Hotels in Chile
A holiday to Chile, with its majestic and varied scenery, will take your breath away. Stretching some 2,700 miles from top to bottom, yet never more than 110 miles wide, this unusually narrow ribbon of land stretches from the Atacama Desert in the north to the majestic fjords of Patagonia in the south. This country of amazing contrasts and extreme beauty is sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean to the west and the snow-capped peaks of the magnificent Andes to the east. The bustling cosmopolitan capital of Santiago lies in a lovely setting overlooked by the mountains. This city of beautiful homes, wide boulevards and delightful gardens is home to an array of galleries, bars, restaurants and shops. Maipo Valley is just south of here and produces some of the new world's finest wines.
The most famous of Chile's national parks is Torres del Paine in southern Patagonia, designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. The park's magnificent mountain range contrasts with the plains of the Patagonian steppe for unsurpassed scenery. Also in the south is the majestically beautiful Chilean Lake District with its brilliant blue lakes and rivers. For a complete contrast to this area, head north to the spectacular Atacama Desert, reportedly the world's driest desert, home to remarkable landscapes, salt lakes and boiling geysers. Add to this the mysterious stone figures of Easter Island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, and you will understand why a holiday to Chile is so special.
During your holiday take time to savour the delicious, world-renowned Chilean food and wine, get to know the friendly locals and try to spot some of the country's unusual wildlife, including armadillos, guanacos, spectacular birds and even pumas.
Chile Travel Notes
GMT: - 4 hours
Language: Spanish is the official language but several native languages are still spoken. Over 20,000 speak Aymara in the north and further south there are perhaps 500,000 who speak Mapuche. On Easter Island a Polynesian language, Rapa Nui, is used.
Currency: Peso ($)
Dates for the diary: Easter and Christmas are the most important dates on the Chilean festive calendar when many celebrations take place. An important secular holiday is Independence Day on 18th September with the following day being the day of the Armed Forces. This week is taken up with 'Fiestas Patrias' and is a very patriotic time.
Tourist/Visa/Health information: British passport holders require a passport valid for six months beyond intended stay. No visa required for British citizens, a 90-day tourist card is issued free on arrival. You get given a copy of the tourist card keep it safe as you will be charged for reissue if you loose it and may have problems when leaving the country. If crossing into any other country make sure you get given a new tourist card each time you come back into Chile. All other nationalities should contact the relevant Embassy or Consulate for information.
Flight information: Return international flights must be reconfirmed 72 hours before departure. All the main offices are in Santiago (02), ring: American Airlines on 679 0000, Avianca on 695 4105, British Airways on 232 9560, Continental on 204 4000, Iberia on 870 1070, Lanchile on 526 2000, Varig on 707 8000. International departure tax is US$26.00 + US$5 security charge (payable in $ cash on departure) but does not apply to transit passengers. You must check in at least 2 hrs before an international flight, especially during peak seasons.
Departure tax on domestic flights is $6 (payable in $ cash on departure).