benítez in the suburb of Pudahuel.

Flights from neighboring countries may reach regional airports in Arica (www.chacalluta.cl), Iquique (www.aeropuertodiegoaracena.cl) and Punta Arenas (www.aeropuertodepuntarenas.cl).

Intercontinental (RTW) Tickets

Most intercontinental airlines traveling to Chile also offer round-the-world (RTW) tickets in conjunction with the airlines they have alliances with. Companies such as Airtreks offer more flexible, customized RTW tickets that don't tie you into airline affiliates. Similar 'Circle Pacific' fares allow you to take excursions between Australasia and Chile, often with a stop at Easter Island (Rapa Nui). Check the fine print for restrictions. Agencies selling RTW tickets include Flight Centre (www.flightcentre.com) and STA (www.statravel.com).

French Polynesia

LATAM flies once a week to and from Papeete in Tahiti, stopping at Easter Island.

South America

Many airlines fly daily between Santiago and Buenos Aires, Argentina, for a standard fare of about US$275 round-trip. However, European airlines that pick up and discharge most of their passengers in Buenos Aires sometimes try to fill empty seats by selling cheap round-trips between the Argentine and Chilean capitals. LATAM has some of the best connectivity within South America, though other airlines are competitive.

There are reasonable flights from Santiago to Mendoza (round-trip US$180, twice daily) and to Córdoba (round-trip US$250, twice daily).

There are numerous daily flights from Lima, Peru, to Santiago for about US$260 (round-trip); many discount fares pop up on this route. From Lima, LATAM goes directly to Easter Island. LATAM also flies from Lima to the southern city of Tacna, only 50km from the Chilean border city of Arica (round-trip US$161). There are daily flights from Santiago to La Paz, Bolivia (round-trip US$228), with a stop in northern Chile.

Avianca links Santiago daily with Bogotá, Colombia (round-trip US$500), sometimes with another South American stop. LATAM flies to Montevideo, the Uruguayan capital (round-trip US$300). Gol and LATAM fly to Brazilian and Paraguayan destinations.

Amaszonas is the new Bolivian carrier operating new flights to Chile's north. The most useful routes for travelers are international links like Iquique–Salta and Iquique–Cochabamba.