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CHILE

Return to South America
Torres del Paine, Chile
Torres del Paine, © Can Stock Photo / Muha04

Chile is officially the Republic of Chile.  It occupies a long narrow strip nearly 3,000 miles long and 100 miles wide between the Andes and the Pacific Ocean in South America.  It is bordered by Peru in the north, while Bolivia and Argentina form its eastern border.  The Atacama Desert in its northern section is one of the driest climates in the world.  The landscaped changes to grassland, lakes, forests and volcanoes in its southern reaches.  The mountains become magnificent at Torres del Paine National Park, which is in part of the area commonly referred to as Patagonia.  Easter Island is also part of Chile.

Chile was ruled by the Incas until the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s.  Today the population is over 17 million and Spanish is the official language.  The capital is located in Santiago.  In the early 1970s, socialist Salvador Allende led the country and promoted the nationalization of much of the country.  This resulted in efforts by the United States via Richard Nixon to destabilize the country.  In 1973, Augusto Pinochet seized power in a coup.  His oppressive regime ruled the country until 1988.

Visas and Entry Fees:

Most foreigners do not need a visa to visit Chile.  Check your specific country at VisaHQ.   For a list of exempt countries, visit Project Visa.  All travellers are given a tourist card (valid for a maximum period of 90 days) upon arrival. The tourist card must be presented prior to departure. Failure to produce this document may result in delays until a replacement card is obtained. 

Travellers involved in outdoor expeditions such as trekking tours, amateur film activities, mountain bike riding, and car competitions do not require a permit from the Direccin Nacional de Fronteras y Limites del Estado (DIFROL). However, foreigners engaged in the planning of scientific, technical, and/or mountaineering activities in Chilean frontier zones must obtain an expedition permit from DIFROL.  As well, people wishing to visit national, archaeological, and/or historical monuments located in frontier zones require due authorization from the Chilean Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales.  For additional information, travellers should contact DIFROL.

An airport departure tax is charged.  For internal travel, the amount varies depending on the distance travelled.  For international destinations, the tax is US$30.  The tax is usually included in the price of the airfare.

Reciprocity Fees:

A reciprocity fee is charged to Australians.  It is charged in protest over entry fees charged to Chileans when entering Australia.  The fee was dropped for US citizens in 2014 and for Canadians in 2015.  The fee is only charged upon arrival by air at the Santiago International Airport.  No other entry methods incur the fee.  The rate for Australians in 2015 was US $117 and is payable by cash, credit card, or travellers cheques. The receipt, stapled into the visitors passport, is valid for the duration of the passport. This entry fee is not the same as a visa requirement.

Currency:

The currency of Chile is the Chilean peso.  It is a much more stable currency than the neighboring Argentine peso.  

Best Time to Visit Chile: January

City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

 Coyhaique

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 Easter Island

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 Puerto Montt

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 Puerto Natales

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 Punta Arenas

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 Robinson Crusoe Island

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 Torres del Paine

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 Valparaiso

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