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Standing at the edge of the Pacific Ocean, Chile is a land of pristine natural beauty and unique experiences. Gaze upon the towering statues of Easter Island, or explore the extraordinary landscape of Valle de la Luna. Discover a travel destination like no other as you journey through the remarkable land of Chile.

Articles about Chile

Castro Chile

Chile and Easter Island: The Definitive Guide for Seniors

Chile is an extraordinary country, covered every inch by scenic landscapes, incredible wildlife, and long-standing culture. The tumultuous history undertaken since the time of Spanish colonisation and on the road to a sustainable democracy has…

21 Feb 19 · 11 mins read
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Touring Chile

The need to know

Getting around

Odyssey travels by coach and occasionally uses local transport, including trains and ferries. Specifics are always outlined in your tour itinerary. Chile has numerous long-distance bus services that cover the length of country – moreover, they are relatively inexpensive. The country is also well services by local airports. Train services are limited and in the far south of the country, ferry networks operate through the inlets, channels and islands of the region.

Accommodation

In major cities, Odyssey stays in centrally located 3-4 star hotels, with easy access to public transport. In smaller towns or rural areas, we usually stay in family-run hotels or guesthouses. On our longstay tours, during which you spend the length of the tour in a single location, we use serviced apartments.

Tour guides

Odyssey always engages local guides with regional knowledge to ensure an authentic experience during which you can learn as much as possible about the history and culture of places you visit.

Geography, Environment, & Weather

Chile is situated along the western coast of South America, and stretches approximately 4,300 kilometres from the Peruvian border to the tip of South America at Cape Horn. The country has a long and unusual shape, with an average of only 177 kilometres from east to west down the length of the country. The terrain of Chile is mountainous, with only one fifth of Chile’s surface being flat.

Given its long coastline, Chile experiences considerable variation in climate, with at least seven major climatic subtypes, ranging from low desert in the north, to Oceanic in the south, and humid subtropical in Easter Island. Depending on when and where you intend to travel, check the weather reports and dress accordingly.

World heritage sites

Chile has 6 properties inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites List. You can view the official list of the sites here (https://whc.unesco.org/en/statesparties/cl). The World Heritage Sites in Chile include:

Historic Quarter of the Seaport City of Valparaíso, the eye-catching and colourful district in the seaside city of Valparaíso
Sewell Mining Town, an unhabited mining town built above the world’s largest underground copper mine, El Teniente.
Churches of Chiloé, the architectural styles of which bear a fascinating mix of indigenous and European influences

Festivals & Events

Numerous festivals and events dot the calendar in Chile. One of the most important events of the year is the Fiestas Patrias, the celebration of Chile’s independence. Held for two days in mid-September, the festival features parades, music, dance competitions, feasting and rodeos. In Chile, the national sport is rodeo, and this rugged competitive sport is celebrated in the Campeonato Nacional de Rodeo, the National Championship of Chilean Rodeo. Held in early April, rodeo competitions are staged alongside a bustling food and crafts fair, while traditional cueca dances are performed at night. Several arts and music festivals are held over the course of the year, including Santiago a Mil, a performing arts festival that stages over 1,000 shows and exhibitions in January, and the Festival de Jazz de Providencia, which draws jazz performers from across the country and the world.

Reading list

My Invented Country CD: A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile, by Isabel Allende
By Night in Chile, by Roberto Bolaño
Travels in a Thin Country, by Sara Wheeler
Distant Star, by Roberto Bolaño

Eating & Drinking

With 6,435 kilometres of coastline, seafood plays a major part in forming Chile’s cuisine. Like other South American nations, Chile has its own version of ceviche, a seafood dish made of raw fish and citrus juices. In Chile, various herbs and spices are added, such as onion, garlic, cilantro, cumin and salt, to ceviche to really bring out the flavours of the dish. Soups and stews feature heavily in Chilean cuisine, with cazuela (a soup made from chicken and/or beef, and vegetables) and sopa patagonica (a soup dish made of pork, shrip, mussels and potatoes) two of the many soup recipes that appear in Chilean cooking. One dish popularly eaten across the day in Chile is the ubiquitous empanada, pastries filled with cheese, seafood and/or ground beef.

Chile is one of the largest producers of wine in the world, with Carménère the most widely produced wine in Chile. If you’re a wine enthusiast, be sure to try a local drop from one of Chile’s many vineyards. Other beverages enjoyed in Chile include Mote con Huesillo, which is husked wheat and dried peaches soaked in sugar water and cinnamon, and terremoto, an alcoholic drink made from pineapple ice-cream, white wine and grenadine.

Health & Safety

Generally speaking, Chile is a safe country to travel in, though always exercise common sense while travelling. Bag snatches and related scams in restaurants do occur, so keep an eye on your personal belongings and pay attention to your personal security. Book taxis by phone, as there is a risk of being robbed by unofficial taxi drivers.

Electrical Supply

Whenever you travel overseas, it’s always wise to take an appropriate travel adaptor. Chile’s electricity supply runs at 220V and 50Hz. Chile uses Type C and Type L electric plugs, so make sure you have the right travel adaptor with you.

Chile Tours

Crafted Tours for Mature World Travellers

South American small group tour

25 days

Sep, Apr

South American Small Group History and Culture Tour

Visiting Argentina, Bolivia

Experience the jewels of South America on this in-depth itinerary featuring the dramatic contrasts of this great continent on a small group tour for senior couples and solo travellers. Journey through Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil. Marvel at the ancient cultures and natural wonders of the Amazon, the snow-capped peaks of the Andes mountains, the calm waters of Lake Titicaca and the jewel coloured beaches of Rio.

From A$17,950 AUD

View Tour

Tour Reviews

All guides were excellent. Each had done a lot of research on dinosaurs before we arrived and had a good sense of what we were after.

Participant 2017

Argentina Dinosaur dig including Titanosaur small group tours

Well balanced with city vs country, visits to remote dinosaur sites, town museums, a winery. The hands-on dinosaur dig and fossil preparation live-in at Lake Barraleas was superb and I could have spent more time there as we went out a lot. It was excellent with a great Argentinian team looking after us..

Participant 2017

Argentina Dinosaur dig including Titanosaur small group tours

We were privileged to go where many tourists could not go but some of that was due to the presence of John Pickrell still we saw more and met more senior paleontologists that I had expected. All museums and other sites were a marvelous experience

Participant 2017

Argentina Dinosaur dig including Titanosaur small group tours

Well balanced, with a great group leader in John Pickrell. He was extremely informative and had great contacts so we saw behind the scenes at museums.We covered a lot of distance but with 2-3 nights in a number of places had plenty of free time to do your own thing.

Participant 2017

Argentina Dinosaur dig including Titanosaur small group tours

Accommodation exceeded expectations in most cases.

Participant 2017

Argentina Dinosaur dig including Titanosaur small group tours

FAQs

What is the time zone in Chile?

Chile has 3 time zones, with seperate time zones for Continental Chile (UTC-4), Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica (UTC-3) and Easter Island (UTC-5). Daylight savings take place in Continental Chile and Easter Island during the summer, commencing the first Saturday of April and ending the first Saturday of September.

Is tipping customary in Chile?

If you’re on an Odyssey tour, we take care of tipping so you don’t need to give it a second thought. However, in your free time, or if travelling independently, it’s essential that you tip an appropriate amount for services. Tipping is a general custom in Chile, though can vary by service sector. With taxis, it is expected that the fare will be rounded up, while in restaurants, a tip of around 10% (or 5% if a service charge has already been included) is expected. Hotel staff will generally expect a tip for good service.

What is the internet access like in Chile?

Wifi should be available in most hotels, cafes and restaurants when travelling in Chile.

Can I use my mobile/cell phone while in Chile?

Check with your cell phone provider to see whether you’re able to make calls and use data while in Chile. Many providers will allow you to pay a daily fee that allows you to make calls and check the internet while only being charged your regular rates. However, be certain to inform your provider that you’re heading overseas, because just like a bank they can turn off your service as a result of unusual activity.

Responsible travel tips for Chile

  • Learn at least the local greetings to break the ice. Although some locals speak English, the more you know of the native language, the greater your experience of the country will be.
  • Carry a business card in your wallet or purse from your local hotel, to assist you with the return journey if you do become lost.
  • Always ensure that you are covered by travel insurance. If you need advice on this feel free to contact Odyssey and we’ll be able to help.
  • Before departing, make sure you have a number of lekë in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.
  • When travelling independently, make sure you check the opening hours of shops and museums so that you don’t miss out! Also be certain to check whether your trip coincides with any public holidays, so you can plan accordingly.
  • Before departing, make sure you have a number of pesos in a range of denominations. You don’t want to be carrying around enormous amounts of cash, but take enough to make it easy to pay in locations that might not accept credit card. It will also help you avoid card transaction fees, and it makes tipping a breeze.

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