Chile

Stargazing in the driest desert in the world, millennial glaciers in the southernmost part of the planet, enchanted forests, Chile has something for everyone!

Chile

Capital City: Santiago

Chile Key Facts

  • Flag

  • Size

    756, 095.3 km²
    38th largest 

  • Population

    17, 819, 054

  • Chile Location

    South America

  • Travel Insurance

    For Chile travel insurance, select Europe Region

  • International Calling Codes

    56

  • Currency

    Peso

    Get current exchange rates from

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  • Driving

    In Chile they drive on the right side of the road

Tourism website: www.chile.travel/en

When is the best time to visit?

Peak travelling season in Chile is between December and February, which is the time of the main summer school vacation in South America. During this time, expect a lot of people and higher prices. Going between late September and early December means that you avoid the crowds while still experiencing pleasant weather.

Transport Information

Airports (7 international,  365 domestic), bus and 'micros' (i.e. local buses), colectivo (small cars acting as taxis), metro (in Santiago and Valparaíso), highways, ports and harbours.

World Heritage Sites

  1.  Churches of Chiloé, which are beautiful examples of ecclesiastical wooden architecture
  2. Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso, a testament to the urban and architectural development of Latin America in the late 19th-century
  3. Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works are the remains of a production site of sodium nitrate, active for 60 years and notable as a site commemorating the struggle for social justice
  4. Qhapaq Ñan, Andean Road System, shared between Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru, this road network was built by the Incans and spans 30,000kms
  5. Rapa Nui National Park, home to the world famous stone heads known as moai
  6. Sewell Mining Town, a great example of a company town built in a remote part of the world
  • Average Annual Temperature

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    Santiago: 16 degrees
    Punta Arenas: 6 degrees
    Arica: 18 degrees

  • Average Annual Rainfall

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    1, 522 mm

Climate Information

Chile is home to at least 7 major climatic subtypes within its border: from the driest desert in the world in the north to glaciers in the east and south and Mediterranean climates in the center, Chile offers a wide range of weather patterns. However, most of the country enjoys 4 distinct season, summer being from December to February and winter from June to August. Temperatures in the north have a wide range even in summer, with daytime temperatures as high as 38 degrees and night-time temperatures around -1 degree. In winter, this region can get temperatures as low as -32 degrees! The central region around Santiago offers a Mediterranean climate, with winter temperatures ranging from 0 to 13 degrees and summer 16-35 degrees. The south offers extreme weather at any time of year, summer being famous for amazing windstorms and winter offering temperatures around -15 degrees.

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Official Holidays

  • January 1 - New Year's Day
  • March | April - Good Friday
  • March | April - Holy Saturday
  • May 1 - Labor Day
  • May 21 - Navy Day
  • June 29 - Saint Peter and Saint Paul
  • July 16 - Our Lady of Mount Carmel
  • August 15 - Assumption of Mary
  • September 18 - National Day
  • September 19 - Army Day
  • October 12 - Columbus Day
  • October 31 - Reformation Day
  • November 1 - All Saints' Day
  • December 8 - Immaculate Conception Day
  • December 25 - Christmas Day
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Why Visit Chile?

Stretching over 4000 kms in length, Chile is South America's most geographically diverse area. Bone dry deserts in the north and glaciers in the south make Chile perfect for nature and adventure travellers. Chile is also home to some of the best wines of South America, and the major cities offer a sizzling nightlife. Santiago also offers easy access to the iconic Easter Islands. 

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Things To Do In Chile

  • Stargazing in some of the clearest skies in the world near the Atacama
  • Go skiing in the Andes
  • See the world famous Easter Islands and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites
  • Explore colorful Valparaíso
  • Marvel at a sunset in the Atacama desert
  • Fish for Jumbo trout
  • Go wine tasting in the Rapel Valley
  • Visit the Easter Islands
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Travel Tips For Chile

  • Chile is a major fruit producer, it is well worth strolling through markets and trying some exotic looking items
  • Chilean wines are world famous for their high quality, so make sure to sample them
  • Chile offers some excellent educational resources and is a favourite destination for studies abroad
  • Unlike many other countries in this region, bribing is not acceptable!
  • Most places offer some form of internet connection: in the bigger cities you can readily find connectivity in bars or cafes, in smaller/remote areas try the public library
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Chilean Food

Chilean cuisine not only reflects its rugged terrain, but also its colonial influences. As a token from native Andean culinary traditions you will find raw minced llama, lots of shellfish and rice breads; Spanish colonialists brought with them lemon and onions, and finally German settlers came with beer and mayonnaise. Generally you will find an abundance of vegetables and sea food, and the locals enjoy eating shellfish raw, which is not recommended for travellers. Traditional fare includes empanada de queso (cheese filled pastry packet), cazuela de ave (chicken soup with rice and potatoes), porotos granados (a bean, squash, corn, onion and basil stew) and a range of pastelitos (baked sweets). 

Chile Travel Safety and Warnings

  • Muggers and pickpockets roam the streets of larger cities. It is best to leave any expensive looking equipment or jewelry at home!
  • If you decide to drive, Chilean drivers are known to be better than their neighbors, though it is still best to exercise caution and drive defensively. Also, make sure to have travel insurance for Chile to cover any eventualities.
  • Avoid any public protests or demonstrations, as they tend to end in violence.
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About Chile

Home of world famous poet and Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda as well as the military dictator Augusto Pinochet, Chile's history and culture are as diverse as the country itself: spanning over 5,000kms along the coast of South America, every climatic zone apart from tropical forests can be found here. From the driest place on earth in the North to the ice caps of Western Patagonia, Chile is a unique melting pot of geography, culture, ethnicities, and traditions. To explore this amazing country, bring good shoes, a large appetite, and good travel insurance for Chile!

The North of Chile is home to the driest desert in the world – the Atacama. Due to its dryness and elevation, this is one of the best locations for star gazing in the world, and there are a few observatories offering 'tours' of the night sky. This is also the place to explore the Chilean part of the Andean Road system. Built by the Incans, this road systems spans over 30,000kms through 5 countries, and still survives to this day.

Central Chile is the heart of the country with the major cities being located here. Santiago, the capital and largest city, is not only great base for exploring the rest of the country, but also the cultural and economic center of Chile. There are lots of museums, parks, churches and cool plazas to explore, but what really makes Santiago unique is that you can go skiing in the morning in the Andes and then relax on a warm beach in the afternoon!

Santiago also offers convenient transport to Rapa Nui, commonly known as Easter Island. Home to the iconic Moai statues, the Easter Islands and its inhabitants are still shrouded in mystery. Archaeological evidence on the island points to a flourishing culture with supreme accomplishments followed by a sudden (and as of yet, unexplained) decline and end. While the main attraction is the statues located along the coast, you can also enjoy some excellent diving here. For adventure travellers, the island offers a large and very unexplored system of caves, but be sure to have the right equipment and good travel insurance before you go off exploring.

The other major city to visit while in Central Chile is Valparaíso. Valparaíso is a Pacific town built into a mountain. The Historic Quarter of the Seaport City itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing the architectural and urban development of Latin America in the late 19th-century. Visiting Valparaíso is less about museums and locations, and more about views and just bumbling around this crazy town. While you are here, make sure to make ample use of the ascensores, which are cable pulled elevators that connect the harbor to the hills, and are the local equivalent of a Venetian Gondola!

Leaving the big cities, you enter Chile's most productive wine region. Chilean wines are competing with wines from California, France and Australia and while you are here make sure to visit a winery or two to find out why. There are several companies that offer wine tours starting either in Valparaíso or Santiago, meaning you may be able to try a few more wines than one or two if you organize it ahead of time!

As you travel further south, the terrain becomes more rugged and the weather tends become quite a bit colder. In its furthest southern region, Chile shares Patagonia with neighboring Argentina, a beautiful but desolate country that attracts mountaineers and adventure seekers from all over the globe. If you do choose to explore this region in more detail, make sure to plan ahead of time, have Chile travel insurance and bring the right equipment.

Compared to its neighbors, Chile is more relaxed in many respects. The driving etiquette is better, bribing is generally completely unacceptable, and the country is quite safe. Food is a unique blend between Andean traditional foods, Spanish foods, and some German cuisine and with 5000kms of coastline, you can find a wide range of delicious seafood - note that locals tend to eat shellfish raw which is not recommended for travellers, unless you have an iron stomach. Make sure to try some different empanadas (filled pastry packets) as well as some of the desserts brought in by German immigrants and modified to the local taste, most notably the 'Berlin' which in Chile is a ball of dough filled with dulce de membrillo, a delicious jelly made from quince.

Chile has a lot to offer to the discerning traveller: stunning combinations of sea and mountains, rugged and desolate terrain, the Easter Islands, untouched mountain peaks, fine wines, good food, and bustling cities with vibrant nightlife. It is easy to see why the amount of tourists to Chile has been steadily increasing over the last few years.

Home of world famous poet and Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda as well as the military dictator Augusto Pinochet, Chile's history and culture are as diverse as the country itself: spanning over 5,000kms along the coast of South America, every climatic zone apart from tropical forests can be found here. From the driest place on earth in the North to the ice caps of Western Patagonia, Chile is a unique melting pot of geography, culture, ethnicities, and traditions. To explore this amazing country, bring good shoes, a large appetite, and good travel insurance for Chile!

 

The North of Chile is home to the driest desert in the world – the Atacama. Due to its dryness and elevation, this is one of the best locations for star gazing in the world, and there are a few observatories offering 'tours' of the night sky. This is also the place to explore the Chilean part of the Andean Road system. Built by the Incans, this road systems spans over 30,000kms through 5 countries, and still survives to this day.

Central Chile is the heart of the country with the major cities being located here. Santiago, the capital and largest city, is not only great base for exploring the rest of the country, but also the cultural and economic center of Chile. There are lots of museums, parks, churches and cool plazas to explore, but what really makes Santiago unique is that you can go skiing in the morning in the Andes and then relax on a warm beach in the afternoon!

Santiago also offers convenient transport to Rapa Nui, commonly known as Easter Island. Home to the iconic Moai statues, the Easter Islands and its inhabitants are still shrouded in mystery. Archaeological evidence on the island points to a flourishing culture with supreme accomplishments followed by a sudden (and as of yet, unexplained) decline and end. While the main attraction is the statues located along the coast, you can also enjoy some excellent diving here. For adventure travellers, the island offers a large and very unexplored system of caves, but be sure to have the right equipment and good travel insurance before you go off exploring.

The other major city to visit while in Central Chile is Valparaíso. Valparaíso is a Pacific town built into a mountain. The Historic Quarter of the Seaport City itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site showcasing the architectural and urban development of Latin America in the late 19th-century. Visiting Valparaíso is less about museums and locations, and more about views and just bumbling around this crazy town. While you are here, make sure to make ample use of the ascensores, which are cable pulled elevators that connect the harbor to the hills, and are the local equivalent of a Venetian Gondola!

Leaving the big cities, you enter Chile's most productive wine region. Chilean wines are competing with wines from California, France and Australia and while you are here make sure to visit a winery or two to find out why. There are several companies that offer wine tours starting either in Valparaíso or Santiago, meaning you may be able to try a few more wines than one or two if you organize it ahead of time!

As you travel further south, the terrain becomes more rugged and the weather tends become quite a bit colder. In its furthest southern region, Chile shares Patagonia with neighboring Argentina, a beautiful but desolate country that attracts mountaineers and adventure seekers from all over the globe. If you do choose to explore this region in more detail, make sure to plan ahead of time, have Chile travel insurance and bring the right equipment.

Compared to its neighbors, Chile is more relaxed in many respects. The driving etiquette is better, bribing is generally completely unacceptable, and the country is quite safe. Food is a unique blend between Andean traditional foods, Spanish foods, and some German cuisine and with 5000kms of coastline, you can find a wide range of delicious seafood - note that locals tend to eat shellfish raw which is not recommended for travellers, unless you have an iron stomach. Make sure to try some different empanadas (filled pastry packets) as well as some of the desserts brought in by German immigrants and modified to the local taste, most notably the 'Berlin' which in Chile is a ball of dough filled with dulce de membrillo, a delicious jelly made from quince.

Chile has a lot to offer to the discerning traveller: stunning combinations of sea and mountains, rugged and desolate terrain, the Easter Islands, untouched mountain peaks, fine wines, good food, and bustling cities with vibrant nightlife. It is easy to see why the amount of tourists to Chile has been steadily increasing over the last few years.

 

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