advertisement

Getting There

By Plane -- LANExpress (tel. 600/526-2000 toll free, or 45/740375; www.lan.com) serves Temuco with an average of four daily flights from Santiago and one daily flight to Puerto Montt. Sky Airline (tel. 600/600-2828 toll free, or 45/747300; www.skyairline.cl) serves Temuco with two daily flights from Santiago and two weekly flights to and from Puerto Montt.

The Maquehue Airport (ZCO; tel. 45/554801) is about 8km (5 miles) from the city center. To get to Temuco, take a cab -- about $10 (£6.70) -- or arrange transportation with Transfer & Turismo de la Araucanía (tel. 45/339900), a minivan service at the airport that charges $6 (£4) for door-to-door service. This transfer service has service to Pucón for $14 (£9.30) per person, but it might cost more if they are unable to arrange a group.

By Bus -- To get to Temuco from Santiago by bus, Tur Bus (tel. 600/660-6600; www.turbus.com) leaves from the Terminal Alameda at Av. Bernardo O'Higgins 3786; or Cruz del Sur (tel. 2/779-0607) leaves from the Terminal Santiago at Av. Bernardo O'Higgins 3848. The trip takes 8 to 9 hours; a one-way economy ticket costs about $36 (£24), executive class $54 (£36). Most buses arrive at Temuco's Terminal Rodoviario at Vicente Pérez Rosales 01609 (tel. 45/225005). From here, you can take a taxi to your hotel.

By Train -- EFE (tel. 2/585-5000 in Santiago, or 45/233416 in Temuco; www.efe.cl) offers one of the few train services in Chile, with salon and sleeper coaches. Unfortunately, a recent ambitious expansion plan has gone very wrong, making train service terribly unreliable, and Santiago-Temuco service has once again been interrupted. Instead, Lake District trains now run from Victoria (north of Temuco) down to Puerto Montt; the daily trip costs $12 (£8) for a very long 8-hour ride. A connecting train does leave from Temuco three times a day (9:30am, and 4:10 and 8:30pm) to Victoria and vice versa; however, the time wasted during the transfer makes the bus much more attractive. It's safe to say that few take this route now and the Temuco station is languishing because of it. With things likely to continue in flux, check the website as you near your trip for updates (in Spanish only).

By Car -- The Pan-American Highway (Rte. 5) takes motorists to Temuco. Tolls cost $24 (£16) Santiago-Temuco; fuel prices tend to be about average along the highway. If you're heading to the national parks east of Temuco, fill up in town or on the highway as fuel prices in the villages are much higher.

Getting Around

Getting around Temuco is easy by foot. To get to outlying areas such as national parks, it's best to rent a car or go with a tour. To get to Pucón, try Buses JAC, corner of Balmaceda and Aldunate (tel. 45/231340), which operates from its own terminal, leaving every half-hour on weekdays and every hour on weekends and holidays.

If you want to rent a car to see the outlying sights, Hertz, Avis, Budget, and Econorent all have kiosks at the airport. Outside of summer, it is possible for walk-ins to get a car easily. During the summer, it is important to reserve in advance. In downtown Temuco, Hertz can be found at Andrés Bello 792 (tel. 45/318585), Avis at San Martín 755 (tel. 600/368-2000 toll free, or 45/237575), Budget at Vicuña Mackenna 399 (tel. 45/232715), and Econorent Car Rental at Patricio Lynch 471 (tel. 45/214911; fax 45/214911).

Visitor Information

Sernatur operates a well-stocked tourism office at the corner of Claro Solar and Bulnes streets at Plaza Aníbal Pinto (tel. 45/211969). Hours from December to February are Monday through Saturday from 8:30am to 8:30pm, Sunday 10am to 2pm. The rest of the year, the office is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 2pm and 3 to 5pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.