Buses – these humble vehicles are the skeleton of Chile’s national public transport system – and they do it proud. They have a range of comfort levels, they are well-managed and their networks cover most of the country. There are many companies that operate from Santiago to nearby destinations and two major companies that operate long distance journeys – Tur-bus and Pullman.
Long distance buses are fitted with three major types of seats. Semi Cama is mostly upright while Salon Cama seats are nice and wide and lay back further than an aeroplane seat. Premium Cama is basically a chair that morphs into a bed come night-time – where affordable, these are totally worth it for the better night’s sleep. Tur-bus and Pullman buses generally leave from the terminal adjacent to the Universidad de Santiago Metro station (always check your ticket though). To get here, use this map.
If you’re looking for a ticket to somewhere closer, for a day or weekend trip, buying tickets from a vendor at the terminal seems to be the most popular method. If you take the Metro to Universidad de Santiago, walk through the Tur-bus terminal and cross the street (Calle Ruiz Tagle), you will find the local/ short haul bus terminal. It’s busy and can be confusing, so practise your Spanish, and ask around at a few booths to find a bus you want.
How to book
Obviously the easiest way these days is online – but unless you have a legitimate Chilean ID number (RUT/RUN) this is not going to work for you. Even with one, the websites can be temperamental. The most certain way to get the trip you want is to research your trip online and then head to the nearest Tur-bus/ Pullman office to buy the tickets in person. Double check that the details you want or have provided match the details on the ticket before the sale is finalised. The good seats can sell quickly and you don’t want to miss out because of a human error muddle.
Visit the websites to scope out available journeys and which seats you want or can afford. There are of course other options – these are the two major companies. Although these sites list office locations, it’s a tricky site and so you’re better off using Google maps and searching the company name.
Note: This story was accurate when published. Please be sure to confirm all details directly with the sites in question.