The lively, vibrant and centrally located capital city of the sword-shaped country that is Chile has as its international gateway Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport. Also called Santiago International Airport, it serves the Chilean capital of Santiago. Being centrally located, Santiago is a good base from which to explore the surrounding regions by renting your own car. In Santiago, you are never too far away from both the warm, sandy beach and the snow-capped peaks of the Andes.
Who to Book With
Seven car hire suppliers are currently represented in the airport. They are Econorent, Rosselot, Hertz, Avis, Budget, Alamo and Europcar. The desks of these car rental companies are open every day of the year from 06:30 to 10:30. They are located on the first level of the Central International Hall for domestic and international arrivals.
Need to Know Essentials
The following documentation will need to be presented when you show up to collect your vehicle:
- Renter's driver's licence (preferably an International Driving Permit)
- Credit card of the renter
- Passport of the renter
- Copy of the booking details
To obtain more info see our FAQs.
In all major cities in Chile, including the capital Santiago, every street corner has a traffic light or sign. Should there be none, remember that vehicles coming from your right have the right of way. A tag is a device you will need when driving the Autopista Central (Central Highway), the main access in and out of Santiago, or any other electronic toll roads near the capital. The device costs £6 at any service station in the country. When renting a car, it is a good idea to do so in Santiago because away from the capital, rental rates tend to go up.
View our Chile driving guide for additional tips.
Driving your own vehicle is highly recommended for excursions away from the capital, and you can do lots of those in Santiago. To get to town from the airport, some public transport options are available, namely buses and taxis. Buses stop at various metro stations, from where you can make onward train journeys.
The Santiago Metro currently has five lines covering many parts of the city. From the airport, you can take a bus to Pajaritos Metro Station (Line L1) and continue your journey to the city from there. Tickets cost just below £1.
There are three official taxi service providers at the airport: Taxi Oficial, Taxi VIP and Radio Móvil. Their counters can be found on the first level of the Central International Hall arrivals area. Beware of unofficial taxi scammers who charge exorbitant prices.
Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport to downtown Santiago is about £20.
Two airport buses provide transport services at the airport. TurBus buses run from morning to midnight and stop at Universidad de Santiago, Las Rejas and Pajaritos Metro Stations. CentroPuerto also runs services from morning until late at night and stops at Los Héroes, Estación Central, Universidad de Santiago, Las Rejas and Pajaritos Metro Stations. A one-way ride costs £2.
Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport has a single terminal building. On one side is the International Terminal, the other Domestic. It is the busiest airport in Chile. In 2012, it processed more than 15 million passengers. Aside from various destinations in South and Central America, it is also connected to North America, Europe and Australia.
Express parking and covered parking are available at the parking lots in front of the terminal building around the Holiday Inn Hotel. For Express Parking, every 30 minutes costs £1.4. In the Covered Parking area, the first two 30-minute time blocks cost £1. Then, it is £0.75 for every additional 30-minute block. Long-term parking is also available at £10 for anything between 14 and 24 hours.
A number of internet kiosks can be found scattered through the terminal building. Some of the cafés in the airport such as Gatsby offer free Wi-Fi.
The Arrivals area on the first level and the Departures area on the third each have an information desk. The International Arrivals area also has a tourist information centre.
Information: +56 (02) 690 1752/3
Lifts are wheelchair accessible and Braille equipped. Phone stands and toilets also have provisions for persons with reduced mobility.
Restaurants and Bars
Dunkin Donuts have three locations, two in the Domestic Terminal and one in the International Terminal. A Starbucks, Sushi Bar and La Sebastiana can also be found in the International Terminal. A Gatsby Food and Beverages branch is located in the International Terminal pre-security area.
The Salon Pacific Club offers lounges in both Domestic and International Departures, past the security checks.
Money and ATMs
The Arrivals area and the International Departures area have branches of Afex Currency Exchange. The Domestic Departures past the security checks has a Banco Santander branch. The Domestic Departures area before the security checks has a few ATMs.
Gift items, sunglasses, books, magazines, jewellery, crafts and souvenirs are just some of the items you will find in many of the shops with locations in Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport. Piedra Lina and Gundert both have a location at the International Terminal pre-security area. Both stores sell crafts and souvenirs. Also in the area is Studio Accesorios, which sells travel and photography accessories and gifts. Pequeñeces, located in the Domestic Departures, offers a wide array of sunglasses for sale.