Rolling out over a colossal 4,300km, Chile is Mother Nature’s very own red carpet. See the world’s driest desert in the north. The lake district in the south. And the bone-white beaches and snow-capped peaks that frame its length. While Chile is made for adventures, its cosmopolitan cities and boutique hotels mean luxury is never far away.
Vibrant cities meet dramatic landscapes in Chile, where nature is the star of the show
- Capital city: Santiago
- Currency: the Chilean Peso ($). Coins in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500 pesos, and notes in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 10,000 and 20,000.
- Cuisine: Chile is exposed to a range of climates and influences, reflected in its cooking. Classic dishes include pastel de choclo (maize casserole), chupe de jaiva (crab casserole) and empanadas.
- Tipping etiquette: It’s customary to tip 10% in a restaurant – although check they haven’t added it to your bill under ‘servicio’ first. Tip hotel porters and maids directly, at 1-2$(CLP) per bag or per day. Some resorts have a no tip policy, so it’s best to ask the concierge.
- Saying hello: Spanish is the local language, so a simple ‘hola’ will do. If you’re in a more formal setting, try ‘buenos dias’.
WHEN TO GO
Chile’s weather varies dramatically from north to south. Visit the northern deserts between November and March for mild spring-like temperatures. Miss the crowds but catch warm weather from March to May in central Santiago – this is also the time when wineries celebrate their most fruitful season with grape harvest festivals. April is the perfect time to see the lush autumnal foliage of the South.
Chile is one of the world’s greatest wine producers. Drink from the source at its vineyards in mountainous valleys and coastal groves.
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