Where are we
Chile is a long, narrow country that extends from the Andes Mountains to the Pacific Ocean on the southwest side of South America, from latitude 17° 30' S in the Altiplano to 56° 30' S at the far end of continental Chile and 90° S in its Antarctic territory.
Chile has a unique geography: its territory includes Easter Island, in Polynesia, 3,700 km from the mainland, as well as territory in Antarctica (Chile Antártico, 1,250,000 km2). Continental and insular Chile, which includes the mainland and offshore islands and archipelagos, covers 756,096 km2.
Chile's main territory is roughly twice the size of Germany and consists of a strip of land 4,200 km long and 90 to 440 km wide. In the far south, the land is transected by hundreds of islands and fiords.
Santiago is the country's capital and largest city in terms of population and employment, with 6,061,185 inhabitants as of the 2002 census. Located on parallel 33° S, at roughly the same latitude as Buenos Aires and Montevideo, Santiago is the country's main political, economic, cultural and industrial center. It is the gateway to Chile and one of the most modern capital cities on the continent.
Tips for travellers
Visas and Documents:
To enter Chile, all passangers have to show their identification documents (identity card or passport) and the stamped visa (depending on country of origin). Citizens of South America, the European Union, the United States, Canada and Australia do not require a visa. Although, some passangers have to pay a reciprocity tax (in chash) when they arrive to the airport in Chile. Canada US$ 132
Australia US$ 61
Mexico US$ 23
Albania US$ 30
Citizens of the European Union and New Zealand are not required to pay a fee. Upon entering the country, visitors receive a 90-day tourist visa that can be extended for another 90 days.
Electricity and Communications:
The electrical current in Chile is 220 Volts and 50 Hertz. Three-terminal electrical adapters are not common, but two-terminal converters can be found at stores that sell electrical equipment. Meanwhile, communications in Chile are ample and varied, including public telephones, mobile phones and satellite phone service. You can find broadband Internet almost anywhere in the country, and WiFi service is available in the main cities.
Currency, Costs and Tips:
The currency is Chile is the peso, with coins of one, five, 10, 50, 100 and 500 pesos and bills of 1,000, 2,000, 50,000, 10,000 and 20,000 pesos. The exchange rate for the U.S. dollar is roughly 500 pesos, while that of the Euro is approximately 670 pesos. Food prices (Meal for one)
Low budget: between three and five dollars
Medium budget: between five and 20 dollars
High budget: between 20 and 100 dollars
Low budget: between 10 and 20 dollars
Medium budget: between 20 and 35 dollars
High budget: between 35 and 300 dollars
Tipping is optional for all services, although a 10 percent gratuity is recommended.
Health and Phytosanitary Information.
Vaccines: Currently, no vaccines or medical examinations are required for entering Chile.
Water: The water is generally safe for consumption. However, it's recommended that you drink bottled water for the first few days.
Raw Foods: You should avoid eating uncooked vegetables, especially those that grow near the soil (e.g. lettuce, carrots) unless you buy them from an established supermarket, which must comply with sanitary norms in order to sell this kind of produce. It's also preferable to eat cooked meats, fish and seafood.
Public Health System: Public hospitals and emergency services are required to attend to any person in need of emergency assistance. The country features high-quality medical centers, clinics and hospitals.
Safety and Natural Dangers: As in all parts of the world, the primary safety precautions apply to big cities. Avoid going out with visible jewelry, cameras or electronic devices, as you could be the victim of a robbery (especially at night and in remote neighborhoods and streets).
The same goes for carrying backpacks: do not carry cameras (video or otherwise) in the outer pockets, especially in crowded areas or when using public transportation. Do not exchange dollars or any other currency on the street. Always use authorized exchange houses. In the event of an earthquake or strong tremor, remain calm. If you're inside a building, remain inside. If you're outside, remain outside. Entering or leaving building can only lead to accidents. If you are inside of a building, seek out strong structures – under a table or bed, underneath a doorway, next to a pillar, master wall, or in a corner – and protect your head. Never flee hurriedly towards an exit or use an elevator. If you find yourself on the street, watch out for electrical wires, cornices, glass and falling tiles.