Chile is well-known for quite a few things. First, there are so many great opportunities to view beautiful landscapes in this country of contrasts, ranging from the Andes Mountains and the Atacama Desert to Tierra del Fuego (all of which are exciting, off-the-beaten-path vacation destinations). In the more remote parts of Chile, you can enjoy whitewater rafting, hiking, glacier treks, and even sandboarding, in addition to viewing many diverse species of animals in their native habitats. The cities, such as Santiago and Valparaíso, have electric atmospheres of their own and shouldn`t be ignored, from the food markets to buzzing nightlife to the art museums to beautiful Spanish colonial-era architecture. Be sure to enjoy a scrumptious glass of Chilean wine while you`re here; you can enjoy many vintages in Chilean wine country and in restaurants across the country.
Visitors to continental Chile tend to orient themselves by visiting the country`s charming capital, Santiago, for a few days. Visitors then decide to venture either north to Valparaíso and on to the Atacama Desert and Arica, or south to Chilean Patagonia and towns such as Torres del Paine, Puerto Varas, and Punta Arenas. For those with extra time on their itineraries, consider visiting Easter Island (Rapa Nui), which is part of Chile, albeit more than 2,000 miles off the coast!
The best time to visit Chile is the shoulder season, March and April, when it is still fairly warm in most destinations, including Patagonia. Not only is the weather agreeable during this time, there are fewer lines at museums and attractions and prices on accommodations are routinely discounted. Patagonia and the Lake District are at their warmest and most desirable beginning in late October and continuing through April. As far as weather is concerned, Santiago northward can be enjoyed most times of the year due to the warmer climate in the northern half of Chile.
We recommend approximately 7-10 days based on what you want to see and do. We offer flexible vacation packages so you can select your number of nights in each city, desired hotel and activities. We suggest a minimum of 3 nights in Santiago and Easter Island.
We recommend seeing Chile by air and by private transfer. Distances are great in Chile: over 3,100 miles separates Arica in the Atacama Desert and Punta Arenas near Tierra del Fuego, and it is over 2,300 miles across the sea from Santiago to Easter Island. LATAM Chile, the country`s flag carrier, is based out of Santiago International Airport and flies to 16 different destinations in Chile (including Easter Island). When distances, such as in the Lake Region and Patagonia, are close but it is difficult to make the trek by yourself in a vehicle, allow trusted drivers to take you to where you need to go via private transfer, in air-conditioned, late-model comfort.
The currency of Chile is the Chilean peso ($). U.S. dollars are not accepted. Please have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for pesos upon arrival. Currency exchange desks can be found at many locations throughout the country.
Spanish is the official language of Chile. You will most likely find English speakers in Santiago, the Lake District, Patagonia, and other tourist-centered enclaves across the country. There is not a high percentage of English speakers in Chile, but if you are to find someone who does speak English, they are most likely younger and/or work in the service industry. Take some time to learn key phrases in Spanish, like hello/goodbye, please/thank you, how much is it?, where is the bathroom?, and numbers from 1-10. To ask someone if they speak English, say `¿Habla inglés?`