Okay I’m just gonna say it in this Chile travel guide – Chile is quite possibly the best travel destination. It’s safe, it’s gorgeous, it’s easy to get to, the people are friendly, and its list of things to do is never ending.
It’s home to fuzzy alpacas and adorable penguins, it’s landscape is diverse and world famous, and it’s home to one of the best wine regions in the world. Seriously, what. is. not. to. love?
Chile is part urban metropolis, part desert, part mountain adventure, a whole lotta rugged coastline, and even part mysterious remote island.
And those are just a few of the tiny pieces that make up this isolated and underdog nation. Let’s find out more about it in this Chile travel guide.
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Chile travel basics
What currency is used in Chile?
Chilean pesos are the currency of Chile (Check out xe.com for the most up-to-date currency conversion–they have a mobile app too!)
What time zone is Chile in?
Chile has three time zones. The majority of the country including the capital city of Santiago are found in GMT -4.
The region of Punta Arenas at the far southern tip is found in the GMT -3 zone.
Easter Island out in the Pacific is in GMT -7.
What are the Chile visa/passport requirements?
If you’re planning to spend less than 90 days in Chile, no special documents are required and you can enter with your U.S. passport alone. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your trip.
What language do they speak in Chile?
The official language of Chile is Spanish, though Chilean Spanish is noticeably different from what you may have picked up in Latin America and Spain. There’s also tons of slang. So good luck with that.
What are the most popular destinations in Chile?
Chile’s capital city is full of history, beautiful architecture, and huge hills offering awesome aerial views. It’s the location of the country’s main airport so, chances are wherever you go in Chile, you’ll stop here first. Don’t just pass through it–get out and explore!
Chile’s biggest and most important port city and artist’s dream. Valpo is top to bottom color, a city famous for its prolific street art scene.
Small, remote island out in the Pacific Ocean famous for its large stone head statues known as Moai. Even though Easter Island is a good 2,300+ miles from Santiago (about a 5.5-hour flight) it’s still one of the country’s top tourism destinations.
Torres del Paine
Located in the famous Patagonia region and one of Chile’s most popular destinations – known for its incredible mountains, hiking, and bright blue glaciers.
San Pedro de Atacama
Another popular adventure destination, San Pedro de Atacama is located in the northwestern part of Chile high in the Andes Mountains. It’s home to deserts and salt flats as well as geysers and hot springs.
When is the best time to visit Chile?
For starters, Chile is located in the Southern Hemisphere so the seasons are the reverse of those here in the United States (their winter is June, July, August and their summer is December, January, February). Also, Chile is the longest country on Earth with such a diverse landscape so it would be hard to summarize its weather. But I’mma still try.
In the North is the dry, arid Atacama Desert region with highs averaging between 65°F and 80°F and lows between 47°F and 60°F. For up-to-date weather for the Atacama region, check here.
In Santiago and the surrounding central region you have a more Mediterranean climate with distinct seasons and seasonal rainfall. (see the chart below)
In Patagonia and the rest of southern Chile you have a cooler and damper climate year-round. For up-to-date weather for the Patagonia region, check here.
Because Chile lies in the southern hemisphere, the country has opposite seasons from the U.S.
Therefore, the optimal times to visit would be in the summer months of December, January, and February when temperatures, rainfall, and the potential of making all your friends back home jealous would be at their most ideal.
I personally visited at the beginning of March. March equates to late summer and the weather was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold, all you need is a light jacket.
Where to stay in Chile
Though Chile is isolated, it’s ripe with great places to stay. When you decide where in Chile you want to visit, I recommend reading hotel reviews on Tripadvisor, then booking your room through Booking.com (my favorite booking site).
Belize is an adventure junkies heaven… but, like, also perfect for those who love to do absolutely nothing more than lift drink to mouth. Repeat.
What to do in the moutains
Chile is world famous for being the home of the Patagonia region and all the adventure that goes along with that. The options for hiking, biking, trekking, and anything else you can dream up is endless.
What to do on the coast
Chile is the world’s longest country–the majority of that being coastline. Surfing, sport fishing, kayaking, or just chilling on the beach are just a teeny bit of what you can do on the Chilean coast.
What to do in the city
The capital city of Santiago and Valparaiso are two very popular Chile destinations. Both offer an array of things to do and the most amazing city views.
If you’re into museums, history, culture, amazing seafood and wine, you’ll want to spend some time in the cities as well.
– Travel insurance. Unfortunately, things can and do go wrong when you travel. World Nomads offers coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
My blog posts on Chile
Below you’ll find my posts that focus on the awesome country of Chile — all the way from what to pack, helpful tips for wine tasting in Chile, and how you can have the most diverse week possible.