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The land of Pablo Neruda and Isabella Allende, Chile is a complete experience – nature and adventure rolled into one. There is so much packed into this stretched out, string bean of a country - the urban boulevards and the bustle of Santiago, the Andean foothills and the Atacama Desert, the Pacific coastline and the National Parks, the guanaco and the glaciers. The Europeans have populated this country with vigour but the warm and resilient people of Chile have stuck to their traditions, especially in the Andean foothills.


Enjoy a trek and go spotting the amazing guanaco in its National Parks, indulge in the bright blue of the Pacific, the intense brown of the Andes and the Atacama, and the pearly whites of the glaciers in Southern Chile.

  • Capital: Santiago
  • Currency: Chilean Peso (CLP)
  • Area: 756,102 km²
  • Population: 18,734,200 (2018 estimate)
  • Language: Spanish
  • Religion:Roman Catholic 70%, Protestant 15.1%, None 8.3%
  • Electricity: 220V, 50Hz (type C & L plugs)


Chile has the distinction of being the longest country in the world as well as also the narrowest - it is 4300 km long and just 175 km wide.




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Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 


Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season



























































Climate Chart with avergae monthly temperatues and rainfall


Due to the geography of the country, the seasons in Chile are incredibly diverse. Depending on the region you wish to visit and the activities that you're after, the best time for different regions is restricted to a particular season. Chile experiences mostly dry southern hemisphere summers between November and January and wet winters between May and August. Chile’s climate can range from tropical in the North, the Mediterranean in the center, and Antarctic (antiboreal oceanic) in the South with unique regional climates like the arid Atacama Desert or the high peaks of the Andean mountains.


If you want to pay Torres del Paine or Lake District a visit, the ideal time to do so would be during the summer months of December through March, which is also the high tourist season in all of Chile. Festivals and events during these months are plentiful but ensure to make your reservations well in advance or you’ll be most likely left stranded with limited or very expensive options.


If you want to explore Northern Altiplano, summer is the wet season in this region, with monsoon rain spoiling most afternoons throughout the season. Winters from June-September is a great time for skiing.


Spring (late September-October) and autumn (March-May) is also a fantastic time to plan your Chilean trip as the weather is pleasant in almost all cities of the country and you will get the cheapest prices on hotels and flights.


While places like the Atacama Desert can be visited throughout the year, the autumn month of March is the ideal time to visit Easter Islands and the Juan Fernandez Archipelago.


  • November to February - Patagonia is best (and most expensive) but beaches are often crowded.
  • March to May, September to October - Grape harvests in wine regions; pleasant Santiago temperatures.
  • June to August - Fine weather in the north; Chileans go on winter vacation in July.


The most popular time to visit the beautiful Pacific coast beaches of Chile is during the summer, from December to February. March and November will be cooler but still pleasant.




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There are many ways to rack up some great memories in South America without putting a big ding in the budget. Travel is cheapest in Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. How much does it cost to visit Chile? That depends on a few different factors, specifically, what you plan on doing while you’re here as well as your travel style. Chile is by no means a cheap destination though and basic living costs in Chile will account for a much higher proportion of your total expenses than in the cheaper South American destinations. The combination of food, drink and accommodation combined account for roughly two-thirds of expenditure in Chile.


If you want to get by on a 'backpacking' budget of under US$ 40-50 per day you will have to stay in a hostel dorm, eat cheap food (but mainly cooking your own meals), use public transportation, and participate in basic activities like visiting museums. If you have a mid-range budget and travelling as a couple you should budget at least US$ 100 per day which will allow you to stay in budget hotels (or Airbnb), take buses between destinations, eat out more of the time, and do more excursions.


If you’re looking to do some multi-day hikes or more adventure activities, your budget is going to need a little more padding. Likewise, if you plan to travel quickly since you’ll probably need to fly to reach destinations.


How To Stick to your Budget:

  • Slow down - stick around and enjoy a place rather than rushing off to the next destination. The further and faster you go, the more you’ll have to pay.

  • Eat like a local at street stalls or markets.

  • Opt for dorm rooms or share a room with a buddy.

  • Stay in fan (non-air-con) rooms with shared bathroom.

  • Travel overland instead of flying.

  • Book flights online (and bus tickets where possible) rather than paying an agent commission.

  • Snorkel instead of dive.

  • Choose small towns instead of big cities.

  • Be discriminating about which sites and national parks to visit.

  • Factor in more free days: on the beach and exploring neighbourhoods.

  • Avoid package deals (transportation, lodging, touring).

  • Know how much local transportation should cost and bargain accordingly.

  • Avoid surprises by negotiating taxi fares before getting inside.

  • Don’t forget to factor in the costs of visas.

  • Track all of your daily expenses so you know your average costs.



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If you plan to explore Chile, renting a car is a great option. It gives you the maximum liberty to move between the different areas. You can rent a car if you have a valid driver’s license, are 25 years of age, and present either a credit card or huge cash deposit. Expect to pay around US$ 125 for a one week rental.


Though most taxis are metered, it is suggested that you negotiate the fee in advance. Long-distance buses are comfortable and reliable. Although ride-sharing apps like Uber are available, Uber’s app and website make no mention of its unsettled legal status in Chile, where it now boasts 2.2 million monthly users and 85,000 drivers since its launch here in 2014. However, it's been an ongoing battle since with driver s fined and harassed (best case) and sometimes turning their unwitting passengers into accomplices. Current proposed changes to legislation might make it more difficult for these services to compete in the future, although the official tone is that the intention is to regulate it, not to prevent its expansion.


The only budget form of traveling in Chile is by bus. Even this way you might spend a lot on transport, since distances are huge, especially in Patagonia or between Santiago and the Atacama Desert. Chilean buses run on time and tickets must be purchased ahead of time. Fares are reasonable by European or North American standards but expensive compared to neighbouring countries. As example, for the cross-country journey from Santiago to Punta Arenas, expect to pay at least US$ 85 for the 40-hour bus ride (this is an incredibly long distance so you will be better off breaking it into stages or should rather fly).


Trains link Santiago with Curico, Talca, Linares, and Chillan with air-conditioned cars, but that’s the extent of Chile’s train infrastructure. No national railways operate north of Santiago. In general, trains are slow and inconveniently and cannot compete with the speed, low fares and punctuality of the buses. Schedules change so it’s best to check an official timetable.


  • Atacama desert - Visit erupting geysers, crinkly salt plains and emerald lakes in the morning, and deep, mystical valleys by sunset in the driest desert on earth. Days are spent taking in Mars-like rock formations, floating on salt lakes and wandering through a spurting geyser field, followed by evenings gazing at some of the clearest night skies on the planet. Uncommon adventures abound, from sandboarding and mountain-bike rides to scenic hikes through red-rock canyons, or simply watching pink flamingos and other animal life.
  • Elqui Valley/stargazing near Vicuna - Take advantage of some of the clearest skies in Chile and look at the universe through some of the world's most powerful telescopes.
  • Santiago - Chile's rapidly evolving capital city boasts a vibrant eating out and nightlife scene, several fascinating museums, numerous cultural pursuits, and a selection of excellent places to stay.
  • Valparaíso - One of South America's most enchanting cities, Valparaíso has a tangle of colourful houses, cobbled streets, and bohemian hang-outs spread across a series of undulating hills overlooking the Pacific.
  • Wineries - Visit the numerous traditional bodegas around San Fernando and Santa Cruz, and sample some of Chile's finest vintages.
  • Parque Nacional Torres del Paine - Hike the trails of Chile's most popular – and most spectacular – national park or climb the granite towers that give the park its name. Trekking through this Unesco Biosphere Reserve isn’t for the faint of heart – guides say the park sees all four seasons in a single day – but hiking the ‘W’ remains a rite of passage for generations of adventurous travellers.
  • Patagonia - Trek, camp, kayak and horseback ride in this wildly beautiful landscape.
  • Iquique - Catch a wave in this surf capital of the north coast.
  • Chiloé Island - The largest island of the country. Sample one of Chile's most memorable dishes, admire the palafitos (traditional houses on stilts), or hike through the temperate rainforest on Chile's mist and legend shrouded island.
  • Isla Robinson Crusoe - Although badly damaged by the 2010 tsunami, Isla Robinson Crusoe still has the end-of-the-world castaway feel that inspired Daniel Defoe's famous book.
  • Easter Island - Gazing down into the giant crater of the extinct Rano Kau volcano and visiting the magical moai at Ahu Tongariki and Rano Raraku are once-in-a-lifetime experiences.
  • Tierra del Fuego - Explore the deserted roads running through the steppe and dotted with guanacos and rheas, or fish in the pristine lakes and rivers of Chile's remotest region.
  • Isla Navarino - Chile's southernmost inhabited territory (barring Antarctica), where the warmth of the locals contrasts with the harshness of the landscape.
  • Laguna San Rafael National Park - includes the San Rafael Glacier. Take a boat trip to the ice-filled lagoon that is Chile's fastest shrinking glacier and get close to the ice in a Zodiac speedboat.
  • Lauca National Park - the Lago Chungará, one of the world's highest lakes, overseen by the mighty Volcán Parinacota.
  • Valle de la Luna - breath-taking desert landscape with impressive sand dunes and rock formations.


From the towering heights of the Andes to the beaches along its coastline, Chile offers an outdoor enthusiast everything from skiing and mountain biking to swimming in the blue waters of coastal towns. And if you are a wine aficionado, a trip to the vineyards around Valparaiso is definitely in order, as Chilean wine is renowned the world over.



Allow at least three to four weeks if you wish to cover Chile from top to bottom; flying between some of the destinations will allow you to cover vast distances quickly. However, if you only have 2 weeks consider the following:

Spend a day exploring the museums and cafes of Santiago - visit the picturesque port of Valparaíso. From central Chile, you’ll have to decide whether to venture north – to San Pedro de Atacama and its mystical desertscapes, adventure sports and starry skies – or to the glaciers and trekking paradise of Torres del Paine and Patagonia in the south. In the second week, choose your own adventure: sample the wine in the Colchagua Valley, hike the Andes or go skiing at a resort like Portillo, seek out a surf break in Pichilemu, venture to the end of the earth in Tierra del Fuego, or tour the pisco distilleries outside La Serena.




Traveling inland, the balmy coast of sunbathers and surfers shifts to cactus scrub plains and dry mountains streaked in reddish tones. Mines scar these ore-rich beasts whose primary reserve, copper, fuels much of the Chilean economic engine. There is more than to this area though - with its fertile valleys producing pisco grapes, papayas and avocados. The exceptionally clear skies mean this area is famous for its celestial observation opportunities – many international telescopic, optical and radio projects are based here. The driest desert in the world, the Atacama provide a refuge to flamingos on its salt lagoons, sculpted moonscapes and geysers ringed by snow-tipped volcanoes. The Norte Chico, or ‘region of 10,000 mines,’ is a semiarid transition zone from the Valle Central to the Atacama. Ancient cultures left enormous geoglyphs on the barren hillsides. Aymara peoples still farm the precordillera (the foothills of the Andes) - pasturing llamas and alpacas in the highlands. You can diverge from the desert scenery to explore the working mine of Chuquicamata or brave the frisky surf of arid coastal cities. Take care to not be affected by altitude sickness in the mountains!



Chile’s heartland, covered with orchards and vineyards, is often skipped by travellers scrambling further afield. But if this region existed anywhere else in the world, it would be getting some serious attention. The harvests of the fertile central valley fill produce bins from Anchorage to Tokyo. Come for wine-tasting, unspoiled national parks and excellent skiing and surfing. With around 20 wineries open to the public, the Colchagua Valley is Chile’s biggest and best-established wine region. Its deep loamy soils, abundant water, dry air, bright sunshine and cool nights nurture some of the country’s best reds. At Chile’s unofficial surf capital, Pichilemu, wave warriors brave the icy waters year-round, while mere beach-going mortals fill its long black sands December through March. Pichilemu’s laid-back vibe and great waves make it easy to see why it’s so popular with visiting board-riders.


Download map waypoints for CHILE here: KML / GPX


More location information and points of interest are available in the above map


The further south you travel, the greener it gets, until you find snow-clad volcanoes rising over verdant hills and lakes. This bucolic region makes a great escape to a slower pace. The Araucanía, named for the monkey-puzzle tree, is the geographical center of Mapuche culture. Further south, the Lakes District was colonized by Germans during the 1850s and the area still retains some Teutonic touches.

Outside the shingled homes, many adventures await: from rafting to climbing, from hiking to hot-springs hopping, from taking onces in colonial towns to sipping maté with rural settlers. Hospitality is the strong suit of sureños (southerners); take time to enjoy it. Though they love the malls, rural roots still mark most city dwellers (about half the population), who split wood and make jam as part of their daily routine. Make some time to seek out the green spaces bursting beyond the city limits.



Isla Grande de Chiloé is South America’s fifth-largest island and is home to a fiercely independent, seafaring people. Immediately apparent are changes in architecture and cuisine: tejuelas, the famous Chilote (of Chiloé) wood shingles; palafitos (houses mounted on stilts along the water’s edge); the iconic wooden churches (16 of which are UNESCO World Heritage sites); and the renowned meat, potato and seafood stew, curanto. A closer look reveals a rich spiritual culture that is based on a distinctive mythology of witchcraft, ghost ships and forest gnomes. All of the above is weaved among landscapes that are wet, windswept and lush, with undulating hills, wild and remote national parks, and dense forests, giving Chiloé a distinct flavour unique in South America.



A web of rivers, peaks and sprawling glaciers long ago provided a natural boundary between northern Patagonia and the rest of the world. Highway 7 was the first road to effectively link these remote regions in the 1980s. Weather decides all in this nowhere land beyond the Lakes District. So don’t rush. Missed flights, delayed ferries and floods are routine; take the wait as locals would – another opportunity to heat the kettle and strike up a slow talk over maté. Starting south of Puerto Montt, the Carretera Austral links widely separated towns and hamlets all the way to Villa O’Higgins, a total of just over 1200km. High season (from mid-December through February) offers considerably more travel options and availability. Combination bus and ferry circuits afford visitors a panoramic vision of the region. As well as Parque Pumalín to Lago General Carrera, there’s plenty more to see in this region. Don’t hesitate to tread off the beaten track: the little villages along the road and its furthest hamlets of Cochrane, Caleta Tortel and Villa O’Higgins are fully worth exploring.



Pounding westerlies, barren seascapes and the ragged spires of Torres del Paine – this is the distilled essence of Patagonia. The provinces of Magallanes and Última Esperanza boast a frontier appeal perhaps only matched by the deep Amazon and remote Alaska. Long before humans arrived on the continent, glaciers chiselled and carved these landscapes. Now it’s a place for travellers to hatch their greatest adventures, whether hiking through rugged landscapes, seeing penguins by the thousands or horseback riding across the steppe. Parque Nacional Torres del Paine is the region’s star attraction. Among the finest parks on the continent, it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. Throughout the region, it’s easy and worthwhile to travel between Argentina and Chile.



Foggy, windy and wet, Chile’s slice of Tierra del Fuego includes half of the main island of Isla Grande, the far-flung Isla Navarino, and a group of smaller islands, many of them uninhabited. Only home to 8500 people, this is the least populated region in Chile. Porvenir is considered the main city, though even that status could be considered an overstatement. These parts exude a rough and rugged charm, and those willing to venture this far can relish the end-of-the-world emptiness. Tierra del Fuego will offer you the opportunity to explore deserted roads running through its steppes, dotted with guanacos and rheas, and to fish in the pristine lakes and rivers of Chile's remotest region.


Chilean cuisine is built around fantastic raw materials: in the market you can get anything from goat cheese to avocados, fresh herbs and a great variety of seafood. Though breakfast is somewhat meagre – coffee or tea, rolls and jam – food and drink options get more appealing as the day progresses. At lunch, fuel up with a hearty menú del día (set meal), with soup and a main dish of fish or meat with rice or vegetables.


Central markets can be an ideal place for cheap and traditional meals; even the most basic eateries offer plenty of fresh lemon wedges and spicy sauces you can use to doctor up your plate. Favourite sandwiches include the prolific completo (hot dog with mayo, avocado and tomato) and churrasco (steak with avocado and tomato). Empanadas are everywhere, from the classic pino (beef) to the gourmet seafood-stuffed varieties in coastal towns.


Indeed, some of Chile’s most delicious specialties are found at the beach, from machas a la parmesana (razor clams baked in Parmesan cheese and white wine) to aromatic seafood stews like paila marina and caldillo de congrio. Chupe de mariscos is shellfish baked in a medley of butter, bread crumbs and cheese.


Everywhere in Chile, you’ll find hearty classics like lomo a lo pobre (steak topped with fried eggs and French fries), pastel de choclo (baked corn casserole) and chorrillana (a mountain high platter featuring fries topped with onions, fried eggs and beef).


Chile and Peru both claim authorship of pisco, a potent grape brandy, and the famous pisco sour cocktail, in which pisco is mixed with fresh lemon juice and sugar. Many Chileans indulge in the citrusy aperitif at the start of a leisurely lunch or dinner.

With ample sunshine and moderate temperatures, Chile also has the ideal terroir for growing and producing wine. While cabernet sauvignon still reigns supreme, many foreigners fall in love with another red: Carmenere, originally produced in France and now produced almost exclusively in Chile.


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When visiting Chile for the first time, choosing the right area or region to stay in is essential for experiencing the country's diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and iconic attractions. Here are some recommendations along with accommodation suggestions for each category: budget, mid-range, and luxury.

Where to Stay in Santiago:

Santiago, the capital and largest city of Chile, serves as the cultural, political, and economic center of the country, offering visitors a mix of historical landmarks, modern amenities, and cultural experiences.

  • Budget: Hostal Providencia - Affordable hostel located in the bohemian neighborhood of Bellavista, offering dormitory and private rooms, a communal kitchen, and social events, within walking distance of bars, restaurants, and attractions.

  • Mid-range: Hotel Loreto - A mid-range hotel featuring comfortable rooms, a rooftop terrace with panoramic views of the city, and a central location near Santa Lucía Hill and the Lastarria neighborhood, known for its cultural attractions and dining options.

  • Luxury: The Singular Santiago - A luxurious boutique hotel offering elegant rooms, gourmet dining options, a spa, and a rooftop swimming pool with stunning views of the city skyline, situated in the upscale neighborhood of Providencia.

Tips: To find the best value accommodation in Santiago, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons (spring or fall) when prices are lower, and there are fewer tourists. Additionally, booking accommodation well in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons like summer, can help secure better rates.

Where to Stay in Valparaíso:

Valparaíso is a vibrant port city known for its colorful hillside neighborhoods, street art, and bohemian atmosphere, offering visitors a unique blend of cultural heritage and coastal charm.

  • Budget: Hotel Brighton: Situated in a historic building in the heart of Valparaíso's UNESCO-listed downtown area, Hotel Brighton offers budget accommodation with charm. Guests appreciate its central location and friendly staff.

  • Mid-range: Hotel Manoir Atkinson - A mid-range boutique hotel featuring stylish rooms, a terrace with sea views, and a central location near the city's historic sites, art galleries, and restaurants.

  • Luxury: Palacio Astoreca Hotel - A luxurious boutique hotel housed in a restored 1920s mansion, offering luxurious rooms, gourmet dining options, a spa, and panoramic views of the bay, situated in the heart of the city's cultural district.

Tips: To find the best value accommodation in Valparaíso, consider staying in one of the hillside neighborhoods like Cerro Alegre or Cerro Concepción, which offer picturesque views and easy access to the city's attractions. Additionally, exploring accommodations in smaller boutique hotels or guesthouses may provide unique and affordable stays with a more authentic experience.

Where to Stay in Puerto Natales:

Puerto Natales is the gateway to Torres del Paine National Park, known for its stunning natural beauty, rugged landscapes, and outdoor adventures, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Budget: Hostel Alcazar - Affordable hostel located in the town center, offering dormitory and private rooms, a communal kitchen, and a cozy atmosphere, within walking distance of restaurants, shops, and tour operators.

  • Mid-range: Hotel Costaustralis - A mid-range hotel featuring comfortable rooms, a restaurant serving local cuisine, and a waterfront location with views of the Ultima Esperanza Fjord, ideal for exploring the town and arranging excursions to the national park.

  • Luxury: The Singular Patagonia - A luxurious hotel situated on the shores of the Seno Ultima Esperanza, offering elegant rooms, gourmet dining options, a spa, and guided excursions to explore the region's natural wonders, including glaciers, fjords, and mountains.

Tips: To find the best value accommodation in Puerto Natales, consider visiting during the offseason (October to April) when prices are lower, and there are fewer tourists. Additionally, booking accommodation well in advance, especially for accommodations inside Torres del Paine National Park, is recommended due to limited availability.

For hassle-free bookings, use platforms like for competitive rates or Holiday Swap for unique homes worldwide. Ensure to book in advance, especially during peak seasons, and align your preferences with nearby activities such as surfing, snorkeling, or cultural exploration.






Let iVisa take the pain out of travel planning and assist you with Electronic visas, Travel Authorizations, Visas on Arrival, and even Paper Visas. They can also help with Health Declarations and Embassy Registrations. If you're from the US, they also provide a One-Stop Shop to renew your Passport securely and error-free.

Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner or Momondo. These are our favorite flight search engines. They index other travel websites and airlines across the globe to easily find you the best deal.

ACCOMMODATION is our number one resource for researching and booking accommodation. In addition to, we have found to consistently returns the cheapest rates in Southeast Asia. For longer stays, find unique homes worldwide on Holiday Swap, the most affordable travel platform that allows you to book homes anytime, anywhere in only a few clicks.

TRANSPORT is a leader in online car rental bookings; we compare car rental deals from many companies so that you can choose which is best for your trip. 12Go connects the world door-to-door, from transfers to flights, under the same user-friendly ticket.

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