Chile Travel Guide: Top Destinations in Chile
Santiago – Santiago, located in the center of the slender country, has been the capital city since the first European settlement was established there in 1541. It’s a vibrant and modern city with tons of things to do and see!
Easter Island – There are several hundred miles between this ancient indigenous island and Chile’s main coast. Many people want to visit it because of the large Moai sculptures that are scattered throughout the islands landscape. These giant figures continue to be a mystery til this day.
Patagonia – A vast region that actually splits the southern halves of both Chile and Argentina. Here you can find the Andes Mountain, remote villagies, lakes, glaciers and thick forestry. It’s truly an adventure seekers bucketlist item.
Valparaíso – A historic seaport city and is part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. The amazing view and the cool Bohemian vibe make it one of the top spot to visit for locals and tourists alike. There are cafes everywhere and the vibrant, colorful houses in the hills that surround the port are a cool site to see.
Arica – Nicknamed the City of the Eternal Spring, Arica is the northernmost city in Chile and the gateway to the archaeological and natural wonders of Lauca National Park.
Chile Travel Guide: When to Visit Chile
The Atacama Desert, Central Valleys and the country’s capital city, Santiago can also be visited all year around. For those who who want to tour the Chilean Patagonia, it’s best to visit during between January and February, the peak of summer. However, this is also a crowded season for tourists. South American locals also go and have their vacation during this time of the year.
For those who want the convenience of the “off-season”, it’s best to travel during the months of March to June or September to November. The weather during these months are just right and top destinations are less crowded. You can snag a good deal on accommodation during the off-season too.
Chile Travel Guide: How to Reach Chile
The Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport or the Santiago Airport is the point of entry for most international flights going to Chile. It is also possible to reach Chile by bus if coming from other South American countries like Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil.
Chile Travel Guide: Getting Around
The easiest way to go around Chile is by plane and by bus. There are domestic airlines that offer flights from one city to another. LAN Airlines, the flag carrier, has direct flights from Santiago to Easter Island. Traveling by bus is pretty convenient too but prices and services vary so check a site like Rome2Rio for current info. It’s best to book bus tickets in advance because it’s much cheaper and you can save up to $10 to $20.
In Santiago, public transportation is very reliable and cheap. Research before traveling and brush up on your Spanish.
Chile Travel Guide: Chile Travel Tips
Do spend time at Santiago. There is a lot to see and do. The city has just the right mix of modern and traditional. Explore the cafes and the Eat and Drinks, enjoy the sceneries, and visit the churches and cathedrals for some history lessons.
Do bring appropriate clothes for various activities. Prepare hiking clothes if you are planning to hike a volcano like the famous Ojos del Salado located near the Andes. Also bring a hat when exploring the desert. For those who want to go on a historic tours (visiting churches and museums), don’t forget to bring a conservative set of clothes.
Learn some simple Spanish phrases. Most locals will love you for it. Say “Como Esta” (How are you) when meeting someone for the first time.
Do shake hands of people you just met. This is customary and a more formal way of greeting. Remember to be polite with locals.
Don’t be surprised with customary tipping in Eat and Drinks. It’s between 10-15% in Eat and Drinks and sometimes 20% in bar.
Don’t get offended when locals call you “gringo”. Locals and most Spanish people would address foreigners as “Gringo”. It’s normal and it’s not meant to offend.
Don’t throw your trash everywhere. The mountains, the lakes, the desert, and the wildlife are treasures we should all respect.
Don’t be afraid to take the bus or train. When traveling from city to city, this can be very efficient. They are cheap and comfortable – especially during long travel.
Chile Travel Guide: Chile Typical Costs
Price Range for Hotels
Price ranges for hotels in Chile are somewhat similar to other famous South American countries, however some might think that prices are a bit high in exchange for the type of service they are getting. A decent dorm costs about $16 to $20 a night while a private room with a double or twin bed and a bathroom costs about $40 to $150. A five-star hotel accommodation in cities like Santiago starts at $150 which is a great deal. Santiago is probably the only city where you can stay at the Ritz-Carlton for as cheap as $250 a night.
Cost of Meals
A decent meal in Chile is both affordable and delicious. A complete lunch in a local Eat and Drink can cost between $4 to $10. There are loads of options available, especially if you want to discover local delicacies. Cost for dinner varies but a sumptuous and complete meal starts at around $20. For those working with a budget per day, it’s best to buy from grocery stores and prepare your own meal. The cost for this is around $5 to $15.