Travel guide to Chile

Your passport must be valid for 6 months after your return date and have two blank facing pages for entry stamps. If you do not have this, you will be denied boarding at your departure airport. Soiled, damaged or defaced passports will not be accepted.
UK, American and most European passport holders do not require a visa for holidays < 90 days
There are no compulsory health requirements, but you should be up to date with your primary courses and boosters. Always check with your doctor at least 8 weeks before travel for any other inoculations recommended (eg Hepatitis A+B, Cholera, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Polio, Meningococcal Meningitis, Rabies and TB). At high altitude in the Andes, take precautions against altitude sickness (i.e. moderate alcohol, walk slowly and drink plenty of water).
Chilean Peso (CLP) - remember to ask for small denominations, especially useful for tipping.
Time Zone
GMT - 3 hours
Travel Tips
To ensure that you have the best possible holiday experience, we ask you to read the following information carefully. If you have any questions, please discuss them with us before you depart. 
Hand Luggage – pack essential items for a day or two in your hand luggage, in case your bags go astray and take a few days to catch up with you, especially if you have any tight connecting flights. 
Documents – take a copy of your travel insurance policy with you, and leave a copy of your passport with a reliable contact at home, in case the originals are lost or stolen. 
Electronic Devices – ensure these are all fully charge before travel, as you may be required to switch them on at airport security. Any device that does not switch on cannot be checked in and must be surrendered. 
Mobile Phones – make sure they are set up for international calls and turn off data roaming to avoid nasty bills. Be aware that some remote areas may not have cell phone coverage, but reception is good in urban areas and many hotels offer free Wi-Fi. 
Credit Cards – remember to inform your bank when travelling abroad. Credit cards are widely accepted, but always ensure you have cash when travelling in the countryside as some places may not accept them.  
Clothing – pack in layers according to the region you are visiting and the season. Take good walking shoes, a day pack, T-shirts, shorts, jeans, sunhat, swimming costume, sunglasses and sunscreen. Pack lightweigh clothing for the north of the country and rain gear in the wet season. Take a fleece, scarf, warm hat and thermals for Patagonia, where it can be very cold even in summer. If you are joining an expedition cruise, long waterproof trousers and jacket are also essential for disembarking on zodiacs, well as waterproof gloves. Sanitising hand cleaner/wet wipes and eye drops can also be handy, especially if you wear contact lenses. 
Accessories – pack your phone (with charger and a spare battery pack), camera (with spare memory cards and batteries – a 200 mm zoom lens is good for wildlife photography) and binoculars (large 8x40 is best). If you are a keen birder we suggest one pair per person, as it can be frustrating to share. 
Plugs – Type C (European 2-prong) and L (as used in Italy). 
Books – pack a good travel guide and a Spanish phrase book. Knowing a few simple greetings will go down well. Also pack a generous supply of English reading material for quiet evenings and when waiting for flights, as these will be hard to come by. 
Water – tap water is generally safe for brushing teeth, but drink only bottled water. 
Food – Chile has a rich culinary tradition, especially seafood. It is also famous for its excellent wines. Vegetarians and food allergies are well catered for. 
Taxis – in cities use only regulated taxis. 
Self-Drive – driving is on the right. It is relatively easy to self-drive in Chile, but remember that distances are vast, all road signs will be in Spanish and very little English will be understood in rural areas. Purchase a good road map in advance (in English) and download the Google Maps (offline) app or hire a sat-nav, as signage can be sparse in rural areas. On gravel roads be careful to avoid stones thrown up by passing vehicles and keep your lights on, at least dipped, at all times. Any valid UK, European or American driving license is usually accepted, as long as it has a photograph and signature. If you intend to cross the border into Argentina, be aware that extra paperwork will be required for your vehicle. Pack some CDs as local radio stations can be a little limited, and always allow some extra time to stop for photographs along the way. A credit card is essential if you are hiring a car. 
Safety – as this is a third-world country, take all sensible precautions. Leave valuable jewellery/watches at home, wear a money belt and be alert when outside your hotel. In particular, avoid taking out large wads of cash in public view and keep your spare cash in your hotel safe. 
Indemnities - please be aware it is likely you will be required to sign indemnities for any other potentially hazardous activities. 
Pack for a Purpose - if you have a little space in your suitcase, local schools & communities always appreciate gifts of pens & pencils, stationery, deflated footballs etc. Specific requests from communities can be seen on the 'Pack for a Purpose' website. 
Tipping – this is voluntary and should depend on the level of service received. We suggest the following USD (or local currency equivalent) per couple/family, but this can be reduced for longer stays: 
- city guide & driver: $12/$3 per day ($6/$2 for half day) 
- overland guide & driver: $10/$5 per day 
- ranger/tracker: $7/$3 per excursion 
- Patagonia cruise: $20 per day 
- tipping box for hotel staff: $5 per day 
- waiters: 10% (if not already added to your bill) 
- porters: $1 per bag. 
Your Safety - consult the UK Foreign Office website for the latest travel advice www.fco.gov.uk.
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