"Travelling around Chile - General" Chile Transportation Tip by spidermiss
Chile Transportation: 80 reviews and 72 photos
The best methods to travel around Chile are eitehr by plane or bus. Being the longest country in the world, it's recommended to invest in an air pass for the very long distance journeys! For example, from Santiago to the Chilean Lake District this takes an average of 13 hours either by car or bus! And if you're planning to travel to the very north of Chile or further south, the journeys can take up to 30+hours!!! The national carrier is Chile LAN/LAN Express. It's recommend to purchase the air pass in your home country prior to travelling to Chile. It usually works out cheaper purchasing a pass because of internal flights in Chile are generally expensive.
Travelling by bus is the most popular option by locals and visitors alike and is easily accessible. Compared to many countries, bus travel is reliable, cheap and generally more comfortable with plenty of leg room. The departures are frequent to many destinations across the country. There are three classes of bus you can travel on and they are clasico; semi cama where the seats have twice as much legroom; and Salon Cama, the most comfortable of all classes and has wide seats reclining to a horizontal position almost like being in bed. The bus prices are cheap comparable to North America and Europe and if you book in advance you can get further discounts as bus companies often advertsise this and otehr special fares. You can pay around 24,000 CLP (November 2008) if you book in advance to travel in salon cama from Santiago to Puerto Varas (a 12 hour journey) and it's even cheaper travelling in the other two classes. In clasico you can pay 11,000 CLP (November 2008) for an 11 hour journey from Pucon to Santiago. One of the large bus companies, which I highly recommend, is Tur Bus for its comfort and reliability. Local journeys are even cheaper as you only pay approximately 800 CLP (Novemeber 2008) for an hour's journey locally.
Ferry & boat
South beyond Puerto Montt is where the archipelago and fjords begin. There is a ferry network for Chile's Carretera Austral and Southern Patagonia. The most popular route, it seems, is the Puerto Montt to Puerto Natalas (for Torres Del Paine National Park) route by Navimag, a ferry operator, and also round trips to San Rahael Glaciar from Puerto Montt.
It's possible to travel on a catamaran across Lago Todos Los Santos in the Chilean Lake District from Petrohue to Peulla and this crossing is also done as part of the Lakes Crossing by Cruce Andino from Puerto Varas to Bariloche in Argentina. The Lakes Crossing is very expensive, 180 USD (November 2008), and this can be booked with Turistour in Puerto Varas of it you're in Argentina, Turisur SRL in Bariloche, Argentina.
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