Located in southern South America between the Andes mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Chile is a great place to vacation.
From glaciers and volcanoes, mountains and lakes, to beaches and deserts, Chile offers a wide range of landscapes and exciting places to explore.
See the Mars-like desert at the Atacama Desert or visit penguins and beautiful channels in Chiloé Island. A perfect place for adventurers, Chile is also home to booming metropolitan cities like Santiago for those who want to see more culture and shops.
There are many things to do and see in Chile.
This Chile travel guide will help you plan your next vacation.
Table of contents
Table of Contents
Fast Facts about Chile
- Power voltage is 220V at 50 Hz.
- Chile’s currency is the Chilean Peso (CLP) and 1 CLP is equal to 0.0014 USD.
- The best way to get around Chile is by bus or car.
- You do not need a tourist visa to enter Chile, just a valid US passport. When entering, you will be issued a Tourist Card that is valid for up to 90 days.
- Two popular network providers in Chile are Entel and Movistar. You can purchase a SIM card through either of these networks by visiting a local grocery store, kiosk, or at the Santiago International Airport.
- Chile has a sales tax rate of 19%.
Things to See and Do in Chile
- Trekking in Patagonia – One of the top places in the world for trekking. Be sure to do the Torres del Paine Trek.
- Geyser del Tatio: See one of the largest geyser fields in the world at El Tatio. Get an early start to see the steam rise against the sunrise and experience breathtaking views.
- Atacama Desert: Travel west of the Andes Mountains to see the driest desert in the world. Described by many as like being on Mars, experience 600 miles of vast natural beauty and see an abundance of flora, fauna, rock formations, salt lakes, and llamas.
- Chiloé Island: Take a day trip to this island in southern Chile. See penguins, blue dolphins, waterfalls, and 17th-century churches (including The Church of San Francisco), as well as beautiful trails and views of the Chacao Channel.
- Grey Lake: See massive blue glaciers up close on the Grey Lake. Take a boat trip along the lake and see stunning glaciers while being surrounded by beautiful mountain views. Make sure to bring a camera.
Chile Travel Guides
Budget – Chile offers a range of backpacker hostels at around 2,200 to 4,500 Chilean Pesos per night and includes shared kitchens, lockers, laundry services, free Wi-Fi, and lounge areas. Many of these hostels are also centrally located.
Mid Range – For mid-range hotels, expect to pay between 5,000 to 7,000 Chilean Pesos per night. Enjoy private rooms and suites, housekeeping services, outdoor pools, hotel dining, and complimentary breakfast.
High End – Upscale hotels can go from 10,000 to 450,000 Chilean Pesos per night. These luxury hotels offer the best of Chile and come with refined suites, thermal pools and spas, multiple restaurants and bars, private terraces, and more. The Vik Chile Hotel even comes with its own winery.
- Check out our favorite booking platforms Booking.com, Tripadvisor and VRBO for the best deals on accommodation.
The Chilean cuisine favors seafood, fresh fruit and vegetables, and chicken or beef. Pastel de Choclo (corn casserole with meat stuffing) and Empanadas (meat, cheese, or mussels-filled pastry) are both popular dishes.
Chile also has a variety of street vendors to choose from.
The La Vega market in Santiago is one of the most popular places to try fresh, authentic Chilean cuisine.
Once you’re ready to sit down and relax, Chile also offers many restaurants and cafes. In total, expect to pay around 13,000 Chilean Pesos per day for food.
The Best Ways to Get Around Chile
Getting to Chile:
Getting to Chile: The Santiago International Airport is Chile’s largest airport is just under 10 miles from downtown Santiago.
Flights: You can check for the best flights to Santiago on Skyscanner.
Train: Santiago and Valparaiso both have train systems that run through the city and connect to surrounding areas. You can take a train from Santiago to San Fernando in roughly 1.5 hours. In addition, Santiago also has its own subway system that runs frequently
Buses: Chile offers many buses that operate frequently and run throughout the country. Expect to pay roughly 600 Chilean Pesos for shorter trips, or 2,000 to 3,000 Chilean Pesos for longer trips.
Car Rental: To rent a car in Chile, you will need to be at least 18 years old and have an International Driver’s License. Prices start at around 35,000 Chilean Pesos per day. Taxis are also available and typically start at a flat rate of 300 Chilean Pesos, with an additional 1,000 Chilean Pesos per mile.
You can also compare prices here
When to go To Chile
The best time to visit depends on your destination and what you want to do there.
The seasons in Chile are flipped from the US, so summer is between December and February, while winter is June to August.
If you want to go to the Santiago mountains to ski, for, example, June-August is an excellent time to go.
If you’re heading south to Patagonia, October to March will be the warmest time to go. For those who want more of a summer vacation, go to Santiago between December and February, when the hotel rates drop, and temperatures range from 60 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Where to Stay in Chile
Casa Bueras Boutique Hotel: Come visit this romantic hotel in Santiago. Enjoy numerous amenities, including bicycle rental, outdoor pool, blackout curtains, private balconies, and complimentary breakfast. Right outside the hotel are numerous restaurants, city tours, and the nature park.
Hotel Nilahue: Stay right across the beautiful Reñaca beach at this relaxed hotel in Viña del Mar. Enjoy ocean views, a sun terrace, an outdoor pool, and top-quality service during your stay. The Viña Del Car Casino and the Quinta Vergara Art Museum are both nearby.
Wyndham Garden Concepción: This four-star hotel offers a prime location to explore the city of Concepción. Complimentary breakfast, an outdoor pool, the hotel restaurant and bar, and free Wi-Fi are all included with this hotel. Once you’ve settled in, step outside to the nearby attractions, including local parks and museums.
What to Pack for Chile
- Layers: As Chile has a variety of climates, packing layers will prepare you for any weather.
- Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the beautiful sun with some sunscreen.
- Hiking Boots: With so many outdoor activities, a pair of sturdy hiking boots will keep you comfortable.
- Layers: Be prepared no matter the weather by bringing clothes with layers.
- Waterproof Coat: As it can rain, a waterproof coat is a good item to bring.
- For winter travel to Canada, check out our tips for how to survive the winter deep freeze.
- Dress in layers and be prepared for cool nights, (even in the summer and especially in the mountains.
- How to Pack for a winter vacation read – Travel Tips for Winter Packing
Chile Travel Guide: Best Booking Resources
Whenever we travel to we make sure to start with these companies. We have tried a lot of different ones over the years and all of these have consistently proven to be the best when it comes to offering great prices.
We have used every one of these personally and continue to do so.
- Booking.com: This is our go site to when comparing prices for accommodation. It usually has the cheapest prices, especially in Europe and we love their interface. Not to mention you get free cancellation and you are guaranteed the best price.
- Trip Advisor: What we like about Trip Advisor is that we can look at all the reviews and then book our accommodation. TripAdvisor is where we go when we want to compare prices with multiple accommodation providers.
- VRBO: is the main search engine we use when we are looking for a home or apartment rental. It can sometimes be cheaper than hotels and it is the best way to stay in areas that offer a more local feel.
- Hostelworld: With one of the largest databases of hostels in the world, Hostelworld is the go-to site when you are looking for budget accommodation.
- Skyscanner: This is the first place we check for flights. It consistently comes back with the cheapest and best options. It allows us to compare a lot of airlines to get the best price.
- Rome 2 Rio: If you want to see how to get somewhere by plane, train, bus, ferry or car Rome2Rio lays it all out for you as well as related costs.I love how they show it all to you on a Google Map and it works offline.
- Get Your Guide: For all your day trip and city guide needs, we use Get Your Guide. It has the world’s largest collection of things to do with more than 30,000 activities in 7500 destinations.
- World Nomads Insurance: When traveling to Italy you should always have travel insurance. We have found the best bang for your buck is by far World Nomads.