Language: Spanish is the official language.
Currency: Chilean Peso
Time Zone: Chile Standard Time = GMT-4, Chile Daylight Saving Time = GMT-3
Tipping: The standard tipping rate is 10% for restaurants etc.
This long, thin country running down the side of Bolivia and Argentina is one of sheer diversity, from the driest desert in the world and snow-capped volcanoes to beaches and national parks teeming with wildlife. Chile might be thin, but things to do here certainly aren't thin on the ground.
If you are travelling to Chile on an escorted tour then the stunning Atacama Desert in the north, volcano-dotted Lake District in the south or Andes mountain range forming the entire eastern border with Argentina are likely to be on the agenda. The Atacama Desert is one of the top three tourist locations in Chile and is the driest desert in the world. Some weather stations here have never received rain and parts of its landscape have been likened to Mars. Despite the barren perception there is plenty of life here, with excursions featuring El Tatio Geyser, the highest geyser field in the world at 14,000 feet, huge salt lakes, the aptly named Moon Valley and Indian Villages.
Chile’s Lake District is another key sight where you can take in amazing views of Osorno Volcano with the shimmering Lake Llanquihue below, as is the magnificent Torres del Paine National Park. Keep your eyes peeled for Andean Condor, Chilean Flamingo and Puma. Capital Santiago nestled at the foot of the Andes, Vina del Mar, Valpariso, Puerto Natales and Quitor can also be visited on some itineraries.
Escorted tours to Chile are split between whole tours of this amazing country or those incorporating other South American destinations like Argentina and Brazil. All tours feature return flights from the UK, internal travel, a full touring itinerary both on and off the beaten track, accommodation, selected meals, a tour manager and local guides.
Travelling on an escorted tour means that you'll be in the safest hands when it comes to holidaying in unfamiliar lands. However, to help you have an enjoyable holiday in Chile, take a look at these useful tips and advice provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO):
Health and Travel Insurance
Local Laws and Customs
Health and Travel Insurance
Before you travel to Chile it is wise to check with your GP whether you need any additional vaccinations or preventive medical measures. The health facilities in Chile are good in major cities, but can be expensive.
You should make sure you are covered by adequate travel insurance and also have access to funding which can cover the cost of medical treatment and in extreme cases medical repatriation. Most tours offer the chance to purchase one-trip travel insurance at the time of booking.
If you need to contact the emergency services whilst in Chile dial 131 and ask for an ambulance.
Chile is prone to pickpocketing and theft, specifically in tourist areas, bus stops and parts of Santiago. Foreign cafes and restaurants are places to keep an eye on your belongings, as there has been a rise in bag theft here.
When in the north of Chile, by the Atacama desert, San Pedro, and the Lake District, be careful as theft has increased here. Keep valuables with you and do not leave them in storage compartments in buses and coaches.
Muggings have occasionally been reported, sometimes by armed groups, in Santiago scenic areas such as Cerro San Cristobal, Cerro Santa Lucia and Cerro Manquehue. Never walk alone at night.
Taxis should be booked in advance, especially at night. It has been known for people to be given spiked drinks in nightclubs and bars, specifically in Suecia and Bellavista. This can lead to theft or assault.
Your passport and valuables should be left in a safe place and a copy of your passport details should be with you all the time.
Local Laws and Customs
It is illegal to consume or possess drugs in Chile and this can result in a prison sentence.
Homosexuality is legal and widely accepted in Chile, but Chilean society can be conservative.
You do not need a visa if you are a British passport holder and planning to visit for less than 90 days. The nearest Chilean Embassy should be contacted if you intend to stay longer than this. Immigration authorities will give you a "Tarjeta de Turismo – Tourist Card" when you arrive in Chile, which must be kept to show immigration when you exit.
You should contact the Chilean Immigration Department (Telephone: 600 626 4222) if you are in Chile and decide to stay more than 90 days.
For the time that you are in Chile, your passport should be valid. British-Chilean dual nationals can enter Chile with their British passport, but a Chilean passport is needed to leave. Contact the Chilean Embassy for more information.
Entry and exit of minors under the age of 18 has tight regulations. Children who are born in Chile need a passport to exit. A minor tourist entering Chile must leave with the same adult. A consent letter from both parents is required if the minor wishes to exit alone or with someone else. A consent letter from the other parent is required if the minor entered with both parents but wishes to leave with one. All consent letters have to be from a notary public in Chile or a local Chilean Embassy or Consulate.
British minors settling in Chile and leaving alone or with another adult have to submit an authorisation executed in front of a local notary public from the non-travelling parent/s.
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Chile.
Any other nationality looking to visit Chile must contact the local embassy to check visa requirements.
To find out more about visiting Chile, check out their official tourism website at chile.travel
As one of the most scenic countries in the world, Chile is a unique an inspiring place to visit.
The capital of Chile is set below the incredible Andes Mountains. Within the city you'll find the Presidential Palace and city museum, along with the lovely homes in Las Condes and Providencia. The Bohemian Bellavista district is also a great place to visit.
Located in the Chilean Lake District, Puerto Varas overlooks Lafo Llanquihue. You can go from here to Laguna Verde and the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park. The Oscorno Volcano is a must - from here you can see the amazing views across the lake .
Torres Del Paine National Park
The park is home to a variety of unusual wildlife including guanacos, pumas, flamingos and condors. Wonderful waterfalls and lakes can be found and beautiful environments explored. This 113,000 hectare site will definitely keep you busy!
San Pedro de Atacama
You can soak up the history of Chile in San Pedro de Atacama's church and museum. The Pre-Inca fortress of Pukara de Quitor is also nearby, along with the spectacular Moon Valley where you'll find multi-coloured rows of minerals shaping a unique landscape.