Travel in Chile

 

Chile is a safe place to travel around. One can travel by train, bus, or flying but this is a rather difficult way. The best alternative is by car. The ideal is to rent a Camper similar to the ones depicted here. There are only few camping sites for motorhomes and campers so most of the times you can stay overnight near a lake, beach without being disturbed. It is preferable not to stay in the suburbs of towns but it is safe downtown.

Campers in the Coquimbo region beaches

Taking photographs of beetles in Atacama Desert

 

National parks usually have a camping area to sleep, but only some have tent sites. One interesting alternative is to travel in* a Camper. Depending on the areas planned to visit may be necessary to hire a 4-wheel drive vehicle. The most useful tourist guide with excellent maps that can be bought is Turistel. They are updated yearly. These can be found in most large bookshops and are available only in spanish. Other alternative are Lonely Planet guides.

Exploring Atacama Desert

Collecting insects in the Araucaria forests

Chile is a large country so trips should be planned carefully to get the most out of it. A suggestion is to select a region and visit only that during a couple of weeks. Avoid trying to see everything in one shot as you will miss a lot.

 

Health: In Chile there are no tropical regions so Antimalarials are not required. Water is available in most places but Europeans and Americans frequently suffer from Traveller's diarrhea if they drink tap water on arrival. I recommend to start with bottled water for the first week. There are no poisonous insects or snakes although there is a Loxosceles spider that lives inside old houses and can give a nasty bite when is bothered. There are mosquitos in some places, however they do not carry diseases. The sun is strong and sensible measures should be taken. If you are planning to travel high in the Andes, especially over 3500 mts above sea level, perhaps you should contact a local phycician to give advice and some pills to avoid mountain sickness. The best place to get advice or medical care is Hospital Universidad Catolica, in Santiago, the most prestigiated Academic Centre (Tel 56-2-633 2051). Most doctors speak English there and they have all specialties.

Crime: Although a safe place, always common sense measures should be taken. Avoid showing money, use traveller cheques, do not take all your money in the same place, have passport photocopies in your luggage, girls should travel accompanied and dressed. If you are fined for speeding do not attempt offering money to the Police as you can end spending the night behind bars. The Police are called Carabineros and they are extremely helpful. They are not corrupt.

 

Driving: You have to feel really brave to drive inside Santiago Downtown, where the yellow buses and taxi drivers may make you feel dizzy. Santiago people are known for their poor driving habits. Apart from this place it is fairly safe but avoid night driving, bank holiday weekends and use a lot of commonsense.

Lodging: There are plenty hotels and "pensiones" where to stay.

 

MAPS: Chile is divided into 12 Geographical regions (Numbered I to XII from North to South) and a Central Metropolitan Region, where Santiago its located.

 

Choose the Region you would like to see:

 

Region I

Region II

Region III

Region IV

Region V

Region VI

Region VII

Region VIII

Region IX

Region X

Region XI

Region XII

Metropolitan Region