Travel to Chile
We recommend Lan Chile, rated Latin America’s best airline. The airport designator for Santiago is SCL. American Airlines and Delta also have flights to Santiago. We recommend spending at least one day in Santiago to rest and catch your breath before traveling further. It is a great city to explore too. When traveling to Patagonia, the flight from Santiago to Puerto Montt (PMC) takes about one-and-a-half hours, and from Santiago to Coyhaique (BBA) or Punta Arenas (PUQ) takes about three hours.
Arriving in Santiago
Getting through customs is usually a very fast experience and you will have no problem bringing all the personal items you need.
There is a $131 charge to US citizens for a 90-day tourist visa. This needs to be paid in cash in US dollars before you pass through Immigration so be sure to have this with you.
ATMs, which are all over Santiago, operate in English. The exchange rate varies from day to day but a good rule of thumb is 500 Chilean pesos to the dollar.
Food and Water
No worries about eating the fruits and vegetables in Chile. The food you will be served on our trips is absolutely delicious and safe. The water in Chile is also clean and safe to drink. In Santiago, you will have to adjust to the stronger chlorine taste. For your convenience, we provide bottled water on our trips.
The most modern hotels, shops and restaurants are in Providencia and Las Condes where we recommend you to stay. We can make your reservation in recommended hotels at very competitive rates.
Getting around Santiago is safe and easy on the Metro. You can safely visit and walk around downtown (El Centro), Bellavista, Providencia and Las Condes during the day without worries. As always, keep valuables in your hotel and do not let your handbag/backpack out of your site.
Taxis are also convenient and inexpensive. The vast majority of drivers are honest, bringing you directly to your destination. Hail the cabs that look newer and you should not have problems. Most hotels also offer car service.
Excursions into the mountains should be undertaken with serious consideration of extreme weather conditions. For all of our trekking and horseback riding excursions, we recommend that our clients be prepared for extreme weather conditions with a Gore-Tex shell, fleece, hat and gloves. Also, efforts to minimize sun exposure are important as the ultraviolet rays in the southern hemisphere are much stronger than those in the northern. Always use SPF-30 or higher in Chile. In Patagonia, things are more extreme and throughout the year it is possible to experience all four seasons within a few hours! You should bring: Rain Jacket, Rain Pants, stout waterproof hiking boots, hat, polypro underwear, gloves, warm jacket such as polar fleece, several spare pairs of socks, and sunglasses.
GMT-4 (1st Sunday after March 9)
GMT-3 (1st Sunday after October 9)
220V 50Hz You will require an adapter for the round pin plug
Spanish; Rapa Nui and Spanish on Easter Island; English in tourist areas
Mon-Fri, 9am to 2pm
Mon-Fri 9am to 6pm, Sat. 9am to 2pm. ATMs in Chile are called “Redbanc”.
US Embassy: Av. Andrés Bello 2800, Las Condes, Santiago; Tel: 232-2600
LAN Airlines (in Chile): 600/526-2000