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flag Chile Chile: Practical information

In this page: Accommodation | Eating Out | Getting Around | Time and Time Difference | Climate | Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems | Paying | Speaking | Emergency Numbers | Communications

 

Accommodation

Residenciales
A facility half-way between hospedaje and a hotel. They are generally family homes offering four or five rooms, but sometimes even ten or more. They are expected to be more chic than hospodajes, but this is not always the case.
Hospedajes
They are widespread throughout Chile and are private homes renting rooms at a modest price. Breakfast is usually included. There are often other faciliites included such as a laundry service, a TV room, an Internet access point and sometimes wifi.

Hostel
In principle, a hostel is a simpler type of accommodation than a hotel. The various names are, in reality, often interchangeable.
Youth Hostel
Chile has around ten member hostels that are part of the Hostelling International Association. Additionally, there are plently of private hostels offering essentially dormitory accomodation, but often also double rooms for couples, which are not much more expensive. Most have a shared kitchen and free Internet.
Hotels
Beyond a certain category, all establishments are called 'hotels' -- they have a reception desk and the staff is permanently looking after the guests. A growing number of hotels have signed agreements allowing foreign non-residents to claim a VAT exception if payment is made in cash, in euros or dollars, or by a payment card.
Chili-Hotels      

Booking

Chilehotel

Bed & Breakfast
A growing trend in Chile, especially in Valparaiso, are Bed & Breakfast venues. These are private homes, often very old and full of charm, with rooms to rent. Breakfast is often included. You can also find varying levels of comfort with reasonable prices and a warm and friendly welcome.

Cabanas
Common in coastal towns, national parks and some campsites, cabanas are essentially vacation homes. They resemble bungalows or little cottages, and are generally well priced for small groups and families.
Camping
It is quite easy to camp in Chilean national parks as most of them have a dedicated camping area, often with toilet facilities and showers. In some cases, you can also set up a tent in the garden of a hospedaje.
Hotel Rules
Hotel prices are generally quoted per room, or per bed in the case of dormitories.

For all hotel services, non-resident foreigners are exempt from paying the 19% VAT, on the condition they pay in dollars, euros or/and by a credit/debit card.

Tipping, or propina, is common in Chile. In hotels, it is good to tip the person who helps carry your bags.

For Further Information
Hotel Accommodation Guide in Chile (in Spanish)
Travellerspoint Travel Community
 

Price Indications

Economy Room < 22 EUR
Medium Price Room 22-45 EUR
Good Quality Room > 45 EUR

Source: Lonely Planet

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Eating Out

Categories of Restaurant
 
  • Cocinas custombristas
A true Chilean institution, cocinas custombristas are ordinary restaurants serving traditional dishes, often with seafood.
  • Fuentes de soda
Sandwich schops offering completos, hot-dogs served with avocado salad, tomatoes and mayonnaise.
  • Bistros
Bistros serve fresh salads and sandwiches, but also casseroles and Chilean seafood dishes.
  • Picadas
Small restaurants offering cheap home cooking. Sometimes specialized in a particular kind of dish. There are many in each town.
  • Others
Classic restaurants, fast food shops, steakhouses and pizzerias.
Rules For Eating Out
Tipping, or propina,  is common in Chile. In restaurants and bars, a tip is usually 10% of the total bill. This is a important part of the employees' wages, which are usually very low.
 

Price Indications

Economy Meal <10 EUR
Medium Price Meal 10-15 EUR
Good Quality Meal > 15 EUR
 
Food Specialties
Chile has various food specialities such as Cazuela, which is a chicken stew made with rice, corn and potatoes or Empanadas, which are a sort of fritter stuffed with meat, poultry or fish with onions, eggs and olives. Other specialities include alpaca steak (also known as Altiplano), chicha (fermented corn), mutton and fish and seafood on the coast.
Drinks
The most common drinks in Chile are water, fizzy drinks, fresh fruit juices, mote con huesillo which is made from husked wheat and sun-dried peaches, tea, coffee and maté which is a stimulating infusion of the dried leaves of yerba mate.
Dietary Restrictions
There are no dietary restrictions in the country.
Table Manners
You must use cutlery (knife and fork) when eating. Hands should remain on the table and never in your lap. Licking one's fingers or using a tooth-pick is considered rude.

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Getting Around

Means of Transport Recommended in Town

Recommendation
Taking the bus in Santiago can be a challenge with multiple routes. Another option is the colectivo, a car similar to a taxi but with a sign on the roof indicating its number and destination. The route is fixed in advance and it drops people off all along its route,  it tends to be a little more expensive than the bus. Taxi fares are reasonable and most of them have a meter.
Maps of Urban Networks
Google Maps
Bing Maps
Urban Transport Agencies
Santiago Underground
Find an Itinerary
Santiago Underground
Taxi Companies
Radio Taxis Chile
 

Transportation From Airport to City Centre:


Airport

Distance

Taxi

Bus

Train

Car Rental
Santiago - Benitez Intl (SCL) 18 km / 12 miles USD 23-28 / 30 min USD 3 / 30-40 min. - Available
Concepción - Carriel Sur Intl (CCP) 6 km / 4 miles Available - - Available
 

Means of Transport Recommended in the Rest of the Country

Recommendation
Chile only has a few train lines in operation. In the North, there are the lines the Calama Uyuni and Arica Tacna and, in the South, the lines Santiago-Temuco and Santiago-Concepción. Buses in Chile are efficient, fast, popular and mostly cheap. All the cities are served daily by many companies, the two main ones: Tur Bus and Pullman Bus. Airplanes can also be a practical means of transport; however, they are much more expensive than the buses or trains.
Rail Companies
Empresa de Los Ferrocarriles del Estado
 

Airlines

Name Type Domestic Flights International Flights
Skyairlines Major Yes No
LAN Major Yes Yes
DAP Major Yes Yes
CDA Major Yes Yes

You Can Consult The EU Air Safety List. Look Also at the rating of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

 
 
 

Travelling By Yourself

Recommendation
The road networks are in great condition; however, one should avoid leaving the main roads with a regular vehicle and take gas reserves for long journeys. There is also a very dense and effective network of buses throughout Chile. Public transport can be dangerous due to the fierce competition between companies that push drivers to drive fast and dangerously. The Metropolitan network is only slightly developed, but reliable and clean.
Driver's License
Foreign driver's licenses are generally accepted by car rental companies and by the police at checkpoints, but for legal reasons foreign drivers must have a valid international driving license issued in their country of origin, with the exception of Argentinian citizens, who can drive with their own national license.
Conditions For Renting a Vehicle
To rent a car in Chile, drivers must be at least 21 years old and have held a driver's licence for more than a year. The age requirement may vary depending on the vehicle category. Drivers must be in possession of a valid driver's license at all times and must be able to show vehicle registration documents and insurance papers. A small car can be rented for 20,000-25,000 pesos (40-50 USD) per day, but the rates in Santiago are more competitive.
Rental Agencies
Europcar
Budget
Tolls or Taxes
See the website of the Ministry of public works.
Road Maps
Maps of Chile
Find an Itinerary
Google Maps
Mapquest Chile
Traffic Conditions Online
Ministerio de Transportes y Telecomunicaciones, Unidad Operativa de Control de Tránsito
Ministry Of Public Works
Parking Facilities
Since most of the parking spaces are very narrow, it is advised to use a small vehicle.
 

Rules of the Road

Minimum Driving Age
18 years minimum
Side of the Road For Driving
Right
Speed Limits
Unless otherwise specified, the maximum speed is 75 mph on roads and 30 mph in town.
Safety Belts
The use of seatbelts is compulsory for all passangers.
Permitted Amount of Alcohol in the Blood
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is considered a serious offense. Chile has a zero tolerance policy to drinking and driving.
National Roads Organizations
Highway Concession Toll
The Ministry of Transport and Telecommunications, Operational Unit for Transit Control

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Time and Time Difference

Current Local Time
It is %T:%M %A In Santiago
Summer Time
Summer time from October to March.
 

Map of the Time Zone

Time zone

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Climate

 
Type of Climate
The vast length of Chile accounts for its various climates. The northern part of the country has a desert-like and arid climate, the central part has a Mediterranean-like climate, while the south has a more oceanic climate. Additionally, the mountainous regions have a tundra-like climate. 
For Further Information
Chile Meteorological Direction
 

Average Annual Temperatures and Rainfall

 

Climate

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Electrical Standards and Measurement Systems

System of Measurement Used
Metric system
Unit of Measurement of Temperature
Degree Celsius
 

Use our service Measurement Converter.

 
Electricity
 
  • Voltage
220 V
  • Frequency
50 Hz
Type of Electric Socket
C & L
Type of Telephone Socket
US RJ-11
DVD Zoning
Zone 4

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Paying

Domestic Currency
Chilean Peso
ISO Code
CLP
To Obtain Domestic Currency
The currency is the Chilean peso (CLP). Major world currencies can be exchanged easily in Santiago, as well as in most regions of Chile. Some banks or bureaux de change in remote towns still sometimes prefer the U.S. dollar. For shopping, restaurants and small hotels generally accept local currency only.  Bureaux de change are generally closed on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. They also change traveller's checks without commission. Banks are open during the week from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Exchanging money on the black market is not advisable.
Possible Means of Payment
MasterCard and Visa are usually taken at top of the range establishments, unlike the American Express card that is not very widespread. Withdrawing cash with a credit card is widespread and very easy.
 

To Find a Cash Machine Where You Need, Use the ATM locator

 

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Speaking

Official Language
Spanish.
Other Languages Spoken
Indigenous dialects, such as Mapudungun, Aymara, Quechua and Rapa Nui
Business Language
Spanish, English
Getting Some Knowledge
Yes = Sí
No = No
Thank you = Gracias
Hello = Hola
Good day = Buenos días
Good afternoon = Buenas tardes
Goodbye = Adiós
I don't understand = No entiendo
How much does it cost? What is the price? = ¿Cuánto cuesta? ¿Cuál es el precio?
I would like to buy ... = Me gustaría comprar ...
Do you take credit cards ? = ¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?
Where is  ... ? = ¿Dónde está ...?
The post office = la oficina de correo
The bank = el banco
The police station = la estación de policía; la comisaría de policía
The pharmacy = la farmacia
The airport = el aeropuerto
The train station = la estación del tren
A ticket for .... please. = Un boleto (billete) para ..., por favor.
Do you have any rooms available for tonight ? = ¿Tiene habitaciones para esta noche?
Free Translation Tools
Babel Fish : Free English-Spanish-English translation of texts and web pages
Dictionarios.com : Free Spanish-Catalan-English-French Dictionary
Word Reference : Online dictionary

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Emergency Numbers

Ambulance 131
Fire Service 132
Police 133
Information 134
AIDS helpline +56 2 222 83 56

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Communications

Quality of Communications
Both local and international telephone communication works well and rates are usually competitive.
Telephone Codes
To Make a Call From Chile, Dial 00
To Make a Call to in Chile, Dial +56
Number of Digits of National Telephone Numbers

Area code + a 6, 7 or 8-digit number according to the geographic area.

For more details, please see this link.
Mobile Telephone Standards
Standard GSM (Global system for mobile communications)
National Mobile Phone Operators
There are a number of mobile phone operators, including Claro, Entel and Movistar.
 

Availability of Internet

Internet Suffix
.cl
National Internet Access Providers
The largest internet providers are Telefónica, VTR Banda Ancha, Claro Comunicaciones S.A., Telsur, GTD Manquehue, Entel-Chile S.A., Pacífico Cable, CMET.
Access in Public Places
In Santiago there are many wifi hotspots, but in rural areals infrastructures and telecommunications are less developed.
Access in Hotels
Most hotels offer wifi connection, as well as a business center.

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Latest Update: September 2022