Chile Travel Notes

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Australian Embassy in Chile

Isidora Goyenechea 3621, 12 and 13th Flrs
Las Condes
Santiago de Chile
Chile
Tel  +56 2 2550 3500
chile.embassy.gov.au

Smartraveller

The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers.
www.smartraveller.gov.au

Time Zones

Chile is on Greenwich Mean Time -4 time making them 14 hours behind Australian Eastern Standard . Daylight saving in Chile begins on the 12th of August and ends on the 2nd Sunday in May.
To obtain the current local time and date in cities and countries in all time zones.
www.worldtimeserver.com

Voltages and Plugs

Chile use 220 volts (50Hz). Round two-pin plugs are standard.
www.korjo.com/Adaptor-Guide

Currency

To obtain the most up-to-date exchange rate you may wish to visit
www.xe.com/currencyconverter

The Chilean Peso (CLP) is the currency of Chile and represented by the symbol $.  Notes are in denominations of $1000, $2000, $5.000, $10.000, $20.000 and coins of $1, $5, $10, $50, $100 and $500.

Credit Card and ATM machines

ATMs are the easiest way to access your money, HOWEVER please be aware the charge to use an ATM is usually $4000-$6000 (approx AUD$8.00) per transaction. They are common in all tourist towns and cities. Most accept Visa, MasterCard, Electron, Cirrus, Maestro and InterBank cards. ATMs sometimes run dry on weekends in smaller towns. Credit cards are accepted in most restaurants and stores and extra fees do not usually apply.

Please note that using a credit card in a growing number of foreign countries usually requires a new “chip-and-pin” credit card with an embedded microchip and an associated PIN number (the PIN is specific to each credit card). If you have questions about using your credit card in a foreign country, please contact your bank prior to departure from Australia. Check with your credit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Cash

Currency can be exchanged at any established “Casa de Cambio” at market driven exchange rates. They are common in commercial areas of Santiago (Downtown and Providencia) as well as in Shopping Malls, large towns and larger hotels. It may be possible to pay in US dollars in larger tourist areas (you should not rely on this however).
Travelers Cheques are NO longer accepted.

Telephone & Communication

Mobile telephones
Most mobile telephones work in Chile and coverage is excellent. Check with your local provider that your phone can switch on ‘Global Roaming’ and that your provider has coverage in the places you are visiting. Mobile phones can be very useful for SMSing  (especially if you get lost!). International calls are often expensive, as is checking your message bank as calls have to be routed through Australia.

Should you choose to purchase a local sim card please check with your local provide prior to departure to make sure your phone is unlocked and will accept another sim card.

Internet
Internet access is widespread and available throughout most of Chile, Patagonia is still a little behind with easy access. Many hotels and cafes now offer access, some you need to pay while others have free Wi-fi zones.

If you have Web access while traveling, you might consider a broadband-based telephone service (in technical terms, Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP) such as Skype or Vonage, which allows you to make free international calls between online computers and phones, and cheap international calls if you’re calling a normal phone number. Most cybercafes throughout the country will be using these programs already, complete with headset, microphone, and webcam.
www.skype.com    www.vonage.com

Business Hours in Chile

Shops   10.00–21.00 daily in Santiago and larger towns.  Larger shopping areas and centers may stay open later, sometimes up to 22.00, especially in busy periods.  During the siesta, around 1300 – 1700 hours many shops may be closed.
Banks   09.00–14.00 Monday–Friday
Post Offices  09.00–14.00 Monday–Friday

Personal Safety
  • We strongly recommend the use of a money belt to keep your cash, cards and travel documents in. This should be kept under your clothes at all times. This is a precaution that should be taken anywhere due to the difficulties that can be experienced in trying to replace stolen items.
  • Take photocopies of all important documents (passport, credit cards, airline tickets, insurance) and keep one copy securely in your luggage and leave another copy at home.
  • It is generally helpful to take a business card from the hotel you are staying at. This can assist hugely if you get lost. If you also have a key card for your hotel, make sure you keep these two cards separate or you run the risk of allowing a thief access to your room.
  • Take extra care in crowded places and try not to ‘advertise’ the fact that you may be carrying valuables by having something like an expensive camera over your shoulder. Put it in your bag or under your coat. And men, try to avoid keeping your wallet in your hip pocket.
What to Pack

Clothing (general)
The time of the year you visit this destination will dictate the type of clothing it is appropriate to bring. It would always be advisable to take a rain coat or a water proof windbreaker. For daytime activities, we suggest a wardrobe that is versatile, casual and comfortable. It is recommended that “layered” clothing might offer the best comfort in a variety of conditions. Always expect the weather to be changeable. During some of our tours you will be attending evening performances. Formal evening wear is not required, however, smarter casual wear would be appropriate (no jeans).

Beyond the normal wardrobe we suggest

  • comfortable walking shoes (very important)  While on tour you will be visiting towns cities and sites that often have uneven cobblestone pavements or rough paths hence flat shoes with grip are recommended.
  • sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat
  • folding umbrella and/or light raincoat
  • ladies should have a scarf with them at all times in case it is required to cover shoulders or head when entering religious sites
  • prescription medicines for the full duration of your time away and a written copy of your prescriptions including what they are for, provided by your doctor
  • extra prescription eyeglasses (if required)
Etiquette

No attempt should be made to photograph anything remotely connected with the armed forces or in the vicinity of defence installations. Many people do not like being photographed. Always ask before photographing someone, they may try to obtain money from you.

Clothing (Churches, Mosques and Monasteries)
Although ‘foreigners’ do not have to adhere to a strict dress rules, women should wear a head covering (ie a scarf) in active churches. Men must remember to remove their hats in religious buildings. In churches it is polite to stand around the edges of the building, rather than in the centre. It is acceptable for foreigners to light candles.

Tipping
Tips of 10% are expected in restaurants and usually added to the bill. When group meals are included in the  tours, this 10% tip is included in your tour cost, but when dining alone remember to add this tip or check your bill to see if it has already been added, unless you consider the service to have been unsatisfactory.  If hotel staff assist your they will expect a tip.

Useful websites

Chile Travel
chile.travel/en

This is Chile
chile.travel/en

World Airport Guide
www.worldairportguides.com

Climate

We suggest that prior to departure you check the weather forecast for the most up-to-date information.
www.worldweatheronline.com

Average minimum/ maximum Temperature (°C).
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Santiago 22/25 22/26 21/26 21/24 6/19 5/17 6/19 8/19 13/20 16/22 20/24 22/25
San Pedro 15/24 16/23 16/23 15/23 10/20 6/18 6/20 7/20 14/22 15/23 16/24 17/2
Punta Arenas 10/13 10/13 8/11 6/8 5/7 3/7 5/8 5/7 5/7 6/9 8/12 9/11