Chile City Breaks SOUTH AMERICA Travel Advice

Step by step guide – how to travel from Santiago to Valparaiso

If you have more than a couple of days in Santiago, the nearby port city of Valparaiso is definitely worth a visit. Just 120km from Chile’s capital, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a quirky collection of dilapidated buildings, rickety funiculars, graffitied alleyways and colour as far as the eye can see! It’s also home to over 40 historic hills (cerros) offering spectacular views of the city and bay below.

Valparaiso-may-1It’s really easy to make the hour and a half journey between the two cities, but it definitely helps to work out the route beforehand to make sure you end up in the right place. To help you out, here’s a step by step guide on how to travel from Santiago to Valparaiso…

If you have the money and want a private ride, then travelling by taxi is an option but the most common mode of transport is the bus. There are a bunch of different companies that drive the route multiple times daily, but the two you will probably hear about the most are ‘Pullman’ and the bright green ‘Turbus’. They leave from a couple of stops within Santiago, but the easiest one to go from is Pajaritos which is the last stop in Santiago. Leaving from here means you won’t end up sitting on the bus for an extra 20 mins or so whilst the bus weaves through the centre. To get to Pajaritos, you will probably need to take the metro. For me, it was really straightforward as I just needed to take one line but depending on where you are coming from, you may need to change. The underground system is really easy to understand, but if you are unsure see my guide on how to use the Santiago metro.

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Once at Pajaritos, follow the signs for ‘Bus Transfer’ which will lead you outside to the terminal. Before you exit to the outside waiting area, you will need to buy your ticket from one of the ticket desks inside. They are clearly labelled with the company names – you can’t miss the bright green Turbus signs!

To buy your ticket, head to your preferred desk and ask for ‘un boleto a Valparaiso, por favor‘ (One ticket to Valparaiso). If you want to buy your return at the same time, you’ll need to specify ‘un boleto de vuelta’. It doesn’t seem to make any difference whether you buy the return journey beforehand or not – I chose to wait and buy mine the next day. Once you have your ticket, head out to the waiting area and look out for your bus, which will have the company logo on the side and Valpariso displayed somewhere on the front. The time of the next available bus will be printed on your ticket, so you can see how long you have to wait. They run regularly (every 15 mins), but buses can fill up fast on weekends so it may be one or two buses before you can get on. Whilst you wait, you can use the baños / bathrooms in the station but you’ll need to pay 400 pesos for the pleasure. TIP: If you can wait 15 mins, there are toilets on the buses! Although you’ll need to bring your own toilet paper…

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Pic from http://bit.ly/1TYtQSt

When your bus arrives, you’ll need to find your seat – your seat number is printed on your ticket (look for the word asiento). There will be a guy waiting to check your ticket before you get on, who will direct you to your seat if the bus has two levels. KEEP HOLD OF YOUR TICKET! At some point during the ride, you may have your ticket checked so make sure you keep it somewhere safe! With minimal traffic, the total journey time is an hour and a half and the time flies thanks to the beautiful views. You drive past a number of vineyards and local villages, cloud-topped mountains and sprawling green forests before arriving in to Valpariso’s dusty streets. The seats on the Turbus were really comfortable with loads of room and space to put your feet up too.

Once at Valparaiso, you will need to find your way in to the centre or to your accommodation. It’s not particularly close – around a 25 minute walk to Plaza Sotomayor so it’s advisable to take a bus, collectivo or taxi. For information on how to get to the centre, check out my guide to public transport in Valparaiso. If going directly to your accommodation it’s probably best you email your hostel to find out the best way to get there.

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Plaza Sotomayor

To make the return journey, head back to the same bus station (ask for terminal de bus) and find the ticket desks. Turbus leaves from dock numbers 1 -6 so keep down that end and you’ll see the bus when it arrives if it isn’t there already. Parajitos is the first stop in Santiago, so you know as soon as the bus stops, it’s time to get off!

So that’s it! Easy peasy 🙂 If you have any specific questions about travelling between these two cities, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them!

Happy Travels,

Alys 3

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49 Comments

  • Reply
    Andrea Taylor
    April 24, 2017 at 8:06 pm

    I found this extremely helpful, Thank you What do you suggest is a good drop off point in Valparaiso from the bus station for a private taxi?

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      April 24, 2017 at 11:08 pm

      No problem, glad you found it helpful! Do you mean where is a good place to go after the bus station if you were to get a taxi into the centre? Plaza Sotomayor is probably your best bet – it’s a central area close to lots of cool side streets, along the tram line and lots of buses go through here. It’s also where the ‘Tours for Tips’ walking tours leave from, which I’d definitely recommend as a great way to see the city. I’d imagine there are lots of hotels and hostels nearby and ALL taxis will know this area. If that wasn’t what you meant with your question, let me know & I’ll do my best to answer! 🙂

  • Reply
    Owen
    May 24, 2017 at 12:32 am

    Clear and easily understood. Thank you very much! I am heading to Santiago tonight and Valpo tomorrow.

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      May 24, 2017 at 7:50 am

      Thanks – glad you found it useful! Have an amazing time in Chile 🙂

  • Reply
    Louise
    May 28, 2017 at 12:09 pm

    Great post thanks! I am heading to Chile in August for an extended stay and Valparaiso and Vina del Mar are on my list!! One question – as I am also a budget traveler – how much was the ticket to Valparaiso?

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      May 29, 2017 at 10:53 am

      Hey Louise, thanks for your comment – glad you liked the post! The ticket didn’t cost much at all – I can’t remember how much I paid at the time but the Turbus website is showing tickets from 2000-2700 pesos which is £2.30-£3.15. I just picked a random date but it will be around that price! Hope that helps 🙂

  • Reply
    Steve
    June 1, 2017 at 3:58 am

    Amazing tips. Went to Valparaiso yesterday following your guide. We got an uber to the bus station and then bus onwards, clean, easy to do and very efficient. Thanks for the great guide work

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      June 1, 2017 at 6:59 pm

      Thanks! Hope you had fun in Valparaiso 🙂 Glad you were able to use my guide to help you!

  • Reply
    PJ_el_Profe
    June 24, 2017 at 5:58 am

    I am actually taking the bus tomorrow and found all this very useful! Just a few things if you don’t mind. The bus station is pajaritos (which means little birds in Spanish) and not parajitos. Also, technically it would be “un boleto a Valparaíso. I’d actually say un pasaje para Valparaíso. But the word for ticket changes throughout Latin America and boleto is always understood. But once again, your guides are great and we’ll definitely be using your guide once in Valpo as well.

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      June 25, 2017 at 8:12 am

      Hi there 🙂 Thank you for letting me know about the spelling mistake and how to ask for the ticket… all corrected now! I’m glad you found the guide useful – have an awesome time in Valpo!

      • Reply
        PJ_el_Profe
        June 28, 2017 at 6:39 pm

        De nada. And thank you for the awesome guide! I am actually down in southern Chile now. It is breathtaking.

        • Reply
          thewildlife
          June 28, 2017 at 6:43 pm

          Ahh, I’m very jealous! It’s on my bucket list to go back and explore Chile/ South America properly!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sarah
    August 9, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    This is a great help! We’re in Chile now and about to head over that way with very minimal Spanish – your guide makes it look very do-able 😀

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      August 13, 2017 at 2:34 pm

      Ahhh good! Glad you have found it helpful 🙂 hope you are having an amazing time in Chile!

  • Reply
    Eve
    August 10, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Very helpful guide! Noted that you used Spanish when purchasing your bus tickets, is English not widely used or understood in Chile?

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      August 13, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      Hey – thanks! Some people in the bigger shops speak a little English but generally it wasn’t spoken very much. Some basic Spanish goes a long way 🙂 I didn’t know much but used a translation app and wrote down how to say things in a notebook. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth
    August 15, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Is it safe to check luggage on the bus? We will be on a 5 week trip, with one suitcase and one backpack-type carryon each. BTW, I speak fluent Spanish.

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      August 16, 2017 at 2:22 pm

      Yes, I didn’t have any problems – they are large, modern coaches with storage underneath the bus. Speaking fluent Spanish will definitely help! Have an amazing time 🙂

  • Reply
    Barb
    August 25, 2017 at 1:09 am

    Thank you for the good information. Can you catch a bus at the airport going to Valparaiso?

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      August 25, 2017 at 10:25 am

      Hi 🙂 I’m not sure whether it is possible to catch a bus directly from the airport to Valparaiso but I know you can catch a bus from the airport (same company – ”Turbus” which runs approximately every 15 minutes) to Pajaritos metro station, then catch the bus from there to Valparaiso. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Anne
    September 2, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing the tip. It’s really helpful and very easy to follow. I plan to have a day trip from Santiago to Valparaiso. Do you think how long will I need to be there? Is it one full day? I wonder whether we can arrive back to Santiago by 4-5 p.m. We are pressed on time and thinking that perhaps we can explore Santiago 1-2 spots upon the return as the sunset is late in Summer.

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      September 2, 2017 at 3:28 pm

      Hi! Glad you found the post useful 🙂 You can definitely see a lot in one day and get a good feel for the city. I always think it’s nice to spend at least one day somewhere so you can enjoy the day time and the evening.. but if you don’t have much time then you can still see a lot in one day! The Tours4Tips free walking tours leave at 10am and 3pm, so if you can make it work with the bus times, you can visit a lot of places in the 3 hour tours 🙂 If the timings don’t work for the tours, you could try and create your own walking tour based on the places they visit.

      https://tours4tips.com/tour/valparaiso-highlights/

      Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Hattie
    September 4, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    This was really helpful for a new resident of Santiago, thank you!

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      September 7, 2017 at 5:36 pm

      Ahhh great, thanks for the feedback! Enjoy living in such a cool city 🙂

  • Reply
    paul lewis
    October 11, 2017 at 1:36 am

    Thanks for the useful tips. Just a brief question – approx. how long is the journey time from Santiago to Valparaiso?

  • Reply
    paul lewis
    October 11, 2017 at 1:38 am

    Sorry for the oversight – just noticed you mentioned around 1.5 hours!

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      October 11, 2017 at 2:01 am

      No worries! Yeah around 1.5hrs 🙂

  • Reply
    Sharon G
    October 12, 2017 at 10:46 pm

    Thanks for the detailed explanation. Can I ask if I buy a return ticket from Santiago to Valparaiso do I need to specify the time I want to return or is that an open ticket? Meaning I can get on any bus from Valparaiso to get back to Santiago? But then I won’t have an allocated seat?

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      October 15, 2017 at 7:45 am

      Hi Sharon, thanks for your comment 🙂 I’m not sure whether you can buy a return ticket or not, as I just purchased two single tickets. I would imagine you would need to book a time as like you say, you would need to be allocated a seat. I’ve had a quick Google and can’t seem to find any info on open tickets so you may just need to buy a set time or two single tickets…. Sorry I can’t be more helpful!

  • Reply
    B
    October 28, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Thank you

  • Reply
    Benjamin Chaloner-Gill
    January 2, 2018 at 9:19 pm

    A great posting, and thank you. You answered a number of questions for us about transport from SCL to Valpo. We are looking forward to our trip in March 2018 :). The bus is the way to go, and you confirmed that for us.

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      January 2, 2018 at 9:57 pm

      Hey! No problem 🙂 Glad the article was useful for you!

  • Reply
    Giulia
    January 18, 2018 at 6:29 pm

    Hi,
    We will be travelling from Santiago airport directly to Valparaiso, do you know if there is any direct connection from there? or do we need to take a bus to Santiago and then from there to Valparaiso?
    Thanks a lot in advance! Ciao 🙂

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      January 24, 2018 at 4:00 am

      Hi I’m not sure whether it is possible to catch a bus directly from the airport to Valparaiso but I know you can catch a bus from the airport (same company – ”Turbus” which runs approximately every 15 minutes) to Pajaritos metro station, then catch the bus from there to Valparaiso. Hope this helps!

  • Reply
    Mark
    January 24, 2018 at 12:26 pm

    Outstanding! Thank you.

  • Reply
    Helen
    February 14, 2018 at 12:22 am

    We have 9 days after disembarking our ship in San Antonio on March 18 before flying back to Canada.
    Would you recommend taking a bus from San Antonio to Valparaiso and spending a night or two?
    Alternatively, we were thinking about staying 9 nights in Santiago and doing day trips. Does Valparaiso as a day trip make sense?
    Appreciate your help. Your metro/ bus guide to Valpo is very valuable. Kind regards, Helen

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      February 18, 2018 at 9:06 am

      Hey Helen,

      Thanks for your comment, glad you found the bus and metro guide handy 🙂

      I would say Valparaiso would be a little rushed as a day trip, although definitely possible. You’d just want to get an early bus out and a late bus back. If you can, I’d advise staying one night as you will get a better feel for the place and be able to see a lot more. It’s a cool place to spend some time!

      If you can bus from San Antonio to Valparaiso, you could spend one or two nights there and then head to Santiago? You can then do a another 1 or 2 days trips from Santiago. I would say 2 days is enough for Santiago, so definitely get out on some trips if you can!

      Have an amazing time 🙂

  • Reply
    Greg
    April 30, 2018 at 8:12 am

    This is a fabulous site. Your information is precise and detailed. Thank you for you being prepared to help out the fellow traveller. My wife and I are off to Santiago for 3 day in Jan 2019. Valpo is now very definitely on the agenda as well.

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      May 14, 2018 at 4:57 am

      Hi Greg! Thanks so much for your kind comments 🙂 I’m so glad the information was useful for you – enjoy your trip!

  • Reply
    Sue Ennis
    June 1, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Really interesting reading. Thanks everyone for your comments. My husband and I have booked a cruise for next March. Do you recommend spending time in Santiago or Valparaiso? We only have limited time before cruise.

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      June 4, 2018 at 9:00 pm

      I would say Valparaiso! For me, Santiago was another big city but Valparaiso was something a bit different.. Enjoy your cruise! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mike
    June 9, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    My wife and I are planning to book a cruise that ends in Valparaiso and then spending a few days in Santiago before flying home from the Santiago airport (SCL). If we wanted the convenience of a private taxi/transfer from Valparaiso to Santiago (directly from the port or after spending a couple of days in Valparaiso), what would be the best way to arrange it, and what would be the approximate cost? Many thanks.

  • Reply
    Steve
    September 5, 2018 at 1:46 am

    Hi – thanks for the information. As nobody else has asked this I’ll assume I’m missing something but I cant see Pajaritos on the metro – can you point out to me which line it is please

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      September 5, 2018 at 3:03 am

      Hey Steve! It’s on Line 1, 2 stops after San Pablo 🙂

  • Reply
    Matt
    September 17, 2018 at 1:47 am

    Hi — what time is the first bus from Santiago to Valparaiso — 5 AM? 6 AM? thanks, mc

  • Reply
    Latika
    October 3, 2018 at 2:28 am

    Thank you for the detailed information. We are planning to go to Santiago for a day or so in January 2019 after our Mt Aconcagua expedition. I am vegetarian and my husband is vegan. Is it easy to find vegan/vegetarian food in Santiago and Valparaiso? Any recommendations?

    • Reply
      thewildlife
      October 11, 2018 at 2:26 am

      Thank you! I found it really easy 🙂 I researched some places beforehand and then most places had an English menu. It might be worth having the Spanish for “I don’t eat meat, eggs or milk” written down somewhere so you can show people, if there isn’t an English menu. I actually wrote a post about the vegan options I tried on my visit – check it out – http://www.the-wild-life.com/best-vegan-restaurants-in-santiago/ Hope this helps 🙂

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