Passport: entry is generally straightforward as long as passport is valid for at least six months beyond arrival date.
Customs Regulations: no restrictions on import and export of local and foreign currency. Duty-free allowances include purchases of up to US$500. Travelers leaving the duty-free Regions I and XII are subject to internal customs inspections; there are heavy fines for fruit, dairy, spices, nuts, meat and organic products. X-ray machines are used at major international border crossings, such as Los Libertadores (the crossing from Mendoza, Argentina) and Pajaritos (the crossing from Bariloche, Argentina).
Visas: generally not required for stays of up to 90 days. Australian citizens must pay a 'reciprocity fee' when arriving by air.
Tourist Cards: on arrival, visitors will be handed a 90-day tourist card in the form of a receipt with bar code that will be asked upon leaving the country. It's possible to renew a tourist card for 90 more days. Many visitors prefer a quick dash across the Argentine border and back.
Electricity: the electricity current operates on 220V, 50Hz; plugs are C / L type.
Time: for most of the year Chile is 4 hours behind GMT, but from mid-December to late March, because of daylight-saving time (summer time), the difference is 3 hours. The exact date of the changeover varies from year to year. Note that Southern Patagonia uses the summer time for the entire year and Easter Island is 2 hours behind Santiago.
Internet Access: most regions have excellent internet connections; it is typical for hotels, hostels and coffee shops to have Wi-Fi. Much of Patagonia lags behind in this area, though free public Wi-Fi is available in some communities on the plaza.
Mobile Phones: foreign travelers with unlocked cell phones can only use a Chilean SIM card after registering their own device in Chile. Local SIM cards are cheap and widely available, for use with unlocked GSM 850/1900 phones. There's 3G or 4G access in urban centers. Cell-phone numbers have nine digits, starting with 9. If calling cell-to-landline, use the landline's area code. Cell phones have a 'caller pays' format. Calls between cell and landlines are expensive and quickly eat up prepaid card amounts. Purchase a new SIM card from a Chilean operator such as Entel or Movistar. Then purchase phone credit from the same carrier in kiosks, pharmacies or supermarket check-outs. In Patagonia, Entel has much better coverage than other companies. There's reception in most inhabited areas, with the poorest reception in the middle of the Atacama Desert and parts of Patagonia.
Money: ATMs are widely available, except along the Carretera Austral. Credit cards are accepted at higher-end hotels, some restaurants and shops. Traveler's checks are not widely accepted.
ATMs: Chile's many ATMs, known as Redbanc, are the easiest and most convenient way to access funds. Transaction fees can be high. Most machines have instructions in Spanish and English. Choose the option “tarjeta extranjera” (foreign card) before starting the transaction. Throughout Patagonia, many small villages only have one bank. Those crossing overland from El Chaltén, Argentina to Villa O'Higgins should bring plenty of Chilean pesos, as the nearest reliable banks are in Coyhaique.
Cash: some banks and “casas de cambio” (exchange houses) will exchange cash, usually US$ dollars only. More costly purchases -such as tours and hotel bills- can sometimes be paid in US$ cash.
Credit Cards: plastic (especially Visa and MasterCard) is welcome in most established businesses; however, many businesses will charge up to 6% extra to cover the charge they have to pay for the transaction. Credit cards can also be useful to show 'sufficient funds' before entering another South American country.
Currency: the Chilean unit of currency is the peso (CH$). Bank notes come in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000 pesos. Coin values are 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 pesos, although one-peso coins are fast disappearing, and even fives and 10s are uncommon. It’s important to carry small bills; it also can be difficult to change large bills in rural areas.
Tipping: it's customary to tip 10% of the bill in restaurants (the bill may include it under 'servicio'). Taxis Drivers do not require tips.
Taxes & Refunds: a 19% value-added tax known as the impuesto de valor agregado (IVA) is levied on all goods and services. When using US dollars or a foreign credit card to pay for lodgings or tour packages no IVA, or tax, is charged.
Opening Hours: Hours given are generally for high season; in many provincial cities and towns, restaurants and services are closed on Sunday and tourist offices close in low season.
Banks 9am–2pm weekdays, sometimes 10am–1pm Saturday
Government offices & businesses 9am–6pm weekdays
Museums often close Monday
Restaurants Noon–11pm, many close 4–7pm
Shops 10am–8pm, some close 1–3pm
The longest and thinnest country in the world runs from the Andes to the Pacific. As well as sharing borders with Argentina, Peru and Bolivia. Chile also has territories in Polynesia and Antarctica, making it a tri-continental nation. From the high Andean plateau to the untouched southern territories at the end of the world, Chile invites to live adventures in the middle of the world’s driest desert, in the unique rainy temperate forest of South America, in front of millennial glaciers or under the watchful eye of the Andes in the middle of the buzz of modern cities like its capital, Santiago. These cultural and climatic contrasts have left an imprint on the identity of the country and its people. Warm, energetic, approachable and kind, Chileans share the love for their land, which invites you to build relationships beyond boundaries, to live unique experiences and to discover Chile.
Population: 18,1 millions.
Capital city: Santiago.
People: 95% European descent and Mestizo, 5% Indian.
Language: Spanish and a handful of native languages, including Aymara, Mapuche and Rapa Nui.
Religion: 89% roman catholic, 10% protestant, less than 1% jewish.
Departure from your hotel. We begin with a visit to the old town and its highlights, such as Plaza de Armas, Cathedral and the center of the capital, from where the construction of Santiago began in colonial times. Then we will visit the civic neighborhood, with the ministerial buildings and the presidential palace of "La Moneda". Later, and with an imposing panoramic view from one of the hills of the city, we will observe part of the mountain slopes that surround the capital and then go up to the eastern area, where we will see the modernity of the city and the great architectural contrast it has. Santiago is a contemporary and thriving city that shows its best face with imposing buildings of different styles that give a stamp of modernity to this great capital. Return to your hotel.
Departure from the hotel towards Colchagua Valley until reaching the peaceful town of Santa Cruz. This valley is known for being one of the most fertile in the production of fine wine strains, mainly red, whose quality is world famous. Some of the vineyards that we visit in the valley are Viu Manent, Santa Cruz, Bisquert, MontGras and Montes. The tour begins by visiting one of these vineyards, to appreciate the wine production process, storage warehouses and finally do a tasting. After a short break we will visit another vineyard, where we will enjoy the same activities as in the previous one. Then we will taste a quiet and delicious lunch in Santa Cruz. Finally we will visit the Colchagua Museum that has the largest private collection in the country.
Departure from your hotel in Santiago. We will head towards the town of Pirque until we reach the acclaimed Viña Concha y Toro. The tour begins with a walk through the gardens of the late 19th century of the former summer residence of the Concha y Toro Family. We will visit the variety garden, where we will be able to see more than 25 varieties of grapes, in addition to having a panoramic view of the Maipo Valley. We will visit the wine cellars, among them, the centenary Casillero del Diablo, a place that gave rise to the legend of the most famous wine of the vineyard. The tour ends with a tasting of 3 premium wines. Return to your hotel in Santiago.
Departure from your hotel in Santiago along Route 68, bound for Isla Negra, a Pacific coastal resort where the poet Pablo Neruda chose to spend his last years. Here the famous Nobel Prize for Literature developed an exotic collection of figureheads, sea shells and all kinds of marine accessories, as well as accumulated much of his rich library. In this striking House Museum, we can appreciate the wonderful seascape that deeply captivated the poet and learn more about his life and work. We will also visit the beaches of the sector and have lunch in a restaurant in the area (not included) and then return to your hotel in Santiago city.
Departure towards the Maipo Valley. This is an ideal tour to learn the essence about the history and magic of wine,through green landscapes and imposing mountains of the valley. Here we will visit two of its main vineyards, all prestigious and recognized such as Viña Cousiño Macul, Viña Undurraga or Viña Concha y Toro. Thus, we will enjoy tasting the best wines from Maipo Valley and different grape varieties, aromas and flavors. Moreover, in both visits we will learn about the wine making process, walk around the vineyards, production plants, wine cellars and see the final product already bottled. In the middle of the visits we will taste typical Chilean lunch from Maipo region. Finally, during the afternoon we will return to Santiago.
Departure from your hotel in Santiago towards the Maipo Valley. The trip takes around 45 minutes until Santa Rita Vineyard. The vineyard was founded in 1880 by Domingo Fernández Concha, who introduced fine French vines that gave rise to his world-renowned wines. Its winery, declared a National Monument, combines work with traditional French and American oak barrels with modern production techniques that give its wines a unique aroma and body. During the tour, you will visit the Centennial Park, walk through its beautiful gardens, see a Chapel built in the 19th century in the Neo-Gothic style, or visit the Roman baths. The tour continues through the historic cellars, where at the end an exciting story of the brave Chilean patriots awaits you. The tour ends with a tasting of three Ultra Premium wines paired with cheese, crackers and nuts. You can also visit the Andean Museum for free. Return to your hotel in Santiago.
Departure from the hotel in Santiago to visit Cerro Santa Lucía, the place where the city was founded in 1541. This hill is located in the heart of the city and offers a general view of downtown Santiago. Then, we will walk to the Lastarria neighborhood, a cultural, gastronomic and tourist center of the capital city, which since 1996 is considered a Typical Zone of Santiago. The tour continues through the Forest Park until reaching the bohemian Barrio Bellavista. Then we go to Cerro San Cristóbal where we will take a cable car and ascend to the Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception, where the statue of the Virgin Mary is located and from where we can see a great panoramic view of the entire city. Finally, we will descend the Cerro to return to our hotel in Santiago.
Departure from your hotel in Santiago towards Viña Undurraga, one of the most traditional vineyards in Chile. The tour begins in the park created by the French landscaper George Henry Dubois, and then continues to the Aliwen corner, where part of the vegetation typical of southern Chile is recreated and where the main native people - Mapuche - are honored. Next, the vineyard is visited, the soils are known, the different vines that Undurraga cultivates through a variety garden will be identified, and the vinification process of the different wines will be shown. Then you will access the centuries-old underground cellars of Viña Undurraga, to end by visiting the “People of the Earth” collection, a sample of Mapuche and pre-Columbian art and life in honor of the indigenous people. The tour concludes with a tasting of 3 reserve wines, and at the end each visitor will receive a glass as a gift. Return to your hotel in Santiago.
Departure from Santiago to get into the Andes Mountain Range. We will take the road to Valle Nevado, where the most important ski centers of this area are located. During our trip we will find endemic vegetation and small flows of water and also enjoy the breathtaking view of the Andes Mountain Range. Arriving at the destination we will visit Valle Nevado, the largest and most modern ski resort in the southern hemisphere. Later, our tour continues to Farellones, the oldest mountain town of Chile located in the basin of the Mapocho, from where we will begin our return to Santiago.
Departure from your hotel in Santiago. After a 120 km trip to the Pacific Ocean coast, we will arrive at the port city of Valparaíso, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2003, due to its unusual architecture, deployment of alleys, colorful passages and stairs that reach the top of the hills. We will visit its main attractions such as Plaza Sotomayor, the monument to naval heroes, Paseo 21 de Mayo and we will go up the elevators to insert ourselves into the hills of the city. Later, we will visit Viña del Mar, known as "The Garden City", where you can enjoy its most emblematic places such as its beautiful beaches, gardens and pedestrian paths. Stop for lunch (lunch not included) and later we will relax contemplating the ocean, before returning to Santiago.