Will I need to drive my own vehicle to conduct my everyday life (work/school/shopping) at my destination?
No, you do not need to drive your own vehicle to get around Santiago, but if you decide to drive be aware of narrow streets and heavy traffic.
Below are some choices of public transportation available throughout Santiago:
- Bus – Inexpensive, but not the most reliable
- Taxi - Also called colectivo; shared taxis with fixed routes and fares; quicker and more comfortable than most buses and not much more expensive
- Subway - The metro system is quick and inexpensive; sometimes it is impossible to get a seat but this is the preferred way to travel around the city
Others choose to cycle or walk but this is not the safest due to the narrow roads and heavy traffic.
How can I legally drive a vehicle in this city?
While you can get a driver's license in Santiago, it is recommended that you get an International Driving permit from your home country prior to your arrival.
To obtain an International driving license, provide the following:
- Passport (original and photocopy)
- ID (original and photocopy)
- Driver’s license from your country (original and photocopy)
For further assistance, contact Crown Santiago.
What side of the road do people drive on?
Similar to the United States, people drive on the right side of the road, but be aware that Chilean drivers do not signal when changing lanes and rarely yield to merging traffic. Also, smoking and using a cell phone or music headphones are against the law and heavy fines are enforced.
Describe typical public transportation an expat might use to get around the city.
As mentioned previously, there are several options for transportation, but the quickest and most economical way is the subway system.
Could an expat also use public transportation to get out of the city—to surrounding towns, recreation areas or suburbs? If so, list options.
The subway runs from east to west and north to south in the city as do the buses and taxis. You can also use these means of transportation to venture out of the city to other areas of Chile.
In regards to transportation, are there any safety issues I should be aware of?
It is mandatory in Santiago to wear a seatbelt and making a turn on a red light is prohibited unless otherwise stated. Also, traffic jams during rush hour can be very frustrating so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a severe offense. You could be fined or arrested, depending on the level of alcohol intoxication. Speeding is also punished. The maximum speed, unless stated otherwise, is 100 km/h (65 mph). In urban areas, it is 50 km/h (30 mph).
If you plan to walk, it is recommended that you check first on the safety of different neighborhoods. Generally, anywhere in Santiago is safe during normal daylight hours.
Where do I buy tickets/tokens/etc. for the major public transportation?
You can purchase tickets for major public transportation, such as subway or train, at their respective stations. For the bus, you'll need to get a transportation card, called BIP, at a subway station.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.