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Chile FAQs


  • Torres del Paine National Park, Patagonia

What language is spoken in Chile?

The official language of Chile is Chilean Spanish. 

Is English spoken in Chile?

English is spoken by some locals in tourist areas, however, do not assume every individual you meet will be able to converse in the English.

What currency is used in Chile?

The Chilean peso is the main form of currency in Chile. US dollars are accepted in most places throughout the country. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas but cash is still preferred and recommended for local markets. ATMs are common in the country and can be found easily.  Official currency exchange centres are well sign posted and easy for tourists to find.

Do I need a visa to travel to Chile?

For Americans and Canadians, visas are not required to visit Chile for up to 90 days. A passport with a minimum 6-month validity beyond the date of entry is required.

When is the best time to travel to Chile?

Chile is a year round destination and the best time to travel is dependent on the activities and regions of interest. Chile’s summer season (December - March) is their driest and warmest season in most regions and is considered the high season which allows for more activities and adventures.  For travellers interested in visiting the Atacama desert, June and August are the best times to visit. For the wine lovers, September to November and March to May are harvesting times and many wine festivities can be found in Santiago and in the main wine regions like Colchagua. Peak season for Patagonia region is November to April with February being the best month as the wildlife is most active and the foliage is at its peak. 

Is there transportation within Chile?

Chile’s main forms of local transportation include buses, taxis, and the metro located in Santiago. There are domestic flights between most cities, which is the fastest way to travel within the country. 

Is Chile a family friendly destination?

Chilean residents are very open and helpful to those travelling as a family, making it a wonderful destination for a family trip.Throughout the country there are many child friendly activities. Families can frequently find discounted fares for children, who sometimes can attend many shows and events free of charge. 

How welcoming is Chile to LGBTQ travellers and families?

Chile is becoming one of the more progressive countries in South America considering it is still quite a conservative Catholic country. As of 2015, same sex couples now have legal civil partnership rights, service bans in the military have being lifted and transgender people can change their name and legal sex.The last Saturday in June, the city of Santiago holds Marcha del Orgullo (Santiago Pride) and in November, the Open Mind Fest (a gay electronic street party).

Electricity

In Chile the common voltage is 220 V. The frequency is 50 Hz. The plugs and sockets are C/L type.

Tipping

Although tipping is not compulsory in Chile, some restaurants have a 10% service fee, although the customer may claim by right not to pay it. If a hotel staff member helps with your luggage, a tip is acceptable and appreciated. Approximately US $1 or $2 is acceptable; an additional US $5 for bulky and heavy luggage is appropriate. There is always the choice, of course, for guests to let hotel staff know they prefer to carry their own luggage and not worry about tipping. 

For regular excursions, US$ 7-10 per person is expected for the guide and US $3-5 per person for the driver (depends if it’s a half-day excursion or a full day excursion).

For all inclusive hotels and cruises in Patagonia, the tipping suggestion is slightly different, a US$15 per person per day is recommended. 

Events

Chile has several high quality annual festivals such as the Vina del Mar International Song Festival. It is the most important and recognized festival in all of Latin America. It takes place in February, in the municipality of Vina del Mar in the Valparaiso region. In November, Chile also has an annual edition of the renowned American Lollapalooza festival, which has become an icon in the country. 

 


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