Chile Travel Tips
Chile stretches is one of the most slender countries in the world at just 240km wide at its widest point. From the snow-capped volcanoes of Patagonia and blistering heights of the Andes to world-class wineries, lush rainforests, bustling cities and Maoi sculptures of Easter Island, there’s a lot of wonderful things to see here. The country is fast developing and now is a great time to see this country as it changes.
- Accommodation: Dorms in a youth hostel start at $6.50 USD and private rooms come in at around $8.50 USD. Budget hotels are also inexpensive with prices from $13 USD.
- Food: $11 USD will get you a meal in a good sit down restaurant but for snacks and hawker food expect to pay around $1 – $4 USD.
- Transportation: A taxi round most cities will cost a maximum of $6.50 USD, while a bus ticket costs around $0.50 USD. For travel between cities expect to pay around $7.50 USD for a 500km journey.
- Activities: Skiing or diving is likely to be the most expensive activity you’ll take part in. Lift passes cost around $40 USD and day’s diving comes in at $60 USD. Entrance to National Parks and museums typically costs around $6.50 USD.
Money Saving Tips
- Buy wine at the supermarkets – Surprisingly, buying wine from the vineyards can be slightly more expensive than in supermarkets. You can pick up nice a bottle of wine for just $3 USD in most supermarkets.
- Take the bus – The bus service is inexpensive and efficient here. Night buses here are quite comfortable and also a good way to save on a night’s accommodation. With such vast distances, you’ll have to take one at least once.
Top Things to See and Do
- Santiago – Chile’s capital is a thriving city and is home to a third of the country’s entire population. There are quite a few must-see attractions in the city, like the Parque Metropolitano and the Festival del Barrio Brasil.
- San Marcos Cathedral - San Marcos was designed by the architect behind the Eiffel tower, Alexandre Gustav Eiffel. The cathedral is found in Arica, Chile’s northernmost city, and was built to replace the original cathedral which was destroyed in an earthquake in 1888. This place is beautiful and a rare example of Gothic architecture in South America.
- Wine Tours – Chile’s vineyards have been producing world-class wine for over 400 years. There are plenty of tours which you can go on as the vineyards stretch the entire length of the country, although most of the best wineries are located near to Santiago and as such, are easily accessible.
- Easter Island – Easter Island is the most isolated inhabited island on earth. The island lies 2200miles off the coast of western Chile and is famous for its Moai sculptures (the big faces dotted all over the island). However, there is so much more to the island including thousands of archaeological sites, volcanic craters, pristine beaches, and excellent diving.
- Valparaiso – In 2002 Valaparaiso was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This city is mesh of bohemian bars and Victorian architecture that lines the streets along the coastline of sheer cliffs. The laid back atmosphere and beauty of the area have inspired generations of writers and poets, including the Nobel Peace-winning poet Pablo Neruda.
- Torres del Paine National Park - The 181,000 hectares of this national park were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978. Torres del Paine lies between the Andes and Patagonian steppe and is made up of snow-clad mountains, glacier lakes and some of the best hiking tours that Chile has to offer. One of the most beautiful and desolate regions on the planet.
- San Pedro de Atacama – Located in Chile’s Norte Chico northern region, San Pedro de Atacama is one of Chile’s hottest tourist towns. Literally. The town is found in the driest desert in the world (it reportedly hasn’t seen rain since 1870) but the rock formations here are stunning and it’s the perfect place to stargaze since no artificial lights gets in the way.
- Volcanoes – Chile is also home to the world’s tallest active volcano, Ojos del Salado, which lies in the Andes on the border with Argentina. Villarica and Osorno are also popular with visitors and as both lie close to lakes. Most volcanoes have thermal spas at the base of them for you to relax in.
- Valle de la Muerte – Also known as Death Valley, this is an awesome place to go on a hike, go horseback riding, and even sand boarding. There are guided moonlight walks as well.
- Moon Valley National Park – This is an interesting area with stones and sand formations that, due to thousands of years of winds and flooding, are extraordinary in color and texture. It looks a lot like the surface of the moon, hence the name.
- El Tatio geysers – A very popular tourist spot, these geysers are beautiful. You have to get up around 4am in order to catch the tour, but it is worth it. Remember to take a swim suit as there are many thermal pools to swim in.
- ”Meteorite” Pit – This vertical pit is carved into the salty walled hillside, of the northeast end of Cordillera de la Sal. The cave runs 10 miles deep and was originally said to be created by a meteorite impact, however, it was actually carved by an ancient river.
- Museo de Bellas Artes – This museum is the second best in all of Chile, there is a wide display of ‘Fine Arts’, from sculptures, photography, and paintings to new media. The building is somewhat small, but the architecture is equally as impressive as the collection within.