Practical information about Chile
As Chile is an extensive country, stretching more than 4,000 km, it features a number of different climate zones. In the north lies the Atacama Desert, which is one of the driest places in the world and has a subtropical climate. The central region around the capital Santiago also has a subtropical climate, but with a fair amount of rain during the winter months. The southern part of Chile enjoys a temperate climate, while the climate at the southernmost tip is almost polar.
Weather statistics for Santiago de Chile:
Weather statistics for San Pedro de Atacama (Northern Chile):
Weather statistics for Torres del Paine National Park (Southern Chile):
- Meals except those specifically mentioned
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Excursions and transfers are conducted in small, international groups led by an English-speaking guide.
It is best to travel to Chile during the North European winter months, i.e. from October to April, as the weather will normally be good in both the north and south of the country during this period. It is also pleasant to visit Northern Chile during the North European summer, although it would be rather cold to visit Santiago de Chile, where the weather is warmest in the period December to March. The temperature in the Torres del Paine National Park can dip below freezing during the North European summer months.
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All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to:www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate
We are an ATOL protected agency giving you complete peace of mind. It is a condition of booking that the sole responsibility lies with the guest to ensure that they carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover themselves, as well as any dependants/traveling companions for the duration of their trip.
In cooperation with our partner we can offer advantageous travel insurances. Learn more here.
Spanish is the language spoken in Chile, but the people are very helpful and love the chance to use the English words they know. In more rural regions, however, English speakers may be few and far between, which is why we use bilingual (English/Spanish) guides. It is a good idea to end questions and queries with the words ‘por favor’, which mean ‘please’. Another good word to know is ‘gracias’ – which means ‘thank you’ and is sure to prove useful in many situations.
We recommend that you contact a medical specialist, your GP or an authorised vaccination clinic.
Visit the CDC website at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list for more information about vaccinations in Chile.
UK citizens do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days, although you must be in possession of a valid passport – in the same way as for other international travel. The requirements on the validity of the passport may vary, but as a rule of thumb your passport must be valid for at least six months after you return home. However, as these regulations may change from time to time, we recommend that you visit the World Travel Guide website at www.worldtravelguide.net and study the visa information presented there. Of course, you are also welcome to ask us for advice.
The unit of currency in Chile is the peso. Go to www.xe.com/currencyconverter/ to view the currently applicable exchange rate. We recommend that you bring some US dollars with you in cash, and then exchange these for local currency at an official bureau de change. Also bring a credit card and make sure to memorise your PIN code. NEVER write your PIN code down! There are cashpoint machines (ATMs) almost everywhere. You can also use most common credit cards at hotels and in many shops and restaurants. Once again, however, the farther out into the country you travel, the harder it may be to use your credit card.
Prices are generally lower in Chile than in the European countries. It is usually cheaper to eat out, although you can naturally find drinks and meals in all price classes. Prices are generally also lower outside the large towns and cities. You can normally enjoy a good meal for around EUR 10–15.
In restaurants, you should not usually tip more than 10%. You do not need to tip taxi drivers. However, it is customary for each guest to give the travel guide USD 5 and the bus driver USD 3 per day. Please note that while tipping is always voluntary – i.e. not compulsory – it is customary and usual practice in Latin American countries.
The difference between Central European Time (CET) and the time in Chile varies depending on whether Europe is on summer or winter time.
Summer time: – 6 hours. This means that when it is noon CET, it is 06.00 in Chile.
Winter time: – 4 hours, when Chile is on daylight saving time.
The Chilean grid operates on 220 volts. The plugs are round, three-pin plugs and we recommend that you take an adapter with you.
The international dialling code for Chile is +56. It can be expensive to call home to Europe from Chile. Ask your own mobile service provider about coverage and call charges.
There are internet cafés in most large towns and cities, although the connection may not be as fast as you are used to in Europe.
Whenever you travel to a poor country anywhere in the world, it is important to be discreet. It is not a good idea to flaunt your valuables or to leave them unattended. We work exclusively with properly trained, experienced and certified guides, who can always provide you with good advice about safety, and know precisely where it is safe for you to walk/visit. If you follow your guide’s instructions you should always be able to stay out of trouble. As a rule of thumb, take especial care in big cities such as Santiago de Chile.
With its extensive coastline, Chile is famous for magnificent fish and seafood dishes. The Chilean recipes for fish and seafood are ranked among the finest in the world. When travelling in the country, however, it is always a good idea to make sure that the food is thoroughly cooked to prevent stomach complaints. Another dish you are sure to encounter in Chile is the local favourite ‘Lomo a lo pobre’. This consists of a large steak with two fried eggs on top, served with a pile of French fries.
As regards drinks, Chile is home to a great many wineries that produce truly magnificent wines. Otherwise, you will find that Pisco is very popular in Chile. This is a type of spirits that the Chilean people like to mix with soft drinks such as cola. It may be a little sour, but it tastes a bit like rum and cola. Do not drink water from the taps – buy bottled water instead.
We will send you your flight reservation as soon as you book your trip. You can see times and routes on the itinerary. It is important to check your name for spelling mistakes. The name on the reservation must be exactly as in your passport. If you have any comments on the itinerary or find mistakes in the names, please contact us immediately.
Today, there are only electronic airline tickets (e-tickets), so you do not receive a physical ticket for use at the airport check-in. When you check in at the airport, you use your passport and a booking reference. The booking reference is on your itinerary.
Once you have purchased a tour through us, you will receive our service letter before your departure. The service letter contains important information about online check-in, what to do in the event of a delay, our agreed guidelines for tips, etc. In addition, you will find important telephone numbers for our local agents as well as our emergency telephone number.
So it is important that you print out the service letter and bring it with you.
We recommend that you make a seat reservation on the plane. Many airlines also offer to upgrade reserved tickets for seats with extra space and comfort, e.g. Economy Comfort at KLM and Premium Voyageur at Air France. You can do this through the airline’s website. Most airlines have a point in the menu called “manage my booking”. Please note that many airlines require payment for seat reservation, so you should have your credit/debit card to hand when you get started.
Unfortunately, rules differ as to when seat reservation is opened. We recommend that you try to make a seat reservation as early as possible and you will then know when you can make a seat reservation if it cannot be done right away. It is very common for seat reservation to be opened between 72 and 24 hours before departure.
We work with many different airlines that fly to Chile, so there may be variations in the amount of luggage you are allowed to bring with you as both checked luggage and hand luggage. Check the information about this on your airline ticket, and contact us if you have any questions.
You and your travel companion should pack your luggage so that you can both make do with one item of luggage if the other is lost or delayed. While it is unlikely to happen, the problem may arise. If it does, it may take a few days before your luggage is delivered to the hotel where you are staying.
So make sure to carry all your important, indispensable items in your hand luggage: passport, visa, plane tickets, insurance papers, credit card(s), cash, prescriptions, information about any special medical conditions you may have along with essential medicine, allergy medicine, treatments for sudden stomach problems (such as Imodium) and painkillers (Panodil and/or Ipren, for example). You should also carry your camera, binoculars and other valuables in your hand luggage.
You may find yourself sitting in a draught from the air conditioning in the plane, so make sure to pack a warm jumper or jacket in your hand luggage.
On arrival at the different airports in Chile, you will be met by our local representative who will be waiting for you in the arrival hall with a sign bearing your name. You will naturally also be driven to the airport on departure. When you arrive in Chile, you will be given a set of vouchers stating the pick-up times for the different events and excursions.