Getting around Santiago
It is clean, friendly but can get very busy. Transantiago (tel: +56 600 730 0073; www.transantiago.cl) has an ambitious plan to overhaul the city's public transport infrastructure – due for completion in 2025, but so far has proved woefully inadequate to current needs.
Tarjeta bip! travel cards are valid for travel on Santiago's Metro system and buses; you can buy these at Metro ticket offices. Each single fare on a bip! card covers up to three interconnected metro/bus journeys over a period of two hours.
The modern Metro system, Metro de Santiago, (tel: +56 600 600 9292; www.metrosantiago.cl) is still the easiest way to travel around Santiago, and is for the most part clean, efficient and reliable. The Metro system has five lines which operate daily, closing overnight.
Santiago's city buses are run by private companies. Those on the major 'trunk' routes are painted white with green stripes, while other buses have different colours according to the zones they serve.
There is no shortage of taxis, which are black with yellow roofs. Get a good idea of the price first. Taxis should have meters. Women travelling alone at night should exercise caution.
Radio Taxi Andes-Pacífico (tel: +562 2912 6000) and Radio Taxi Centro (tel: +562 2697 0106) are reliable, well-established minicab firms.
Driving in Santiago is a headache, with congestion to rival any European or North American metropolis. Many of the more upmarket hotels have a guest car park. There are two car parks close to Avenida Bernardo O'Higgins (Alameda). These are at Calle San Francisco 75 and outside Calle Santa Rosa 76. Many urban streets offer metered parking.
Most car hire companies require the driver to be 22 years or over. Insurance is usually additional to the car rate and is recommended. Providers include Chilean Rent A Car (tel: +56 2 2963 8760; www.chileanrentacar.cl), Avis (tel: +56 2 2795 3971; www.avis.com) and Rosselot (tel: +56 3 2314 0300; www.rosselot.cl).
Cycling is becoming a lot easier in central Santiago. Many of the city's parks have cycle lanes, there is a lovely riverside route, and you can pedal along the winding lanes of Cerro San Cristobál.
La Bicicleta Verde, Loreta 6 (tel: +56 2 2570 9338; www.labicicletaverde.com) runs tours and hires out mountain bikes, cruisers and tandems.
Bike Santiago (tel: 600 750 5600, in Chile only; www.bikesantiago.cl) is the city's expanding bikeshare scheme.