Traveling by bus in Chile is easy and convenient. A bewildering number of bus companies connect nearly every little city in the country and to Argentina, Bolivia and Peru. The buses are well maintained and in good conditions. You don’t have to be terrified of shabby vehicles like in some Latin-American countries.
Finding the right bus and its terminal for your next trip in Santiago can be exhausting. Not like in every ordinary city Santiago doesn’t have only one bus terminal. There are at least five different bus terminals which can be confusing for tourist and foreigners. In addition, sometimes multiple names are used or the terminals a close to each other and operated by the same company. Double check and be prepared. I’ve heard of tourist who missed their buses while waiting at the wrong bus terminal.
Here’s a small abstract with useful information of the 5 “main” terminals.
|Terminal’s name and directions||Bus companies|
|Terminal de Buses Alameda
(METRO Universidad de Santiago)
destinations all over Chile, including every 15 minutes to Valparaíso and Viña del Mar
|TurBus and Pullman Bus|
|Terminal de Buses Santiago aka Terminal Sur
(METRO Universidad de Santiago, 2 blocks from the metro station; don’t mix it up with Terminal Alameda!)
south of Santiago, including the central coast, the Lakes District and Chiloé. A few northbound and international service.
|Bus Norte, Línea Azul, JAC, Andesmar, Nilahué, Pullman del Sur, Condor, Cata & Cata internacional, El Rápido, Tas Choapa|
|Terminal Los Héroes aka Terrapuerto
(METRO Los Héroes)
mostly servicing northern routes
|Libac, Cruz del Sur, Ahumada|
|Terminal San Borja
(METRO Estación Central)
Services to the area around Santiago
|Ahumada and Pullman Bus and other small local bus companies.|
Buses from Santiago to the airport, Valparaíso and Viña del Mar
|TurBus, Pullman Bus, Condor, Rosario etc…|
Only the biggest companies sell their tickets online. Here are some pages you could use. But keep in mind that quite often the schedules aren’t up do date. I use it only to find out which company I could take and to have an idea of the costs. Here are some pages you could use or just ask @ Señor Google.
The cheapest companies don’t sell online. Very often they don’t accept foreign credit cards. Moreover, the prices tend to be higher on the internet. If you are looking for the cheapest ticket, the best way is to go to a terminal and compare the prices at the companies’ ticket booth. Thus, you already know the terminal and know where your bus will leave.
Safe travels! Pura Vida!