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Chile - Travel Information

Some of the most beautiful places in South America are in Chile. The amazing views will pleasure every nature lover and even extreme sport lovers will not be disappointed.

Chile is geographically a long and narrow country, on the shores of the Pacific ocean in South America. Due to its geographic shape, Chile offers an extensive variety of climates. From the driest place on earth (Atacama Desert) to the glaciers of Patagonia in the south.

Chile's Geography

Chile is a country of coasts. It borders with Peru in the north and Bolivia and Argentina in the east. In the west and south it is bordered with the pacific ocean. Chile's population is about 15.5 million, and its size is about 748,000 sq km.

The official language in Chile is Spanish.

Technical information

International phone code: 56
Electric current: 220V

When to travel to Chile

Chile is situated in the southern hemasphere, and therefore the seasons are inverted to the seasons that Europeans and North American travelers are used to. The recommended seasons for traveling are the hot and dry season, meaning December to March. Remember that the south of Chile can be very cold even in summer! Strong winds blow all year in South Chile.

Chile, however, can be also pleasant in autumn (April-May) and spring (October-November) and even in winter. The geographic shape of Chile creates a climate diversity which enables travelers to enjoy traveling in it all year. In winter, one can focus on the hot north, which is the driest area in the world (Atacama Desert) and Santiago area.

In and Out

Chile allows most nationalities a free 90 day entry permit when entering the country, renewable for another 90 days.

Chile's border crossings with the surrounding countries are simple, and involve minimal bureaucracy.

Chile is strict on not allowing any fruits, vegetables or animals to enter the country from other countires. Searches are conducted at the borders of the country and at road-blocks to enforce this policy.

Travel costs in Chile

Chile is one of the most expensive countries in South America. About $700 to $800 per month will be sufficient for most backpackers, not including arrival to San Rafael Lagoon, a Cruise to South Chile or car rental.

The local currency is Chilean Pesos ($1 = 540 Pesos, updated for July 2006)

Some tips regarding money in South America:

  • Take most of your money in Traveler Checks, preferably American Express. Leave at least
    400 Dollars unused until the end of your trip. This is safety money in case of a robbery.
    The exchange rate and commission on traveler checks are relatively high.
  • Write down your traveler checks details in your private e-mail, including emergency
    phone numbers for communication, in case your bags are stolen.
  • For daily use, draw money from ATMs using an international credit card. The ATM
    commission is per transaction; therefore draw each time a big amount of money.
  • Try to pay with credit card instead of cash - usually you will pay no commission.
  • Try to keep $200 in a hidden place, in a $100 bill and other smaller bills in case
    you reach a place with no ATMs (rare).

(Last update: July 2006)