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Chile

Chile narrowly stretches along the southern half of the west coast of South America, between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean. The bordering countries are Peru in the north and Argentina and Bolivia to the east. Chile has over 5,000 km (3,100 miles) of coast on the South Pacific Ocean. It is an amazing country, from the dry Atacama Desert to the cold of Chilean Patagonia.

Regions

Cities

  • Santiago — the capital and largest city of the country
  • Concepción — Chile's second largest city
  • Iquique — touristic center in Northern Chile
  • La Serena — a charming city, with many things to do in and around it
  • Punta Arenas — one of the southernmost cities of the world
  • San Pedro de Atacama — visitors come in large numbers to use the town as a stepping stone to the amazing landscapes around it
  • Valdivia — the "City of Rivers", rebuilt after the strongest earthquake in history
  • Valparaíso — main Chilean port and a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Vina del Mar — the principal touristic attraction: beaches, casino and a music festival

Other destinations

  • Chiloé Island — the largest island of the country
  • Laguna San Rafael National Park — includes the San Rafael Glacier, accessible only by boat or plane
  • Lauca National Park — the Lago Chungará, one of the world's highest lakes, overseen by the mighty Volcán Parinacota
  • Pichilemu — Chile's premier surfing destination
  • Robinson Crusoe Island — well known for its jungles and endemic flora
  • Torres del Paine National Park — the mountains, lakes and glaciers, including the Towers of Paine
  • Valle de Elqui — a wine and pisco producing area, also known for its astronomical observatories
  • Valle de la Luna — breathtaking desert landscape with impressive sand dunes and rock formations
  • Villarrica — surrounded by lakes and volcanoes

Understand

History

Before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century, northern Chile was under Inca rule while the indigenous Araucanians (Mapuche) inhabited central and southern Chile. The Mapuche were also one of the last independent American indigenous groups, that were not fully absorbed into Spanish-speaking rule until after Chile's independence. Although Chile declared independence in 1810 (amid the Napoleonic wars that left Spain without a functioning central government for a couple of years), decisive victory over the Spanish was not achieved until 1818. In the War of the Pacific (1879–83), Chile invaded parts of Peru and Bolivia and kept its presence northern regions. It was not until the 1880s that the Araucanians were completely subjugated.

Although relatively free of the coups and arbitrary governments that blighted South America until the 1970s, things took a turn for the worse in that decade. When popular communist/democratic socialist Salvador Allende won the free and fair 1970 elections, he ran on a platform of social justice and bridging the (already then) huge divide between a wealthy few and the rest of the population. However, although some center-right (most notably the Chilean Christian Democrats) parties supported or at least didn't outright attack his government, he had to deal with domestic opposition from some sectors of society as well as the military but also a difficult international situation with the US not tolerating any kind of "communist" in their "back yard". In a coup that was led by the head of the army (that Allende had picked himself, believing him to be loyal if not to himself than at least to the constitution) Augusto Pinochet on September 11th 1973, the Allende government was overthrown and Allende died of a gunshot, now believed to be shot by himself in suicidal intent. As a result of that coup, Chile endured the 17-year military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973–1990) that left around 3,000 people, mostly leftists and socialist sympathizers, dead or disappeared. While it is not entirely clear to what extent the US or the CIA was involved in the coup that brought Pinochet to power, it is now widely believed, that Nixon and his foreign policy advisor Henry Kissinger where at least not unhappy with the outcome and the US, and some conservative leaders in Europe were among the biggest supporters of Pinochet's regime throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

Pinochet was widely reviled worldwide for his methods, however, a center-left Chilean administration came into power after he stepped down when he lost a national referendum. Although Pinochet's neo-liberal (meaning: deregulation and privatization above all else) policies did grow the economy, they immensely hurt the poorer parts of the population and hugely increased the gap between rich and poor, a problem that - much like Pinochet's tweaks to the constitution, that were designed to ensure him getting away unpunished (which he more or less did) and conservatives always having a de facto veto on some issues - still plague the country today. The new government of Patricio Aylwin thought it sensible to maintain free market policies that present-day Chile still harbors to some extent.

Despite enjoying a comparatively higher GDP and more robust economy compared to most other countries of Latin America, Chile has one of the most uneven distributions of wealth in the world, ahead only of Brazil in the Latin American region and even lagging behind most developing sub-Saharan African nations. Chile's top 10 richest percentile possesses almost 42 percent of the country's total wealth. In relation to income distribution, some 6.2% of the country populates the upper economic income bracket, 19% the middle bracket, 24% the lower middle, 38% the lower bracket, and 13% the extreme poor. These extreme divisions have caused a lot of uproar in recent years and in the beginning 2010s, there was a youth and student protest movement to draw attention to those issues. Though some policies to mitigate the most extreme disparities have been proposed or passed, their effects seem to be minuscule as of early 2015.

Chile is a founding member of both United Nations and the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and is also now in the OECD, the group of the "most developed" countries by current international standards, becoming the first country in South America with that honor.

Argentina's and Chile's claims to Antarctica overlap. Chile also voices a claim to a 1.25 million km² portion of Antarctica, but given the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, no country's territorial claims to Antarctica are ever recognized or permitted to be exercised at any time. However, much like Argentina, some Chileans take their claims in Antarctica and surrounding islands seriously indeed.

Climate

Chile's unusual, ribbon-like shape — 4,300 km long and on average 175 km wide — has given it a varied climate, ranging from the world's driest desert—the Atacama—in the north, through a Mediterranean climate in the centre, to a rainy temperate climate in the south, while the Andes have cold weather. The northern desert contains great mineral wealth, principally copper.

Culture

Due to the dissimilar geographic features of Chile, cultural expressions vary markedly in different parts of the country. The northern area is characterized by various cultural events that combine the influence of Andean indigenous peoples with the Spanish conquerors, giving great importance to festivals and religious traditions as diabladas and Fiesta de La Tirana. The central area is mostly determined by the rural traditions of the Chilean countryside. As in this geographic region most of the Chilean population is concentrated, is traditionally considered the home country's cultural identity. Its highest expression is performed during the festivities of Independence Day, in mid-September. The Mapuche culture and traditions dominate La Araucanía, while German influence is predominant near ValdiviaOsorno and Lake Llanquihue. In the archipelago of Chiloé culture with its own mythology was generated, while in the regions of the southern area have also created an identity influenced mainly by immigrants from other regions from Chile and foreigners. The cultural identity of Easter Island, meanwhile, is only due to the development of Polynesian culture since time immemorial completely isolated for centuries.

National holidays

The festivities in Chile correspond to religious celebrations and commemorations civilians. Because of its position in the southern hemisphere-the rental period high season of tourism locally starts in December and runs through the first week of March. The beginning of this period is marked by two major celebrations: Christmas, mainly family-owned and maintains an aspect of religiosity, and New Year, which is usually much more lively, with large parties and fireworks festivals in major cities. Celebrating Good Friday remains a religious and reflective tone, although Easter has become an eminently children's holiday. The arrival of spring marks the main civil festival of the year: Independence Day, which is an opportunity to meet Chileans to celebrate with food and drink, traditions, dances and music.

  • January 1 — New Year's Day
  • March and April — Good Friday - Holy Saturday - Easter
  • May 1 - International Workers' Day
  • May 21 — Day Glorias Naval (Día de las Glorias Navales)
  • June 29 — Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
  • July 16 — Day of the Virgin of Carmen (Día de la Virgen del Carmen)
  • August 15 — Assumption of Mary
  • September 18 — Fiestas Patrias
  • September 19 — Day of the Glories of the Army of Chile (Día de las Glorias del Ejército de Chile)
  • October 12 - Columbus Day
  • October 31 — National Day of the Evangelical and Protestant Churches (Día Nacional de las Iglesias Evangélicas y Protestantes)
  • November 1— All Saints' Day
  • December 8 — Immaculate Conception
  • December 25 — Christmas

Religion

In Chile there is no restriction on religion. Nearly 70% of the population which is above 14 years of age are identified as Roman Catholic and nearly 15% as evangelical.

Talk

Spanish is the official language in the country and is spoken everywhere. Chileans use a distinct dialect called Castellano de Chile with a variety of differences in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary and slang usage. Spanish-speaking foreigners won't have problems understanding it and will only think it sounds funny, but non-native speakers often struggle to understand it, even with years of practice. For example, Chileans tend to drop the "S" sound at the ends of their words. Instead they replace that sound with an "H" sound (i.e. the word "tres" is pronounced "tréh"). On the other hand, standard Spanish is not the first dialect of choice, but people would generally be fairly fluent.

Here are two of the most common Chilean expressions:

  • Huevón (pronounced usually as way-OHN) could be translated into different words according to its context. Originally a swear word meaning "jerk", it can be used also as "friend" or "dude".
  • Cachar (pronounced ka-CHAR) comes from the verb "to catch" and means "understand". Also, is commonly used in a weird conjugated form as cachai' at the end of the sentences, similarly to "y'know", and in a colloquial manner it can also be used to mean sexual intercourse.

English is widely understood in large cities, especially Santiago, and to a much lesser extent in Valparaíso, Concepción or La Serena. English is now mandatory in schools, so younger people are far more likely to speak English than older people Most Chileans over age 40 are unlikely to speak English, unless they are tourist industry workers.

Indigenous languages including Mapudungun, Quechua and Rapa Nui (in Easter Island) are spoken in Chile but only among indigenous people, who are less than 5% of the population. Many people identifying with one of these groups are not able to speak the language of their ancestors and speak only Spanish instead.

Many Chileans understand some French, Italian and Portuguese and also there are some German speakers, especially in the south of the country, where a lot of German migrants arrived in the second half of the 19th century and some around the time of World War II.

Get in

Visa information

Citizens of the following countries may be exempted from tourist visa requirements:

  1. Up to 90 days: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Barbados, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, EcuadorEl Salvador, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Guatemala, Haiti, Holy See, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela.
  2. Up to 60 days: Grenada, Greece, Indonesia and Peru.
  3. Up to 30 days: Belize, Bolivia, Jamaica, Malaysia and Singapore.
  4. Up to 21 days: Dominica.

Citizens of other nationalities, including several African and Asian nationalities, will not be able to enter Chile, without applying for a special visa from a Chile consulate before entry.

Citizens of three countries must pay a "reciprocity fee" of varying amounts. The fee is USD 132 for Canadian citizens, USD 61 for Australian citizens and USD 15 for Mexican citizens. Canadians are no longer required to pay the "reciprocity fee." This fee is equivalent to the amount that country requires for entry visas from Chilean citizens. The fee is only for tourists entering by plane, and the one-time charge is good for the life of your passport. Tourists should have cash or a credit card to pay the fee. Citizens of other countries, such as the UK, do not have to pay a fee.

Further information about tourist visa can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Relations website.

For consulate information, please visit the Chilean Embassy in the U.S. website or the Chilean Embassy in the United Kingdom.

Entry and exit procedures

When entering Chile, you will be processed at immigration by the International Police, a branch of the Investigations Police of Chile (Policía de Investigaciones de Chile, or PDI). The officer runs your passport through a scanner, asks you questions about the purpose of your visit and where you are staying in Chile, then prints out a receipt showing information drawn from your passport, your destination in Chile, and a large matrix bar code. Keep this receipt safe: it is the equivalent of the old tourist card form. You will be required to present it to the International Police when you depart Chile, and you may not be allowed to leave without it. Together with your passport, it also exempts you from the 19% room tax at all hotels, making losing it quite costly.

If arriving by air, you will then be required to proceed to the baggage claim to pick up your bags. You will have to fill out a customs declaration form (which is handed out in flight), and proceed to customs inspection. Regardless of whether you have anything to declare, all bags of all international arrivals are screened by x-ray machines at airport customs stations.

On flights leaving Chile, there is an airport tax of USD30 or the equivalent in Chilean pesos for flights longer than 500km, which is normally included in the ticket price . On domestic flights, airport tax depends on the distance with distances less than 270km costing CLP$1,969 and longer distances costing CLP$4,992; either way, it will also be included in the ticket price.

Like most countries, Chile has immigration inspection stations at airports for both arriving and departing international passengers. The total time to clear immigration (not including additional time for customs for inbound flights or security for outbound flights) usually takes at least 30 minutes to one hour. This is why some airlines ask passengers leaving Chile on international flights to check in at two hours before departure time, to ensure they have adequate time to clear outbound immigration and security inspection.

Other restrictions

Chile is a geographically isolated country, separated from its neighbours by desert, mountains and ocean. This protects it from many pests and diseases that can hit agriculture, one of the biggest national economic sources. Due to this, importation of certain fresh, perishable or wooden goods (such as meat products, fruits & vegetables, honey, untreated wood, etc.) can be either restricted or even prohibited. Upon arrival, the customs declaration form will require you to declare that you are not carrying any restricted product. If you are, declare so and show the form to SAG officials at the customs inspection station.

Prior to 30 August 2016, Chile was not a signatory to the Hague Convention on apostilles, meaning that all documents other than passports were considered legally worthless in Chile, unless legalized by a foreign Chilean consulate or embassy before coming to Chile. Since the Convention has come into effect in Chile, it is sufficient to obtain notarization or certification, together with apostilles, to ensure that foreign documents will be accepted as legally binding in Chile.

Remember that Chile is a centralized country (a "unitary state" in the parlance of political science), so the laws stay the same regardless of region.

By plane

The most common entry point for overseas visitors is the Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCL) in the commune of Pudahuel, 15 km (9.3 miles) north-west of downtown Santiago. It is the largest aviation facility in Chile and one the 6th busiest of South America by passenger traffic (over 11 million in 2010). It is a major connecting point for air traffic between Oceania and Latin America.

Santiago International Airport is served by several non-stop international service, mainly from Europe, the Americas and Oceania. LAN Airlines is the largest national carrier and flights from the main cities in the Americas, Sydney, Auckland, Papeete, Frankfurt and Madrid. Other airlines serving SCL are Aerolíneas Argentinas, Air Canada, Air France, American Airlines, Avianca, Copa Airlines, Delta Airlines and Iberia.

If you are arriving at Santiago, keep in mind that Santiago does not have enough gates to allow most international aircraft to occupy parking spots at gates while being serviced. Your aircraft will likely be directed to a remote parking spot on the tarmac along with many others and you will be bused to immigration inspection, which will add another 15 to 20 minutes of delay.

Other airports with international services are in AricaIquiqueAntofagasta, Concepción, Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas, all of them to neighboring countries. The Mataveri International Airport in Easter Island receives only LAN Airlines flights from Santiago, Lima and Papeete.

By bus

If you are already in South America, a cheaper and reliable way is to go by bus to Chile. Buses from Argentina depart daily from Mendoza, Bariloche and San Martín de los Andes, and even from Buenos Aires weekly. From Peru, there are several buses from Arequipa; some taxis also cross the border between Tacna and Arica. There are also several buses from Bolivia to northern cities and Santiago. Also, there are Brazilian buses from São Paulo, on Mondays and Thursdays.

If you are crossing from Bolivia and Argentina through the Andes, be aware that it takes place at high altitude, up to 4000 m (13,000 ft). Also, the roads from Peru and Bolivia are a bit poor in quality, so be patient. During the winter season, which begins in June and ends in August, it is not uncommon for the passage from Mendoza to close for days at a time.

By boat

Boat journeys from neighbouring Argentina exist, with companies like Cruceandino offering "cruise" style trips across the border from Bariloche, with different lengths of journey. One day (12 hour) journeys cost around US$300.

Get around

By plane

Chile has a rather good airport infrastructure. The main hub for flights in Chile is the Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport (SCL) in Santiago, from where several airlines serve even the remotest corners of the country. These airlines are the three Chilean airlines: LAN Airlines, Sky Airline and Principal Airlines. Although LAN is by far the largest companies, Sky and PAL offer good services to the main cities.

When travelling within Chile, please consider reserving your tickets before entering the country: flight coupons are recommended and can be bought at LAN when you also purchase your flight to Chile with them. LAN offers a good online reservation service but in the others is not that good yet and mainly in Spanish, although it is possible to use them to compare fares.

Because of the shape of the country, many routes are subject to several time-consuming layovers. You might take this into account as you can have up to 4 stops en route to your destination! (e.g. for a flight from Punta Arenas to Arica you may have stops at Puerto MonttSantiagoAntofagasta and Iquique). Domestic routes are served , Airbus 319, Airbus 321 and Airbus 320 when flying with LAN, a Airbus 319/320s when flying Sky Airline.

The only airline flying to Easter Island is LAN Airlines from Santiago. Other remote locations are served by regional airlines. In the Extreme South, Aerovías DAP offer daily routes from Punta Arenas to Porvenir in Tierra del Fuego and Puerto Williams. Between November and March, DAP offers very limited and expensive flights to Villa Las Estrellas in Antarctica. To Robinson Crusoe Island, there are weekly flights from Santiago and Valparaíso.

By bus

The bus system is pretty sophisticated and provides a cheap and comfortable way to get from town to town. Keep in mind that local companies will usually stop at many stations along the way, however, you can always ask if there's a non-stop or directo service. Companies that cover almost the entire country include Turbus and Pullman (websites in Spanish only). In Santiago, you can find both terminals and more companies on Universidad de Santiago subway station. Companies that cover the North of Chile and Argentina (Salta) include Geminis.

Keep in mind that prices vary on a daily basis, so are usually more expensive on weekends and holidays tickets than on weekdays. Ticket prices are also almost always negotiable - don't be shy to ask for a discount, especially if you are in a group. Always ask around in different booths and make sure the vendors see you are shopping around.

The quality of service varies quite a lot. Check if the bus is "cama" (bed), "semi-cama" (heavily inclining seats) or ejecutivo (executive - slightly inclining seat). Toilets are not always available and if available not always working - especially if you are getting on a bus at a later stage of a long journey (i.e. Arica - Santiago).

By train

Tren Central, the passenger section of the government railway company, regularly operates trains between Santiago and Chillán, as well as ocasional service between Santiago and Temuco, which occurs when holidays cause a long weekend. It also operates the last remaining ramal, or branch line, between Talca and Constitución, as well as a wine-tasting train through the central valley for tourists.

By micro

Micro = transit/local buses. The word is the contraction of microbus. Larger cities have cross-town bus routes at very affordable prices. Only Santiago's system, called "Transantiago", have maps (Map as of October 2010) with all the routes, so a little bit of Spanish and the audacity to ask around can get you places effectively in other major cities. To travel by "micro" in Santiago you will need to buy before a smart contactless travel-card called "BIP" and charge it with money. You can do so in any subway station, in most supermarkets and in some smaller stores. This card also allows you to travel by subway in Santiago. Be careful! You won't be able to travel by bus without money in your BIP card. The card costs US$2.50, and a ticket costs a little over US$1.00, which allows you to make up to four transfers between metro and buses within a 2-hour time period. You only need to scan the card at the beginning of your journey and at every transfer. You should hop off the "micro" through the back doors.

By colectivo

A mix between a micro and a taxi. These small cars have routes and get around quicker and more comfortably. Fares are similar to those on the Micro, and depend on the hour. Here you pay in cash.

By metro

A metropolitan railway system operating in metropolitan areas of Santiago and Valparaíso. A reliable way to move around in the city. You must pay the fee only once (when you enter the system) and you can ride as much as you want. There are now more stations in Santiago because of the recent construction of two new lines. Visit the website for more information.

By car

Car rentals

Car rentals are widely available throughout most major cities, but not in smaller towns. Usually a credit card, a valid driver's license and a passport, all three issued to the same person, are needed to rent a car. Technically, if your driver's license is not in Spanish, you also need a International Driver Permit (IDP). Many rental car companies will not actually ask for an IDP, but it's a good idea to have one, just in case you encounter the police. Rental rates in Santiago are very similar to those in the U.S., but prices can be much higher in other cities. If you want to bring rental cars across South American borders (as part of a road trip), you will need to notify the rental car company in advance, pay additional fees, and obtain extra paperwork to show that you are authorized by the company to drive its vehicles across borders. Rental cars in South America all come with hidden GPS transponders (even if there is no navigation system in the car) so the company will know if you try to take the vehicle out of the country without their knowledge or drive too many kilometers per day (if your vehicle has a per-day limit).

Parking spaces and street lanes are narrower than in the U.S., so it's a good idea to get a small vehicle. However, like most Latin Americans, Chileans prefer to drive vehicles with manual transmissions to conserve fuel. As a result, the smallest vehicles available for rent with automatic transmissions are usually standard-size sedans, which are more expensive. North American drivers who can only drive automatic transmissions (and would also like to obtain both required and supplemental liability insurance and to reduce personal responsibility for vehicle damage to zero) should be prepared to pay up to US$100 per day to rent such vehicles.

There are several important vehicle-related documents which you must be able to present upon demand by the police, like the permiso de circulation (proof of payment of a vehicle registration fee to the local jurisdiction in which the vehicle is regularly garaged), and proof of Chilean vehicle insurance. The rental car company will normally keep those documents somewhere in the car. For example, Avis Budget Group puts them in a portfolio folder which is small enough to fit in the glove compartment. Make sure you know where those documents are, so if you encounter the police, you will be able to present the vehicle documents promptly, along with your passport, driver's license, IDP, and rental car contract.

Road signs and markings

All traffic signs and markings are in Spanish only. They are an interesting hybrid of European and North American influences. The European influence is more obvious in areas like speed limit signs and graphic icons, while the North American influence is more obvious in areas like warning signs (yellow and diamond-shaped) and typefaces (Chile uses the FHWA typeface that is standard in the United States). Most traffic signs are self-explanatory but a few are not. If you cannot read or speak Spanish, you must take the time to memorize the meaning of the most common signs and markings, so that you will not inadvertently violate traffic law and draw unwanted attention from the police.

Like European countries, but unlike most North and South American countries, Chile uses white lines on roads to divide both traffic moving in the same direction and traffic moving in opposing directions. These are supplemented with arrows on the ground as well as arrows included on street name signs.

To indicate that you csnnot enter a road, Chile uses the international prohibition symbol (a red circle with a diagonal slash) over an arrow pointing directly up.

Chilean guide signs on regular highways are usually green. Guide signs on expressways (autopistas) are usually blue, except for guide signs for motorway exits, which are usually (but not always) green.

Rules of the road

Speed limits are usually 60 km/h in cities, 100 km/h on intercity highways and some urban expressways, and 120 km/h on the finest intercity expressways. Dangerous road sections are all often signed with lower speed limits, such as hill crests, blind curves, tunnels, busy urban streets, and narrow urban alleys. The latter two tend to be signed for 30 km/h.

There is no right turn on red, except for signs (rarely seen) which expressly authorize right turns on red with caution after making a complete stop.

Santiago and other cities have reversible lanes and roads. They also have bus-only lanes (also used by taxis) which private vehicles are supposed to stay out of, and which are enforced by photo and video surveillance. If you enter bus-only lanes and proceed to cruise straight down several blocks, without any indication of making a turn or merging into regular lanes, don't be surprised if the rental car company informs you that you were ticketed.

Like many countries, Chile prefers to use yield or give way signs whenever possible, and uses stop signs ("PARE") only when absolutely necessary (usually because it's a blind intersection and someone was killed there). If there aren't any visible traffic signs or markings governing priority, and two vehicles reach an intersection simultaneously, priority belongs to the vehicle approaching from your right.

Traffic signals are usually on timers with no sensor loops, so you will have to sit and wait even if it's the middle of the night. Unlike most Latin American countries, carjackings are relatively rare, so running red lights and stop signs late at night is not tolerated by police.

Chileans generally obey red lights, stop signs, and other traffic control devices, and their driving is much more sane than most of Latin America. However, visitors from the United States and Canada will still find their driving to be more aggressive than at home. This is most evident when merging, especially when traffic from multiple lanes has to merge together in order to detour around road closures or accidents. Chileans also sometimes follow the European model of gently bumping into other vehicles while parallel parking, in order to squeeze into very tight spaces. Thus, many Chilean vehicles have chipped or scratched paint from such close encounters.

Also, despite steep fines and frequent use of radar guns, photo radar, and speed traps, speeding is rampant. When driving on intercity expressways, you will often encounter the "autobahn" problem seen in Germany, where you might merge into the right lane behind a truck or subcompact vehicle barely able to sustain 80 km/h, then have to patiently wait for the opportunity to merge into a left lane dominated by regular vehicles driving at the speed limit of 120 km/h, as well as occasional speeders exceeding 140 km/h.

Road conditions

Chilean roads are generally excellent compared to most of Latin America. Expressways are virtually always well-maintained, paved, painted, signed, and largely free of potholes, cracks, litter, and debris. However, many older streets in cities are in poor condition, and drivers must be alert to avoid cracks, dips, drains, and potholes. Country roads are also sometimes in poor condition; they are not paved to the same thickness as in foreign countries, and even slight deterioration may cause the underlying dirt base to show through.

In big cities, it is a good idea to avoid rush hours, between 7 and 9 AM and between 5 and 8 PM.

Toll roads

Chile has relied upon privatized toll concessions to build and maintain major highways since the early 20th century. If you plan on driving around Chile, plan on paying lots of tolls. Many toll concessions have surge pricing during major holidays and weekends. Rates ("tarifas") for all types of vehicles are always posted on large signs before toll plazas, and if you miss the rate sign, the current rate in effect that day for standard passenger cars is always posted on a sign in front of each separate toll booth. Chilean highways normally use barrier toll plazas at locations that are hard to avoid (e.g., near steep mountain ranges and rivers), and do not use distance-based tolling tracked through tickets.

If you rent in Santiago, note that Santiago has adopted a mandatory electronic toll collection system ("TAG") for use of all privatized tollways in the city; even the airport access road is a tollway. There are no toll plazas on the Santiago tollways, only toll gantries, so driving on them without a TAG transponder means you may incur a large fine. All rental car companies in Santiago are required to include TAG transponders in vehicles and include TAG fees in their rental car prices. Once you have rented a vehicle in Santiago, you should feel free to use Santiago tollways (which can save substantial amounts of time), since you are paying for them.

Unfortunately, Chile has not yet mandated full automatic interoperability between TAG and the various Televia transponders used on intercity toll roads, such as Route 68 which connects Santiago to Valparaiso. There are now programs under which users of transponders on one system can temporarily gain interoperability, but such access has to be manually requested before each use and it is a substantial hassle. And many toll plazas still do not take credit cards. Therefore, if you rent in Santiago but plan to drive to other cities, you must obtain sufficient Chilean pesos to pay tolls before leaving the city and go through the cash ("Manual") lanes at toll plazas. Similarly, if you rent in another Chilean city and drive to Santiago, you should examine city maps first and stay away from tollways that require TAG.

Parking

Many private parking facilities in Chile are just like parking facilities anywhere in the world. You take a bar-coded ticket upon entry, pay at a vending machine before returning to your vehicle, and then insert the ticket into a reader at the exit gate. In Santiago, the parking concessionaire Saba uses orange RFID "ChipCoins" for the same purpose, as well as for access control to parking garages (so that the only people who can enter underground parking garages are those who already obtained ChipCoins at the vehicle entrance).

Otherwise, public parking on streets and in some surface lots is more complicated, because Chile does not have parking meters. Instead, you will see signs saying that so-and-so curb (or lot) has been concessioned out to a specific person or company, between certain hours, for so many pesos for every 30 minutes. If you don't see anyone present, it's usually okay to park there (unless the sign also says you can't do that), but if the concessionaire is present, they will print out a receipt on a handheld machine and tuck it under your windshield wiper to track when you arrived. You then pay them the parking fee when you come back.

In some public parking areas, even if there isn't a sign declaring that a particular street has been concessioned, you may see self-appointed car guards who will demand tips in exchange for watching your car when you are absent (and who might sometimes help you back into spaces and back out of them). This is a racket (and quite annoying to people from places where car guards are not tolerated), but it's generally a good idea to cooperate; CLP$500 is usually more than sufficient to secure their cooperation. Car guards are usually not seen in private parking facilities, as they have private security guards on patrol who are paid out of parking fees.

Fuel

Petrol fuel in Chile is normally unleaded and comes in 93, 95, and 97 octane. Diesel is also available at many stations. Due to high taxes and Chile's distance from major oilfields, expect to pay about 1.5 times the average U.S. price for equivalent fuel (but still less than in most of Western Europe). Self-service is illegal, so you must know enough Spanish to ask for the correct octane and to tell the attendant on duty to fill it up.

By thumb

Hitchhiking in Chile is not difficult, given enough time and patience. It is seen as a common form of travel for tourists or young, adventurous Chileans. On large highways such as the Panamerican Highway, hitching is really great and easy because there are many trucks going between big cities. Smaller, more scenic roads such as the Carretera Austral in the south, can leave you waiting for half a dozen hours in the more remote sections but the rides will generally get you a long way and are worth waiting for. If you are a tourist be sure to show it with your backpack, flags attached to your backpack, etc. The locals love chatting with foreign travelers.

See

Stretching from 17°S in the north to 55°S in the south, Chile is among the longest countries in the world with several climate zones and types of nature. High mountains are present everywhere in the country. On the Chilean mainland you can visit three UNESCO World Heritage Sites; Old Valparaíso, the Sewell mining town in Rancagua and the Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works outside Iquique. Just outside the coast there are the churches of Chiloé Island, and five and a half hour by plane across the Pacific Ocean will get you to maybe the most famous "Off the Beaten Path" destination in the world — the Easter Island.

Do

Chile is home to the second largest recreational pool in the world (formerly the largest until its builder finished an even larger pool in Egypt in 2015). Located at the San Alfonso del Mar resort in Algarrobo, you will want a sailboat to complete its 2 km length.

Buy

Currency

Chile's currency is the Chilean peso (ISO code: CLP), denoted by the symbol "$" Wikivoyage uses the notation "CLP$" for clarity. Other currencies are not widely accepted, but most cities have exchange bureaux with reasonable rates for euros and US dollars. The rates should be published on widely visible boards.

Banking

Never exchange money on the streets, specially if a "helper" indicates you to follow them.

It's not advisable to exchange currency in the hotel or the airport as the rates are awful. Just be patient. Banco Santander has a monopoly on the ATMs of the airport and will add a surcharge of CLP2,500 for retrieving cash - it's still better than the exchange bureaus.

The automatic teller machine (ATM) network in Chile is respectable in coverage—they're all connected to the same service and enable standard transactions. Be aware that different banks will charge you different amounts of money for extracting cash - you will be advised on the screen of the surcharge. The normal fee is CLP2,500 . Banco Estado does not add a surcharge (verified for MasterCard, not verified for VISA - please check and edit).

When using ATMs in Chile, be very aware that criminals sometimes install hard-to-detect skimmers and micro-cameras in some less surveiled facilities. These devices are meant to read your card's information to produce a clone. Several international crime gangs have been arrested for this. Always check if the card slot looks suspicious or is easy to move or detach and always cover the keyboard with your hand while punching your PIN.

Credit and debit cards are widely accepted in most of the independent commerce of major cities and in all chain stores, no matter where they are. The PIN security system has been introduced for credit cards, so you will mostly only need your personal PIN (four digit code) as it exists in other parts of the world. For some cards you will not be asked for your PIN and they will use the four last numbers of the credit card entered manually and you will have to show a valid ID.

Tipping

There is no obligation to tip in Chile. This was not the case until 1981, when law number 7.388 was derogated. It stated that tipping was mandatory at places like restaurants, and the tip amount should be between 10% and 20% of the bill. Since then, it is usually assumed that customers will leave a tip of 10%, if the service is considered satisfactory.

Basic supplies

For basic supplies like groceries, there are many convenience stores and corner grocery stores. Large supermarkets like Lider, Jumbo, Tottus, and Santa Isabel are often found both as stand-alone stores and as mall anchors. Lider will seem a little familiar to North Americans in that it is owned by Walmart and has reconfigured its store signage to look somewhat like Walmart stores. However, Chile's strong consumer goods economy is dominated by local brands, which means almost all the brands on the shelves will be new to most visitors from outside South America.

The dominant pharmacy chains in Chile are Cruz Verde, Ahumada, and Salcobrand. Only cosmetics are kept in the public area. All drugs and supplements are kept behind the counter and must be asked for by name, which can be tricky if you cannot speak Spanish.

Eat

The Chilean cuisine has a wide variety of dishes that emerged from the amalgamation of indigenous tradition and Spanish colonial contribution, combining their food, customs and culinary habits. Contributions under the German, Italian and French cuisines have given thanks to the influence of immigrants who arrived during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

The Chilean Creole food in general is presented as a mixture of meat and agricultural products of each area. In the northern and southern fishing is a major economic sources and this is reflected in the variety of dishes: if in the desert area highlights the ceviche (fish seasoned with lemon and onions), curanto (cooked seafood, meat, sausages and potatoes made into a hole in the ground) is the ultimate expression of chilota kitchen. The potato is also key in other chilotas preparations as milcao and chapaleles. The central area has to corn (maize) and beef as protagnista preparations such as tamales and corn. The pie pine casserole and charquicán are some of the most recognized within the local food preparations. The roast, meanwhile, stands as the main preparation for informal gatherings and family; certainly more of a Chilean you invite one so take this opportunity to learn more of Chilean society. Among the desserts include preparations delicacy or caramel as alfajores and cakes Curicó, while German influence introduced the kuchen and strudel pastry Chile the menu.

The extensive Chilean geography allows development on its shores several varieties of seafood: the top highlights are the croaker, pomfret, conger eel and salmon, which is produced industrially south of the country. For shellfish: stand fools and oysters, as well as certain crustaceans such as crab and lobster of Juan Fernandez. Beef, chicken and pork are the main meats, although in the Patagonian area one can easily find lamb. Chile is a major exporter of fruits, so you can find without problems varieties of apples, oranges, peaches, strawberries, raspberries and custard, in good quality and much cheaper than in Europe or the United States.

Note that despite this wide variety of dishes and products, normal food in a Chilean home is not very different from other Western country; during your stay you will certainly see more dishes with rice, meat, potatoes or pasta pies or cakes of corn.

In Santiago and major cities, you can find a wide range of restaurants serving both local and international food. Should you go to a restaurant, cancels directly the price of the dishes consumed as indicated on the menu. Although optional, it is customary to add a gratuity of 10%, delivered directly to the waiter. He or she will always welcome more. Not giving a tip is considered a quite rude act, performed only when there has been very bad restaurant service.

The major fast food chains in the world have several branches in the country. If you resort to fast food, it is better to have one of the wide variety of sandwiches that exist in the country: the Barros Luco (meat and cheese) and Italian full (hot dog with tomato, avocado and mayonnaise) are the most traditional. If you are in Valparaíso and have good cholesterol levels, do not waste the opportunity to try a chorrillana. On the streets you can find many stalls selling buns (fried pumpkin masses) and the refreshing mote with ossicles. Food prepared in stalls will generally give few problems, do try if you have a weak stomach.

  • Pastel de choclo: corn casserole filled with ground beef, onions, chicken, raisins, hardboiled egg, olives, and topped with sugar and butter.
  • Empanada de pino: a baked pie filled with ground beef, onion, raisins, a piece of boiled egg and a black olive. Watch out for the pit!
  • Empanada de queso: a deep-fried pastry packet filled with cheese. Found everywhere, including McDonald's.
  • Cazuela de vacuno: beef soup with a potato, rice, a piece of corn and a piece of squash.
  • Cazuela de ave (or de pollo): same as above, but with a piece of chicken.
  • Cazuela de pavo: same as above, but with turkey.
  • Porotos granados: stew made with fresh beans, squash, corn, onion and basil.
    • con choclo: with grains of corn.
    • con pilco or pirco: with corn thinly chopped.
    • con mazamorra: with ground corn.
    • con riendas: with thin sliced noodles.
  • Curanto: lots of seafood, beef, chicken and pork, potatoes, cheese, and potato "burguers," prepared in a hole in the ground ("en hoyo") or in a pot ("en olla"); a dish from Chiloé.
  • Southern sopaipillas: a fried pastry cut as 10-cm (4-in) circles, with no pumpkin in its dough (see Northern sopaipillas in the desserts section). They replace bread. They are known South of Linares.
  • Lomo a lo pobre: a beefsteak, fried potatoes, a fried egg (expect two in restaurants) and fried onions.

Besides typical foods, you should expect food normally found in any Western country. The normal diet includes rice, potatoes, meat and bread. Vegetables are abundant in central Chile. If you are concerned about the portions, consider that the size of the dish increases the farther south you travel.

With such an enormous coastline, you can expect fish and seafood almost everywhere. Locals used to eat bundles of raw shellfish, but visitors should be cautious of raw shellfish because of frequent outbreaks of red tides. Chile is the world's second largest producer of salmon, as well as a number of other farmed sea products, which include oysters, scallops, mussels, trout and turbot. Local fish include corvina (sea bass), congrio(conger eel), lenguado (flounder), albacora (swordfish), and yellow fin tuna.

Sandwiches

  • Hotdog or Completo (meaning 'complete' in english). Not similar to the US version. This one includes mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, tomato or sauerkraut (chucrut), mashed avocado (palta) and chili (ají). These ingredients make a full sandwich, called un completo. With mayonnaise, tomato and avocado it's un italiano (an Italian) with the colors of the Italian flag.
  • Lomito. Cooked pork steaks served with anything that can go in a hotdog. Italiano is the preferred form but German purists prefer it with sauerkraut (chucrut).
  • Chacarero: a thin beefsteak (churrasco) with tomato, green beans, mayonnaise and green chili (ají verde).
  • Barros Luco: Named after President Ramón Barros Luco. Thinly-sliced beefsteak with cheese.
  • Choripán: Bread with "chorizo", a highly seasoned pork sausage. Named that way because the contraction of "Pan con Chorizo" or "Chorizo con Pan".

A common combination is meat with avocado and/or mayonnaise, e.g. Ave palta mayo (chicken with avocado and mayonnaise) or Churrasco palta (thinly-sliced beefsteak with avocado). The strong presence for avocado is a Chilean standard for sandwiches that influences the fast food franchises to include it in their menus.

Desserts

  • Northern sopaipillas: a fried pastry cut as 10-cm (4-in) circles, which includes pumpkin in its dough, and normally is eaten with chancaca, a black treacle or molasses. It's customary to make them when it rains and it's cold outside. Sopaipillas as a dessert are only known north of San Javier. From Linares to the South, they are not dessert and pumpkin is left out, so, when it rains, Chilean Southerners must cook picarones. In Santiago, Sopaipillas can be served covered with a sweet syrup as a dessert, or with spicy yellow mustard.
  • Kuchen (or cújen, pronounced KOO-hen) is German for pie. In the South ask for kuchen de quesillo, a kind of cheesecake.
  • Strudel (pronounced ess-TROO-dayl). A kind of apple pie.
  • Berlín. When they translate John Kennedy's famous quote (often mistakenly thought of as a gaffe) they say it's a “jelly doughnut”. The Chilean version is a ball of dough (no hole) filled with dulce de membrillo, crema pastelera or manjar. Powder sugar is added just in case you have a sweet tooth.
  • Cuchuflí. Barquillo (tube of something crunchy like a cookie) filled with manjar. The name originally comes from cuchufleta which means deceit or trickery, as they used to be filled only at the tips of the barquillos, leaving the middle part empty.

Fruit

Central Chile is a major tempered fruit producer, you can easily get fruit for dessert, including apples, oranges, peaches, grapes, watermelons, strawberries, raspberries, chirimoyas, and several other varieties.

Temperate fruit is of very high quality and prices are usually much lower than in most of the U.S. and Western Europe, while tropical fruit is rather rare and expensive, except for bananas.

Drink

  • Wine: Chile produces some excellent wines, competing with France, California, Australia and New Zealand for world markets. Notable are the Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere in red, along with whites from the Casablanca valley.
  • Mote con Huesillo: A delicous summertime drink made of wheat seeds (mote) and dried peaches (huesillos) boiled, sweetened, and served cold. Typically sold on sidewalk or park stands.
  • Chilean Pisco: Brandy made from Muscat grapes. Popular brands are Capel, Alto del Carmen, Mistral and Campanario.
  • Pisco Sour: One of Chile's most popular mixed drinks, this consists of Pisco mixed with lemon juice and sugar. It has a delicious tart sweetness.
  • Mango Sour: Pisco mixed with mango juice.
  • Piscola: Pisco mixed with Coke.
  • Borgoña: Red wine and strawberries.
  • Terremoto: ("Earthquake"): a typical Chilean drink that consists in a mix of pineapple ice cream with pipeño (like white wine).
  • Schop: Draught beer.
  • Fan-Schop: Beer mixed with orange Fanta or Orange Crush soft drink. A refreshing alternative on a hot summer day.
  • Beers: Cristal and Escudo are the most popular (light lagers). Royal Guard is a fair bit tastier, Kunstmann is on pair with European imported beer.
  • Jote*: wine and Coke.
    • There's a very known conflict between Chile and Peru about the origin of Pisco. Although Pisco was registered as a Chilean drink for some countries in the last century, it is historically Peruvian in origin for much longer. Further, Chilean and Peruvian drinks are not the same product, they have different manufacturing procedures, different varieties of grape and not the same taste.

Unlike other Latin-American countries, in Chile it's illegal to drink in unlicensed, public areas (streets, parks, etc.) The laws also restrict vendor hours depending on the weekday (in no case after 3 AM or before 9 AM).

Chileans drink a lot of alcohol. So don't be surprised to see one bottle per person.

Sleep

Chile has many types of hotels in the cities: some of the most prevalent chains are Sheraton, Kempinsky, Ritz, Marriott, Hyatt, and Holiday Inn. Several hostels and little hotels of varying quality wait to be discovered. On the backpacker trail, a local hostel version can be found in every small city residencial.

There is also a variety of accommodations in the mountain ski centers,such as the world-class resort Portillo, 80 km (49 mi) north of Santiago; "Valle Nevado" in the mountains approximately 35 km (22 mi) away from Santiago, and the Termas de Chillan ski resort and hot springs, which lies about 450 km (280 mi) south of Santiago.

Learn

Along with Mexico and Argentina, Chile continues to grow as a preferred destination for studies abroad. It is not uncommon to find groups of European or North American students taking interdisciplinary studies in Spanish language or latinamerican culture and history in one of its many reputed universities:

  • In Santiago
    • Universidad de Chile - The best university in Chile according to America Economia
    • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile -One of the best universities in Chile with several courses taught in English.
    • Universidad de Santiago de Chile
    • Universidad Central de Chile
  • In Valparaíso and Viña del Mar
    • Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso
    • Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María
    • Universidad de Viña del Mar - International Office
    • Universidad Diego Portales - International Relations
    • Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez
    • Universidad de Valparaíso
  • In Southern Chile
    • Universidad de Concepcion
    • Universidad de La Frontera
    • Universidad Austral de Chile
    • Universidad de Los Lagos
    • Universidad de Magallanes

Work

Foreigners need to apply for a work visa before arriving (it can be done after, but it is a lot harder to get one). Temporary permits are issued to spouses and people with a contract. Under-the-table jobs are normally not well paid, lack the mandatory health insurance and retirement plans, and are a reason to get deported.

Another way to work in Chile is to Volunteer for the English Opens Doors Program. It is sponsored by the United Nations Development Program and the Chilean Ministry of Education and places volunteers in schools throughout Chile to be English teaching assistants. The program provides volunteers a home-stay with a Chilean family, meals, a participation bonus of 60,000CLP for each month of completed service, health insurance, TEFL training, and access to an online Spanish course. There is no fee for participation.

Stay safe

Like most big cities in South America, Santiago suffers from a high rate of pickpocketing and muggings. It's advisable not to travel in the downtown area wearing expensive-looking jewelry or watches, even during the day. Stay alert and be especially careful in all crowded areas in Santiago. It is recommended to wear your backpack at the front of your body in crowded areas. Laptops and the newest mobile phones can be lucrative for thieves, so remember to be on your guard once using them in public places.

For tourists or other "beginners" lacking experience in over-the-counter transactions with hard Chilean currency, you can reduce the chance of your wallet getting stolen by following some advice:

  • Separate coins and bills. Coins are frequently used when paying for public transport (except in Santiago buses, where you need to board with the Bip card), newspapers or snacks, store them in a small handbag so that your bills will remain concealed.
  • 1000-, 2000- and 5000-peso notes should be easily accessible. Notes of higher value should be stored in another, more secure place in your wallet so you don't accidentally pay CLP$10,000 instead of 1000, for example. All notes have different sizes and they all are very differently coloured and designed.
  • Do not reach for your wallet until the vendor tells you the price.

Chilean Carabineros (National Police) are very trustworthy - call 133 from any phone if you need emergency assistance. Some municipalities (such as Santiago or Las Condes) have private guards; however, they usually don't speak English. Do not try to bribe a carabinero, since it will get you into serious trouble! Unlike other South American police corps, Chilean Carabineros are very proud and honest, and bribery would be a serious offense against their creed.

Regarding driving conditions: Chilean drivers tend to be not as erratic and volatile as those in neighboring countries.

Certain parts of Chile are still racially homogeneous and locals will be curious if they see a person who is either Asian or black. Being of Middle Eastern origin and wanting to blend in amongst Chileans, getting dressed as a local will help you, though naturally, if you speak with a foreign accent, people will pick up on that right away. Cities like Santiago, Viña del Mar or Antofagasta have become more multicultural in the last few years with immigrants from Haiti, Colombia, China, the Dominican Republic and Cuba, so being a foreigner in those places will not be met with curiosity. Some Chileans who have a low opinion of foreigners might yell "negro" (Spanish for black) or "chino" (Spanish for Chinese), but only report to Carabineros if you are physically assaulted by someone. Racist attacks are infrequent in general but the Carabineros know how to deal with such crimes, so don't hesitate to report if something happens.

Inmigration from countries where Islam is the state religion is very small compared to countries in Europe. There are mosques in the country but the average Chilean is not used to see a woman in a hijab or burqa so many will stare or make a comment. There have been reports of verbal harassment by Chileans to women who are dressed traditionally and some have even reported being dragged by the hijab from either boys or men. Though infrequent, it can happen and report such matters to the police. Some people will also defend your right to be dressed with a hijab or burqa, so do not assume that all Chileans are racist. There is a sizable Palestinian community but most of them are Christians.

Be careful when taking photos in areas with military buildings or where you see soldiers guarding an entrace for example. They have the right to arrest and confiscate your camera. Be prepared to spend time answering questions and having every single photo examined by a soldier or marine. You will avoid inprisonment due to the fact that marines/ soldiers will understand that you did not understand the warnings being a foreign tourist and interrogation is done because the soldiers are expected to do that when such situation occurs. But it's better to avoid such situation and instead ask if you can take a photo. Some marines or soldiers might speak little English, otherwise point at an object and say "si?", while showing your camera so they understand that you want to take a photo. If they reply with a "no", then it's wise to respect their decision.

Stay out of political protests in any city, especially Santiago. The student protest that shocked the country during 2011 always ended with violence. If you want to see, then stay at a safe area and avoid being close. The Carabineros are always on the alert as soon as there is a political manifestation and some people joins only because they want to cause violence. Also avoid celebrations of sports like Chile winning a tournament for example, since they will also end in violence.

If you go out to bars or clubbing, be careful when ordering a drink. If you want to be safe, order beer in a bottle or pay for a bottle of wine or hard liquor if possible. Problems with spiked drinks have increased so make sure to always have an eye on your drink when ordering. Places for young people or students tends to have cheap drinks, wine and beer which should be avoided at all since they are poorly made and can be dangerous for you. Order instead wellknown brands like Cristal or Casillero del Diablo in a bar or night club.

Walking in the streets in many cities, you will see a lot of dogs and many of them are living in the streets. The are probably carrying diseases so avoid touching them. Being used to dogs or owner can help a lot if you wish to avoid them. They are everywhere and places popular by tourist are full of stray dogs. Don't get involved in an argument if you see local people being aggressive to the stray dogs. They see them every day and will not take kindly to a tourist who only have been or will be in Chile for a couple of days, having an opinion on how to treat the dogs that they feel are aggressive towards the local people.

Located at the Pacific Ring of Fire, all of Chile is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis.

Stay healthy

Having relatively good standards in medicine throughout the country, it is not difficult to stay healthy. However, one will usually find more refined resources at a private medical facility. In case of emergency, call 131, but don't expect an operator fluent in English.

Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for all travelers. Other potential vaccines, depending on your travel situation include: Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Rabies, and Influenza.

Tap water is safe to drink. Just know that water is produced from the mountains, so it might be harder for foreigners. In that case, it is advisable to buy bottled water.

Respect

  • Although modern in many ways, Chile remains basically traditional. You will do far better if you do not openly denigrate or flout those traditions. People speak in conversational tones.
  • Unlike other countries in Latin America, the Chilean police force is admired for its honesty and competence. Report any complaints to the police the moment you receive them, including criminal activity. Bribes are not acceptable in Chile in contrast to the rest of Latin America, and you will likely get arrested if you attempt it.
  • Do not assume that your hosts in Chile will have a low opinion of Pinochet. May be a surprise, but his government still has many supporters, so be careful when raising the issue. Even if you want to talk other political subjects than Pinochet, people still can get very opinionated and even raise the tone when it comes to politics. Depending on your opinions, they can either call you "communist" or "fascist".
  • Chileans are very friendly people. Most of them will be willing to assist you with directions or advice in the street, bus stop, subway station, etc. Just use common sense to avoid danger.
  • Be careful with what you say: many younger people can speak and understand English, French, Italian or German, be polite.
  • Chileans hate arrogance. Be arrogant and you will have problems; be kind and everyone will try to help you.
  • Chileans will know that you are a foreigner no matter how good your Spanish is. Don't get upset if they call you "gringo" - most foreigners are called that, it's not meant to be offensive.
  • If you are of black race or dark skinned, you might be called "negro" in a friendly way. This is by no means similar to the n-word. Most Chileans are not racist, but unlike other South American countries, nearly every person of African heritage is a foreigner. Besides, "negro" is a common nickname for people with dark skin. (Negro is the Spanish word for black).
  • Chile was involved in the War of the Pacific between 1879-1883 against Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. Patagonia was once part of Chile but since Argentina threatened to attack, the area was annexed by the Argentinians which angers many people even today. Both Peru and Bolivia lost territory in what today is northern Chile and the conflict still causes heated debates. Some even express racist comments towards guest workers and illegal inmigrants from either Peru or Bolivia. Bolivia still wants to get back lost territory or an "exit to the ocean", which has angered many Chileans. Some will agree on giving Bolivia a corridor with access to the sea but be careful saying that Bolivia or Peru has the right to have their old territory back from Chile; that will get you in a lot of trouble! Ask questions rather than expressing your opinion since Chileans will become angry and have a heated debate with what they consider "an uneducated foreigner who has listened to propaganda from the enemy".
  • Chile has the largest Palestinian diaspora outside the Arab world and a lot of them express pride about their heritage, but also their support for the Palestinian cause. You will also encounter some who know very little about their ancestors, the conflict with Israel etc. Don't get upset, have in mind that they primarily see themselves as Chilean and not Palestinian or Arab. It has been estimated that less than 1% of them speak Arabic, so don't expect to talk with them in the language if you are from an Arabic-speaking country or have some knowledge in the language.
  • In the south of Chile there are a sizeable amount of people claiming German heritage and they are very proud of it. Even if they don't have a German surname and most likely just have a grandmother or great grandmother from Germany, they will identify as Chilean-German. Like with the people of Palestinian heritage, very few speak German at all. Some southern villages have German-speaking populations but you will be unlikely to visit them. Every single person speaks Spanish so there is no need to know German if you want to travel to the south of Chile.

Connect

Phone

  • Public phones located on streets are very likely to be tampered or vandalized, so it's better to use a phone located inside a commerce or a station.
  • Prepaid cards for mobile phones and landlines are sold at most newspaper kiosks, supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies and phone dealers.
  • Mobile GSM networks are ubiquitous in all major cities and most of the territory of central and southern Chile.
  • A basic prepaid cellular phone usually costs about CLP$15,000, most frequently charged with CLP$10,000 pesos worth of prepaid minutes. No ID is required to buy a prepaid phone.
  • GSM SIM cards from ENTEL, Movistar or Claro are usually available for CLP$5,000 pesos, but without credit, so you'll need to buy some prepaid minutes to be able to call.
  • Money can be charged into a cellphone from almost any ATM using a credit or debit card and from some pharmacies (Ahumada, Cruz Verde and Salco Brand) on the counter and in cash. Also, one can charge money directly into the phone by using a credit card through an automated service operator, with directions in Spanish or English.
  • Chilean phone numbering scheme is very simple and straight.

Internet

There are cybercafes in every major and midsize city and at all tourist destinations. Some libraries are in a program called Biblioredes, with free computers and Internet (they may be very sensitive if you plug in your camera or something like that). In some remote locations, public libraries have internet satellite connections. Also notice if there's a Wi-Fi hotspot around. They're usually in metro stations, airports, malls, cafes, public buildings and several public spaces. (Check for the ones that say "gratis"—for free.)

The Amateur Traveler talks to Jodi Ettenberg of legalnomads.com about her trip to Chile. Jodi left the corporate world as a lawyer and started her trip around the world with a visit to Chile. She first went mountain climbing in Patagonia (both in Chile and Argentina) marveling at the glaciers and appreciating the view if not the taste of lama. She then took a 42 hour bus ride to Santiago for a wild soccer game (which is not for the faint of heart) before flying north to visit San Pedro de Atacama, Valle de la Luna. She also dipped into Bolivia to visit Salar de Uyuni, the immense salt flats. Along the way she saw the largest copper mine in the world at Calama. She dealt with bronchitis (brought from New York) and food poisoning (did I mention the lama?). She met locals including a helpful taxi driver and practiced the difficult Spanish dialect of Chile. Jodi also talks with great affection about the UNESCO World Heritage site of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar which were hit hard in the big earthquake earlier this year. Valparaiso is a colorful city of art built on the side of a hill and sloping down to the Pacific.

When someone mentions “Peru,” images of bucolic mountain pastures, ancient Incan ruins, and verdant Amazonian jungle are probably the first thing that pop into your mind. But this beautiful South American nation boasts miles and miles of gorgeous Pacific coastline, and it is also home to some amazing beaches. Let’s take a look at some of best beaches Peru has to offer.

Cabo Blanco: Arguably the most famous beach along Peru’s 2,500 kilometers of coastline, Cabo Blanco is routinely hailed as one the best surf spots in the world. When Peruvian surfer Gordo Barreda was scouting the area for great waves, he randomly paid a visit to the village, where he stumbled upon the now famous Peruvian Pipeline. A hollow, powerful left-hanging wave, it is arguably one of the best places to catch a wave on the continent’s entire Pacific coastline. Even before Barreda’s famous discovery, this fishing hamlet long enchanted visitors with its small-town charm and thriving fishing industry. In the 1950s and 1960s, fishermen routinely made the trek to Cabo Blanco in search of the area’s legendary large marlin. The famous writer Ernest Hemmingway spent several months here during the filming of the movie adaptation of his novel “The Old Man and the Sea.” During his stay, he reportedly caught a 700-pound marlin.

Cabo Blanco Peru

Mancora: Once a quaint fishing village, Mancora has exploded onto Peru’s backpacker scene as a major hub in the last decade or so. Located right in the middle of Peru’s sunniest and warmest region, you can relax on beautiful beaches during the day and then party the night away. Mancora is great for travelers on a budget, and cheap hostels abound.

Vichayito: If you want great beaches without a slew of rowdy partiers, Vichayito is an excellent option. Situated about 7 kilometers to the south of Mancora, this is an ideal spot for families. The water is ideal for swimming and kite surfing, and the beaches are clean and quiet.

Punta Hermosa: Just an hour drive from Peru’s capital, Punta Hermosa is popular with Limeños looking for a summer retreat from the city. While not as spectacular as the beaches of Paracas or Mancora, Punta Hermosa’s proximity to Lima makes it a great option for looking for a quick weekend escape from the city.

Asia: Peru’s most opulent beach, Asia is all about glitz and glamour. The upper echelons of Peruvian society have luxurious summer homes at this beach resort town, making it a hub of wealth. The beaches are great, but what really make Asia stand out are its high-end restaurants, luxury shopping center, and dazzling nightclubs.

Asia Beach {eru

Paracas: The Paracas National Reserve boasts some of Peru’s most dramatic desert landscape. Here, enormous sand dunes and dramatic sandstone rock formations meet the azure waters of the Pacific. The reserve, which consists of a total of 335,000 hectares of tropical desert on the Paracas Peninsula, is intended to preserve the area’s rich marine ecosystem as well as protect its unique cultural heritage (the site was of great significance to the Paracas, a pre-Colombian indigenous group that inhabited the area between roughly 800 BC and 1000 BC). There are no formal hotels within the reserve, though there are many sites popular with beach campers.

If you are looking for more luxurious accommodations, they can certainly also be found. Though beach destinations to the north of the country often attract the majority of tourist attention, it is Paracas where you will find the most luxurious beach vacations Peru has to offer. Just a few miles from the park’s entrance, you will find Hotel Paracas, a Luxury Collection Resort complete with 5-star accommodations, three pools, and a luxury spa.

Marcona: For those really looking to get off of Peru’s beaten tourist trail, we recommend a visit to the rugged, windswept beaches of Marcona, located roughly 8 hours south of Lima. The waters here can be quite cold year-round thanks to the Humboldt current, which brings water up from Antarctica along the Pacific coast of Chile and southern Peru. But the cold temperatures mean that waters are teeming with marine life. With any bit of luck, visitors might catch a glimpse of one of the zone’s enormous seal colonies. The beaches are known for their dramatic rock formations and rough surf, but they are a great place for those looking for options totally free of tourists.

Marcona Beach Peru

Courtesy of flickrhivemind.net

So they you have it, our pick of the best Peruvian beaches. Happy adventuring in Peru!

The post The Ultimate Guide to the Best Peruvian Beaches appeared first on IncaTrail.info.

Hear about cruising from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Valparaiso, Chile around Cape Horn in South America as the Amateur Traveler relates stories of a recent Holland America cruise on the Zaandam. 

Win a Trip to Chile

The following branded content post is brought to you by Marmot and LATAM Airlines. With a contest this good, I’m always happy to promote it to my readers!

Now that I’m based in New York after years based in Europe, I’m making a priority to explore more of Latin America. Central America in 2015, Colombia in 2016. I’m starting to eye more of South America for 2017. And of all the destinations in South America, one of my top dreams is the remote environment of Easter Island in Chile.

But you may beat me there — because Marmot is now giving away a trip for two to Chile, including Santiago, Patagonia, and Easter Island!

Not only that, they’re giving away a $1000 Marmot gift card as well!

Win a Trip to Chile

The Contest

Winners of this contest will win an 11-day trip for two to Chile, including flights on LATAM Airlines (the consolidation of LAN, its affiliates, and TAM) from one of their departure cities (Miami, Dulles, LAX or JFK), plus flights from your departure city in the 48 contiguous states if you don’t live near a gateway. LATAM is actually the only airline that flies to Easter Island.

Winners also receive a $1000 Marmot gift card that can be redeemed on Marmot.com, by phone, or in the flagship stores in Aspen, Greenwich, and San Francisco. Marmot has an excellent selection of high-quality, durable outerwear that is perfect for a trip to a rugged destination like Chile.

Kate’s Thoughts

What I love about this trip is that it gives you experiences in three very different parts of Chile: the capital of Santiago, the mountains of Patagonia, and the isolated Polynesian environment of Easter Island.

Whenever I visit a new country, I try to visit three different places if possible. I’m not a fan of just flying into a capital, spending two days there, and saying, “Well, I’ve done [country].” I like to get a well-rounded experience when I have the time to do so.

This trip is by no means a complete guide to Chile — think about the Atacama Desert, the Lake District, Valparaíso, and all the great wine regions. Chile really has so much diversity as a destination! But it’s about as good of a first-timer trip as you can imagine.

Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Welcome to Santiago! Get settled in at your hotel before embarking on a half day tour where you’ll get to know this charming city, famous for its mix of beautiful colonial architecture, bohemian flare and modern skyscrapers. Enjoy an evening on your own exploring the hotspots in neighborhoods like Lastarria or Bellavista.

Day 2: Today you’ll find yourself arriving in Polynesia…yes, you heard right! Easter Island makes up the southernmost island of the Polynesian Triangle and you’ll have the chance to enjoy everything that this remote destination has to offer.

Day 3: Spend your day exploring the best of Rapa Nui’s archaeological sites like the famous standing heads of Ahu Tongariki.

Day 4: Hike your way up the Rano Kau volcano or spend a day basking in the sun at Anakena Beach.

Day 5: Pack your bags and head back to the mainland. Upon arrival in Santiago head to get a taste of one of the world’s most renowned wine regions.

Day 6: Enjoy wine touring and all of the stunning scenery that comes with it.

Day 7: Today you’ll head south to the heart of Chilean Patagonia. Torres del Paine National Park is home to some of the world’s greatest nature and will be your personal playground for four magical days.

Day 8: Go horseback riding around your lodge or head toward Gray Glacier; adventurous types can approach it via sea kayak!

Day 9: Save your energy for the grueling yet magnificent hike to the Las Torres basin. This full day trek will have you sweating but marveling all the while at one of South America’s most iconic peaks.

Day 10: Time to say adios to Chile and its natural splendor. Fly back to Santiago for your departing flight home. Hasta la proxima!

Win a Trip to Chile

How to Enter

Enter here. It’s easy! Just hit the enter button and sign up with your name, email address, and departure city.

This contest is open to legal U.S. residents age 18 and up. See the full terms and conditions here.

The contest ends on December 16, 2016, at 11:59 PM EST. The trip must be taken in 2017.

Win a Trip for Two to Chile!

Good luck!

Please let me know if you win — it makes me so happy when my readers win contests!

Does Chile sound like your kind of trip?

Kate in Passau

And just like that, 2016 is over. It couldn’t have come soon enough. I didn’t buy into the “Fuck 2016” memes until the election in November, and then I was fully on board. Talk about an awful year.

Now that it’s 2017, even though it’s just an arbitrary difference, I feel like a lot of people will be able to let go of anger and begin welcoming more positivity into their lives. I feel inspired to get a lot of work done this year.

I already recapped a lot of this month in my best of the year posts, so let’s push on through and talk about what made this month special.

New York from the Reservoir

Destinations Visited

New York, New York

Munich, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Regensburg, and Passau, Germany

Reading and Lynn, Massachusetts

Favorite Destinations

Regensburg really jived with me — its small size, its pastel colors, its many espresso bars.

Nuremberg is fun and has the best Christmas market ever.

Kate at Bamberg

Highlights

The big travel highlight was my Christmas market trip to Bavaria. Uncharacteristically, I wrote the post before the month’s end, so you can check it out here: Christmas in Bavaria.

That was a nice trip. An easy trip. A chilled out trip. A trip that I planned and got to enjoy on my own terms, which is exactly what I needed at the time. A trip where most of the itinerary involved aimless wandering, taking trains, and drinking various warm beverages.

I also got to see lots of blogger friends, spent time with a reader in Passau, and met up with a friend I met in Colombia in Munich!

Spending Christmas at home. I still feel crazy guilty for missing Christmases in 2010, 2012 and 2013, so it’s always good to go home and spend time with my family, drink a lot of port with my dad, and do a lot of cooking with my mom.

I also sent my first Christmas cards ever! This is one of the things I looked forward to most when getting a place of my own! I definitely wanted to send a funny card that wasn’t the usual sad-single-girl-drinking-and-eating-her-sorrows-away-at-Christmas variety. So I chose to do something different…

Kate and the Rock Christmas Card

Spending New Year’s in Harlem. I haven’t done much on New Year’s over the past few years, mostly due to memories of walking through deep snow in high heels in downtown Boston to spend $75 on a cover charge (but hey, free glass of champagne!), but I wanted to go out this year. The best thing? Two bars in my neighborhood were having a New Year’s pajama party. My sister and I went and it was so nice to be comfy while drinking spiked Capri Sun packets!

Two great New York activities. I had a great time gallivanting around New York this month, but two activities stand out: first, my friend Oneika and I went to a holiday showcase of Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater in Harlem. They were all 21 and under — and we were both blown away at how good some of the singers and musicians were! Such a cool event, and it was nice to see so many families with kids in the audience.

The other was when my friends Amy and Anubha came into town. On a whim, we decided to go to Death and Co., a popular cocktail bar in the East Village. Well, we picked the right night — it was their 10-year anniversary and all their expensive cocktails were just $5! So much fun.

Sarah and Kate at the Wallace

This month I got my hair re-keratined and left it in a long time. I left the keratin in about 88 hours before washing it (48 isn’t enough and I aim for 72) and as a result, my hair has never been this straight this long! I don’t have to do a thing — I just let it dry and it’s perfect.

Also, you really don’t realize how bad your hair looked until you get it done and it looks normal again! I look like a hobo in that top pic!

And I joined a gym! Finally. I joined Equinox, one of the nicer gym chains in New York, because I will only work out if I have somewhere fancy and nice where I enjoy going. And Equinox has tons of cool classes and Kiehl’s products in the bathrooms and it is the cleanest gym I’ve ever seen. (PS — are you interested in joining an Equinox? Give them my name, Kate McCulley, and you can get a free weeklong trial.)

Kate with Lebkuchen

Challenges

The biggest challenge was one that I’ve mentioned previously: I fell and hit my head in Germany and ended up with a concussion. It was the stupidest thing ever (I wanted to make a funny video for Snapchat, fell backwards, and greatly missed my target when I hit my head on the corner of the bed frame).

I felt okay at the time, but I suddenly started feeling nauseated and dizzy with a headache about 20 hours later. I then started wondering whether I should see a doctor and get a CT scan.

I want to reiterate to you all: please see a doctor if you have a head injury. You can die from a seemingly innocuous head injury — sadly, Natasha Richardson died after hitting her head while skiing, and thinking of her is what got me to go to the hospital.

I went to the ER in Munich and it was a relatively quick and easy experience, though it cost me 300 EUR ($316) for not being an EU resident and having EU health insurance. That money will be refunded to me through my World Nomads travel insurance — yet another reason why to use travel insurance! The good news is that there were no abnormalities on my scan, though I definitely had a concussion.

The doctors cleared me to fly home the next day, but that flight ranks among the worst I’ve ever taken. There’s nothing like having a pounding headache and being unable to focus on your Kindle or the screen in front of you and even though you turned up your headphones, your plane is full of American college students returning from a semester abroad and discussing everything they did in Great. Loud. Slow. Detail. (Yes, I realize this is karma for how annoying I was during my own semester abroad.)

Also, someone burst into my hotel room in Nuremberg. The front desk gave a man a key to my room by mistake. It was scary to have a stranger burst in after midnight when you’re hanging out in your underwear. Lesson learn — always double-lock your door or use a doorstop, even in the hotels in the developed world that seem nice.

Parmigiano Reggiano at Eataly

Most Popular Post

My Worst Travel Moments of 2016 — everyone always loves this annual post!

Other Posts

My Best Travel Moments of 2016 — all my favorite memories.

My Favorite New Destinations of 2016 — did your favorites make the cut?

My Favorite Reads of 2016 — the top 12 books from a year of hardcore reading.

Christmas in Bavaria in 25 Photos — an overview of my Christmas market trip before I write a big guide later this year.

Win a Trip to Chile (including Easter Island!) — one of the better contests I’ve featured lately. Contest now closed.

Nuremberg at night

Most Popular Instagram Photo

Far and away, this photo of Nuremberg at night was my most popular shot. But the professional shot I edited in Lightroom afterward came out even better.

For real-time coverage of my travels, follow me at @adventurouskate on Instagram and Snapchat. I’m getting close to 100k on Instagram!

At the Wallace

What I Read This Month

I took a break from reading to recover from my concussion this month, so I didn’t read as much as usual.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith — I named this book one of my favorite reads of 2016 in my earlier post. Two girls grow up in a rough neighborhood in northwest London. Both are poor. Both are biracial. Both love and live to dance — but only one of them has the talent. The book follows their intersecting lives and the twists and turns of their friendship over decades. If you enjoyed Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, you need to read this book next.

The book asks a lot of questions at the end. Just how much are we a product of our upbringing? What do we owe to the people who raised us? If we hide a key aspect of our personality, is it going to come out at some point? I loved this book and can’t wait to dive into Zadie Smith’s other works.

I also tried to read Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Russell Hochschild, but honestly, I couldn’t get past 25%. The book was a lot harder to get into than I expected, and it was so frustrating to see Louisianans vote against their own interests again and again. People in coastal communities destroyed by environmental disasters caused by lack of environmental regulation, where everyone was getting cancer and you could no longer eat the fish because they would kill you, would say, “No, the real problem is environmental regulation.”

I get that it’s an important book; perhaps I’ll finish it when I cool down a bit.

I also read two self-help books this month.

What I Listened To This Month

CHANCE THE MOTHERFUCKING RAPPER! I’ve been hearing great things about Chance the Rapper’s new album Coloring Book for months, but it took me this long to actually give it a listen. And I fell in love with it immediately.

This isn’t an ordinary hip-hop album. It’s a gospel hip-hop album — far less audacious than Kanye West’s attempt with The Life of Pablo and with far better, down-to-Earth results. This album is the warmest, happiest, most inspirational hip-hop album I’ve heard in quite some time. And I think it might be a good “gateway album” for people who claim to hate rap.

I adore this album. It’s my favorite album of the year. And the song above, “Finish Line/Drown,” is the perfect introduction.

New York View from the Gansevoort

Coming Up in January 2017

I’ve got a grand total of zero travel plans for this month, and I’m happy about it. Even as dark and dreary as January is, I don’t mind staying put in New York. September through December were very busy travel months for me (especially when you include three home visits) and January will be a good time to catch my breath and get work done.

I will be speaking at the New York Times Travel Show on Friday, January 27, at 10:15 AM. The info is here. This is a Friday morning, and as such it’s more a talk for the travel industry, but if you happen to not be working and want to come by, I’d love to see you. I’ll be floating around the travel show on the other days as well. You can get a $5 discount off industry tickets and $3 discount off consumer tickets with the code SPEAK007.

What are your plans for January? Share away!

There are two attractions that are pretty much non-negotiable must-sees for more travelers to Rio — the Cristo Redentor statue, also known as the Christ Redeemer statue, and Pão de Açúcar, also known as Sugarloaf Mountain. Heather and I were no exceptions, and planned to make both a priority during our one week in Rio de Janeiro.

However, we chose to check off each in what I considered especially spectacular fashion.

Downtown Rio de Janiero

Early Access Tour to Christ Redeemer Statue

As a professional photographer and a professional blogger, it pretty much goes without saying that photos are a top priority for Heather and I when we travel (but I went ahead and said it anyway, just in case.) Which is why, despite being very distinctly not morning people — at least not setting-the-alarm-for-before-sunrise-morning-people — we enthusiastically signed on for a Viator Exclusive: Early Access to Christ Redeemer Statue Tour. Photos of Rio’s top attraction without hundreds of our fellow tourists loitering in the background? I could get up early for that.

And so on our first morning in Rio de Janeiro, we sprung out of bed, grabbed our cameras, and set off to meet Jesus — and maybe let him take the wheel (please tell me I have at least one country music fan in this crowd).

Cristo Redentor Rio de JanieroPhoto by Heather Holt

Early Access Tour to Christ Redeemer Statue

Cristo Redentor Tour Rio

We were mildly irritated by the three different phone calls back and forth that were required to confirm our tour, but at this point we had grown at least mildly accustomed to the daily miscommunications that were a fact of traveling in Brazil for us. We were also a little bummed that our hostel in Botafogo wasn’t within the pickup zone, which required us to travel in the opposite direction of our final destination in order to reach the designated meeting point for those not on the pickup list, but we just rolled with it.

At 7am, we were scooped up from the meeting point in Copacabana and on our way. Our tour guide Solomon switched seamlessly between English, Portuguese and Spanish for the mini-bus full of travelers from around the Americas, and we settled in for the ride up to Corcovado Mountain.

Cristo Redentor Tour Rio

Early Access Tour to Christ Redeemer Statue

We reached the ticket gate about ten minutes before the attraction’s opening time, and remarked on the chill at 2,300 feet above sea level — bring a cardigan, friends! As soon as the clock struck 8:00am, we were on the very first official park shuttles from Paineiras (private vehicles cannot go past this point).

When we reached the top, we had the choice of climbing the 220 steps to the top or hoping on the elevator. Heather and I were not shy about practically sprinting onto the elevator in our attempt to be first to the top — and it worked! We probably had a good three or four minutes before the rest of our group appeared, and then another five or six more before another bus-full showed up. It might not sound like much, but if you’re shutter-ready, you can get drool-worthy travel shots in a matter of seconds. When it comes to having one of the world’s top attractions to yourself, every minute matters! We were pretty lucky that things stayed low key the entire hour or so we were onsite.

Early Access Tour to Christ Redeemer StatuePhoto by Heather Holt

Early Access Tour to Christ Redeemer Statue

Early Access Tour to Christ Redeemer StatuePhoto by Heather Holt

When we were finally able to momentarily chill and cede our perfect shot spot for others the snap away at, Solomon filled us in on the history of the iconic statue. Constructed in 1931 from concrete and sandstone and named one of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, the statue was bigger in our minds than it was in reality — we both remarked we though it would be bigger! Apparently, we don’t have a concept of what 130 feet tall with a 98 foot arm span really translates to.

Cristo Redentor Tour Rio

Cristo Redentor Tour RioGoPro fail // Photos by Heather Holt

The morning, like many in Rio, was foggy, giving the city below us an other-worldly feel — but making it somewhat tricky to photograph. Still, the morning light was perfect for photographing the statue, as well as taking portraits in front of it. And of course that was that whole “escaping the crowds” thing going on too — which was made even more successful by the fact that we came on a weekday.

If you still want to beat the crowds and the heat but your priority is taking photos of the view, you might prefer to come in the late afternoon.

Early Access Tour to Christ Redeemer Statue

Early Access Tour to Christ Redeemer StatuePhoto by Heather Holt

Cristo Redentor Tour RioAbout as crowded as it got // Photo by Heather Holt

When Solomon finally summoned us we’d had plenty of time to snap statue selfies, soak up the view and enjoy the morning air. We opted to take the steps back down to basecamp, and after getting the okay from our guide, grabbed a morning tea and snack from the overpriced onsite cafe… which we immediately had to frantically chug/inhale because we were told we couldn’t bring them on the shuttle with us. Ha! Cue us asking Solomon why he encouraged us to get hot beverages when we knew we couldn’t bring them onboard and we had to leave urgently that moment, and filing it away in our “We Literally Never Knew What Was Going On Ever in Brazil” folder.

Would I recommend this tour? I’m going to skip yes and just go straight ahead to DUH. Despite some of the logistical hassles, we were just giddy with happiness at at the swoon-worthy photos and exclusive experience we walked away with. I often find myself seized with stress at big crowded tourist attractions, and it was so dang nice to just saunter around the place like had rented the place out for a small private party of ourselves and a dozen friends.

One thing to keep in mind is you will not be taking that cute little cog train up the mountain. We didn’t read the tour description very well and were a little disappointed, so just be aware of the trade-off when booking. A minibus might be little less glamorous than a train car (and a lot more motion sickness inducing, so prepare for that if needed) but in my opinion the compromise is well worth it.

Cristo Redentor Tour Rio

Early Access Tour to Christ Redeemer Statue

Back at the base of the mountain, it was time to go our separate ways. The tour actually offers an optional upgrade in which you can visit Sugarloaf on the same day, which is awesome for those with limited time, though because we had a whole week we decided to save that for another outing.

Plus, we had big plans for the rest of the day. We decided to forgo our ride back to south Rio and instead take advantage of being up in the north to do a little DIY walking tour of Lapa and Centro using my trusty guidebook to lead the way.

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

Next stop? Escadaria Selarón! This expansive piece of open-air, public installation art is the brainchild of Chilean-born Jorge Selarón. Began in 1990, the steps lie between the bohemian neighborhoods of Lapa and Santa Teresa, and are a popular draw for art-lovers from around the world.

Wandering the steps, I was reminded me of similar mosaic installation projects I’ve seen in Philadelphia and in Utila — each the inspiring work of one dedicated artist. This 215 steps that make up this constantly evolving work of art are covered in tiles from over sixty countries, many of them gifts once Selarón’s project became widely known — in the early days, he scavenged tiles from trash and construction sites and sold paintings to fund the work. Selarón once claimed that “this crazy and unique dream will only end on the day of my death,” a quote that felt omniscient in retrospect when he was found dead under mysterious circumstances at the top of the stairs.

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

While many arrive, take a quick glance around, snap a few photos and then leave, Heather and I spent ages on the steps. We moved slowly, admiring the various tiles and excitedly pointing out to each other the ones from destinations we ourselves had visited. We also did some wonderful people watching — the homes along the stairs are still very much occupied, and it was fun to imagine what it must be like to walk along art every day to make it to your front door.

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

If you want people-free photos on the steps, you’ll have to follow one of my favorite photography tips: be patient. Still on a roll from our successful morning at Cristo Redentor, we were relentlessly persistent while waiting for those brief moments when the steps cleared so we could frame the shots we envisioned. As you can see from Heather’s behind-the-scenes shot below right, it was no easy feat.

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

But the portraits we took of each other in front of the most famous section of the stairs were well worth the wait.

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, RioPhoto by Heather Holt

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, RioPhoto by Heather Holt

One of the things I love about traveling with Heather is seeing how different the world looks through her lens! One thing this chick excels at is portrait photography. Generally, I am far too shy and too nervous to take portraits when I travel, but Heather comes from a journalist background and really makes magic happen when she points her camera at someone. How beautiful are these portraits of the people of Selarón steps?

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

Escadaria Selarón, Lapa, Rio

People of Rio de Janiero

People of Rio de Janiero

After spending so long at the steps we basically became honorary locals, it was time to wander on. We meandered over to the nearby Arcos da Lapa, an aqueduct dating back to the 1700s. A local landmark, the aqueduct was architecturally impressive, but we didn’t linger long in the nearly abandoned square. Both of our guards were up and we later agreed that this square was one of the few places in Brazil that we felt uneasy.

Downtown Rio Walking Tour

Downtown Rio Walking Tour

Downtown Rio Walking Tour

Luckily it was a relatively short walk to our next stop, Catedral Metropolitana Church. Our guidebook had a long list of Rio churches to explore, but this one stood out to us as the one must-see. Built in 1976 after over a decade of construction, the cathedral is a textbook example of ultra modern, brutalist architecture. Though we both felt there was a very strong spaceship inspiration going on, we later read the true muse for the cathedral was the Mayan pyramids.

Downtown Rio Walking Tour

Downtown Rio Walking Tour

Downtown Rio Walking Tour

Downtown Rio Walking Tour

Next up, we made our way to the Theatro Municipal, a stunning theater built in 1905 to mimic the Paris Opera. Though we skipped the guided tours of the ornate interior, we loved admiring the building from the outside, which truly did feel like a piece of France plopped down in the middle of a South American street.

Downtown Rio Walking Tour

After wandering by a few more museums, churches, and busy downtown streets, we could wait no longer for lunch. We decided to dine at one of Brazil’s famous per kilo buffets, settling on The Line. Bursting with color and set along a busy, narrow alley, we exercised literally zero self control at the buffet and piled our plates as high as can be before nabbing ourselves two outside seats. For both our heaping plates and drinks below, we paid just 40BRL, or about $11 — not a bad deal in pricey Brazil.

The Line Lunch Buffet Downtown Rio de Janiero

The Line Lunch Buffet Downtown Rio de Janiero

Most tourists head to the Christ the Redeemer statue, but few stick around the explore Lapa and Centro during the day. I can’t recommend more highly to start your day with Viator Exclusive: Early Access Tour, and then take advantage of your location and strategically spend a few hours exploring Rio’s under appreciated downtown.

It was the perfect day. We experienced a very, very different side of Rio than what we saw in the southern zone — and both left so glad we set aside time to explore here. And with a dash of patience and the help of the perfect tour, we captured it beautifully in priceless photos.

What’s your secret for getting crowd-free travel photos?

3-devide-lines

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Photo: Unsplash

There’s a big drive to make cities more bicycle-friendly, both for residents and visitors. Many cities in South America now have bike-share schemes, some for free, that make it easy to hop between sights and neighbourhoods. Here’s a selection of cities in South America who are driving this concept forward and supporting locals to leave the car and get moving.

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

Bogotá, Colombia

 CicloviaBogotá, ColombiaBicycles have been really important to Bogota’s transportation, in fact 4 out of 10 Bogotanos use them for their commute. There are a lot of cycle routes that go from anywhere to everywhere and on Sundays, between 7am and 2pm, some of the major avenues are closed for cars and get full of bicycles, skates and people running on a very traditional family Sunday plan.

With its Bicicorredores program, Bogotá has one of the highest amount of reported bicycle trips per day (611,472) in South America.

México City

 Paseo dominical en biciCiudad de México, MexicoEvery Sunday from 8am to 2pm, Paseo de la Reforma avenue closes its car transit so hundreds of persons can stroll around on their bicycles, roller skates, skateboards or simply by foot.

Ecobici has the largest fleet of bicycles in the continent with over 4,000. México City is also the fourth ranked city in the world for bicycle use.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

 Bosques De PalermoBuenos Aires, ArgentinaRoses in full bloom at Palermo Park in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 🇦🇷🌹

EcoBici have free automatic stations, 24 hours service and bike trails that run several neighbourhoods.

Montevideo, Uruguay

 Tablado Rural Del PradoMontevideo, UruguayIf you’re in Montevideo during the week leading up to Easter you have to make a stop here to check out the massive Gaucho fest. Every year since 1871 the Gaucho traditions and lifestyle are put on full display. Rodeos, food, crafts and of course, mate. Lots and lots of mate. #montevideo

Santiago, Chile

 Plaza de ArmasSantiago, ChileThe center of Chile’s capital, Plaza de Armas and its famous Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago are an impressive example of Chilean architecture and vibrancy. #culture #architecture #travelstoke

Santiago is a very bike friendly city. It has many rental spots and bike paths around the centre. More than 510,569 daily trips are made by bicycle.

Rio de Janeiro

 Pedra BonitaRio de Janeiro, BrazilThe way from Pedra Bonita hike at night. It is better to take a taxi, though;)

Sao Paulo

 Beco do BatmanSão Paulo, BrazilAn outdoor gallery in a cool neighborhood where there are many bars and restaurants. Graffiti is a big thing in SP and this is a great thing to check it out. #graffiti #brazil #streetart #free

Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo have the highest number of bicycle lanes in South America.

Rosario, Argentina

 CENTRO CULTURAL PARQUE DE ESPAÑARosario, ArgentinaFrom Rosario to the whole world 😀😎 A small city but with a special charming 😘 #rosario #travelstoke

Rosario is ideal to discover on two wheels. If you’re visiting check out the rental company Mi Bici Tu Bic.

space-travel

Art by Jaideep Khemani.

The future of travel is here

In 2018, two space tourists will make a loop around the moon. SpaceX, the private rocket company owned by billionaire and mad scientist Elon Musk, has announced that it is going to send two tourists on a loop around the moon in 2018. Unfortunately for us, those two people have already been chosen, and are going to be paying big money. The exact amount has not been disclosed, but it’s safe to assume it’ll be in the tens of millions at least. This would be the farthest any human has traveled from earth in over 40 years, back when Apollo 13 used the moon’s gravity to slingshot itself back towards earth. [Time]

Also in futuristic travel science: Airlines are using science to make plane food better. You know how every comedian has a joke about bad airline food? Turns out, that’s not because of a lack of culinary expertise in the skies. It’s because the low air pressure, the noise, and the dry air can mess with your taste buds and your dining experience. Now, airlines are trying to use science to make plane food taste better. They know, for instance, that grapes grown at higher altitudes (like in Chile) make for better wine in the air. So they’re going to push more Chilean wine in-flight. They also know that our sensitivity to sweet or salty foods decrease in flight, while our ability to taste umami foods increases — so they’re offering more umami foods. One brewery based out of Denmark is even brewing beer specifically for airlines. Scientists may just make airline food jokes a thing of the past. [New York Times]

This week in “people being awesome.”

Leftovers from Oscars after-parties fed over 800 people in LA. The Oscars are known for their extravagance. The after-parties are known to be exquisitely catered, but all of those beautiful people don’t really eat all the food that’s put in front of them. So actress Freida Pinto (most famous for Slumdog Millionaire) teamed up with local charities to make sure that food didn’t just end up in the trash. The charities made sure that the leftovers ended up in local food banks, and in the end, 800 people were fed with what was left behind. [Global Citizen]

So excited to be kicking off Oscar weekend with this fantastic initiative. This year #Copia and I team up with some of Oscar weekends biggest parties to recover excess food and deliver it to communities most in need in Los Angeles. #zerowaste #zerohunger Because this food is too good to be wasted. Thank you Women in Film for your incredible support 📷@hellomikeamico

A post shared by Freida Pinto (@freidapinto) on Feb 24, 2017 at 11:45pm PST

A Michigan Muslim woman is running the Boston Marathon to raise money for refugees. Rahaf Khatib is from Damascus, Syria, originally, but has lived in Michigan since the 1980’s. She’s also a pretty serious marathon runner — she’s done 6 in the past two years. This year, she decided to run the Boston Marathon in order to raise money for Syrian Refugees. She’s already raised nearly 10,000 of her 12,000 goal with 46 days left. You can help close that gap here. [MuslimGirl.com]

Muslims are stepping up to fight anti-Semitic vandalism across the country. Over the past few weeks, 2 Jewish Cemeteries have been vandalized in St. Louis and in Philadelphia. The vandalism has been received with near-unanimous horror across the country, but a silver-lining story has come out of both attacks: Muslims are leading the way in fighting the vandalism. In both cities, local Muslim cultural centers have stood up in solidarity with their Jewish neighbors, and have raised crazy amounts of money to repair the damages headstones in the cemeteries. It hasn’t been just Muslims, either: police, politicians, and labor unions have all chipped in as well. As horrifying as the vandalism has been, it’s been heartening to see the rest of the country rise up in rejection of the anti-Semitism. [CNN]

ONCE ECLIPSED by California’s gastronomic glamor and the bright lights of Vegas’s celebrity chefs, Arizona is coming into its own as a culinary hotspot. Tucson was named America’s first UNESCO World City of Gastronomy in 2016. Several months later, Taco Guild in Phoenix nabbed one of the top five spots for best Mexican grub in the country on Travel Channel’s Food Paradise.

All of this national attention has made the 48th State a killer home for cutting-edge cuisine. Here are a dozen Arizona chefs and restaurants that are red-, white-, and blue-hot right now.

THE CHEFS

Chef Michael Powell of Simplicit (Tucson)

Chef Mike Powell

Photo: The Cable Show

Don’t let the laid-back attitude fool you — Tucson chef Michael Powell started serving patrons at Simplicit less than a week after completing the paperwork to start his new restaurant at Tucson’s Temple of Music and Art. That’s record timing for UNESCO’s first American City of Gastronomy (and even faster than ex-Google employee Hetal Shah could whip up a surprise Indian eatery, August 1 Five, in San Francisco). An Arizona native, Powell’s intimate Mediterranean cuisine is largely inspired by his Cyprus-born grandfather’s home cooking.

Chef Nobuo Fukuda of Nobuo at Teeter House (Phoenix)

How many chefs get their own movie? Granted, it’s a small documentary film, but James Beard award-winning chef Nobuo Fukuda made headlines when culinary cinematographer Andrew Gooi (Food Talkies) released a 46-minute flick about the chef in January 2017.

It’s been over a decade since Fukuda first gained national attention; he was recognized by Esquire’s John Mariani and Food & Wine some 15 years ago, and he took home that James Beard Award in 2007. Today, Fukuda can be found slicing and dicing in his circa-1899 cottage-turned-izakaya (a bar serving small dishes and snacks), Nobuo at Teeter House.

Chef Scott Conant of Mora (Phoenix)

Chef Scott Conant

Photo: Eric McGregor

Arizona foodies started salivating the second that celebrity chef, Food Network star, and noted onion-hater Scott Conant relocated to Metro Phoenix in 2016. Known for his handcrafted pastas and his work judging quick-fire cooking competitors on Chopped, Conant is also a CIA graduate — that’s Culinary Institute of America, not Central Intelligence Agency — and winner of the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in 2003.

In January 2017, he opened a new Italian concept, Mora, with longtime Phoenix restaurateur Stefano Fabbri. The menu is still in flux, but one thing is likely — you won’t find any raw red onions here.

Chef Stephen Jones (Phoenix)

Chef Stephen Jones didn’t follow his childhood dreams of being a star on the football field. That’s great news for the rest of us, who can now be ever-grateful that he chose the kitchen instead.

The 30-something culinary wunderkind made a name for himself locally at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails before opening a trio of eateries inside the eclectic Desoto Central Market in downtown Phoenix. His Cheetos-dusted fried pig ears left a trail of sticky orange finger breadcrumbs straight to our collective foodie hearts, and his $30,000 grand-finale win against Robert Irvine on Guy’s Grocery Games solidified his standing in the culinary community.

Don Guerra of Barrio Bread (Tucson)

Don Guerra

Photo courtesy of Barrio Bread

Phoenix native Don Guerra is more than just a baker. Part cook, part artist, and part food-scientist, he uses slow fermentation processes and locally sourced grains to craft fresh-baked breads in the tradition of his mother and grandmother at Tucson’s Barrio Bread.

Prior to starting in the food biz, Guerra was an anthropology student at University of Arizona and later taught elementary school in Tucson. Now, he teaches Arizonans how to work with heritage grains like ancient Khorasan wheat, and how to appreciate the art that is real bread.

THE RESTAURANTS

Shift (Flagstaff)

Denver transplants Joe and Dara Rodger are major overachievers. After a stint at the renowned Tinderbox Kitchen in Flagstaff, the husband-and-wife team shifted Flag’s culinary scene with the addition of an upscale — yet unpretentious — restaurant that goes beyond seasonal menus and open kitchens. Shift’s exposition kitchen sports a dining counter that puts guests up close and personal with the chefs, and the rotating menu of progressively larger dishes incorporates local ingredients like butterscotch bread pudding and spring vegetables with fazzoletti pasta.

Mariposa (Sedona)

Mariposa Sedona Arizona

Photo: Lauren Topor

Named one of Zagat’s Five Hottest Restaurants in Sedona, Mariposa is the brainchild of restaurateur and world traveler Lisa Dahl (Dahl & DiLuca). Her travels through Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay influenced the cuisine, with tapas plates like Ecuadorian shrimp ceviche and chorizo-spiked mussels leading the global menu. The floor-to-ceiling windows exposing Sedona’s red rock buttes alone make Mariposa worth a visit, though the butter-slathered filet and minty salmon might also inspire a few returning customers, too.

Modern Round (Peoria)

If you thought the Greek tradition of breaking plates during a meal was odd, brace yourself. The idea of getting loaded at dinner takes on a double meaning at Modern Round, a new restaurant opened by a former Smith & Wesson executive. Diners can fire off replica AR-15s at VR zombies, animals, and other targets while downing Arizona-grown Angus Beef and fried-dill-pickle chips. And, yes, you can go back and read that sentence again.

Arizonans are such fierce innovation-lovers that the city of Peoria actually paid Modern Round over half a million dollars to settle here. Not hard to see why…even those who don’t identify as gun nuts can’t help but be intrigued.

Fat Ox (Scottsdale)

Fat Ox Scottsdale Arizona

Photo: Lauren Topor

On the surface, Fat Ox comes off shiny and almost a little too done up. But under the glitz and glam, this new Italian joint has two extraordinary cooks — co-founder Matt Carter of Zinc Bistro and chef de cuisine Rochelle Daniel, formerly of L’Auberge de Sedona — slaving over pots of boiling water. Housemade pasta dough is rolled in small batches for an exclusive feel, and the shapes are quirky (seriously, who this side of Sicily has heard of casoncelli?). More than just noodles, Fat Ox also satisfies label-obsessed omnivores with high-end meats including a $110 dry-aged porterhouse, Jidori chicken, and Duroc pork.

Merkin Vineyards Tasting Room and Osteria (Cottonwood)

Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan nailed it when he opened a tasting room for his moderately priced Merkin Vineyards wines. Unlike his fancier Caduceus Cellars stop-off in Jerome, this vino joint serves homey pasta dishes and garden greens to help soak up those sulfites. To seal the deal, Keenan rocks it local with Arizona grapes, Top Knot Farms poultry and beef, and produce from his Verde Valley orchard.

Barrio Café Gran Reserva (Phoenix)

Silvana Salcido Barrio Cafe

Photo courtesy of Barrio Cafe

Tucked along a tree-lined section of Grand Avenue in downtown Phoenix, this new outpost of Silvana Salcido Esparza’s Barrio Café allows the James Beard nominee to showcase her talents with ever-evolving dishes and a menú de degustación (think “chef’s choice”). Signature dishes like Esparza’s tasty cochinita pibil — pork marinated with tangy achiote — make an appearance, but it’s the historic pie factory digs, intimate dining room, and special tasting menu that make dining here feel like you’re spending a night in Esparza’s private cocina.

Contigo Latin Kitchen (Tucson)

Enrique Iglesias isn’t the only one who wants to live Contigo. After an unexpected closure, this longtime Tucson favorite reopened at the Westin La Paloma resort last year with a fresh new menu of heirloom Spanish dishes. Look for chimichurri-marinated lamb, chorizo-stuffed dates, and flavorful tapas, washed down with a glass of sangria. Enough said.

 

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Photo: huweijie07170

Experienced independent travelers have the entire world as their playground, feeling completely at ease with visiting new destinations and meeting new folk. These are the people who can walk into a bar alone and by last orders, have a new crew of friends. This kind of character is on the rare side and if you are new to solo travel or have any degree of anxiety about it, you are not alone. We’ve pulled together a few destinations that are perfect for your first trip, along with some handy tips.

Editor’s note: These spots are all taken directly from travelstoke®, a new app from Matador that connects you with fellow travelers and locals, and helps you build trip itineraries with spots that integrate seamlessly into Google Maps and Uber. Download the app to add any of the spots below directly to your future trips.

1. Lombok and the Gili Islands, Indonesia

 Villa Atas, Selong BelanakPejanggik, IndonesiaGreat and affordable Villa in southern Lombok on Selong Belanak beach. Great Place that sleeps 6 comfortably or more if you want to squeeze. Fantastic staff, and just a short walk from the beautiful beach. Great for a long weekend getaway from Jakarta. Just 25 minutes from airport. As easy to get to as Anywhere in Bali. Small beach break decent for newbie surfers. More info villaataslombok.com

Lombok is popular with independent travelers, especially those who want to surf, snorkel or dive. Gili Trawangan, Gili T, as it is called for short, has no motorized vehicles operating on it; you get around by bike, horse, carriage, or by foot. You can walk the entire island in about two hours.

 Mount RinjaniSembalun Lawang, IndonesiaThis is by far the most difficult thing I have ever done. It’s a 3 day trek, and you reach summit (3726 m) early morning on the 2nd day. The views of the crater lake and active volcano are absolutely incredible and truly take your breath way. The sunsets and sunrises are incredible. But be careful, this mountain is not well maintained and there is no such thing as a trail. #extreme #hiking #camping

Solo travel tip: Reach out to friends and acquaintances.

A simple “Do I know anyone in _____?” on Facebook can yield unexpected results. This method can find friends (and often couches) in otherwise totally anonymous destinations.

2. Jordan

 Ajloun CastleAjloun, JordanReally cool castle overlooking the city and some beatiful rolling hills.

You’ll find it impossible to go anywhere in Jordan without experiencing some of its famous hospitality. The huge Nabatean and Roman archaeological site of Petra really does live up to the hype, and will appeal to people who love rugged, natural beauty and hiking, as well as to history buffs. Lawrence of Arabia described the mountains and orange/pink sands of Wadi Rum as “vast, echoing and God-like”; Jerash is one of the best-preserved Roman cities in the world, and the Dead Sea one of the strangest natural wonders.

 Amman CitadelAmman, JordanAmazing city views up here! Loved hearing the call to prayer while the sun went down. #myjordanjourney

Solo travel tip: Cook.

Your experience of travel will be altered hugely when you start to prepare a lot of your own meals. Not all, of course, since tasting local cuisines is hands down the best part of traveling, but many. Wandering local markets, you can improve language skills, feel rooted in your home-of-the-moment, and saved serious money. Choosing an Airbnb with a kitchen facilitates this, as does staying with friends.

3. Edinburgh, Scotland

 The Royal MileEdinburgh, United KingdomMain city center street in Edinburgh full of pubs, cafes, small shops, etc. Beautiful, historic buildings line the street as it leads up to Edinburgh Castle. Do not miss! #free #history #walking #architecture #citycenter

Edinburgh, the capital city of Scotland, has the reputation of being — not only one of the most beautiful cities in the world — but one of the friendliest. Personally, I’d recommend skipping air bnb, in this instance, and booking a hostel. Edinburgh, “The Burgh”, as locals call it, is a great place to meet people from all over the world. Book a hostel, join a pub crawl and make a heap load of new pals.

 Arthur’s SeatEdinburgh, United KingdomGreat views of Edinburgh from the top of Arthurs Seat. A pretty easy well groomed path up that maybe takes around an hour to get up. #views #hiking

Solo travel tip: Mine for connections.

Social media is a multifaceted beast, but it really comes in handy for certain kinds of travel. Ask Facebook friends, “Does anyone have any connections in ___?”. The more you travel, the more your network grows — exponentially, it would seem. Apps like travelstoke allow you to connect with locals willing to share info or even host travelers a la couchsurfing.

4. Guatemala

 arco de santa catalinaAntigua Guatemala, GuatemalaTwo antigueñas in #ArcodeSantaCatalina #Antigua

If you’re looking for the best places to travel alone in Central and South America, don’t overlook Guatemala and its ancient Maya ruins. It’s an inexpensive place to travel, which means you could stay for a while to learn Spanish or even volunteer.

 Pacaya volcanoEscuintla, GuatemalaWhy hiking the Pacaya Volcano is one of the ultimate hikes in the world! This active volcano 20 minutes outside of Guatemala city can be hiked round trip in 3-4 hours depending on if you take a jeep up the first half of the hike. Once you reach the petrified lava flow at the base of the volcano, you will surprisingly come across the tiny “Lava Store” where artisans Fernando and David make jewelry out of petrified lava and coconut shells. This world famous store is dangerously perched at the base of Pacaya. Since the store opened in 2010, it has been “relocated” almost a dozen times due to the volcanic activity and lava flows taking it out. From there, it is about an hour hike straight up uneven shifting rocks to the mouth of the crater. You have to be careful, since the volcano is spewing noxious gases and could erupt at any time, but the beauty and views from over 8,000 feet high of the nearby volcanoes and potential danger of this hike has voted it one of the top 20 best hikes in the world by National Geographic.

Solo travel tip: Get lost and like it.

Getting lost is a common consequence of going in blind; even if we don’t like it, we can bring our sense of humor along for the walk and discover off the radar spots.

5. Cuba

 Centro HabanaLa Habana, Cuba#streetlife #havana #cuba

Now is the time to visit Cuba. “The country has changed more in the last five years than in all its history,” Cubans say, as foreigners enjoy home stays, five-star hotels spring up in Havana, tour buses queue in formerly off-the-grid towns, airports expand, and culinary traditions widen. And it’s about to change even more, not only because of the growth in tourism since US/Cuba relations were liberalized, but because that liberalization could be threatened under a Trump administration.

 Hotel Los JazminesViñales, CubaIf you find yourself in the tobacco capital of Cuba, the rooms in this hotel just outside of town offer amazing views of the surrounding countryside. #cuba #vinales #pool

Solo travel tip: Be bold — ask questions.

Every piece of information we could possibly need is available on the ground. No need to read travel forums, or even look up directions (although by all means do both if it sets your mind at ease). Depending on where you are in the world, there are metro maps, info centers, or throngs of aggressive taxi drivers at every possible port of arrival. Barring that, the local person sitting next to you on the bus/plane/train/ferry is usually an excellent resource.

6. Kenya

 The David Sheldrick Wildlife TrustNairobi, KenyaBaby elephants! I could hardly contain my excitement when they all came barreling down the hill to the daily feeding area. These baby elephants are all saved, nourished and put back into the wild. You can watch the feeding an hour daily at 11, so be on time or early to make sure you get a spot. All proceeds go to help the elephants.

Tourism accounts for the largest share of the country’s foreign earnings as thousands of visitors arrive to see up to a quarter of a million wildebeest make their annual migration between Kenya and its southern neighbor, Tanzania. You can easily join a big group or arrange for a guide to take you out into the wilderness alone.

 Masai Mara National ReserveNairobi, KenyaAbout 5hrs drive from Nairobi, the Masai Mara has incredible biodiversity. Did a 4 day safari and saw lions, elephants, hippos, rhinos, cheetah, giraffe and so much more. While hiring a tour company from the city is “easier”, you’ll save money by going to villages near the park entrance and hiring a local Masai to take you in. They’re also allowed to drive where others can’t b/c it’s their native land. Makes for all around more culture and adventure #kenya #safari #masaimara #lions

Solo travel tip: Talk to strangers.

They’re not scary — usually. When they are creepy, it’s usually pretty clear to my intuition. Strangers are typically one of three things: treasure troves of insider information, friends you haven’t met yet, or an excellent story for later. Instructions for talking to strangers: eyes up, shoulders down, words out.

7. Barcelona, Spain

 Plaça de CatalunyaBarcelona, SpainOne of the city’s most famous landmarks, this plaça is cool to hang out at when there’s less people. There’s always a million pigeons, so you’ll inevitably kick a few. From here, you can take the air bus to the airport or the metro to go outside of Barcelona. On one side of the plaza is Fnac, a big store for books, electronics and other fun things. #free #statue

Visit southern Spain anytime of the year. The skies are usually clear, winters are short and mild, summers are hot but bearable. Barcelona was designed for pedestrian pleasure. Its iconic Ramblas and paseos have wide sidewalks and medians dotted with benches and shady trees — perfect for leisurely strolling, people watching, and window shopping. You can also escape the hustle and bustle by heading out to one of the city beaches on the super easy-to-use public transport. In the evening you can avoid eating alone in a stuffy restaurant by doing as the Spanish do: grazing on tapas in one of the city’s cool bars.

 AlbaicínBarcelona, SpainThis neighborhood has heavy Moorish influences, written all over its narrow, cobblestone streets and quiet hangout spaces by running water. The area is tranquil and neighbors know each other. It gives off a sense of community and old time charm. Get lost in the streets (trust me, you will even if it’s not by choice) and take some photos during siesta time – you’ll be the only one around. #free #history

Solo travel tip: Let go of “should’s”.

Often mile-long checklist of “must sees” and “must dos” limits potential for spontaneous discovery. Excursions can happen organically — often with new friends.

8. South Island, New Zealand

 Milford SoundQueenstown, New ZealandDay tours leave from Queenstown stopping in the unearthly rainforests of fiordlands national park on the way to Milford sound (Piopiotahi in Mauri). #fullon #lordoftherings #8thwonder

Whatever you’re into, chances are you can find it in New Zealand — dramatic coastal cliffs, alpine lakes and peaks, surfable beaches, active volcanoes and geothermal features, lush rainforest and old-growth forest, walkable glaciers, underground caverns…it’s all here. But what really sets New Zealand apart is the fact that all of the above is in such close proximity, and is so easily accessible. You can go surf to summit in a single day, drive from snowy mountain passes to temperate rainforest. What that means is you get to pack an incredible amount of adventure into every trip.

 Shotover Canyon Swing & Canyon FoxQueenstown, New ZealandWelcome to the highest commercial cliff jump in the most extreme adventure capital of the world (AKA, welcome to what nightmares are made of). I opted to do the canyon swing over bungee jumping since you can customize your experience by going off in various different ways — my first round was by being pushed off a slide, second round was hanging upside down and crying with no shame. #extreme

Solo travel tip: Set up an Airbnb.

Set your price, browse your options, and choose a host who seems interesting. I’m still in contact with several of my Airbnb hosts, and owe unique memories (like tasting the best chocolate gelato in the whole world) to them.

9. Kathmandu, Nepal

 Boudhanath StupaKathmandu, NepalAt 6pm, many residents come to walk around the Stupa three times. But magical at any time of day.

If you’re an experienced altitude trekker, the Annapurna circuit can be tackled independently, but it’s wise to hire a porter or set out with an organised group.

 Hillary Suspension BridgeNamche, NepalDon’t look down! From the Hillary Suspension Bridge on the trek to Mt. Everest Base Camp. #hiking #nepal

Solo travel tip: Keep up with hobbies.

Dancing tango, salsa-ing, climbing, you’ll connect with people you’d have never met otherwise.

10. NYC, United States

 Manhattan Pier 11 / Wall St.New York, United StatesThe greatest city on the world deserves the best view to see it! 1000 ft With no doors and your feet dangling out the side?

Xo #NYC #manhattan

NYC is probably the #1 place in the world for solo travelers. Infact, I’d actually recommend going alone over visiting with friends. It’s challenging, exciting and a wild adventure, enjoy!

 Canal Street NYCNew York, United StatesBest of NYC street art: Garcia Lorca mural directly off of Canal Street heading west from Little Italy #street-art #free #gallery #history

Solo travel tip: Become a regular.

There is something uniquely grounding in being a regular customer (in a cafe, restaurant or even corner store) — in simply being recognized. When our default mode is anonymity, feeling seen, known, familiar offers a powerful sense of place. Especially when I have a few weeks or months somewhere, I find myself accumulating these “regular” spots. Though utterly departing from all known routine is a key — even necessary — element of travel for me, glimpses of familiarity within the unknown provide welcome — even necessary — moments of respite.

11. Santiago, Chile

 NOI VitacuraVitacura, ChileGreat rooftop bar with a view.

The typical tourist route of Santiago includes walking or taking the funicular up Cerro San Cristobal, the Virgin-topped hill that overlooks the city, a spin through some of the museums such as the PreColumbian art museum for traditionalists, or the Colo-Colo soccer museum for lovers of that sport. The city’s easy access to both mountains and beach make it a great starting off point, and those headed further north to the desert or further south to Patagonia, or to one of a couple of easily-accessed wine valleys close to Santiago, often spend a couple of days here on their way. Don’t be shy. Chileans are very welcoming. Be brave and introduce yourself to locals, they will relish the opportunity to practice their English.

 Valle del yesoSan José de Maipo, Chile#extreme #snow #camping #hiking

Lonely Planet Chile & Easter Island (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Chile & Easter Island is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Museum-hop in Barrio Bellas Artes, kayak down the calm Rio Serrano, or marvel at the strikingly enigmatic moai of Easter Island; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Chile and Easter Island and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Chile & Easter Island Travel Guide:

Color maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - including customs, history, literature, cinema, politics, landscapes, wildlife, and wine Over 66 local maps Covers SantiagoVina del Mar, Rapa Nui, Arica, Anakena Beach, Northern Patagonia, Southern Patagonia, Chiloe, Sur Chico, Norte Grande, Norte Chico, Middle Chile, Tierra del Fuego, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Chile & Easter Island, our most comprehensive guide to Chile & Easter Island, is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less traveled.

Looking for more extensive coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's South America on a Shoestring guide for a comprehensive look at all the region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet.

About Lonely Planet: Since 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel media company with guidebooks to every destination, an award-winning website, mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveler community. Lonely Planet covers must-see spots but also enables curious travelers to get off beaten paths to understand more of the culture of the places in which they find themselves.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chile & Easter Island

DK

DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chile and Easter Island takes you by the hand, leading you straight to the best attractions this country has to offer.

DK's insider travel tips and essential local information will help you discover the best of Chile and Easter Island, from festivals and markets to gorgeous beaches and national parks. Experience the Tapati festival, explore the spectacular Parque Nacional Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia, or simply take in the most transparent skies in the southern hemisphere.

Discover DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chile and Easter Island.

   • Detailed itineraries and "don't-miss" destination highlights at a glance.    • Illustrated cutaway 3-D drawings of important sights.    • Floor plans and guided visitor information for major museums.    • Guided walking tours, local drink and dining specialties to try, things to do, and places to eat, drink, and shop by area.    • Area maps marked with sights.    • Detailed city map of Santiago includes street finder index for easy navigation.    • Insights into history and culture to help you understand the stories behind the sights.    • Hotel and restaurant listings highlight DK Choice special recommendations.

With hundreds of full-color photographs, hand-drawn illustrations, and custom maps that illuminate every page, DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Chile and Easter Island truly shows you this country as no one else can.

Series Overview: For more than two decades, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides have helped travelers experience the world through the history, art, architecture, and culture of their destinations. Expert travel writers and researchers provide independent editorial advice, recommendations, and reviews. With guidebooks to hundreds of places around the globe available in print and digital formats, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides show travelers how they can discover more.

DK Eyewitness Travel Guides: the most maps, photographs, and illustrations of any guide.

Chile - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture

Caterina Perrone

Culture Smart! provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in different countries, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies, and sensitive issues. These concise guides tell you what to expect, how to behave, and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop trust, friendships, and successful business relationships. Culture Smart! offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of a particular country. It will help you to turn your visit-whether on business or for pleasure-into a memorable and enriching experience. Contents include * customs, values, and traditions * historical, religious, and political background * life at home * leisure, social, and cultural life * eating and drinking * do's, don'ts, and taboos * business practices * communication, spoken and unspoken

The Chile Reader: History, Culture, Politics (The Latin America Readers)

Elizabeth Quay Hutchison, Thomas Miller Klubock, Nara B. Milanich, Peter Winn

The Chile Reader makes available a rich variety of documents spanning more than five hundred years of Chilean history. Most of the selections are by Chileans; many have never before appeared in English. The history of Chile is rendered from diverse perspectives, including those of Mapuche Indians and Spanish colonists, peasants and aristocrats, feminists and military strongmen, entrepreneurs and workers, and priests and poets. Among the many selections are interviews, travel diaries, letters, diplomatic cables, cartoons, photographs, and song lyrics.

Texts and images, each introduced by the editors, provide insights into the ways that Chile's unique geography has shaped its national identity, the country's unusually violent colonial history, and the stable but autocratic republic that emerged after independence from Spain. They shed light on Chile's role in the world economy, the social impact of economic modernization, and the enduring problems of deep inequality. The Reader also covers Chile's bold experiments with reform and revolution, its subsequent descent into one of Latin America's most ruthless Cold War dictatorships, and its much-admired transition to democracy and a market economy in the years since dictatorship.

Chile (National Geographic Adventure Map)

National Geographic Maps - Adventure

• Waterproof • Tear-Resistant • Travel Map

National Geographic's Chile Adventure Map is the perfect travel companion for adventure travelers exploring this long and narrow coastal country occupying much of South America's Pacific coastline. Expertly researched, the map combines unparalleled detail with a user-friendly design, including a handy index of towns, cities and National Parks and Reserves, to help locate them quickly, as well as a clearly marked road network of highways, major and minor roads, and unpaved roads, labeled with distances. In addition, hundreds of well-known and off the beaten path cultural, historical and recreational points of interest are highlighted, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, archeological sites, beaches, lighthouses, monuments, churches, spas and areas for skiing, fishing and surfing. Outdoor adventurers will find mapped hiking trails along with such topographic features as contour lines, elevations and labeled peaks.

The map conveniently covers the country in four sections: from its northern borders with Peru and Bolivia to the city of Copiapo; the next section continues south, through the capital of Santiago, to Concepcion; then into Patagonia and the city of Coihaique, the Chonos Archipelago and Moraleda Channel; finally to the southernmost part of the country with its National Parks and Preserves, including Alberto de Agostini National Park. The long border with Argentia is shown with border crossings. Inset maps cover Easter Island and the Juan Fernandez Islands. This unique map, with its abundance of specialized content. compliments any guidebook.

Every Adventure Map is printed on durable synthetic paper, making them waterproof, tear-resistant and tough — capable of withstanding the rigors of international travel.

Map Scale = 1:1,750,000Sheet Size = 37.75" x 25.5"Folded Size = 4.25" x 9.25"

Fodor's Chile: with Easter Island & Patagonia (Travel Guide)

Fodor's Travel Guides

Written by locals, Fodor's travel guides have been offering expert advice for all tastes and budgets for 80 years. Squeezed between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Chile offers something for everyone. Whether travelers are interested in first-rate vineyards, glittery beach resorts, desert adventures, sprawling glaciers, or the urban pleasures and inventive cuisine of Santiago, Fodor's Chile helps them craft the perfect itinerary for this diverse country. This travel guide includes:· Dozens of maps· An 8-page color insert with a brief introduction and spectacular photos that capture the top experiences and attractions throughout Chile· Hundreds of hotel and restaurant recommendations, with Fodor's Choice designating our top picks· Multiple itineraries to explore the top attractions and what’s off the beaten path· Coverage of Santiago, The Central Coast, El Norte Chico, El Norte Grande, The Central Valley, The Lake District, Chiloe, The Southern Coast, Southern Chilean Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego, and Easter Island

The Rough Guide to Chile

Shafik Meghji

The Rough Guide to Chile is the ultimate travel guide to this fascinating country, with expert coverage of all the best attractions, suggested itineraries to help you plan your trip, comprehensive color maps to make getting around easy, and evocative photos that bring the destination to life.

Discover the highlights of this year-round destination with the latest information on trekking in Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, wine tasting in the Central Valleys, exploring the intriguing Easter Island, and star-gazing in San Pedro de Atacama. The Rough Guide to Chile is packed with insightful, up-to-date reviews of the best accommodations, restaurants, bars, clubs, and shops for all budgets, as well as detailed practical advice on Chile's diverse outdoor activities, from rafting the mighty Río Futaleufú to horseback riding around Santiago.

Make the most of your time with The Rough Guide to Chile.

The Chile Fact and Picture Book: Fun Facts for Kids About Chile (Turn and Learn)

Gina McIntyre

Turn & Learn presents: The Chile Fact and Picture Book The Chile Fact & Picture Book will allow your child to learn more about this world we live in, with a fun and exciting approach that will trigger their imagination.

We're raising our children in an era where attention spans are continuously decreasing. Turn & Learn provides a fun, and interactive way of keep your children engaged and looking forward to learn, with beautiful pictures, coupled with the amazing, fun facts.

Get your kids learning today! Pick up your copy of Turn & Learn's Chile Fact and Picture book now!

Exercise normal security precautions

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Crime

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, has increased, particularly in Santiago, Valparaíso, Concepción, Villarrica and Viña del Mar. Small bags and purses have been stolen from hotel and hostel lobbies, and from the backs of chairs at bars and restaurants. Do not show signs of affluence, and ensure that your personal belongings, passport and other travel documents are secure at all times.

Robberies and assaults occur most frequently in the Santiago, Viña del Mar and Valparaíso areas. Thieves are active in crowded tourist locations, markets, metro (subway) stations, trains, buses and taxis, as well as cafés and restaurants popular with foreigners. In Valparaíso, remain particularly alert in the port and adjoining tourist areas. Avoid poorer residential areas (poblaciones).

Muggings, sometimes involving the use of fire arms, have been reported in Cerro San Cristóbal Park, and in other parks in the Santiago area, even during the day. Be vigilant in parks, and avoid them at night.

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Pay attention when drinks are prepared and served, especially in the Bellavista neighbourhood of Santiago. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances, as they may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Take care when driving a rental car or taking a taxi in Valparaíso. Thieves have punctured tires in order to distract foreigners and steal their belongings from the vehicle.

There have been reports of politically motivated violence involving indigenous communities in southern Chile (specifically in the Araucanía region), but no foreigners have been directly affected. If travelling in the Araucanía region, it is recommended that you travel during the day.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur regularly in Santiago and Valparaíso, and occasionally elsewhere in the country. Student protests have been occurring intermittently since 2011, causing road blocks, public transportation disruptions and confrontation with the police. Monitor local news reports, follow the advice of local authorities, and avoid large crowds and demonstrations, as they may turn violent with little to no warning.

Landmines

Demarcated landmine fields are a danger in remote areas of the northern regions of Arica-Parinacota, Tarapaca and Antofagasta in the north, remote areas of Valparaíso in central Chile, and in the southern regions of Magallanes and Antártica, near the border with Argentina. Landmine fields are also found in remote sections of several popular national parks, including Lauca and Llullaillaco national parks, the Salar de Surire National Monument and the Los Flamencos National Reserve. Check with park staff or local authorities before entering less-travelled areas and observe all warning signs.

Road travel

Driving standards are poor. Accident rates, particularly in Santiago, are high. Keep windows closed and doors locked at all times. Major highways are mostly toll roads. Ensure that you carry sufficient local currency to pay the tolls. Do not venture off major highways with basic or small rental vehicles. Secondary roads are sometimes poorly maintained and/or poorly lit. Driving on mountain roads can be dangerous due to the lack of guard rails. Traffic police (carabineros) presence is very visible on highways. Have vehicle documentation ready. Ensure that you have written authorization from your rental agency if you intend to travel outside the country in a rental vehicle. The authorization must be requested from the car rental company three to five days before the trip, and a processing fee applies. If you are using a private vehicle, the owner must provide you with proper authorization.

Traffic congestion in downtown Santiago is common during peak hours. Certain major arteries alternate traffic direction during morning and evening rush hours. For up-to-date information, call the traffic police (carabineros) at 139.

Taxis

Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive. Agree to a fare beforehand. Taxis with illuminated signs indicating their destination are "collective" taxis. These follow a fixed route and are shared by up to five passengers.

Taxis and radio-taxis can be booked and prepaid at the airport. Airport-registered transportation is recommended. Major hotels will arrange to meet travellers upon arrival. Shuttle minibuses are also available.

Air travel

Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

Emergency services

Dial 133 for police, 132 for the fire department, and 131 for a public ambulance.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Rabies

Rabies is a disease that attacks the central nervous system spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from a rabid animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).

Typhoid

Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives, or with weakened immune systems. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should consider getting vaccinated.

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in South America, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in South America. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in South America, certain insects carry and spread diseases like American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness)West Nile virus and yellow fever.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.


Malaria

Malaria

There is no risk of malaria in this country.


Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in South America, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Santiago has one of the highest pollution levels in South America. Heavy smog can pose serious health hazards from May through October.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention page for more information.

Illegal activities

Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict. Convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.

There is a zero tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving. Under Chilean law, even one alcoholic beverage puts the driver over the acceptable limit. Convicted offenders could face a license suspension, fines and/or detention.

Laws

To combat high levels of pollution in winter, restrictions on driving in central Santiago (within the ring road) are imposed from June to September. The last two digits of the licence plate number determine which days of the month a vehicle cannot be driven. These lists are published in newspapers. Temporary bans may be imposed on up to 60 percent of city traffic when levels of pollution are extremely high.

An International Driving Permit is recommended.

Money

The currency is the Chilean peso (CLP). U.S. dollars (but not Canadian dollars) are easily exchanged across the country. Purchases in U.S. dollars can only be done in certain stores in Santiago. Credit cards are usually accepted in hotels and restaurants in major tourist and business destinations, but they are often not accepted in locally owned small hotels and restaurants, including in Santiago. For convenience, carry traveller's cheques in U.S. currency.

Climate

Border crossings may close due to severe weather conditions or earthquakes. For information on the status of border crossings in Chile, please consult the Chilean Department of Public Works (in Spanish).

Flooding

Flooding is frequent during autumn and winter (particularly between May and August), mainly as a result of heavy rains and overloaded sewage systems. This often results in traffic jams.

In some parts of the country, river levels can increase substantially following a short period of heavy rain. The resulting flooding can seriously damage property and cause injuries and deaths. You should avoid riverside accommodations, as dry riverbeds swell rapidly, particularly in central and southern Chile.

Forest fires

Forest fires often occur during the summer months. Even though they can happen anywhere, they usually affect the area comprised between Santiago/Valparaíso and the Magallanes. In the event of a major fire, you should follow the instructions of local emergency services, particularly with regard to evacuation procedures. Air quality in areas affected by fires may be poor. Monitor local media for updated information.

Earthquakes

Chile is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis. Earthquakes can occur anywhere throughout Chile. Familiarize yourself with earthquake security measures in hotels and public and private buildings, and in the event of an earthquake, pay careful attention to all official warnings and evacuation orders issued by the Government of Chile.

Volcanoes

There are 500 active volcanoes in Chile, and approximately 60 of them have erupted in the last 450 years. If you live in or are travelling to areas near volcanoes, you should monitor activity levels closely.

Debris from erupting volcanoes may clog rivers and cause them to overflow, which could in turn cause flash floods and landslides. Ash clouds may also cause disruptions to domestic and international flights.  Monitor local media for current information, follow the advice of local authorities and consult the Oficina Nacional de Emergencia for information on emergency procedures. Further information on volcanic monitoring is available from the Servicio Nacional de Geología y Minería (in Spanish).

Local Information

In the event of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, forest fire, landslide or flood, official information for the public will be available at the website of Chile’s Oficina Nacional de Emergencia – Ministerio del Interior y Seguridad Pública ONEMI (in Spanish only).