The country of Chile represents the best that nature has to offer, and opportunities for adventure abound. Chile is safe, friendly, and generally quite easy to get around.
Chile has so much to offer from the North to the South. Stretching over 2,670 miles in length and just 109 miles in width on average, traveling within the country may at first seem daunting.
However, the friendly environment is easy to navigate, and you’ll have plenty of options such as ferries, buses and taxis. You may even hire an oxcart or mount a trusty steed to take you about!
Whatever you decide, try enjoying Chile at a relaxed pace. The locals rarely rush, and melting into that slower pace will enhance your visit even more.
If you’ve been considering a Chile vacation, here are few tips that will make planning a fun-filled trip more straightforward.
Chile is safe, friendly, and generally quite easy to get around.
One of the first things to consider is the weather. Especially because Chile has it all with tropical weather in the north and penguin weather in the south which stretches nearly all the way to Antarctica. When the weather is stunning in the north, it can be gloomy in the southern end, and vice versa.
Summer: If you plan to explore the southern areas, perhaps visit Patagonia or hike in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, the summer months are best to ensure great weather and that everything is open.
Just remember that summer in Chile is December through February, so many attractions close from March through November. If you’re willing to gamble a bit, the shoulder months of November and March can have reasonable weather, and help you to find cheaper fares and smaller crowds.
Spring: The central regions of Chile are best in Spring, when you can enjoy pleasant temperatures for walking along the Vina del Mar coastline, while still seeing snowcapped peaks in the Andes as you explore Santiago. It’s also one of the best times to explore then Atacama Desert in Northern Chile.
Winter: Ski season is June through October, the exact opposite of the United States, allowing snow bunnies to enjoy all the various US slopes and then continue their seasons by heading south to Chile.
Here are a few other things to know about Chile before making your plans.
Generally, the most direct way to head downtown from the airport in Santiago is by bus. You will find Tur Bus Aeropuerto and Buses Centropuerto directly out the door from the arrivals section. The ride will take approximately 40 minutes, and they tend to be more reliable than taxis.
You may need to study a bit of Chilean Spanish prior to arriving. The dialect is very different than most other Latin American dialects; even visitors hailing from other South American countries will need time to adjust.
Any walk through nature is going to involve bugs, but you won’t need to worry about the misquotes here. In fact, the biggest thing to look out for would be sticking your hand in long undisturbed areas and discovering a spider.
Always have small change with you. Chilean pesos (CH$) are in denominations of 500, 1000, 5,000, 10,000, and 20,000; however, it can be very difficult to change large bills in the rural areas. It’s best to have a good supply of the 500 and 1000 denominations with you.
Tipping is a bit different in Chile. In the restaurants, it is customary to tip 10 percent. With taxi drivers, you do not need to tip, although many visitors round up the fare.
Unlike some South American countries, there is no reciprocity fee for Chile. You won’t need to acquire a Visa or special permission for your vacation, just be sure that passport stays safe and secure.
Staying Abreast of the News
The Santiago Times is available in English, and it covers international, national and regional news. In addition, they publish the very useful Chile Information Project that carries essential information for visitors and tourists.
These quick tips will help to get your planning started, but there’s so much more to know about the best places to see, eat and experience.