This guide is useful for travelers who want to buy a SIM Card at Chile airport. Purchasing a local SIM card upon arrival at the airport provides convenient mobile access. It examines SIM card options available at airports in key cities like SCL, IQQ,… from the major network providers. A comparison of available plans is included to help you choose and activate the most suitable SIM for your needs when you land. All the necessary information is covered to get connected right away.

Sim Card at Chile airport

I. Which Chile Airports Offer SIM Cards for Tourists

The two largest international airports in Chile offering SIM cards onsite are:

1. Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL)

Santiago Airport
Santiago International Airport. Source

Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport serves tourist destinations like Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, SIM card providers here include Movistar, Claro, Entel, and WOM after baggage claim and customs. 

  • Entel SIM starter pack – $5-7 USD
  • Claro SIM with 200MB data – Around $6-8 USD
  • Movistar pay-as-you-go SIM – Approximately $3-5 USD

2. Diego Aracena International Airport (IQQ)

Diego Aracena International Airport
Diego Aracena International Airport. Source

For visitors heading straight to popular Patagonia regions, Diego Aracena International Airport has Claro/Movistar SIM cards available.

  • Entel eSIM activation and 1GB data – Around $15.
  • Claro SIM with 500MB data valid for 30 days – $10-12.
  • Movistar SIM no data/minutes – $5.

Smaller regional airports may have basic SIMs from main networks or rely on WiFi access instead. Stick to the major hubs above for the top SIM card airport selection.

II. Where to Buy Chile SIM Cards at Airports

Once you’ve passed through the customs and immigration area after landing, buying a SIM card at Chile airports is very straightforward:

  • Cell Network Provider Shops/Kiosks – The main Chile cell networks like Movistar, Claro, Entel, WOM, and VTR operate dedicated SIM card shops or sales desks located just past luggage claim/customs exit doors. Here you’ll often find staff who can speak multiple languages to help get you set up properly.
  • Vending Machines – In addition to staffed stores, you may also come across vending machines selling SIM cards with varied data/minute allowances. Usually located right next to provider storefronts, the machines accept cash payments if you’re looking for quick self-service.
  • Airport Convenience Stores – Some airport newsstands or small shops will stock major network SIM cards as well. Prices might be slightly higher than the providers directly, but shops may have longer operational hours.
Where to Buy Chile SIM Cards at Airports
Santiago Duty-Free Store

III. What to Prepare When Buying a Chile SIM Card

Purchasing a SIM card at Chile airport requires minimal preparation, although having the right documentation helps ensure a smooth process:

What to Prepare Details
Passport Your official photo ID passport is required when buying any Chile SIM card as a foreign visitor. Both the physical passport or a digital copy works for verification.
Proof of onward travel If you are arriving from another country as a visitor, you may need to show your ticket for onward international travel out of Chile. This proves you are not planning to stay indefinitely.
Unlocked Phone Having an unlocked mobile device is necessary for physically inserting and using a Chile nano or micro SIM abroad. Unlocked phones can swap SIMs freely without network restrictions. Call your current carrier in advance to request an unlock if needed.
Credit Card/Cash SIM card rates are very reasonable in Chile, but you’ll need payment ready through either credit/debit card or local currency. transaction amounts generally range from 5,000 – 15,000 Chilean Pesos ($4 – $18 USD).

Overall, Chile makes it simple for tourists landing at major airports to quickly equip local SIM cards for affordable mobile data, calls, and texts during their trip. But don’t forget to consider eSIM options as well!

IV. Chile eSIMs – A Convenient Alternative

While standard physical SIM cards purchased after landing in Chile work perfectly fine, eSIM technology now offers some excellent advantages for travelers:

  • Don’t have to locate a physical SIM card when you land
  • Can activate service with provider’s app instead of visiting store
  • Easy to switch plans or operators by downloading another eSIM profile

Consider using an eSIM from a top eSIM provider in Chile – which offers diverse plans for any traveling goals. Here’s what makes stand out:

Variety & Flexibility: Choose among a wide array of data packages that are best suited for your goals.
Multiple Network Coverage: They take care of the technical aspect by collaborating with main Chile mobile operators.
Top-notch Customer Service: They offer 24/7 customer support so you can get assistance if needed.
Affordable Prices: Their local SIM cards are competitively priced, offering excellent value for money.

Find the best options for your trip below:

Plan that may interest you

Chile eSIM 7 Days Plan
Chile eSIM 7 Days Plan
From $12.50

V. FAQs about SIM Cards at Chile Airports

Can I buy a SIM card at Chile airport late at night or early morning?

Physical SIM card availability directly corresponds with given airport store hours, as most cell network kiosks operate during peak travel times. Arriving very late or early limits purchase options. eSIMs provide 24/7 instant activation as an ideal alternative.

What are the operating hours for SIM card stores at Santiago airport?

Major carrier shops like Movistar, Claro, and Entel are typically open from 6:00 am to midnight in the arrivals area of Santiago International Airport. Staffing levels and specific store hours can vary from day to day.

Can I preorder a Chile SIM card online for airport pickup?

Local providers don’t offer official preorder options for tourists. However, eSIM subscriptions from Truphone, Airalo, and Surfshark can be purchased online anytime and provide instant activation on landing. AlwaysOnline has a bundled airport SIM card delivery service in Santiago as well.

Is buying a SIM card at Chile airport more expensive than in the city?

Airport SIM rates are very reasonable and comparable to downtown shops. Major networks actually offer tourists special packages only for airport locations. But you’ll have many more cell phone store options in urban areas.

Does purchasing a SIM card at Chile airport take a long time?

If arriving during peak hours, give yourself 15-30 minutes for purchasing a standard SIM card including wait time – quicker if you have all documentation ready. Waiting also depends on staffing. eSIM activation takes only minutes without any lines once WiFi is connected.

VI. Conclusion

Getting connected with a SIM card at Chile airports like Santiago is quick and convenient. Look for main provider shops like Movistar and Entel right after customs to purchase an affordable prepaid data plan for your unlocked phone based on the length of your visit. Keep your passport and travel details handy for smooth SIM registration.

Consider a global eSIM service like as well to enable instant activation without airport store visits or hardware swapping – especially useful for late-night or early-morning arrivals. Enjoy your trip across Chile!