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TIPS FOR TRAVELLERS

WHAT DOCUMENTS ARE NECESSARY TO ENTER CHILE?
Most visitors only need a passport and a tourist visa to enter Chile. Citizens from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, and Uruguay can enter the country with their National Identification Card. You will receive a tourist card valid for 90 days that you must present to be able to leave the country. In the case of investors and businessmen who plan to travel to Chile for more than 90 days to develop their business interests and activities, temporary residence permission can be requested. Generally advanced permission is not required to enter Chile, although some nationalities do require said permission, called Visto de Turismo, which can be requested at the Chilean Consulate.


WHERE CAN I REQUEST A VISA?
Visas can be obtained in the Chilean Consulate in any country. Processing time takes between two and six weeks. Those who are already in Chile and want to request a visa can download the form from the Department of Foreign Affairs website and send the completed form and all required documents by mail. This process takes between three and six months. Chile has established agreements with numerous countries in all continents that allow its citizens to enter as tourists without a visa. Nevertheless, a visa is necessary to reside or work in the country. The citizens of Albania, Australia and Mexico must pay different entry taxes in the airport for reciprocity reasons.


WHY IS ENTRY TAX CHARGED TO CERTAIN TOURISTS?

This tax is referred to as the reciprocity tax. It is based on an international treaty that applies to Chilean citizens that when they enter certain countries. The same policy applies to foreign travelers from certain countries entering Chile.


Australia: USD 95,00

Albania: USD 30,00

Mexico: USD 23,00


Note: Argentina also has a reciprocity fee for some nationalities and the following are the costs:


Australia: USD 100,00 (valid for one trip)

Canada: USD 75,00 (valid for one trip) / Multiple revenue USD 150,00 (valid for 5 years)

So, if you also will travel to ARGENTINA you have to pay this tax. This payment must be made in advance on line. The following is the link where you can make the payment:


http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesibleingles


HOW LONG CAN I STAY IN THE COUNTRY WITH A TOURIST VISA?
The maximum stay with a tourist visa is 90 days, although the border authorities can limit this period and provide permission for a shorter amount of time upon entrance into the country. To stay in the country for more than 90 days, it is necessary to petition for authorization of discretional character, which grants permission for an additional 90 days at a cost of 100 dollars. This extension of the tourist visa does not grant permission to work. It is also possible to request a residency visa, which allows the requester to stay in the country for one year. This petition must be based in the activity or work that the person wishes to perform in Chile. Special permission must be granted to work in Chile as a tourist, which has a cost determined by the nationality of the requester.


UPON ARRIVAL, ARE THERE ANY LOCAL RESTRICTIONS OR PROHIBITIONS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE GOING THROUGH CUSTOMS?
The Ministry of Agriculture does not allow you to bring in fruit or any perishable foods. The Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero or Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) will inspect your luggage and personal effects. Attempting to bring in these items will be fined and the products will be confiscated. Read the declaration form carefully that each passenger receives before entering Customs.


WHAT ARTICLES CAN BE BROUGHT INTO THE COUNTRY WITHOUT HAVING TO PAY CUSTOMS DUTIES OR TAXES?
You may bring in personal luggage and items purchased from Duty Free stores for up to US$500. You may also bring in temporarily, alter declaring them in Customs, items such as cameras and camera accessories, film cameras or film projectors and slides, portable typewriters or computer notebooks, record players and records, recorders and cassettes, portable radios, field glasses, sports items in general, camping equipment and other personal effects, as long as they are the type of things normally carried by tourists for personal use and they take them along upon leaving the country. A vehicle may temporary be brought in for a period of 90 days, counted from the tourist’s arrival date. A Temporary Admission procedure should be carried out. The tourist may clear the above items into the country through Customs, without need of a Customs Agent’s services, any other kind of authorization.


WHAT ARE THE BANKING HOURS?
Monday to Friday from 9:00 hs to 14:00 hs


WHAT ARE SHOPS’ OPENING HOURS IN CHILE?
Monday to Friday from de 10:00 am to 7:00 pm. Saturdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Malls and shopping centers are open Monday to Sunday from 11:00 hs to 21:00 hs, though some stores close at 22:00 hs. Most shops are closed on holidays, but malls and shopping centers stay open. The exception is Christmas Day, December 25, and the International Labor Day (May 1st) when all stores, malls and shopping centers close.


DO MOST PEOPLE IN CHILE SPEAK ENGLISH WELL?
Even though Chile actively promotes English in schools, not everyone in Chile speaks the language. It is common to find Chileans who are happy to engage in conversations in English. However, for visitors who know little Spanish, it is recommended to learn basic phrases in order to be better understood. Locals will appreciate the effort.


ARE HIKING TRAILS WELL MARKED?
In National Parks, the majority of trails are well marked. In less travelled hiking areas, it is necessary to get additional information or travel with a guide that knows the zone well. For those who travel unaccompanied into such areas, it is necessary to provide hotels, police, and park rangers with an accurate description of route and dates of entry and exit.


WHAT SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I TAKE PRIOR TO VISITING THE DESERT?
The beauty of the desert is accompanied with an extreme range of temperatures. During the day, it is necessary to bring adequate protection from the sun and water. During the night, it is necessary to bring warm cloths given that the temperature often drops below zero.


DO I NEED TO PAY BEFORE ENTERING A NATIONAL PARK?
Yes. The majority of national parks and reserves require a small fee. Fees may be different for Chilean citizens than for foreign travelers.


WHAT SPECIAL PRECAUTION SHOULD I TAKE BEFORE I VISIT REMOTE AREAS?
There are not significant dangers in the wilderness areas of Chile from animals. However, it is important to remember that the climate can change drastically in areas like the altiplano, the high peaks, and the Patagonia. It is recommended to advise hostels/hotels, the police, and forest rangers prior to traveling to remote regions. It is always necessary to bring the appropriate equipment, food, and first aid supplies for each trip.


WHERE SHOULD I STAY? IN SANTIAGO, CENTRAL, NORTH, OR SOUTH CHILE?
Chile has a wide variety of geography and it is necessary to plan a trip well. Those who prefer forests, fiords, and volcanoes choose the south, while those that want to see incredible night skies, deserts, and salt flats choose the north. The most urban culture is found in the central region of the country in the cities of Valparaíso and Santiago. Due to the length of the country, the majority of cities and towns are suitable bases and starting points for trips to both the countryside and ocean.


WHAT IS THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO TRAVEL TO CHILE?
Chile can be visited at any time of year depending on the activities planned during the visit. During the summer, from November through March, the entire country invites travel. Beaches are a particularly popular destination during these months. Even though the temperature of the ocean is cold in Chile due to the Humboldt current, the beaches fill with people, nonetheless. Many communities in Chile celebrate summer festivals during February. During these months, the rains retreat in the southern Patagonia region and turn sunny. In the northern part of the country, the sun is plentiful and rain scarce.


WHAT ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT HOLIDAYS CELEBRATED IN CHILE?
There are various festivals that are celebrated in different regions throughout the year in Chile, as well as, holidays celebrated throughout the country. The first one to mention are the fiestas patrias, or Independence Day, celebrated on the 18th and 19th of September with customary food and drink. The second most celebrated holiday is New Years Eve, especially in the streets of Valparaíso. Tapatí on Easter Island and the La Tirana festival are other typical celebrations. For more information, see the section on festivals.


CAN I DRINK THE WATER IN CHILE?
In general, all water in Chile is drinkable. For those who are especially sensitive to changes in diet, it is recommended to buy bottled water during the first days.


SHOULD I TAKE SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS WITH THE ALTITUDE?
In order to avoid the unpleasant effects of altitude sickness, it is recommendable to take certain precautions, including walking slowly, eating light food, avoiding alcohol, and drinking plenty of fluids. Some people consider tea brewed from cocoa leaves to be helpful. These leaves can also be chewed. The chachacoma herb is another option. One who is feeling the effects of altitude sickness should relax and take an aspirin. If the altitude sickness grows severe, it is recommended to see a doctor.


WHAT IS THE VOLTAGE THAT APPLIANCES USE IN CHILE?
The voltage of the electrical current in Chile is 220V. It is recommended to either bring or buy the appropriate adapter in an electronics store.


HOW DO I CALL CHILE? DOES CHILE HAVE GOOD INTERNET ACCESS?
In order to call Chile from abroad, one dials the country code 56 + the area code + the telephone number. In order to call abroad from Chile, it is necessary to dial the carrier + country code + city code + phone number. For long distance calls within Chile, dial the area code + phone number. Chile has good cell phone coverage and internet access in all major cities. Cyber cafes with broadband internet service and call centers can be found in these cities.


DO I HAVE ACCESS TO THE CHILEAN PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM?
Hospitals and emergency rooms in Chile are obligated to receive any person in need of emergency treatment in Chile. There are also private medical clinics in every city where many tourists have health insurance coverage. The number for an ambulance is 131 throughout the country.


SHOULD I LEAVE A TIP IN CHILE?
In restaurants and bars, it is customary to leave a 10% tip to the person who provided service. This, however, does not apply to taxi drivers for example.


SHOULD I TAKE SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS TO PROTECT MYSELF FROM THE SUN?
In the summer, it is especially important to take the necessary precautions to protect oneself from the sun and ultraviolet radiation, especially in northern Chile where the sunlight is very intense. It is recommended to avoid the sun at midday, to use sunscreen that filters both UV-A and UV-B light, and hats and sunglasses. This is particularly important while skiing, traveling in the desert, at high altitude, and while at the beach.


IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL AROUND CHILE AND ITS CITIES?
Chile is one of the safest countries in Latin America. However, it is important to take certain precautions in some of the outlying neighborhoods of Santiago and some of the other larger cities, particularly in the evening. In restaurants, bus terminals, and airports it is best to keep a close watch on bags, luggage, backpacks, and purses at all times. It is also recommended to take a photocopy of your passport so that you can leave the original in a safe place.


WHAT CLOTHES SHOULD I BRING?
It is recommended to where light and cool clothes in the summer. On the coast it is usually colder, even in summer, and it is a good idea to take a sweater or light jacket. In winter warm clothes is a must, even though the temperatures are moderate. For business meetings in any season of the year, it is best to dress formally, although in certain industries, like those related to technology, informality is favored.


HOW DO I PAY FOR THINGS IN CHILE?
Simple business transactions are generally only paid in Chilean pesos. Cash can be obtained by withdrawing money with a debit or credit card from automatic teller machines with a Redbanc sign. Cards issued by Chilean banks are subject to maximum withdrawal of 200.000 pesos (approximately 345 dollars) per day. The dollar is the currency most recognized in the majority of the business related to foreigners, although the euro has been gaining ground.


Information from Sernatur

www.chile.travel


Useful information about Chile