From The Airport To Your Next Destination

So, you got yourself, your gear and your crew through customs, agrarian control and finally outside the arrival terminal of the Santiago airport. Great job! Although to be fair, it wasn’t so hard now, was it? Unless of course filling out forms and following a herd is too much of a challenge, you shouldn’t really call out victory just yet. Because now comes the interesting bit: moving to your next location out of the airport and to your lodgings in Santiago.

Now you must be thinking, isn’t there a train to get me to town? Well, spoiler alert, there is not. If there was, you would not be in the need to read this kind of article, right? Actually, getting out of the Santiago Airport can be kind of tough, especially if you didn’t brush up on your high school Spanish (and if you did, you would probably understand 5% of what was being said to you, yes, Chileans speak really fast with an incredible slang so rich and complex that nobody can beat them on that). So, in case you did not rent a car, van, RV or helicopter, here are some ways in which you can get your caboose closer to the mountains (or at the very least, out of the airport).

Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

1. Call that friend in town (if you have one...)

Many skiers have a friend in some major ski destinations. If you are lucky to know a local skier, give him a call, probably he'll be stoked to ski with you and maybe, you can even get some action on your first night in town. Your friend may be busy, and since traffic can get real nasty in Santiago, maybe you ought to cut him a break, considering you’ll probably be crashing on his couch for part of your voyage. In case you do get a ride, remember to bring presents or gas money at the very least.

2. Hail the cab

If you consider yourself wise enough to invest a few pesos in getting yourself and your gear safely out of Santiago, cabs are a worthy alternative. However, be wary of taxis, because only a few can legally operate out of the airport. We recommend booking a cab from the desks inside the Airport Arrivals section (after customs and SAG), which will probably set you back 15.000 - 18.000 CLP to downtown Santiago. Do not, by the seat of your pants, take cabs which wait outside the airport. There is always a story about that unscrupulous driver extorting money out of passengers, or worse, outright mugging them. Be warned. Some services offer SUVs, which means no hassle for your fancy ski bags (always ask beforehand).

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3. Hire a Transfer Van

In case your posse is too large to fit in a single cab, hiring a transfer van may be the right choice for you and your group. You can find them in the same section where you can hire the official taxis. They will set you back less cash since you will be sharing your ride with other sorry souls. In case your first destination is the Farellones area, you can also hire a van to take you straight up to the mountains.

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4. Take the Bus And Subway (Metro)

So, you are not willing to shell out the 25-30 dollars to take a cab or van. Fair enough. You want to experience the hardships of ski travel with all your gear, feel this new culture in the hot air of the subway, the slowness of it all. Good news for you, this is also the cheapest way to get out of the airport (if steps 1 didn't work).
If you are heading downtown and feeling confident you can keep track of your luggage, this may be the option for you. In case your lodgings are in another area, the bus service always has stops in subway stations (Pajaritos – Alameda – Los Héroes).

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5. A note on Car Sharing apps

At this point you must be saying “Bruh, I’ll just uber, ‘nuff said”. Easier said than done though. From a legal standpoint, Uber, Beat, Didi and other firms run an illegal taxi service, and its common to see cars being impounded, especially at the airport. Even though you can probably uber out of the airport, the chances of having a rough time with the law are significant. Our advice? Stick to the car sharing apps in Santiago itself, or better yet, uber to the airport once your trip is done.