Here are the best ways to get around Santiago:
Transantiago is Santiago’s public transport system. You’ll need a bip! contactless smartcard to efficiently use the system and its urban buses or micros, otherwise you’ll pay a higher fare. Tickets also allow for transfers to other buses or the metro.
Santiago’s metro is fast but like most big cities, can be very crowded during peak hours, so opt for an above-ground option where possible during rush hour. You can also use the bip! Card here. On weekdays, the metro operates from 5:30am until 12am, while on Saturdays it operates from 6:30am until 12am. On Sundays and public holidays, the metro operates from 8am until just before midnight.
Taxis are safe and relatively cheap, and they can be hailed anywhere in Santiago. Look out for the black cars with yellow roofs. For longer trips, you can negotiate a price beforehand. Be aware that tipping is not customary and don’t always reply on your driver’s sense of direction – try to carry some information on how to reach your destination just in case. Another option is colectivos - group taxis run with fixed routes. They usually wait at the metro stations in Santiago and depart when there is a minimum number of passengers. At night, they will take you to a specific address for an additional fee as long as it is close to their route or domicilio.
Having your own wheels in Chile is a major advantage allowing you to get to places off the beaten track. To hire a car in Chile, you need to be aged at least 21 years. Rates are lower in Santiago than in the provinces. A simple car should include free mileage and insurance. However, if you’re just exploring Santiago, a hire car isn’t necessary to get around town with an extensive bus and metro system.