The Latin America Travel Experts

020 7263 3000

Travelling to Chile

All the practical information you need regarding your trip to Latin America is found here. From how to prepare before you leave and travelling to your destination, to advice on travelling within your country of choice.

Before you Go

  • There is an immigration entry fee to enter Chile for citizens of the US, Australia, Canada and some other countries. Please check with the appropriate consulate. To enter Chile, a fee must be paid upon arrival in Santiago airport.

    British-Chilean dual nationals must enter and leave Chile using their Chilean passport.

  • Adequate travel insurance is essential. We do not sell or recommend any specific policy. A list of insurance companies that our customers have found suitable is available from us.

    Please advise your insurer of any pre-existing medical conditions and, if you are booking a holiday involving high-altitude trekking, such as the Inca Trail, make sure that you are covered for this.

    If you are planning on carrying out any other activities, please ensure your insurance policy will cover you for these.

    Note that cancellation cover is often only available if insurance is purchased within two weeks of booking your holiday.

  • Some countries in Latin America have strict regulations regarding the entry and exit of children under 18 when not travelling with both parents, or if the child has nationality of the country you are visiting. If you are travelling with children who are not entering or leaving the country with both parents, or if the child has nationality of the country you are visiting, please contact the consulate of the country you are visiting to check requirements.

    Children require a polio vaccination certificate to entre Brazil.

  • In Santiago, daytime temperatures from October to April tend to be around 20°C - 30°C and night-time temperatures around 10°C. Daytime highs in Torres del Paine from October to April are around 12°C – 20°C and night-time temperatures can drop to 2°C or 3°C. Although rain is usually not heavy, it can get very windy, and wind chill can make the temperatures feel 7 or 8 degrees cooler. In Puerto Varas, daytime highs from October to April tend to be around 15°C - 20°C and night-time temperatures around 6°C - 10°C. Although this is the driest period, rain is common throughout the year. Daytime highs in the Atacama Desert are around 20°C – 25°C and night-time temperatures are around 12°C. Daytime highs on Easter Island are around 20°C – 25°C and night-time temperatures are around 15°C - 20°C. 

    Due to the variations in weather, we recommend taking a variety of clothing, suitable for warm and cold weather. Rain is possible throughout the year, so waterproofs are also recommended. 

    Electricity in Chile is 220V, and plugs are of the round two-pin type. 

    We recommend you carry a copy of your passport with you at all times. 

    Please bring any medication you may require from the UK. 

    You can bring whichever luggage you feel most comfortable with: suitcases, soft bags and rucksacks are fine.

  • You will receive tickets approximately 10 days before departure, along with information on accommodation, transfers and excursions. Our agents in Latin America will give you your hotel and excursion vouchers when you arrive. Please check airline tickets carefully in case timings have changed after we issued your confirmation.

Health & Fitness

  • Please consult your GP or a travel clinic about health and vaccination requirements. The NHS website www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk gives good advice about travelling in each country.

    When visiting Latin America, stomach illnesses are not uncommon due to changes in diet. We suggest you only drink bottled water and avoid ice. If you are unsure if salads and fruit have been washed in purified water, it is best to avoid them.

    San Pedro de Atacama is at mid-high altitude. Most people who travel to altitude do not suffer major problems. However, shortness of breath is common and we advise you to take things calmly during your first day or so at altitude. Some Llama Travel customers have reported beneficial effects of the herbal remedy Ginkgo Biloba. Many of the places you visit require some walking uphill. Please bear in mind that the altitude means this is more strenuous than equivalent length walks in the UK. If you think you may suffer due to the altitude, please consult your GP before travelling.

    If you have any health problems on holiday, please speak to our local agents or hotel staff. They will arrange for a doctor or hospital if necessary. Illnesses caused by altitude can be serious. If you do experience any problems, please seek appropriate medical attention.

  • For most of our holidays, age is not a concern. However, a reasonable level of fitness is required, as most holidays require some walking, sometimes on uneven ground. Even relatively mild activities can be strenuous at altitude. High altitude trekking is more strenuous than an equivalent length walk at low altitude.

Getting there

  • A holiday in Latin America inevitably means long haul flights, and at least one overnight sector. Air fares vary from date to date and between airlines. Our holidays are scheduled to use the most advantageous air fare.

    You can choose which airline you prefer, we will let you know if a supplement is payable. Levels of onboard service and facilities, such as entertainment, vary by airline and route. Please ask us for details. Opinions change over time, but in the past year, Llama Travel customers’ preference was for Air France, KLM, British Airways and Virgin, followed by United and Iberia. Flights are sometimes operated by another airline in the appropriate airline alliance.

  • Most airlines offer the option of flying from regional airports in the UK, avoiding the need to make your own way to London. Due to the timing of flights, in some cases this may involve an overnight stop in London or another intermediate airport. There is usually a supplement for regional departures. Please note that most of our flights depart from London.

  • You can upgrade to business class or premium economy on most airlines. Prices start from £199 each way for Premium Economy and £699 each way for Business Class. Call us for prices for the route and airline you are interested in.

    Premium Economy
    British Airways World Traveller Plus, Air France Premium Voyageur and Virgin Premium Economy seats are available. These provide more comfortable seats which recline further and have more legroom. There are better meals and a bar service.

    KLM, Iberia and United offer standard economy class seats with extra legroom for additional cost. KLM seats can be booked through Llama Travel. United and Iberia seats can be reserved with the airlines one month prior to departure.

    Business Class
    British Airways Club World has seats which convert into full flat beds and have a privacy screen.

    Iberia Business Plus between Madrid and Latin America offers seats which convert into flat beds. Between the UK and Madrid, seats are usually the same as in economy class.

    KLM World Business Class offers seats that recline to 150 degrees (to Quito) or 170 degrees (to Lima). Between the UK and Amsterdam, seats are usually the same as in economy class.

    Air France Affaires Class offer seats which convert into virtually flat beds. Between the UK and Paris, seats are usually the same as in economy class.

  • Most scheduled airlines have a baggage allowance of 20kg per passenger, especially when taking internal flights within Latin America. Please bear this in mind when packing, as carrying excess baggage will normally incur an expensive additional cost payable at check in. Additionally, certain excursions have a limited baggage allowance. Where this is the case, you will usually be able to leave the rest of you luggage in storage. Llama Travel accepts no responsibility for the delay, loss or damage of luggage.

  • Many airlines now charge a fee to select your seat prior to checking in for your flight, even when travelling in premium economy or business class. Alternatively, you may choose your preferred seat free of charge when online check-in opens 24 hours prior to departure or at the airport. Please ask us about the options available at time of booking.

    We all want a comfortable journey, particularly on long haul flights. If you would like a seat with some extra leg room or a larger recline please let us know. Airlines have introduced a range of “economy comfort” seats that may be purchased in advance. In some cases, these seats may only be purchased online directly with the airline once Llama Travel has issued your ticket approximately 30 days prior to departure.

    For flights within Latin America, and for connecting flights in Europe, it is usually only possible to select seats when you check-in online or at the airport.

    It may not be possible to always use online check-in systems, especially when using a codeshare flight. On occasion, your preferred seat may be changed by the airline for operational reasons such as a change of aircraft or to facilitate a disabled passenger on the day you fly and as such, Llama Travel cannot always guarantee specific seats.

  • If you would like to break your journey to or from Latin America and add a stopover to your holiday, this may be possible.

    Depending on which airline you choose, stopovers may be possible in Miami, New York, Houston, Madrid, Amsterdam or Paris.

  • Additionally, if the passport was issued, renewed/extended between October 26, 2005 and October 25, 2006 it must contain a digital photograph. If the passport was issued, renewed/extended on or after October 26, 2006, it must be also include an integrated circuit chip capable of storing the biographic information from the data page, a digitized photograph and other biometric information.

    Please note, holders of passports indicating that the bearer is a British Subject, a British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British National (Overseas) Citizen or British Protected Person do not qualify for travel without a visa. A passport which states that the holder has Right of Abode or indefinite leave to remain in the UK does not quality for visa-free travel.
    If you have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, or if you have a criminal record, you will need a visa.

    If you have any doubts about whether you qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, please check with the US embassy. Full details can be found on the US embassy’s UK website at: http://london.usembassy.gov/vwp3.html

    Many European, Australian and New Zealand passport holders also qualify for the Visa Waiver Program as long as the passport is machine readable and complies with the relevant criteria. Please see the US embassy website for a list of countries which qualify for the Visa Waiver Program. It is important that you check the website of the US Embassy in the country of passport nationality for any further changes before you travel.

    ESTA Visa Waiver Program - **** Action by you may be required ****
    The US State Department has introduced a mandatory electronic system to help speed up the US immigration process for travellers on the Visa Waiver Program. All Visa Waiver Program travellers must fill in a form on the US State department website. This can be found at (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov). Please enter this into the address bar on your web browser. There is a $14 charge per person to apply for this. DO NOT search for this website via a search engine, such as Google, as it will take you to an incorrect website. Although this can be filled in up to 72 hours before travel, we recommend that you fill in this form as soon as possible so any issues can be identified immediately. To apply please scroll to the bottom of the green area and press the apply button on the left hand side of the page. Please make sure that this form is filled out for all the passengers on your booking. If you require more detailed instructions, please visit www.LlamaTravel.com/ESTA.

    If you do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, or if your passport does not meet the relevant criteria, then you will require a US visa before you travel. Even if you are given authorization on the ESTA website, some travellers may not be eligible to enter the United States visa free under the Visa Waiver Program. If in doubt, please consult the US embassy website.

    Advanced Passenger Information - **** Action by you is required ****
    The US Transportation Security Authority requires anybody flying through the United Sates to supply specific passenger information prior to their international flight. This is in addition to the information to be submitted for the Visa Waiver Program which you may have already completed. Please visit our website where you will find details on how to submit this information using the airlines website. www.LlamaTravel.com/USAPI.

    Please complete this procedure as soon as possible. If your passenger information is not entered into the flight booking we are unable to issue your flight tickets. This may result in your flight booking being cancelled and high charges being incurred.

Travelling in Chile

  • If you receive good service, you may want to leave a tip. This is completely at your discretion. If you want to tip guides, US$2-3 per person per day is usual if you are in a group. Approximately US$1-2 is usual for drivers or transfer staff. 10% is usual in restaurants. Please give any tips directly to the person you would like to tip to ensure that they get it.

  • All hotels include breakfast, and other meals are included on some tours and excursions. However, generally, you will need to arrange your own lunches and dinners. We recommend budgeting approximately US$20 – 25 for a meal, although many restaurants have excellent value set lunches for less than this. Hotel restaurants, especially in superior hotels, can be more expensive. Restaurant in more remote areas, including Torres del Paine and Easter Island, are more expensive. Additionally, there are many upmarket restaurants, particularly in Santiago, where you should expect to pay up to US$50 per person, or possibly more.

    Bar prices are similar to the UK and a small bottle of beer usually costs around US$2-3 in a hotel bar. This can be higher in more remote areas.

    If you are planning on arranging any activities locally, especially in Torres del Paine, these can be expensive. These can usually be paid for by credit card.

  • Excursions are usually taken together with other Llama Travel customers in groups of no more than 18 people. If we have more than 18 booked, we operate two groups. If we have only one or two people booked on an excursion, the excursion may be operated together with people other than Llama Travel customers. In some places, the excursions are operated by one of our local partners, such as treks in Torres del Paine, so you may be with people other than Llama Travel customers. In these cases, group sizes can sometimes be larger. If you would like to know the likely situation for your holiday, please ask us and we will be able to check. Transfers may be in a vehicle with more than 18 people.

  • Chileans love meat and there are many restaurants catering for meat lovers. There are also many good seafood restaurants in Santiago, with the Central Market having many good places to eat at lunchtime. Some of the best restaurants are to be found in the Barrio Lastarria and in the Barrio Bellavista, although they tend to be more expensive. There are many restaurants serving good value set lunches throughout the city.

    Most of the restaurants in Puerto Varas can be found close to the centre of the town. Fish is prominent on the menus, but there is also a wide selection of international cuisine. There is a good selection of restaurants in Puerto Natales, especially for a town of its size, including typical Patagonian barbecued meat places, sea food restaurants and pizzerias. In Torres del Paine, you will generally eat in your hotel, although there are some restaurants close to the hotel Rio Serrano. Hotels can also prepare packed lunches. There are few places to eat in the park itself.

    Good food and Chilean wine is also easily found in the centre of Punta Arenas. The local specialty is king crab (centolla). The hearty Chilean cazuela is a stew made from meat, squash, potatoes and other vegetables, and makes for a nourishing, warming meal in the cold Patagonian climate.

    There are several good restaurants in San Pedro in the Atacama Desert, with many serving local ingredients, including llama meat. There is a fairly limited selection of restaurants in Hanga Roa on Easter Island, although there are several good fish restaurants. Prices tend to be quite high, with shipped in food often twice the price of on the mainland, although local fish can be good value.

  • The currency in Chile is the Peso (approximate exchange rate: CLP550 = US$1). Travellers should take local currency or US dollars and not UK sterling, which is not widely accepted in any form. Credit and debit cards (Visa and MasterCard) can be used in many shops and restaurants, and can also be used to withdraw money from cash machines. Please note that it can be difficult to use US dollar notes which have even the smallest tear. When changing US dollars into local currency, always use a reputable place to change: banks, hotels or exchange shops. Do not change money on the street if you can avoid it. If taking travellers cheques, a high commission may be charged, especially if changing directly into dollars. Some hotels do not change travellers cheques so you may need to change them in a bank or exchange shop, therefore, please bear in mind opening hours.

    It is always recommended to inform your bank that you are travelling abroad and to which countries. This will allow them to authorise money withdrawals on your account when you are away. Some banks say that this is not necessary; however we would still recommend contact with your bank as in some cases people have had difficulty in withdrawing currency.

  • Latin America is relatively safe to visit, and most people experience no problems during their stay. However, as is the case anywhere in the world, crime can be a problem. Tourists are often seen as being wealthy, and can therefore appear attractive targets to criminals. To minimise the risk to yourself, use common sense. Do not walk around with obvious signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive looking jewellery or with cameras round your neck. Keep passports and valuables in your hotel safe. When in restaurants, always keep bags (especially if they contain valuables) close to your person and out of sight. Do not walk down empty streets, especially after dark. By taking sensible precautions, you should have a completely troublefree holiday.

    Please use the safe in your hotel room or boat cabin to store your valuables, if this is available. If there is not a safe in your room, there will usually be a safe in reception where you can store valuables. On boats, if there is not a safe in your cabin, you can usually leave valuables with the captain.

    Making sure that you stay safe during your holiday is very important. We bear this in mind when selecting hotels, but please understand that standards of health and safety in Latin America are often not as high as they are in the UK. Enclosed is a sheet with some useful advice on health and safety produced by LATA (the Latin American Travel Association). Please take the time to read this before you travel. Take extra care if you are travelling with children.

  • In many destinations, you can arrange adventure activities. If you are interested in taking any of these, please make sure you are covered by your travel insurance. Llama Travel does not arrange any adventure activities directly and we cannot verify the safety measures of any local operators.

  • To phone the UK from Chile, dial the international dialling code for the UK (0044) and then the UK telephone number, leaving out the ‘0’ in the area code. Telephone cards are the easiest way to use public telephones, and can be bought in convenience stores.

    To phone Chile from the UK, dial the international dialling code for Chile (0056) and then the Chilean telephone number, leaving out the ‘0’ in the area code. Some UK mobile phones work in Chile. Check with your mobile phone service provider if your telephone will work.

  • Excursions are operated together with other holidaymakers. These will usually be in English, although groups are sometimes a mix of English and Spanish or Portuguese speaking. A minimum of 2 people is required for some excursions. On some occasions, the order of excursions may vary.