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Chile - Traveling

Contents extracted from the comprehensive atlas of international trade by Export Entreprises

Entry requirements

Organizing your trip

Means of transport recommended in town

Taking the bus in Santiago is an adventure in itself. More restful, the colectivo is a car like a taxi but with a sign on the roof indicating its number and destination. The route is fixed in advance and it drops people off all along its itinerary. It is a little more expensive than the bus. Taxi fares are reasonable and most of them have a meter.
Maps of urban networks: Maporama

Means of transport recommended in the rest of the country

There are only a few train lines in operation. In the North: the line Calama Uyuni, Arica Tacna and in the South the lines Santiago-Temuco and Santiago-Concepción are the ones most used. Buses are efficient, fast, popular and mostly cheap. All the cities are served daily by many companies, the two main ones being: Tur Bus and Pullman Bus. The airplane is a practical means of transport but more expensive than the bus and the train. It is best to reserve 7 days ahead of time to get an economical rate.
Airlines
Name Type Domestic flights International flights
Skyairlines Major YES No
LAN Major YES Yes
DAP Major YES Yes

Traveling by yourself

Recommendation: The road network is in good condition. However you should avoid leaving the main roads with a regular vehicle and take gas reserves if you plan to go for long journeys. There is a very dense and effective network of buses throughout Chile.
Public transport is dangerous because of the fierce competition between the companies which pushes the drivers, who are under pressure, to drive dangerously. The Metropolitan network is  little developed but reliable and clean.
Road maps: Maps of Chile
Find an itinerary: Finding an itinerary

Visiting

Different forms of tourism

Historical: Lost in the middle of the Pacific, 3 800 km from the coast of Chile, Easter Island attracts visitors from all over the world, intrigued by the mysterious megalithic statues left by a fascinating people.

Valparaiso, 120 km north-west of the capital, Santiago, is one of Chile's main cities; its elegance and charm of a 19th century colonial city has put it on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Cultural: Religious traditions, carnivals, oral traditions, folklore, crafts, visual arts, audiovisual arts, choreographic arts, scenic arts, literature, music
Nature: "Salto del Laja", the famous waterfall.

Puerto Montt, in Patagonia, where land and sea merge in a maze of islands, fjords, rivers, lakes and mountains covered in ancient trees.

The Atacama Desert.

Religious: These festivals or celebrations help maintain local traditions linked to religious beliefs: Easter of los negros, Assumption, Corpus Christi, the May Cross, feast of St Peter, feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of the Transito, Candlemas, Epiphany, Saint Rose of Pelequén, Saint Sebastian of Yumbel. 
Thermal: Another tourist attraction is Puyehne, in Orsano province, hot springs, hot water swimming pools, a lake strewn with beautiful islands.
Beach: Vina del Mar is a glamorous seaside resort, with a long, wide sandy beach and many restaurants and bars along its lively shopping streets.
Winter sports: The skiing season runs from mid-June to mid-September. The ski resorts with the finest ski slopes are located near Santiago.
Outdoor activities: Rafting, trekking, horseback riding, sand boarding
Shopping: The pedestrian streets in the center of Santiago are overflowing with boutiques for tourists. Santiago hosts many Chilean craft fairs.

Living conditions

Health and safety

Health precautions: No vaccination is recommended.
For further information on sanitary conditions: Advice from the Routard Guide

Time difference and climate

Map of the time zone: Santiago (GMT-4 in winter, GMT-3 in summer)
Summer time period: Summer time from October to March.
Climate: The average temperatures are 11 to 28 degrees in January and 2 to 14 degrees in July.

Eating

Food specialties: Cazuela (chicken stew with rice, corn, potatoes), Empanada (sort of fritter stuffed with meat, poultry or fish with onions, eggs and olives), alpaca steak (Altiplano), mutton, fish and seafood on the coast, local wines, pisco (brandy), chicha (fermented corn).
Drinks: The most common drinks are water, fizzy drinks, fresh fruit juices, mote con huesillo (made from husked wheat and sun-dried peaches), tea, coffee and maté (a stimulating infusion of the dried leaves of yerba mate).
Dietary taboos: There are no dietary restrictions in the country.

Speaking

Getting some knowledge: Yes = Sí
No = No
Thank you = Gracias
Hello = Hola
Good day = Buenos días
Good afternoon = Buenas tardes
Goodbye = Adiós
I don't understand = No entiendo
How much does it cost? What is the price? = ¿Cuánto cuesta? ¿Cuál es el precio?
I would like to buy ... = Me gustaría comprar ...
Do you take credit cards ? = ¿Aceptan tarjetas de crédito?
Where is  ... ? = ¿Dónde está ...?
The post office = la oficina de correo
The bank = el banco
The police station = la estación de policía; la comisaría de policía
The pharmacy = la farmacia
The airport = el aeropuerto
The train station = la estación del tren
A ticket for .... please. = Un boleto (billete) para ..., por favor.
Do you have any rooms available for tonight ? = ¿Tiene habitaciones para esta noche?.
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