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Chile Tips

  • Location and Geography

  • Language

  • Currency

  • Climate

  • Documents needed to Access Chile
  • Airports

Location and Geography:

Chile is the longest and narrowest country of the globe, with more than four thousand kilometers long and an average width of 177 km. The country is located at the southeast of the South American continent and shares borders with Peru to the north.

The Chilean territory expands from the Atacama Desert reaching the southernmost islands of the world, in Tierra del Fuego. Chile has a continental surface of 756.096 square kilometers, and its territory begins at 17° 30'south latitude stretching to 56°30' south latitude.

It is located between two big forces of nature, to the west with the Pacific Ocean to the west and with the Andes Mountain Range to the east.

In Chile we can observe how landscapes change as we move from the north to the southern part of the country.

In the north, the high Andean plateau and deserts predominate in the area, where you can find the Atacama Desert also known as the driest desert of the world.

In Chile's Central Zone, we will find the two most important mountain ranges of our geography, The Andes Mountain Range or "Cordillera de los Andes" and The Coastal Mountain Range or Cordillera de la Costa, giving rise to valleys, rivers and fields.

The area of South Chile is highlighted by big lakes, snowy volcanoes, and green forests known as Valdivian Forest or "Bosque Valdiviano". This is the only mild rainforest of South America.

The Patagonia has a territory with thousands of islands and a continental zone trimmed by fiords, canals and big glaciers. This region shelters important continental passages such as the Magellan Strait, Beagle Canal, and Drake Passage.

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Language

Spanish is the official language and is spoken by its complete population. There are also indigenous communities that have their own languages and dialects such as the Mapudungún, Aymara and Rapanui.

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Currency

The currency unit in Chile is the Chilean Peso or CLP.

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Climate

Chile has a rich climatic diversity along its territory determined by the length of the country. Climate is influenced by many factors such as: geographical position concerning areas of high pressure, the presence of a polar front and influence of the sea. In other words, climate is influenced by the latitude, altitude, and topography of the country.

Climate Diversity is noted by the rainfall frequency which becomes significantly intense as you advance to the southern part of the country.

The rainfall period also varies according to the region: in the summer, rain is present in the High Plateau, and in the winter rain is more common in the Central Zone all the way to Patagonia.

North Zone

In this area of the country there is a desert-like climate, dry, with high temperatures during the day and cold weather at night. Temperatures slightly vary through the year, providing an average temperature of 20°C (68°F).

In all beaches of the north there is a moderate climate, cloudy in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. On the other hand, night temperatures in the high plateau or "Altiplano" drop 0°C (32°F).

During the summer there is a phenomenon known as "Invierno Boliviano" with occasional thunderstorms and hail. The interesting fact is that there are places in North Chile that do not register any rainfall, such as the Atacama Desert. A unique phenomenon that originates in this area of Chile is the "Desierto Florido", where after occasional winter rainfall and as spring arrives, a field of flowers forms in the middle of the desert.

In Norte Grande: from Arica city to the north of Atacama city.

It is characterized by a desert climate, which reaches its maximum expression in the Atacama Desert, turning this unique landscape into the driest desert in the world.

In Norte Chico: from southern Atacama city to northern Valparaiso city This part of the country shares a steppe climate, which functions as a transition of a desert climate to the cold south.

The Norte Chico has irregular rainfall that concentrates during the winter season. Moreover, the coast has a coastal steppe climate with an increase in rainfall compared to the Norte Grande generating a big humid environment manifested as foggy.

Central Zone: South of Valparaíso to the north of Bío Bío

In this area we find a Mediterranean climate, influenced by the coastal mountain range which prevents the flow of marine climate and is also influenced by the Andes Mountain Range which blocks continental winds. Moreover, the presence of the sea provides soft temperatures and an important difference in the maximum and minimum daily temperatures causing cloudiness and fresh winds also influenced by the cold Humboldt airstream.

The valleys and coasts have a template climate with well defined seasons, with dry summers and relatively rainy winters. The inner cities present a marked difference in their summer and winter climate. Temperatures average 20°C (68°F) in the summer, and 8°C (46.4°F) in the winter.

South Zone: from Los Ángeles city to Chiloé Big Island

This zone is characterized by a template rainy climate which provides native forests. This type of climate is present in the coastal area and insular areas, accompanied by frequent rains of template and fresh temperatures. These characteristics create a transition in the climate between the Central Zone and Chilean Patagonia. The Mountain Area is characterized by low temperatures with abundant snowfalls in the winter.

Patagonia: from Puerto Montt city to Punta Arenas city and Tierra del Fuego

The climate here can be divided in two areas: North Patagonia and South Patagonia.

In North Patagonia as far as Cochrane

Presents climatic variations influenced by the relief of the sea formed by islands and archipelagos together with strong winds. In the Mountain Areas of the Patagonian Andes, the climate is highlighted by the tundra effect, making this zone less rainy and very cold.

In the "Carretera Austral" or region of Aisén, there is a maritime climate characterized by low temperatures, abundant rainfall, strong winds and humidity.

South Patagonia: from Cochrane to Punta Arenas and Tierra del Fuego

In the southernmost area of the continent we can experience a cold steppe weather characterized by big thermal amplitude and low temperatures. Winter rainfall decreases generally in the form of snow, while the Antarctic territory is predominated by a polar climate.

This is an area predominated by the wind, which becomes more intense in spring and summer in a period where winds can reach an average speed of 30 to 40 kilometers per hour. Average temperature can reach 2°C (35.6°F) in winter and 10.6°C (equivalent to 51°F) in the summer. On the other hand an average rainfall of 425mm is preferably present during spring-summer and winter-summer seasons.

Islands: Eastern Island and Juan Fernández Archipelago

These southern areas have a subtropical climate welcoming comfortable temperatures, moderate humidity, with little variation during the year.

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Documents needed to Access the country

An updated passport is a fundamental prerequisite to enter the country.

Citizens from countries that do not share diplomatic relations with Chile, have to issue a tourist visa together with prior authorization from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to enter Chile.

As soon as you arrive, International Police well known in Chile as "Policía Internacional", will give travelers a Tourism Card also known in the country as "Tarjeta de Turismo". This is a non-transferrable and personal document only valid for 90 days. This card must be handed back to the Migration Office as soon as you leave the country.

Reciprocity Tax

Citizens of the countries of Albania, Australia, Canada, and Mexico, must pay the Reciprocity Tax to enter Chile. This tax must be paid as you exit the plane and before going through Migration Control.

  • Australia: US$ 61
  • Albania: US$ 30
  • Canadá: US$ 132
  • México: US$ 23

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Airports

The country receives about 25 Airline Companies at its International Airport in Santiago (SCL), located 20 kilometers to the west of the city.

The airport offers conveniences and services such as International Police, Customs, and Migration. The main airline in Chile is LAN Airlines, providing daily frequency to Santiago from the cities of New York, Miami, and Los Angeles (USA). In Europe, daily service departs from Frankfurt and Madrid, on the other hand, and thanks to an alliance with the company of Iberia, it connects with different cities in the rest of the continent.

The International Airport in Santiago also offers daily flights from other points of America such as the cities of Mexico, Bogotá, Lima, Buenos Aires, La Paz, Río de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Montevideo. In the South Pacific, Chile runs itineraries from Tahiti and French Polynesia.

Chile also has other national airports along the country.

Ciudad IATA Aeropuerto
Antofagasta ANF Aeropuerto Nacional Andrés Sabella Gálvez
Arica ARI Aeropuerto Internacional Chacalluta
Balmaceda BBA Aeropuerto Balmaceda
Calama CJC Aeropuerto Internacional El Loa
Concepción CCP Aeropuerto Internacional Carriel Sur
Copiapó CPO Aeropuerto Desierto de Atacama
Dalcahue MHC Aeropuerto Mocopulli
Iquique IQQ Aeropuerto Internacional Diego Aracena
Isla de Pascua IPC Aeropuerto Internacional Mataveri
La Serena LSC Aeropuerto La Florida
Osorno ZOS Aeropuerto Cañal Bajo Carlos Hott Siebert
Puerto Montt PMC Aeropuerto Internacional El Tepual
Punta Arenas PUQ Aeropuerto Internacional Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo
Santiago de Chile SCL Aeropuerto Internacional Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez
Temuco ZCO Aeropuerto La Araucanía
Valdivia ZAL Aeropuerto Pichoy

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