Please sign in to post.

Santiago Chile-Buenos Aires Taxis

Hi,
Wondering if by chance anyone has traveled to Santiago (or Valparaiso) Chile lately or Buenos Aires. We understand taxis are prone to cheating customers, particularly those whose Spanish skills are weak. We are being securely picked up to and from the airports but will take taxis otherwise. Is ride sharing available there?
Separately, there have been violent demonstrations in Santiago and Valparaiso recently and wondering if anyone has had any experience regarding the impact on tourists. We are going there in mid-January.

Thanks if anyone can help!

Posted by
7990 posts

Buenos Aires- we were strongly advised by our hotel to only get into a radio cab that was called for us, such as by a hotel or restaurant. One time, in front to the art museum, nice area, we got into a taxi that was not called for us. He went the opposite way from which we had told him go, down a desolate one way street. We screamed at him to stop, got out and ran as fast as we could. We were sure someone was waiting for him- and us. The hotel gave us an "I told you so" reaction. So, have all cabs called for you where the destinations are recorded with your names.

Posted by
49 posts

Thanks very much. I have heard similar things. From what you are writing it seems that you are saying that the radio cabs are much more secure. That's very helpful.

Posted by
5630 posts

Taxis from the Buenos Aires airport charge a huge premium. Have your hotel or B&B arrange for a pickup.
We used taxis and walking to get around BA while there for five days. Taxis are generally cheap. Make sure the meter is running. We saved by negotiating in US dollars instead of paying the local currency.

We have been to Chile three times and love that country. It is South America's most stable country. Sad what has happened there.

We used a firm called SouthExcursions in Chile for tours and transport. You may wish to contact them.

Posted by
49 posts

Thanks for the advice. Not concerned about the cost so much as the safety. So I take it that you felt ok taking/hailing taxis (radio or not) as long as you made sure the meter was running? Thanks again!

Posted by
7990 posts

If a taxi is called for you in Buenos Aires it is safer as there is a record your name, driver and taxi number. We were staying in lovely Recoleta on a upscale street and the hotel called for taxis.
We actually felt much safer in Chile, even after a theft.

Posted by
4165 posts

In both Santiago and Buenos Aires, we arranged transport to and from the hotel through the hotel. While in BA, we took a couple busses or the subway if we couldn’t walk to where we wanted to go. In Santiago we walked everywhere or took the subway. When we went to Valparaiso, we took the local bus. In Ecuador, we hired a driver through the hotel to take us to places outside of Quito. We were told the same thing about taxis as you’ve heard. With the riots and demonstrations currently taking places n a number of S. American countries, we wouldn’t currently travel there until things settled down. We were in BA n 2016, Chile in 2014, and Ecuador in 2008.

Posted by
49 posts

Thanks so much for your help. Yes, we were going to arrange taxis from our hotel as much as possible and like you we walk most everywhere. I hadn't thought of arranging with the hotel taxis back to the hotel but that's a great idea. We've been closely following the demonstrations in Chile but since we have a cruise from Valparaiso and a few days of extension stays in Santiago we are going to go in January and do our best. Our hotel is in Condesa, at least a little removed from most of the demonstrations. I travel in Central America and use some precautions and recently returned from Hong Kong so a little accustomed to this, as sad as it is for the people in those areas. Thanks so much again for your help!

Posted by
2680 posts

3 years ago, I used UBER in Santiago de Chile with no problems, fast, easy, and fairly priced, never once had to use a taxi, it's all digital, so the chances of getting overcharged are virtually nil. To get from Santiago to Valparaiso, I hired a private guide with a car to drive me there and stop on the sights along the way.

Posted by
31521 posts

sschickler,

Your profile doesn't indicate where you're from but you may find these websites helpful. Although you might be from the U.S., they provide some good information......

Also have a look at the crime situation, vaccinations, etc. There are increased warnings for Chile at the moment due to demonstrations and political unrest.

Posted by
353 posts

Like a previous poster, I used UBER extensively in Santiago in April 2018. Always courteous, clean cars, about half spoke English. Never had an issue.

Posted by
6877 posts

I used the metro/"subte" in Buenos Aires and found no reason to avoid it (or avoiding certain stations). It was cheap and easy to use. Taking a taxi was interesting in that I remember the car was a jalopy and the driver threw all our suitcases in the front seat (kind of odd but who knows, maybe his trunk was already full). It was not possible to hail one off the street, they would just drive by even if empty. There is a decent chance that a taxi driver will pretend you gave them a different bill when giving you change back (so look at it carefully and even learn how to say the number in Spanish), and some can be quite aggressive (the ones manning the airport). As far as safety goes, I think it's worth remembering the mundane - not using your seat belt is probably the highest risk to your safety you'll experience and yet so many people just don't do it once they get in a cab. I never felt unsafe in BA or (northwest) Argentina and I also wouldn't avoid a poor, but colorful/ touristy neighborhood like La Boca during the day.

One major piece of advice I could give about BA is that you may experience unusual pains in getting small change/coins. If you try to give a cab driver a big bill, they likely won't be able to break it. There is a real hard currency issue in Argentina and high levels of inflation. Everyone would love to get (your) US dollars instead of payment in Argentine pesos if given a chance since those are actually worth something and they make a profit in the exchange.