Santiago de Chile has one of the most comprehensive public transport services in the entire continent of South America. So make sure you take full advantage of it!
Taxis and Bikes
Taxis are very clearly identified. They are usually black cars with yellow roofs, but all have orange number plates: it is only by this indication that you can make sure you are entering a legitimate taxi.
The metro system is also undergoing improvement in Santiago, and is due to be completed in 2014. At the moment, the extensive metro has five lines, carrying over two million passengers on a daily basis. The renovations will lead to the creation of two new lines serving previously unconnected parts of the city. The metro is run by a company called Metro de Santiago. Unfortunately, their website is in Spanish only. However, UrbanRail provides some useful information in English.
Buses in Santiago are operated by Transantiago. This company is actually responsible for Santiago’s entire public transport system. This means that local bus lines have been integrated, both with main bus lines and with the metro network. The fares are also integrated, so transfers between bus and metro are easy to make on a single ticket.
Although the Transantiago site is only available in Spanish, a map of all of their routes (bus and metro) can be found on their official website.
There are several bus terminals in Santiago. The main one is Terminal Santiago, which provides buses to all destinations in Chile as well as all South American countries, excluding Bolivia. For more local transport within the neighboring areas of Santiago, use Terminal San Borja, Terminal La Cisterna, and Terminal La Paz.
The Central Station – Estación Central – can be easily accessed by bus or subway. TerraSur trains, which are operated by Chile's national railway company, Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE), connect Santiago’s Central Station to Chillán, in the south-central part of the country.
The Metrotrén is a Chilean commuter rail system. Their website is in Spanish only, but the route planner is straightforward to operate in spite of this. Trains connect Santiago de Chile with 13 communes, to San Fernando. Trains are connected with the Metro de Santiago in Alameda station.
Santiago is located 15 minutes from Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport. This is Chile’s main airport, and is known to be one of the busiest in the world due to its excessive airport traffic. Buses connect the airport to the city center’s Terminal Pajaritos on a regular basis.