Exploring Chile often begins at the Santiago airport. Most international flights will arrive in Santiago, the capital of the country. This airport in Chile is known for being modern and clean, which may not be the case for all of your transportation in Chile. From the Santiago airport, it is possible to explore the national parks, beaches, and wineries that may have drawn you to this stunning South American country.
Visitors should beware of some procedures at Chile airports, including some taxes and fees for American citizens. An entry fee of $100 is charged at the Santiago Chile airport. This fee only needs to be paid once for the lifetime of your passport. If this city is your final destination in Chile, ground transportation at the Santiago airport is very efficient. Travelers will have their choice of buses, shuttles, and rental cars. If you are looking to rent a car, it is wise to reserve ahead of time to ensure the best rate.
The large international terminal in Santiago is very different than other Chile airports. More than 70 of these have paved runways, while there are almost 300 airports across the country with unpaved runways. Many of these smaller facilities still have services for tourists including immigration, customs, and restaurants. At most Chile airports you can expect to find newsstands and shops as well. If you are taking a domestic flight within the country, you may find yourself at a small airport in Chile.
Some popular airports for domestic flights include Puerto Montt, Punta Arenas, Valparaiso, and Temuco. As Chile is such a long country, and in some places not served by trains or even roads without heading through neighboring Argentina, domestic flights are an efficient method of transportation and a popular one among travelers. It is possible to ski and go to the beach on the same trip with the assistance of air travel. If you would like to see Chile without taking any domestic flights, there are beautiful areas to explore near Santiago. Historic Valparaiso, for example, is only 70 minutes by car from the international airport in Santiago.
From other regions of the country, such as Punta Arenas or the northern city of Arica, you can also reach this city through the Valparaiso airport. From this airport in Chile, you can arrive in the historical center with a variety of transportation choices, including taxi, trolley, and local buses. When arriving in the country, check with your hotel or resort to see if they offer a complimentary transportation service. They may even offer a hotel transfer for a small fee, and the convenience versus maneuvering public transportation may be a peaceful start to your South American adventure.