Posted as a warning to anyone visiting this lovely city.
Our first night there and very tired we ate in Bella Vista and hailed a street cab for the short journey home to Hotel Orly. Driver was very affable and quickly determined that his two happy, carefree, and 'slightly the worst for drink' passengers were from Scotland. I did notice that the meter seemed to be whirling round at an alarming rate but not being used to the hundreds of Pesos to the GB£ gave it no further thought. The driver stopped not at the hotel but at the intersection adjacent pointing out the one-way street the hotel was on. Fare at this point was about CL$9000. We tendered a CL$10.000 note and this changed suddenly to a CL$1000 note. Confused, we tried another and the same happened. I made a run for the hotel where more money was stored but couldn't find the safe key. On my return the taxi was now on a different corner(???) and the fare now CL$14000. So the smiling driver offered to run us to an ATM which turned out to be several blocks away. (not the one round the corner we discovered the next morning). Back to the hotel where the fare was now $19500. The next $10.000 note miraculously morphed into $1000 before our eyes and I stupidly started doubting the ATM. So we handed over our last $20.000 to pay the fare and even gave him $2000 on top as a tip. Back at the hotel the penny dropped. The sympathetic desk clerk wanted the taxi number to call the police but, of course, we didn't have any of that. We were now nearly $52.000pesos out of pocket. So...thank-you Santiago taxi driver for robbing us rotten and for partly spoiling what was a great time in your lovely city.
As a postscript. As were we sitting waiting for our lift to the airport three days later an American couple appeared just in from the airport. By some confusion they had missed their guide so had been harrassed into taking an offered taxi. The fare to the Orly? CL$55.000. Either our taxi guy works days as well or there are at least two of these thieving sons of ........out there.