The Republic of Chile is a long country located on the west coast of South America. Its area is 756,900 km with Easter Island, located in the Pacific Ocean and 3,000km away from Valparaiso, which has belonged to Chile since 1888. It also has a part of its territories in Antarctica, whose size is about 1,236,000 square km. The capital of Chile is Santiago
The official language of Chile is Spanish, spoken without much regional variation. There are other languages in specific locations: the Runa Simi, « Mapudungún” (Mapuche language), the « Rapa Nui » (spoken on Easter Island) and « Aymara » (spoken in the northern mountains).
Territory: 756 9501 km² – Capital: Santiago of Chile
The seasons are reversed from the Northern Hemisphere, so when you are freezing up during the winter, in Chile it is their summer. And when it’s hot up, you can ski in Chile! The weather also varies from the north to the south, with severe winters in the far south.
Santiago’s summer (December – March) can be hot and somewhat humid but worse, it can be smoggy. Its winter (June-August) can be cold, but not intolerable; the skies can be eternally overcast however.
The North rarely sees rain – the Atacama Desert (reached from Calama) has been called the driest desert on earth. Depending on the season, days can be pleasant to cool and evenings cool to cold.
The south has to be broken into two areas: the Lake District) Puerto Montt is the gateway) and the far south (Punta Arenas is the gateway).
You can visit the Lake District all year, though in winter it can be cold and overcast, but the mountains are brilliantly white with snow.
Cruises from Puerto Montt into the inland fjords do not operate April – August.
The far south is best visited September through April and many places, such as Payne Towers National Park, have limited access during their winter.
Chile Standard Time is the time GTM-04: 00 (Greenwich Mean Time). The time format is as follows: 3:00 and 15:00.
Argentines, Brazilians, Uruguayans, Paraguayans can travel to Chile with their identity card; people of other nationalities must have a valid passport. A tourist visa of 90 days is issued for all visitors who come, and it is renewable for another 90 days from the Department of Immigration. Thus, a visa is not required to stay in Chile less than or equal to 90 days, depending on nationality.
The official currency is the Chilean peso, which exists in banknotes of $ 1,000, $ 2,000, $ 5,000, $ 10,000, $ 20,000 and coins, $ 5, $ 10, $ 50, $ 100 and $ 500.
Currently (November 2017), 1 USD = 635,43 (peso chileno) / 1 EUR = 752,84 CLP
Foreign currencies: In general they are not used except in a few hotels, which will deduct taxes (IVA) only if you are a foreigner and you pay in U.S. dollars or credit card.
Credit cards: Credit cards are widely used and there is no surcharge for their use. The most used cards are Visa, Master Card and Diners Club. American Express is also used; the exchange rate for credit cards is pretty good. Some places (few) do not have distributors, so it is good to have cash on you.
Cash Points: They are available throughout the territory, working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They work with cards of all local banks and also with the Cirrus system, which has an acceptable exchange rate.
Change: The Chilean government does not regulate the market for foreign currencies, so you can change your cash in approved exchange points. These exchange points are common in commercial areas of Santiago (central and Providencia) and also in shopping malls.
The typical Chilean diet is based mainly on potatoes, meat, corn, fruits and salads, and along the coast fish and seafood, such as conger, trout and shrimp among others.
Luggage: To make your trip easier, we recommend you to bring a large bag (or backpack with wheels if possible) and a backpack to carry by hand.
It is important to know that all passengers are allowed to carry up to 20 kilos on the plane on most scheduled Transatlantic flights (check with airlines for confirmation of these conditions on your flight). It is advisable to take out « »loss of luggage” insurance. »
Clothing: Temperate days and cool nights are common in most parts of the country except in the South, where temperatures are lower and the rain more frequent.
To visit the North and Easter Island, it is recommended to take light clothes, sunglasses with UV protection, hats and other protection against the sun; in the central region take a windbreaker, but also a windcheater and clothing for a night out: it obviously depends on the period you travel to Chile. In Patagonia, you can experience the four seasons in one day, therefore it is necessary to be prepared accordingly, and to take good walking shoes.
Vaccines: There is no specific vaccine to enter the country.
Water: The supply of drinking water in cities can absolutely be trusted; it is only recommended that sensitive people drink from bottles of mineral water during the first days. These are available anywhere in the country.
Food: Generally, it is not recommended to eat vegetables that have not been previously cooked, it is wise to peel fruits, and to buy in supermarkets (Jumbo, Lider, Almac, etc..). In these you will find a wide variety of packaged products, which is a guarantee of safety, but also mineral water, just as in restaurants.
Chile is deemed to be a relatively safe country for travellers. However, it is necessary to take the normal precautions peculiar to any destination:
– Handbags or backpacks closed
– Do not change, take or leave the money in public places with high density,
– Avoid showing off your valuables: cameras, jewellery, and so on.
Important notice: in case of theft in a hotel, it will only cover, if necessary, a burglary within its walls, with evidence of tampering. So remember to use good security lockers for your important personal documents (money, passport, plane tickets, etc.).
To call from abroad, you must dial the country code: +56, then the code of the province’s national community that you want to join.
In restaurants, bars, taxis and hairdressers it is common to give 10% on top of the price as a tip