Chile Travel Tips
Chile is a safe country, with a low crime rate, but nevertheless we recommend taking a taxi (not expensive) during night time. Keep money and valuables in a money belt or pouch under your clothes. Crimes that take place are usually crimes of opportunity, like pickpocket thieves, as opposed to violent crime, therefore be careful with your wallet and try not to use jewelry or expensive watches.
There are some Chilean locations that are worldwide known, like Torres del Paine, San Pedro de Atacama, and Easter Island, but in our opinion, you should make an effort in order to get to know:
a) Valle de Elqui (6 hours north of Santiago), peaceful area with clear skies, and beautiful little towns, like Pisco Elqui.
b) The Lake District (area between Temuco and Puerto Montt) full of hot springs, active volcanoes, national parks, forests, rivers and lakes
c) Amazing Laguna San Rafael Glacier (in the middle of our Patagonia)
Not many people speak English in Chile. We recommend you learn basic words and take a small dictionary with you.
If you like travelling in remote areas and small villages, or if you are planning to visit Easter Island, then carry always Chilean pesos with you. In general, cash is better than credit cards when travelling on isolated areas.
Although many foreigners do not have any problem drinking Chilean water, we recommend buying mineral water, especially in the north of Chile and other remote areas.
Always check the bills and change. Special care with taxi drivers (I guess this is a worldwide advice)
Cell phones: Cell phone coverage is very good in Chile. You will get a good signal in almost all cities and even in small towns. You may also speak in Santiago’s subway and also in ski resorts, like Valle Nevado and Termas de Chillán. Our car rental company rents both, prepaid simple mobile phones and smartphones, like I-Phone 5 and Samsung (Android), at very convenient rates.
If you bring US dollars or EUROS, take time and only bring bills in excellent conditions (not tear apart or too old)
a) Don't expect to eat dinner until 8:30 pm - Chileans tend to eat late
b) Even though you can eat good steak in Chile, you will find better meat restaurants in Argentina and Uruguay. But if you like sea food, fresh fruits, and wines…Chile is the place!!! Santiago it is not located in the coast, but it‘s a great city to enjoy seafood, because you can get “ostiones” from the north, jaivas from central Chile, salmon from the south, and centolla (king crab) from Patagonia.
c) 10% tip is recommended in restaurants and pubs
When you are driving and do not want to stop in a restaurant neither want to spend too much time “Pronto” Copec (main gas station company in Chile) it is a great alternative for a coffee, a natural orange juice, and a clean bathroom.