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Driving in Chile

arizona
Level Contributor
284 posts
6 reviews
Driving in Chile

Hi You All,

Can any one tell me if it is easy to drive in Santiago ot for that metter in Chile ????? How is the car rental industry there???? Insted of going on to Valparaiso by a bus tour I was thinking of renting a car and drive up there . We are 2 people and by the time we pay for this trips to the tour company it would be cheaper to rent a car .

Oxon Hill, Maryland
Level Contributor
1,055 posts
66 reviews
1. Re: Driving in Chile

livkid,

Driving in Santiago is like driving in NYC during rush hour all the time. It is definately not for the faint hearted. Once you are away from the city though, it is fine. It is definately worth renting though. That way, you can explore whenever you see somewhere you want to stop along the way.

That being said, if you are going to rent, I would do it from here. Because of the exchange rate, we found it cheaper to rent here than to do it there. Even though we usually rent from a company in Chile, it would have been $200 dollars more. Also, a lot of the cars over there are stick shift, so if you're not to keen on driving a manual transmission, that's something else to think about and automatic is also higher in cost.

Santiago, Chile
Destination Expert
for Chile, Santiago
Level Contributor
7,014 posts
15 reviews
2. Re: Driving in Chile

If you are willing to drive a stick shift then it could be cheaper to rent from a local company, I have used both Costenera Rent a car and Lys. They both offer weekend specials. of course there is Avis, Hertz, Budget.

Driving to Valparaiso is very easy - a four lane highway all the way and just take the Costanera Norte in downtown Santiago and follow the signs. Lots of traffic in the city, but manageable. The highway passes a whole bunch of vineyards.

arizona
Level Contributor
284 posts
6 reviews
3. Re: Driving in Chile

Thank you both Oxonhillgirl & Toid. I am sure I want an automatic car even if it costs more. Besides the 2 rental car company can anyone give me theiweb site and also if there are nay more local car rental companies??? Thanks a lot to all again.

Santiago, Chile
Destination Expert
for Chile, Santiago
Level Contributor
7,014 posts
15 reviews
4. Re: Driving in Chile

Both Costanera rent a car and Lys have web sites in English.

Calhoun, Georgia
Level Contributor
6,015 posts
36 reviews
5. Re: Driving in Chile

Here's a former thread where I commented about driving in Chile.

tripadvisor.com/…4578473

I have other threads, I haven't found.

My husband has a CDL license. That means he is a licensed semi- truck driver. He said he would never drive in Santiago again. We both live in Atlanta, GA and regularly drive in that crazy traffic.

DO NOT TRY TO DRIVE IN SANTIAGO. Buses change lanes randomly which foreingers like us don't understand and pedestrians run out in front of you. Take taxis and buses. It doesn't cost that much.

People will run across in front of you rather than cross at the pedestrian bridges on the PanAmericam Highway. It is not worth the chance of hitting another human being. If you drive, be very cautious and observe the speed limit or less. Please, Please, don't drive like one does in the US. People WILL run across the highway. Don't think it won't happen to you.

OK

I am able to post here! Yay! Anyway. Please be careful and enjoy your trip. Don't let your guard down. You don't say, but I hope you speak Spanish. You will need it.

NEW YORK
Level Contributor
231 posts
6 reviews
6. Re: Driving in Chile

Another reason why I don't recommend foreigners to drive in Santiago is for the street names. All streets are by name, not numbers...and names in Spanish, so you don’t have the advantage of knowing that 8th avenue goes after 7th avenue...instead....is Suecia before Los Leones or after???!!! All of this while avoiding the traffic and reading a map. Really, don’t try it. You can go everywhere with Public transportation....of course, once the trauma of the Transantiago has passed.

That said....even though I always thought that Chileans were the worst drivers...I changed my mind...I now live in NYC and this is worst...hands down.

San Diego...
Level Contributor
223 posts
27 reviews
7. Re: Driving in Chile

If ALL you want to do is drive to Vina, you could probably do it. But don't think you are going to rent a car, cruise around Santiago and then head to Vina. As so many others have said, DON'T drive in Santiago. Seriously, the only time I drive is when it is NOT rush hour and even then I think it is SUPER sketchy. My husband does all the other driving and I swear I am terrified the entire time and holding on for dear life. Plus, they have these great suicide circles here that are just that. There are unspoken rules of the road here, and if you don't know them, you will have an accident. People constantly stop on a dime (to drop off, pick up, or whatever they please), turns are made from whatever lane one pleases.....I can't even begin to describe it and what a shock it is for foreigners to get here and experience driving.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
240 posts
8. Re: Driving in Chile

How about driving to the airport from Santiago? I want to return the car in airport on the next day after visiting Valparaiso . Will the return be easier/ more smooth if using big companies like Avis in airport?

Santiago, Chile
Destination Expert
for Chile, Santiago
Level Contributor
7,014 posts
15 reviews
9. Re: Driving in Chile

I do not agree with all this comments on the difficulty of driving in Santiago. In fact it is easy to locate places as the building numbering system is in order from the centre by block.

Certainly driving to the airport from downtown is very easy as all you have t do is get on the Costenera Norte highway and follow the signs.

Sugar Land, Texas
Level Contributor
784 posts
2 reviews
10. Re: Driving in Chile

If you want to drive only to Valparaiso, I'm wondering if it's worth the trouble. Also, rental cars don't really come cheap in Chile.

We found finding our way and driving in Santiago - and even more so the rest of Chile - pretty easy although it was our very first visit to South America, we're in our 50s and our Spanish is very basic.

We made it all the way to Arica in 2 weeks and the trip was one of our most amazing and wonderful travel experiences.

One city where I wouldn't recommend driving is La Paz, Bolivia.