CHILE: TRAVEL ADVICE

How to get to Chile

For travellers from the UK there is a direct flight from London Heathrow to Santiago five times a week throughout the year. The flight number is BA251 and it departs London about 10pm at night, arriving to Santiago at about 07:30am the following morning. The flight time is about 14 hours. There are indirect options via Madrid and Paris. It is also possible to enter Chile through the port at Valparaiso. Many people may also arrive or depart Chile by boat from Punta Arenas. Overland you can enter Chile at various points from Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.

Voltage

In Chile the standard voltage is 220V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. The standard voltage in the UK is 230V which means you can use all your electrical devices in Chile without any problems or the need for a voltage adaptor. The standard voltage in the US is about 120V, so travellers from the states may need to use a voltage adaptor in Chile. Nowadays most devices such as mobile phone chargers, USB chargers and laptop chargers are multi voltage which means they will switch automatically to the network voltage. However, some high power devices such as hair dryers don’t usually handle different voltages. Always check the label to see what voltage range the device works within. If you try to use a device with the wrong voltage it will most likely break.

Plugs & Sockets

In Chile you will find plug and socket types C and L. Socket C is the standard ‘Euro’ and also works with plug types E and F. Socket type L also works with plug type C. Any universal adaptor will fit both socket types.

plug and socket types in chile

Capital City

Santiago

Time difference

4 hours behind GMT on the mainland and 6 hours behind GMT on Easter Island. There are two time zones in Chile, one on the mainland and one on Easter Island.

Visas

No visas required for visiting Chile as a UK passport holder. On arrival you will be granted entry for up to 90 days. You may be asked to provide proof of onward or return travel, details of your accommodation and proof that you have sufficient funds to cover your stay. Your passport needs to be valid for the duration of your stay. On arrival to Chile you will be given an A5 sized white tourist card which you need to keep and present to immigration upon departure.

Money

What is the currency in Chile?

In Chile the local currency is the Chilean Peso which is referred to as CLP and identified using $ sign. One peso is technically divided into 100 centavos, but due to inflation centavos are practically obsolete. Coins currently in circulation come in denominations of 10, 50, 100 and 500 pesos. 1 and 5 pesos coins can still be found but are not longer produced. Bank notes in circulation are 1000, 2000, 5000, 10000 and 20000 pesos.

Cards or cash?

We would suggest a mixture of credit / debit cards and cash is best to take with you. All major credit and debit cards are accepted almost everywhere. Smaller shops, kiosks, markets and more informal restaurants in remote areas may only accept cash, so make sure you have some with you as a back up.

Do I bring Pesos or US Dollars?

Unlike some other South American countries US dollars are rarely accepted in Chile except in some hotels. Therefore we recommend you have some pesos in cash. However, you are unlikely to be able to get Chilean Pesos in your home country and if you can you are not likely to get a good exchange rate. Therefore we recommend withdrawing some pesos from an ATM on arrival or taking a small amount of US dollars with you that can be more easily exchanged for local currency.

Paying with US dollars in Chile

Foreigners are exempt from paying local sales tax (19%) IVA if they pay in US dollars in Chile. However, it is usually only some hotels that accept US dollars. Most of the hotels we work with do. The only other places you are likely to be able to pay in US dollars are the duty free shop in the airport and some luxury designer shops in the Parque Arauco Mall. Therefore, you will need to have some CLP for your trip.

Obtaining pesos in Chile

ATM’s are widely available in all major towns and cities including the airport in Santiago. The withdrawal limit is usually around 200,000 pesos per transaction (about £230 or USD $305). Banco Estado and Scotiabank usually have the lowest withdrawal fees.

Changing money in Chile

Changing money in Chile is easy. You can do this at any bank or a “casa de cambio” (currency exchange). In Santiago these are mostly located on Agustinas Street. You can also exchange money at the airport but the rate you get is usually worse here. Similarly most hotels will offer to exchange money for you but at a slightly worse rate. Please note USD $100 bills are not usually accepted due to past problems with counterfeiting.

Vaccinations

You should confirm with your doctor that all courses and boosters are up to date as recommended for life. There are no courses or boosters that are recommended for travel to Chile. Other vaccines to be considered are Diphtheria, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies and Tetanus.

There is no yellow fever vaccination or certificate required for Chile and malaria is not present in Chile.

Disclaimer: All the information we provide here is purely for guidance purposes and we are not medical experts. We always recommend that you make an appointment with your doctor 6-8 weeks before departure who will be able to properly assess your personal medical history, give accurate advice and advise on exactly which immunisations or medical precautions you need to take.

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