Santiago Airport Mini Guide
Why Would I go to Santiago?
is the capital of Chile and is on the coast at the foot of the Andes Mountains which can be seen as a backdrop to the city from most parts of it. Many people come here for the skiing, especially from the northern hemisphere where skiing is very limited in summer. It’s also great for climbing and hiking. In the city itself there are many reminders of colonial days, despite the ravages of earthquakes.
OK, so how do I get There?
Santiago International Airport or Pudahuel Airport is a major South American transport hub and is reachable by direct flight from Europe, Oceania, the USA
What do I do When I Arrive?
If you need to change money or get some from an ATM then there’s a branch of Banco Santander at the airport together with several ATMs across the airport. For accommodation if you haven’t booked yet for your first night, the airport has a Holiday Inn as part of the terminal. Stay for the first night then ask them to book your onward accommodation. If you need help in the airport, the SCL Information Desk can help with most matters. It’s found in the International Arrivals and Departures areas on the ground and second floors.
First aid enquiries can be answered by the information desk too but also at the airport pharmacy. If you need transport away from the airport then there are two officially recognised taxi companies, Taxi Oficial and Taxi VIP. Using any other cabs could be dangerous. Two bus companies operate from the airport, Centropuerto and Turbus. Both have routes that will take you to the nearest metro station from which you can access all parts of the city.
Finally, if you want to hire a car you should visit the company desks on the first level of the central international hall of domestic and international arrivals. Getting to your destination is simple with access to the city and national motorways along the six lane Costanera Expressway Norte or the Vespucio Norte Express Ring Road
What About When I Leave Chile?
If you need assistance for reduced mobility you need to let the airport know well in advance. Someone will then be able to meet and greet you and take you through the airport procedure. There are plenty of good quality restaurants here serving a range of meals: from a la carte specialities in a comfortable environment to café/snack bars and take away establishments. If you’ve still got pesos left to spend then shopping here is good too.
There are over seventy stores selling a wide range of items from clothing and accessories stores such as Hugo Boss to book shops, handicrafts and as you may expect a shop selling Chilean wines. There are four tax-free shops here too spread out across the departures floor selling the expected items. Wi-Fi is available in the VIP lounge only but there are internet kiosks around the terminal.
Santiago is a fabulous city but for many, the lure is the Andes Mountains that loom behind the city, snow covered for most of the year, they offer great skiing in the resorts outside of the city.
Many of the mountains are in fact volcanoes, including Tupungato at over 21,500 feet in height. In the summertime you can hike trails through the foothills, enjoying the mountain scenery and crystal clear tributaries of the Mapocho.