How to ride the metro in Santiago de Chile

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Santiago, Chile

How to ride the metro in Santiago de Chile Reviews

111 reviews
Santiago Metro Jan 22, 2017
We made extensive use of Santiago’s Metro system during our visit to the city in November 2016.

Although the network consists of 5 lines, the vast majority of our journeys were along Line 1 (the red line) as the two accommodations that we stayed at were both located right next to stations on this line (Universidad de Chile and Pedro de Valdivia).

Other useful stops on Line 1 include Pajaritos and Los Heroes (for connecting to the airport bus), Estacion Central (train station), Universidad de Santiago (for Alameda Bus Terminal), La Moneda (Presidential Palace), Santa Lucia (for the excellent Cerro Santa Lucia park) and Tobalaba (for the Costanera Center mall and Sky Costanera tower). However, the station that we became most familiar with during our stay was Baquedano which is within easy walking distance of the many restaurants and bars of the city’s lively Bellavista district.

As well as making use of Line 1, we also made a few short journeys along Line 5 (the green line), connecting at Baquedano to the useful stops at Plaza de Armas and Bella Artes.

We each purchased a rechargeable BIP card before making our maiden journey on the Metro. These cards costs 1,550 CLP (about £2) each and must be topped up with a minimum of 1,000 CLP (£1.25) of credit. We topped each card up with 5,000 CLP of credit at the start of our stay and recharged them (at ticket offices in each station) throughout the duration of our stay.

Journeys on the Santiago Metro cost the same fare regardless of how long the journey is. You swipe your BIP card at the turnstile when entering the platform and the fare is deducted from your card at that point. You don’t need to swipe your card to exit the Metro. It doesn’t matter if you are taking the Metro for one stop or for the entire length of the line (or connecting to another line for that matter); you are charged the standard fare at the start of your journey.

The fare varies according to the time of day. Throughout most of the day we were paying 660 CLP (£0.80) per journey. This increased to 740 CLP (£0.90) during the busy morning and afternoon rush hours and fell to 610 CLP (£0.75) later in the evening.

Stations close at different times, but the Metro generally runs from shortly before 6:00am until around midnight. Some exits at various stations close earlier than others. We discovered this one evening when returning to our hotel around 11:30pm; although the station was still open, our usual exit had already been locked and we had to leave the station via a different exit, making the journey to our accommodation just a little more convoluted.

Unlike many Metro systems that we have used around the world, we didn’t see any displays showing the time until the next train. However, we never waited more than 5 minutes for a train regardless of the time of day.

Despite the high frequency of trains, we found the Metro system to be very busy much of the time. Even outside of rush hours, we rarely if ever managed to get a seat. During rush hours we encountered some particularly uncomfortable journeys with barely enough room to stand without being crushed between others.

The Metro is not particularly designed for transporting heavy luggage around. We fell lucky when we first arrived from the airport on a relatively quiet Sunday morning; we managed to get our suitcases on and off the train without much difficulty. However, this would have been nigh on impossible at busier times of day. As well as this, the turnstiles are not designed to let cumbersome baggage through. I carried my case over the top of the turnstile on a couple of occasions but after a staff member opened a disabled access turnstile to let us through we used this method in future.

One thing that Santiago’s Metro stations are renowned for is their artwork. Many of the stations feature impressive paintings, murals, patterned tiles or sculptures.

Santiago Metro map
Los Heroes metro station, Santiago
Los Heroes metro station, Santiago
Metro route map at Los Heroes stat…
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Toonsarah says:
Snap! Just reviewed the same thing (and luckily we haven't contradicted each other!)
Posted on: Jan 22, 2017
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Toonsarah Toonsarah
566 reviews
Travelling by Metro Oct 28, 2016
Being used to the complexities of London's Underground network we found the five line Santiago subway pretty simple to navigate. Stations are marked with a large sign showing three red diamonds (I think intended to represent a stylised M for Metro – see photo four) and easy to spot. The lines are numbered (although slightly confusingly there is no line 3 and instead a 4 and 4A) and colour-coded, and we used two of them during our stay, the red (line 1) and green (line 5). The other two serve the suburbs more than the centre so you’re less likely to use those.

As well as the line number and/or colour, you’ll need to know the direction of travel you have to take – that is, the terminus station – as platforms are signposted with these. Platforms also have useful maps of the immediate area around each station which you can check when you alight if there are multiple exits. Note that some apparent exits are marked for transfer to another platform only so you can’t get out via these.

You pay a flat fare for travel anywhere in the city, but the price varies according to the time of day, with three categories covering peak time travel, a mid-priced general fare and cheaper early morning and late night fares. We travelled on the general fare (“Horario Valle”) which applies between 9.00-18.00 (and 20.00-20.45) and costs 660 pesos for a single trip (November 2016 prices). Rush hour fares (“Horario Punto”, between 7.00-9.00, and 18.00-20.00) are higher, at 740 pesos, and there are also cheaper fares (“Horario Bajo”) at the quietest times – 6.00-6.30 and 20.45-23.00, when the Metro shuts down for the night. If you are staying in the city for some time you might find it easier to get a card for multiple journeys, known as the tarjeta bip!

To access the platform you put your ticket into a slot at the barrier. You don't get it back by the way, and there are no checks on exiting. The trains were busy at all the times that we travelled, even though they were very frequent – this is obviously a popular way to get around the city. Stations are all announced in Spanish and English, and signposting on the platforms and walkways is very clear.

Some of the stations have interesting art work. The murals in my photos are on the concourse of Baquedano station and depict “common Chilean people and subway users” – you can read about them and the artist here:
Art at Baquedano station
Art at Baquedano station
Metro trains
Metro sign
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Jo104 says:
very informative Sarah
Posted on: Mar 25, 2017
Toonsarah says:
Yes, will be interesting to compare notes!
Posted on: Jan 22, 2017
SWFC_Fan says:
I think you were in Santiago just before us! I shall keep my eyes peeled for the rest of your Santiago tips/blogs as I finally get around to writing up my notes! :-)
Posted on: Jan 22, 2017
HuBison HuBison
417 reviews
The metro goes everywhere, but the buses run allll night long! Apr 08, 2012
Well, I love to take the subway when I go to major cities because I am not really a bus person. For my trip to Santiago in April 2012, my friend was responsible for the navigation.

Where ever you stay, before you leave for the day, get all the buses that stop near your hotel or hostel within a block or 2. You are likely to get several possibilities and this can be helpful if you wander all day and then have to decide how to get back to your hostel/hotel after the subway closes. Consider getting the routes or which buses are in different areas of interest, but there certainly are MANY MANY options. The subway can get pretty crowded, so if you are not from a large city and don't like crowds, be weary of what time you take it. You can buy a BIP card and add money to it as you make your way through the city.

If you take the bus, you might have to flag it down....they seem to drive down the street quite fast and may or may stop-whether your on fire or not! You can use your BIP card on the subway as well as the bus.

I also prefer the subway when I travel as I am assured of where I will end up (buses turn and take detours and go off track). The subway is interesting because it cuts off earlier than I am used to. The stations are large and clean and can be a little warm. There are men on the platform to ensure your safety. The maps are clear about which direction the train goes and it's a fairly easy system to navigate.

The subway is great because it goes to a lot of tourist attractions and it will get you to Bellavista and to several dining areas.
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
debdeb80 debdeb80
1 reviews
How to ride the metro in Santiago de Chile Dec 11, 2009
The metro of Santiago is known for its cleanliness and safety, thing which is very remarkable if you compare it with NY subway and other metros in America and Europe. You don´t have to worry if its late at night or if you're wasted and alone.

To ride, you have 2 options: buy a ticket (nearly US$0.80) or buy an electronic card, called "Tarjeta Bip" (nearly $3 plus the money you'll use to travel). This card is requested to ride in all public buses in the city ("micros"), so sooner than later you'll have to buy it (and recharge it). Each trip by using the card "Tarjeta Bip" will cost you nearly $0.80. You have to charge it from US$2 (minimum).

Note: Make sure you'll have enough money in your card when you go partying, cause once the metro is closed, you probably won't have a place to re-charge it. And maybe you won't be able to walk.

The metro has 4 routes lines and you can see them in Nowadays, they are adding new stations so every year the metro gets longer.

The hours of service, from monday to friday, are (aprox) 06:00 am - 22:30. Saturday: 06:30- 22:30. Sunday and holiday: 08:00- 22:30. From monday to friday, the rush hour is: 07:30am-09:00am, and then 18:00-20:00. I STRONGLY RECOMMEND NOT RIDE IN RUSH HOURS!! It's not for a matter of safety, but comfort. You will feel packt like sardines and wish to be dead.

Riding the metro allows to go quickly to interesting places like: La Moneda (our little white house), Barrio Lastarria (bohemian + art hood), Museo Bellas Artes y Museo de Arte Contemporaneo (museum), downtown, universities, and more. Also you can go to "Pajaritos" (station) or "Estación Central" (station) or "Universidad de Santiago" (station) where you can take buses to Valparaíso, Viña del Mar and a lots of other cities...

If you travel by route line 4 in the rush hour, you should know that trains won't stop in each station. You gotta ask to a guard for more details according your destination.
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
pedromendes says:
Thanks a lot!
Posted on: Mar 22, 2014
HuBison says:
Excellent tip as I plan to be in Santiago in March and I don't like being robbed to take taxi's everywhere. I am hoping to stay in the Bellavista area and am told there are 3 stops nearby.
Posted on: Jan 10, 2012
yadilitta says:
Gracias por el dato!
Posted on: Aug 21, 2011

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