Travel Tips for your Journey through Chile

Do you need a visa for Chile? Is the European driving license accepted for car rental? Is it possible to travel to the south of Chile in winter?... Here you find useful information for your journey through Chile.

Visa

The entry requirements for Chile depend on the nationality. Many travelers do not need a visa for a stay up to 90 days. You can find more information here. Please also note the special entry requirements of Rapa Nui.


Health

Health risk factors in Chile do not differ significantly from those like in Europe. With some exceptions, medical care is also comparable in the country's larger cities. Required vaccinations depend on the origin of the traveler.
In central and southern Chile, drinking tap water is safe for most people, but travelers are generally advised to drink mineral water as a preventive measure.
In addition to geographical risks such as earthquakes, altitude sickness in particular must be taken into account during stays in the Andes without prior altitude adjustment.


Crime

Chile is known as one of the safest countries in South America. Nevertheless, increased caution is required, especially in larger cities. We recommend not to carry valuables openly and to pay special attention to your bags, e.g. in local transport. Particularly at the airport of Santiago, trick thieves who pretend to be transfer or taxi drivers have to be considered.


Travel Insurance

We recommend you to travel with an insurance which covers you in case of cancellation, interruption of the journey, illness and loss of luggage. We are happy to assist you in choosing the appropriate insurance package.


Weather and Travel Season

From a climatic point of view, the months November to March are generally very suitable for traveling through Chile. This is the local summer season, which means that the weather conditions in the rough south and in the mediterranean center are warmer and less rainy.  The north of the country near the coast is mild to warm during the whole year. At the same time, Chilean summer time is the main season, which means that some travel destinations are sometimes very busy.
From April to September is the colder season. During this time, more frequent rainfall, low temperatures and sometimes snow can be expected in central and southern Chile and in more mountainous regions. It can happen that the weather conditions restrict the visit of places of interest and group tours have to be cancelled due to missing participants. At the same time, travelers get very authentic impressions in the low season with the reduced number of visitors and experience the fascinating nature of the country from a very special point of view.


Language

Especially the young generation in Chile is becoming increasingly familiar with the English language. And English is spoken in most hotels and on guided tours. Nevertheless, in many places it can be noticed that Chile with its geographical location is exclusively surrounded by other Spanish-speaking countries. Therefore, the language skills in Chilean society are limited.
The attempt of travelers to communicate in Spanish quickly breaks the ice and thus, basic information can be transmitted even without a common language. But for a deeper insight into the culture of the country and for a more intensive exchange with the local people, a good knowledge of Spanish is undoubtedly very helpful.
If you would like to take part in a language course during your round trip through Chile, we are happy to assist you with the organization.


Money

Many shops in urban areas accept payments by credit card. At the same time it is advisable to start your journey with some cash in the local currency. Alternatively, you can exchange money on site (especially in larger cities and areas with good tourist facilities, including Santiago Airport) or withdraw money directly from ATMs. Depending on the bank, there is usually a fee of at least 7,00 € per withdrawal (with a maximum of approx. 300,00 €). In addition, fees may be charged by the local bank. Some banks may offer their customers to withdraw money from selected foreign ATMs without any fee. In Chile, this is currently almost exclusively possible free of charge at Scotiabank machines. Payment in US$ is accepted by some merchants, but it is not a common method of payment. Park admissions, on the other hand, are usually payable in cash in the local currency.


Prices

In relation to other destinations in South America, Chile is a very expensive country to visit. Compared to central Europe, the costs for restaurant visits, fuel and personal services are a little lower. Food in supermarkets, medicines or imported items such as electrical goods are sometimes considerably more expensive than in Europe. From a financial but also from a touristic point of view, shopping in public markets is recommendable. Public local and long-distance transport is certainly reasonable for individual trips. However, since there is usually no special frequent traveler rate, regular use of public transport is quite expensive. Moreover, the respective tolls for journeys with a rental car or motorhome must be taken into account.


Tip

The expected tip for cafés and restaurants or for tours with very dedicated guides is 10%. Please note that nowadays many café and restaurant operators have already added the 10% tip. This is noted on the respective invoice. The payment of the corresponding tip is voluntary, you can agree, disagree or adjust the suggestion.


Baggage

What you should take with you on your trip depends very much on which region of Chile you visit at what time of the year and what the focus of your trip is. In general, we recommend to carry the following items in addition to the usual travel accessories:

  • Warm and rainproof functional clothing
  • Solid footwear
  • Sandals
  • Swimwear
  • Cap
  • Sun protection and sun cream with factor 30 or higher
  • Daypack
  • Digital copies of your passport (e.g. in your email box)
  • First-aid kit
  • Socket adapter
  • Driver's license
  • Credit card (debit cards are usually not accepted for car rental)
  • Money in local currency for the first days

Flights within Chile are subject to similar baggage conditions as intercontinental flights. Generally, you can check in one piece of baggage weighing 23 kg per person. The limit for hand luggage is usually 8 kg.


Electricity

In Chile, type C and L sockets are used. For all other formats we recommend to take an adapter with you.


Driver's License

We strongly recommend to carry an international driver's license. Although the European driving licence is generally accepted when the rental car is picked up as well as during police controls, it is particularly useful to be able to show an international driving licence in the event of damage.


Journeys by Motorhome

Chile is well suited for motorhome trips due to its diverse nature and remote places of interest. At the same time, the country has a very limited camping culture. Staying in the open countryside and far from urban areas is a good option when traveling by motorhome. This is also tolerated by the authorities.


Using the Mobile Phone

You can use your mobile phone in Chile via WiFi, roaming or with a Chilean SIM card. Unfortunately, the last mentioned option involves a lot of bureaucracy after a change of law in 2017. On request, we are happy to send you further information on this.

 

* The travel tips listed here are based on our country-specific knowledge and experience. However, they are not legally binding.



Individual Travel Packages

We are pleased to provide you with an individual travel package arranging accommodations, transport, tours and other travel services for your stay in Chile. Here you can find out more about our travel packages.

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