Running up and down the west coast of South America, Chile is a country infused with a vibrant culture and variety of landscapes. This country is perfect for foodies, adventure enthusiasts and those looking to disconnect and explore the great outdoors. An array of accommodations can be found in each region that cater to budget and discerning travelers alike. On a recent trip to this country I explored 3 distinct regions: Santiago, Patagonia and San Pedro.
Top Tips for Traveling in Chile
Santiago is where most international travelers begin and end their journey. As the capital city of Chile, Santiago is a centrally-located, modern metropolis with old Spanish charm (try an architecture city tour!) intermixed with skyscrapers (head to the business district, referred to by locals as “Sanhattan”).
The local cuisine is not to be missed – Chile is especially a seafood lovers paradise! Spend some time in coastal cities or head to a local fish market for a freshly-caught meal. Accompany it with a glass of Chilean Carménère wine or a Pisco Sour cocktail.
It is quite easy to get around in Chile. Uber is a trusted and widely used service, but car rentals are also popular since the road signage is easy to follow. To get from city-to-city quickly, domestic flights are plentiful and save on precious travel time.
The climate in Chile varies with the seasons and region you are visiting. Plan your travel dates accordingly depending on what you’d like to experience (or avoid!).
Guides are an incredible asset to take advantage of. Some regions are easy to explore on your own, but others are best experienced with a professional, local guide that knows the area and safety rules.
Tips for First Time Visitors
Be mindful of your altitude. The Andes Mountain Range runs the length of the country, and while not every city is at a higher altitude, sensitive travelers will need to plan accordingly if they travel to high altitude areas. A bit of coca tea goes a long way to help with altitude acclimatization, just don’t bring the leaves home.
Spanish is the most widely-spoken language throughout Chile. English is spoken and written throughout the country as well, though not as commonly. It is helpful to know basic key phrases in Spanish and to download a translation app for your trip.
Prepare yourself for late nights! Chileans take full advantage of their days by drawing out social activities and dinner into the late-night hours.
Tipping customs are very different than what we are used to within the United States. Standard tip rates are 10% for waiters and other service roles. Be mindful as some tabs you receive already factor the tip in for you.
Ask for recommendations! Locals always have the best insight into hidden gems and up-and-coming spots to try.