Chile Travel Tips and All you need to know about visiting Chile

chile travel tips

For whatever reason, Chile is not as high up on most people’s South America lists as countries like Argentina or Brazil, yet this skinny country can handle itself with the big boys as the sheer length of it creates an immensely diverse country. With dry desert in the north, lush green Patagonia in the south, we run through some top tips that will help you on your way.

chile travel tips

Best time to visit Chile

Chile is a big (and long) country and has a few climate zones so there is no universal time to visit. If your main goal is to see Patagonia at its best then November to March is the peak season with the best weather. But since its summertime in the southern hemisphere you might experience hot days in other parts of the country.

How many days you should stay in Chile

 I think the optimal time to spend in Chile is around 2 weeks, add few more days (3 to 5) if you would like to visit Easter Island. In this time not only you can see all the great places, but you can also deal with the jetlag easily and then get used to the altitude changes.

What to see in Chile

chile travel tips

The main Chile attractions are Patagonia and Atacama Desert and they are famous for a reason as both regions are just spectacular.

You will most likely fly to Santiago de Chile and I recommend spending a day or two in the capital as well. You don’t travel to South America for cities but for nature however, the capital of Chile isn’t such a bad city. You can also go for there for a super easy day trip to Valparaiso and or Vina del Mar.

Other interesting places to visit in Chile include Easter Island, Carretera Austral road, Chiloe Island, Villarrica Lake or wine regions around Santiago.

Useful applications

As always maps.me was my lifesaver, this is seriously the best offline maps application and it’s free. Other apps are Google Translate, Revolute for managing the finances and Currency to quickly check how much things cost. And of course, Netflix and Spottily for long hours spent traveling.

11 Life-Changing Experiences You Can Only Have in Chile

A vacation is a much needed break from monotony to be able to decompress, rewind and also recharge your internal battery. But while relaxing is important, travel is more about filling your days with experiences, so try to do both. Now get out your pen and jot the following suggestions down because you will not want to miss any of these experiences as you travel through Chile.

Face an active volcano then toboggan down

One of the world’s most active volcanoes is an ever present figure as you walk the streets of Pucon, and here one of the main attractions (other than the aesthetically perfect town) is being able to summit the volcano. Tours will equip you with crampons, and a little flying saucer toboggan so after you have climbed up the snow, and looked down through the smoke into the fiery center of the volcano, you descend at a rapid pace from your backside.

Villarrica Volcano, Pucon, Los Rios, Chile

Visit the absolute end of the Earth

The further south you go in South America, the continent starts to thin and the distance between the Pacific and the Atlantic lessens. Eventually, at the very south, the once thick Argentina and ever thin Chile are about the same width and at this point the border dividing the two countries gives the southern portion to Chile. You can take boat tours out to the Cape Horn National Park and the southernmost piece of land in the world, with nothing but Antarctica somewhere in the distance.

chile travel tips
Cape Horn Islands, Chile

Walk in the driest place in the world

The Atacama Desert is so dry that in certain areas nothing exists, not even on a cellular level, and scientists theorize that rain has never fallen there, ever. The Atacama covers 105,000 square kilometers (40,540 square miles) and is home to some of the most unusual natural phenomena like gigantic salt flats and geysers.

chile travel tips
Atacama Desert, Northern Chile

Stand puzzled on Easter Island

On par with the Pyramids of Giza and Stonehenge in England are the colossal statues on Rapa Nui, commonly known as Easter Island. Although the island is a 5 hour direct flight away from mainland Chile, it belongs to its nearest land mass and is one of the strangest places on the planet, as you stand on this rock, in the middle of nowhere, trying to fathom how these statues of 14 – 20 tonnes were constructed without any form of known technology or modern tools.

chile travel tips
Easter Island, Chile

Trek through lush Patagonia

Argentina may jump to mind when you think of Patagonia as it does contain the largest amount of this stunning territory, however, the densest beauty is located within the Torres del Paine National Park. The definition of breathtaking scenery, you can do week long loops of trekking through this stunning scenery as there is so much to see – a day or two is simply not enough.

chile travel tips
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

Kayak under swirling marble

Lago Gral Carrera, the biggest lake in Chile, is also home to one of the most gorgeous displays of naturally occuring colours. The Marble Caves, also known as the Marble Cathedral, is a network of smooth, natural marble caves that move in and out of the lake, where you can marble – I mean marvel – at their incredible colours and patterns as you move in and out of them on your kayak.

chile travel tips
Chile Chico, Aysén Region, Chile

Do laps in the world’s largest swimming pool

Going from natural lakes to manmade pools, Chile is the record holder for the world’s largest swimming pool. Just north of the town of Algarrobo – which is on the coast directly west of the capital – is the resort of San Alfonso del Mar, and the enormous pool which is over 1000 meters (3,280 feet) in length, and covers an area of almost 20 acres (8 hectares)!

chile travel tips
Camino Algarrobo Mirasol 886, Algarrobo, Región de Valparaíso, Chile

Drink Chile’s long lost grape

Chile is a major player in the wine industry and the leader when it comes to the Carménère grape as this wine, originally grown in France, was abandoned and forgotten until farmers brought trimmings to the regions of Santiago and began cultivating the fruit. Now, Chile is the main manufacturer of the Carménère wine and can gladly be held responsible for not letting the delicious wine die out completely.

chile travel tips

Peer out from South America’s tallest building

A great way to get a view of Santiago is to climb one of the big hills in the center of the city, or simply step into an elevator, as the capital of Chile is also home to the largest manmade structure on the continent. Named the Grand Tower Santiago (how original), it is much more impressive than its name as it dwarfs everything in its area with a toppling height of a shade under 1000 ft (984). You can visit the top for some incredible photos of the sprawling city.

chile travel tips
Gran Torres, Providencia, Santiago, Chile

See the world’s oldest mummies

chile travel tips

You might think this bit has accidentally found its way from the Egypt page but in fact, as many Chileans will tell you, the oldest mummified human remains are in fact located in the north of Chile. Attracting much less attention than the famous mummified bodies of Egypt, the museum of archaeology in the small town of San Miguel de Azapa contains the human remains of the Chinchorro people that used to occupy this area, dating back to around 5000 BC, a staggering 2000 years older than those of Egypt.

Climb the world’s tallest volcano

In the north of Chile as you approach the border of Argentina, the enormous Eye of the Salty One (Ojos del Salado) appears in front of you. Not only are you in the presence of the worlds tallest volcano, if you choose to climb the beast, you will also be in the company of the highest altitude lake in the world, as the permanent crater lake is at a world breaking altitude of almost 21,000 feet above sea level.

chile travel tips

Pack accordingly

To put this in perspective, imagine the north of Chile being California, and the south of Chile being Alaska. The length of Chile could span this whole distance so you can imagine the change in climate from the extremely dry, to the extremely cold, so take a look at the temperatures at the time you are going and pack accordingly!

Visa to Chile

Citizens of 93 countries don’t need a visa to visit Chile for the period up to 90 days. The list includes most of the European countries (Belarus is the only exception), South-East Asia, Australia, New ZealandSouth Africa and the majority of the countries in both Americas.

If you are unsure if you need a visa to Chile check at the website of the embassy or Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

chile travel tips

I think I’ve covered most of the Chile travel tips I have for you. Hopefully, you will find them useful before your own trip to Chile. If you have any questions feel free to comment below and I will be happy to help if I can.

Happy Chile trip!


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