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FAQ | General information about Chile


How is the climate in Chile?
It is hot and dry in the north. In the extreme south, however, even in summer it is cool and unsettled. The central regions have a pleasant, almost Mediterranean climate with long, dry summers and a rainy season (May to August). The seasons in Chile are offset from Europe by 6 months. The best time to travel to Central and Southern Chile is from October to April and in the north, all year round.


What clothes do I need in Chile?
On the beach light, casual and as colorful as possible. T-shirt and (long) pants with sports shoes are sufficient for almost all occasions. However in restaurants and public buildings, the Chileans put great emphasis on proper clothing. Shorts are taboo in the city, as well as sandals. In the Andes and Patagonia warm, waterproof clothing should be worn.


How is the health care in Chile?
In an emergency, you can find private hospitals with first class medical standards in all major cities. Many doctors speak English. Pharmacies (farmacias) are often open until late at night or indicate the nearest emergency service. In Chile, all common drugs are available.
Since good medical treatment can reach very high costs, we strongly recommend taking out travel health insurance.


Do I need special vaccinations to travel to Chile?
In principle, for entry to Chile no special vaccinations are required. Only for traveling to Easter Island a yellow fever vaccination is required in case you enter from certain tropical countries. But in any case, you should refresh all standard immunizations including tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis A and B. We recommend that you get in contact with your doctor or a travel medicine specialist before traveling. Medical advice and recommendations on vaccinations for Chile can be found on the website of MD Travel Health for example.


What kind of insurances should I have?
Firstly, you must have travel health insurance. A liability insurance with international protection as well as trip cancellation insurance is also recommended. For activities in particularly hazardous areas you should also have travel accident insurance. In general, you can choose the following insurances from most insurers:

  • Trip cancellation insurance including travel failure protection
  • Travel health insurance
  • Liability insurance (worldwide protection)
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Luggage insurance

Always buy your travel insurance before you leave your home country. We recommend our international and experienced insurance partner that provides you with a personal login and a multi-lingual 24-hour emergency assistance service throughout your journey.


Is Chile safe?
Chile is clearly one of the safest countries in Latin America. Chilean cities are no less secure than most American or European cities. You are free to move anywhere without concern, as foreigners in Chile are generally treated kindly. In large cities such as Santiago, however, you should - as in other major cities - always keep your eyes open. In particular, passports, driving licenses, airline tickets and cash or credit cards should be kept in the hotel safe or carried close to the body. In addition, visiting poor neighborhoods should be avoided without the accompaniment of a local person.


Do I have to be afraid as a woman traveling alone?
The Chilean machismo is relatively harmless. Therefore, women traveling alone  have little to fear except the occasional "compliments".


How can I pay in Chile?
The currency is the peso. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 pesos and bills of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10 000 and 20 000 pesos. One Euro is worth about 700 pesos and one US dollar about 620 pesos (as of June 2015).
A cup of coffee costs the equivalent of about 0.90 € or 1.20 USD, a beer 1.80 € or 2.30 USD and a dinner starts from 5 € or 6.50 USD.
Banks are open from 9am to 2pm. Changing money is cheaper in one of the exchange offices (casa de cambio) in Santiago. In the province exchange rates are worse, also for traveler checks (preferably in US dollars). At ATMs with the logo Redbanc you can withdraw cash with your debit or credit card (about 400 € or 500 USD per day in pesos). Larger hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards (Visa, Mastercard). For traveling in remote regions always take enough cash with you.


Do you have to tip in Chile?
About 10 percent tip is expected in the restaurant. You just leave a portion of your change. Porters, shoe shiners (with fixed rates), chambermaids, etc. expect some pesos, because they have to live from it.

 

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