Things You Must Know Before You Travel to Chile


Chile, a sli slither of a country snaking down the western edge of South America, boasts dramatic landscapes from bone-dry deserts to glacier-carved fjords. Planning a trip here? Here’s what you need to know before you embark on your Chilean adventure:

Visas and jabs: Holders of most passports can skip visa woes for stays under 90 days, but double-check requirements for your nationality ( COVID vaccination is a wise move.

When to go: Don’t be fooled by Chile’s skinny form – weather varies wildly north to south. The bone-dry Atacama Desert thrives in the winter sun (May-October), while Patagonia explodes with life in the summer (December-February). Central Chile, with gems like Santiago and Valparaiso, is a year-round destination.

Money matters: The Chilean peso (CLP) is king. Exchanging cash or using your ATM card are your best bets. Credit cards are accepted in tourist zones, but for smaller purchases and local buses, cash is your friend.

Altitude: If you plan to visit high-altitude areas such as the Atacama Desert or the Andes Mountains, be aware of the potential effects of altitude sickness and take appropriate precautions.

Health Precautions: No specific vaccinations are required for entry into Chile, but it’s advisable to be up to date on routine vaccines. If you plan to visit rural areas, consider vaccinations for diseases like hepatitis A and typhoid.

Weather: Chile’s climate varies greatly from region to region due to its geography. Research the weather conditions for the specific areas you plan to visit and pack accordingly.

Language: The official language of Chile is Spanish. While English may be spoken in tourist areas, it’s helpful to have some basic Spanish phrases handy.

Currency: The currency used in Chile is the Chilean Peso (CLP). It’s recommended to exchange currency at official exchange offices or banks for the best rates.

Lingo lowdown: Spanish reigns supreme. Brush up on some basics – a little goes a long way. Chilean Spanish has its own quirks, so don’t be discouraged if you miss a beat – they speak quickly and love slang!

Transportation: Chile has a well-developed transportation network, including buses, trains, and domestic flights. Research the options available for getting around within the country and plan your transportation accordingly.

Safety first: Chile is generally safe, but as always, be street smart, especially in crowded areas.

Emergency Numbers: Familiarize yourself with emergency numbers in Chile, including 131 for police, 132 for ambulances, and 133 for firefighters.

Cultural cues: Chileans are known for warmth and hospitality, but can be a touch reserved initially. A dash of Spanish and an openness to their culture go a long way in breaking the ice.

Food and Drink: Chilean cuisine is diverse and delicious, featuring fresh seafood, meats, and vegetables. Don’t miss trying traditional dishes like empanadas, ceviche, and pastel de choclo.

Natural Beauty: Chile is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes, including the Atacama Desert, Patagonia, and Easter Island. Research the attractions you’d like to visit and plan your itinerary accordingly.

Cultural Etiquette: Chilean culture places importance on politeness and respect. Learn about local customs and etiquette to avoid inadvertently causing offense.

Tipping time: Tipping isn’t mandatory, but appreciated. A small token (around 10%) is sufficient.

Electrical Outlets: Chile uses Type C and Type L electrical outlets. Bring adapters if your devices have different plug types.

Packing essentials: What you pack hinges on the season and your itinerary. Comfortable shoes are a must for all that exploring. Patagonian adventures require warm clothes, rain gear, and sun protection. The Atacama throws scorching sun your way, so pack sunglasses, a hat, and lashings of sunscreen.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to an unforgettable Chilean adventure!

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