Chile Tips

 

Dear Chile visitor,

On behalf of the staff of EcoAmerica Tours, we wish you a most pleasant experience exploring this unique country, the longest and narrowest in the Americas. Chile’s main territory consists of a strip of land 4,200 km (2,609 mi) long and 90 (55 mi) to 440 km (273 mi) wide. In the far south, the land is transected by hundreds of islands and fiords.

Our goal is to have you enjoy a trouble-free journey in this exciting destination. Here is some important information regarding your forthcoming adventure. Please take a few moments and become familiar with this information.


Entry / Exit Requirements

It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Argentine authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of Argentina or one of its consulates for up-to-date information.

A valid and in good conditions passport is required to enter Chile.

Even though U.S. and Canada citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days, there is a reciprocity fee that has to be paid when entering the country; visitors from other countries please check with your nearest consulate. For additional information and recommendations, you may want to visit the Chilean Tourism Board Website.

More information for US Citizens is available through Travel.State.Gov, a service from the US Department of State.

More information for Canadian Citizens is available through Travel.gc.CA, a service from the Government of Canada.

Visitors who arrive in Chile with expired or damaged passports may be refused entry and returned to their country of origin at their own expense.


Safety and Security

As in all parts of the world, the primary safety precautions apply to big cities. Avoid going out with visible jewelry, cameras or electronic devices, as you could be the victim of a robbery (especially at night and in remote neighborhoods and streets).

The same goes for carrying backpacks: do not carry cameras (video or otherwise) in the outer pockets, especially in crowded areas or when using public transportation. Do not exchange dollars or any other currency on the street. Always use authorized exchange houses.

In the event of an earthquake or strong tremor, remain calm. If you’re inside a building, remain inside. If you’re outside, remain outside. Entering or leaving building can only lead to accidents.

If you are inside of a building, seek out strong structures under a table or bed, underneath a doorway, next to a pillar, master wall, or in a corner and protect your head. Never flee hurriedly towards an exit or use an elevator.

If you find yourself on the street, watch out for electrical wires, cornices, glass and falling tiles.


Stay healthy

Currently, no vaccines or medical examinations are required for entering Chile.

The water is generally safe for consumption. However, if you feel more comfortable drinking bottled water, you will find it available everywhere.

If you are not used to it, avoid eating uncooked vegetables, especially those that grow near the soil (e.g. lettuce, carrots) unless you buy them from an established supermarket, which must comply with sanitary norms in order to sell this kind of produce. It’s also preferable to eat cooked meats, fish and seafood.

If necessary, public hospitals and emergency services are required to attend to any person in need of emergency assistance. The country features high-quality medical centers, clinics and hospitals.


Medical Insurance

You cannot assume your insurance will go with you when you travel. It is very important to find out before you leave your country whether or not your medical insurance will cover you overseas.

Travel insurance is a great way to protect your travel investment. By choosing to offer travel insurance, your travel agent is providing you a financial safety net for most unforeseen travel inconveniences. Allianz Travel Insurance plans have been created to suit most any traveler’s coverage needs. For your peace of mind, we strongly suggest you to purchase travel insurance. For more information, please visit: Allianz Global Assistance or contact us for a personalized quote.


Weather

Due to its extensive length, Chile features a variety of climates. This is explained by Chile’s geographic position with respect to high-pressure zones, the presence of the polar front and the influence of the sea. In other words, Chile’s climate is shaped by factors of latitude, altitude and relief.

In the country’s central region, the peaks of the Cordillera de la Costa impede the flow of the marine climate, and the wall formed by the Andes seals off continental influences. The presence of the sea gives the country a predominantly Mediterranean-style climate, with moderate temperatures and a wide range between the highs of the day and the lows of the night, creating fog and cool winds, the latter even more a product of the cool Humboldt Current.

The southern region has more humidity and precipitation and lower temperatures than the central region, while northern Chile features a dry desert climate, hot during the day and very cold at night.

The climatic diversity can be observed through the frequency of rainfall, which becomes considerably more pronounced as you head south. The rainy season also varies by region. On the altiplano, it comes during summer and from the central region to the Patagonia, in the winter.

The situation is the same when it comes to the highs and lows in temperature. It is warmer in the north and central regions, and gets colder as you head south. Chile has four well-defined seasons. All of Chile’s cities experience their warmest weather between October and April and the coldest from May to September.


Currency

The currency in Chile is the Chilean Peso. It is best to exchange money at your hotel or at any bank. We strongly recommend against exchanging your money with a street vendor. It is a good idea to have with you some small denomination bills (for tips and small shopping along the roads). US-Dollars are welcome almost everywhere; however, should you prefer to exchange your currency for local currency, we recommend you to avoid the kiosks and/or booths at the International Airport since they usually charge a lot for the service. Exchanging currency at the hotels or at any bank will be always safer and less expensive.

Keep in mind that most major credit cards are widely accepted.

For your convenience, below you will find a currency converter. Please keep in mind that this is an external third-party tool and it is provided for illustrative purposes only.

Source: www.exchange-rates.org


Electricity

The electrical current in Chile is 220 Volts and 50 Hertz. Three-terminal electrical adapters are not common, but two-terminal converters can be found at stores that sell electrical equipment.


Food

Chileans typically eat simple breakfasts, larger lunches and an “once” (tea service) that is served between 5:00 and 6:00 pm and often takes the place of dinner. Bread is a fundamental part of the Chilean diet. The most popular varieties are hallullas, dobladitas and marraquetas (also referred to as “French bread”).

The most famous local dishes include cazuela (a hearty soup made with beef or chicken, which includes squash, a potato, an ear of corn, green beans and rice), porotos con riendas (beans with noodles), humitas (mashed, steamed corn seasoned with onion and wrapped in the corn stalk), pastel del choclo (similar but baked in clay dishes, a traditional artisanal product of Chile’s central and southern regions), pino empanadas (savory pies filled with meat, onion, egg, raisins and olives) and seafood empanadas. There is also a large number of dishes featuring fresh fish and seafood such as the Chilo© curanto. This unique dish is made with beef, pork, chicken and seafood which are arranged in layers and cooked over hot rocks in a hole in the ground covered with the leaves of a local plant called nalca, which trap the steam.


Crafts

The most popular crafts among tourists are those made with lapis lazuli, a blue, semi-precious stone mined in the foothills of the Coquimbo region. Although it is quite industrialized, the work done with these stones shines in jewelry and ornaments, with animal figures, vases and mosaics among the varieties. Lapis lazuli only exists in Chile and Afghanistan.


Language

The official language of Chile is Spanish. However, there is an idiomatic tendency to “Chileanize” the language, creating new words and usages. Other languages spoken in Chile include Mapudungºn (the language of the Mapuches), Aymara (in the northern Andean region of the country) and Rapa Nui (on the Polynesian locale of Easter Island).


Celebrations

Chile is known for its celebrations, which primarily consist of religious festivities and the anniversaries of cities and towns (mainly held during the summer). There’s a wide variety to be found throughout the country, though many include rodeos, where a pair of “huasos” on horseback chase and rope a young bull.

Special days include September 18th and 19th, national holidays commemorating the First Assembly of Government in 1810, the genesis of national independence, and the Glorias del Ejercito (“Military Glories”). These dates are marked by a series of popular celebrations in parks or places with traditional fare and dances.

Colorful religious festivities with Aymara, Incan and Catholic roots abound in the country’s northern regions, the most famous of which is the Fiesta de la Tirana. There are also celebrations to be found in Chilo© (the “tiraduras de casas” which involve physically transporting homes from one site to another), small fishing coves (the celebration of San Pedro), cities like Valdivia (Valdivian Week) and Valparaiso (a celebration featuring fireworks displays and illuminated ships on December 31), rural parts of central Chile (the celebration of the threshing season), and the country’s wine-producing valleys (wine harvest celebrations).


Important Notice

Since the information provided above has been collected from several sources and even though we attempt to keep it updated, it tends to change, and we cannot guarantee its accuracy.