When we were looking to head straight from Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez Airport to Valparaiso, we couldn’t find any good resources, so after we made the journey ourselves we decided to share our route. It’s really easy!
2018 UPDATE: Tara has commented (below) to let us know that costs have changed slightly. “The cost has increased a little bit stage 1: C$1,800 and stage 2: C$3,300 (May 2018)”. Thanks, Tara!
Step 1 – Find a Bus
When you pass through Immigration Control into the airport head straight for Exit 5 (Salida 5), turn right immediately after the Customs Desk.
Turn right out of the door and walk straight past the taxis shouting for your attention and don’t get drawn in by the extremely convenient but overpriced TransVIP buses. There are two companies you should look for: CentroPuerto and Tur-Bus. We’ve travelled with Tur-Bus a number of times so we went with them. You’ll need to purchase a ticket either to Pajaritos or Terminal Alameda – the cost should be C$1,550 (as of December ’14).
Step 2 – Head to the Terminal
Most of the buses go to both Pajaritos (a smaller station on the edge of town) and Terminal Alameda. You can catch a bus to Valparaiso from either of these stations and each has it’s advantages; Pajaritos is 45 minutes away from the airport which is closer than the main terminal. Terminal Alameda takes 60 minutes but the buses to Valparaiso will be more frequent and you’ll have more companies to choose from. The choice is yours!
Step 3 – Choose a Bus Company
We decided to head to the main station (Alameda) with the idea that with more companies to choose from we could barter a better deal on the ticket. As it happens, all of the companies offer almost the exact same price regardless of how much you try and haggle. As of December 2014, the price was C$2,500 and the journey took 2 hours. We opted for the ever-reliable Condor Bus.
Step 4 – Valparaiso Terminal to the old town
The bus arrives in Valparaiso bus terminal (Terminale de buses Vina del Mar) which is actually quite central. However, if you’re staying in the old town as many opt to it’s a pretty long walk (10km) to tackle with your luggage after a flight and two buses.
You can either take a frighteningly expensive taxi (about C$5000 for a 10 minute drive) or you can hop on a local bus for C$0.300. Head to the main road (Calle Valparaiso) and wait by the bus stop heading West.
Don’t bother trying to suss out the tube – no options for tourists as you’ll need to buy a pre-paid travel card which isn’t cheap. Good luck and enjoy Valparaiso!
Total travel time: Approx. 3 hrs plus transit time in terminals
Total cost: C$3,350 with bus, C$8,050 with taxi