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Chile Travel Answers

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 25, 2017
Rental cars in Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales, Chile  (2 Answers)

Can a car be rented at the airport in Punta Arenas and returned in Puerto Natales? Also can a car be rented in Puerto Natales and returned at the airport in Punta Arenas? We want to rent a car for several day to visit Puerto Natales, then take a cruise, returning to Puerto Natales and rent another car there, returning it at the airport at the Punta Arenas airport several days later. Would it be cheaper to keep the car we rent in Punta Arenas while we are on the cruise (3 days)? Any recommendation for a car rental agency, preferably with a US phone number.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 29, 2016
Skorpio III cruises  (1 Answer)

Does anyone have a review for this cruise out of Puerto Natales? Good or bad experiences? Where is the best place to book from the US?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 09, 2016
What to do on Christmas Day

A friend and I are coming to Santiago on Dec 24th on a cruise ship. We will be there until Dec 28th. What should we do on Christmas Day. Probably nothing will be open but hopefully we can find an open restaurant. Also we are being picked up at the terminal and transferred to Santiago with a tour of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar and at Casablanca Valley, we can visit Kingston Family and/or Matetic Vineyards. Which would be best Any other suggestions between Valparaiso and Santiago.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · November 07, 2016
Best Scenery in Southern Chile  (3 Answers)

I am hoping to visit Chile in February or March next year. As well as central Chile I hope to visit one of the national parks in the south, either Torres del Paine or else San Rafael/Aysen.

I am looking for a balance of nature by which I mean some fjords, some glaciers and some animals and birds too, rather than 100% of any one of these things.

Does anyone have a preference for either of these areas, and if so, why?

I appreciate that there is a lot of info on this website about both areas, but I have found it a bit difficult to get the big picture on just the basics.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 09, 2016
Help planning our budget  (4 Answers)

We are off to Chile for almost three weeks later this month. We have pre-booked accommodation, internal flights and transfers and lots of tours, so our main expenses will be meals, drinks and souvenirs. I've seen varied recommendations about typical costs so I thought I'd see what VT members suggest. We like to eat in good (but not super fancy high-end) restaurants serving mostly local food, to drink alcohol (but not a huge amount - maybe a couple of drinks per person per evening) and to eat our main meal in the evening. We would usually eat only a very light lunch or skip it altogether if breakfast is large (breakfast is included in all our hotels). We like to buy ourselves a couple of good souvenirs but don't go mad on shopping! We will be spending time in Santiago, San Pedro de Atacama, Puerto Varas, Torres del Paine and Easter Island. Any thoughts please on a sensible daily budget?

Also, what are our chances of being able to use our Visa debit cards in the better restaurants, to save taking everything in cash? We don't want to have to rely on finding ATMs, except perhaps in Santiago. Of course if we decide on using the debit cards we will let our bank know in advance.

Thank you!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · September 09, 2016
How to pay for merchandise  (7 Answers)

I will be purchasing quite a bit of merchandise in a well-known store in Santiago, Chile. I want to save money, so do I pay:

1. With my credit card in Chilean pesos?
2. With my credit card in US dollars?
3. With US cash?
4. With Chilean pesos (cash) withdrawn from a Santiago ATM?

Thank you!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · June 12, 2016
How to make sure you won't miss your flight?  (2 Answers)

I have a flight from Santiago, Chile to Lima, Peru at 5am landing in Peru at 9am. At 12:30pm I have my flight from Lima, Peru to Madrid, Spain. I bought the flights separately. In case the flight from Santiago is late and I miss my second flight would they put me on another flight? Or will I have to buy another ticket? Is there an insurance which would cover that kind of risk? Also, can I check in the luggage for both flights even though they are not operated by the same carrier and I bought the tickets separately?

Thanks for your time

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · May 28, 2016
Visiting Chile advice. Re: border crossing to avoid 19% hotel tax for 59+ days stay ?(69)  (3 Answers)


I will visit Chile for 69 days later this year and am wondering about the 19% hotel tax for visits over 59 days in Chile

This can add up considerably - I wasn't aware of it until booking accom on and noticing it....

My query :

Should I go to Mendoza c10 days after arrival - while in Santiago - to restart my Chile clock from Argentina ?
This looks like a harrowing 7 hour windy (though scenic) bus ride and 4+ hour customs wait/check etc at the Argentine border....each way... and maybe about $40 US each way (?)

while I'm at Punta Arenas, Punta Natales or Puerto Williams - about a week each - in the south - should/can I cross over the border - before the last 10 days ? to restart the clock then ? - but if so - will this work and what are the logistics ?

Is it right that hotels won't charge the extra 19% tax until the 60th day ?

I've heard that hotels/hostels charge tourists the 19% extra regardless, unless you pay in cash US$, and they also won't make a receipt

It won't be worth this if it costs more money and time to cross a border than pay the 20% extra taxes

Also ! re: reciprocal entry fee to Chile (and also any to Argentina ? ) - whats the current status / sum of that for UK and for Australia passport holders ? (being a bit lazy asking this question...)

Thanks for any thoughts/advice

29 May 2016

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · May 16, 2016
Patagonia in August?  (3 Answers)

Does it make any sense to try to visit Patagonia in August. We have only 10 days in Chile, and will spend the first few days in Santiago drive to Valpariso, and then we were thinking to fly to Puerto Montt for a few days. I thought it might be cool to fly to Patagonia instead. However, I was wondering if August would be a bad time to try that.

Any comments welcome.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · April 02, 2016
Traveling To Chile  (10 Answers)

What is the best time of year to travel to Chile?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 13, 2016
what to do  (3 Answers)

My wife and I are arriving Stgo on Thurs and staying in an apt 1st 3 nights. Then to Puertecillo for a week and then Zapallar for a week. Have never been to Chile so am looking for ideas and must dos. Like hanging on the beach, fishing, hikes, hot springs....
Thanks in advance for any ideas

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · February 08, 2016
food in Chile  (4 Answers)

When we travel in central america we go by the rule "if you don't cook it or peel it, don't eat it". Is this the same in Chile?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 21, 2016
Where to stay? Puerto Natales or inside Torres Del Paine National Park  (1 Answer)

Hi Everyone,

We will be in arriving in Punta Arenas at 11:35pm coming from Santiago and staying for four days before going to El Calafate.

We are looking for some advice about whether to stay in Puerto Natales or inside TDP National Park.

Whilst in Patagonia we would like do:

A Full day trek in TDP
Take a boat cruise to Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers or anywhere else you would recommend
Kayaking trip
Horse Riding

Do you think we should stay in Puerto Natales or inside the park?

Also what is the best way to get to Puerto Natales and TDP from Punta Arenas? Can we travel late at night or should we stay a night in Punta Arenas and travel in the morning?

All help is appreciated!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 17, 2016
Best hot springs in Chile?  (1 Answer)

Hello everyone!

I'm looking for hot springs to visit on our car trip from Santiago to Puerto Montt. Anywhere you can soak in hot mineral water for a couple of hours. Places like Termas de Colina would be really great: open-air, great views, and not a yuppie spa. Completely wild would be ideal but we don't mind paying for the privilege either.

Thanks a lot in advance!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · December 23, 2015
Chile/Argentina and Bolivia  (4 Answers)

Hi Everyone,

I am planning a trip to South America in February and need a bit of help with the itinerary and logistics.

I will be departing London on a Friday evening/Saturday morning and returning 16 days later.

The places we have considered seeing are; Patagonia, Pucon, Atacama desert, Santiago, Uyuni salt flats in Bolivia.

I have already spent time in Buenos Aires so don't need to spend any time there apart from perhaps flying in there.

Are there any other places you would recommend visiting?

How would you split your time over the 16 days (2 days used for the flights to/from London)?

Would you recommend flying in and out of Buenos Aires or Santiago or in one and out the other?

What route would you suggest?

Would you recommend both El Calafate and Torre Del Pain? Anywhere else in Patagonia.

Thanks in advance for your help! :-)

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 23, 2015
Mountains near Santiago  (5 Answers)

Hola, we will be in Santiago four weeks from now. Any recommendations for a day trip up in the nearby mountains? I would think ski season will be over, but maybe a visit to ski village, or small town for lunch? Gracias, Gary

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 18, 2015
Easter Island car rental  (4 Answers)

Dear all,

I'm planning to go to Easter Island for 5 days in mid December, is it good to drive around the island, or joining tour will be better?
In case of renting car, any car operator is recommended?
Do I need to book in advance for mid December's travel, or it's easy to arrange upon arrival?
Thanks a lot!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 18, 2015
Tour operator recommendation for San Pedro Atacama area  (2 Answers)

Tour operator recommendation for San Pedro Atacama area

Dear all,
I would like to join some tours around San Pedro Atacama (which do not need to cover Salar de Uyuni as I will

come from Bolivia) , I have 2-3 days here and any good operators recommended? I know English only with very

limited Spanish, thanks a lot!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 27, 2015
travel to cape horn  (1 Answer)

how do you get there?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 20, 2015
North or South  (4 Answers)

We are young couple (56) we star in Santiago Chile on January 2016 for one week with rental car.
since Chile is so thin and long we understand that we mast go North or South not both.
We where thinking to go south to Puerto Montt, Temuco etc... but now we notice there are many things to do in the North... Any idea?
Also how is AirBNB in Chile can we order now or we can select when traveling?
Gad & Miri

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · August 14, 2015
Bed and Breakfast in Santiago, Chile  (4 Answers)

Can anyone recommend any good Bed and Breakfasts in a convenient area of Santiago. We would like a private bathroom.

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · June 28, 2015
Day hikes in the central region

Hola, Chilenos y viajeros,

Necesito su ayuda. Busco los mejores caminatas que cumplan con todos los siguientes criterios:

1. Se lo puede hacer en un día.
2. Se lo puede hacer en invierno.
3. Se ubica en la región O'Higgins, Maule, o RM.
4. Ofrece vistas de los Andes.

Que me recomiendan Uds.?


Hi, Chileans and travelers,

I need your help. I'm looking for hikes that meet the all of following criteria:

1. Can be done in 1 day.
2. Can be done in winter.
3. Are located in the O'Higgins, Maule, or Metropolitan Region.
4. Give views of the Andes.

What do you recommend for me?


Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · June 16, 2015
chilan traditional culture  (1 Answer)

what is chilan traditional culture about born, get marry and death. thanks a lot

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · April 04, 2015
Punta Arenas to Calama same day (or the other way around)  (2 Answers)

I am planning a trip to Chile in February 2016 that will include a week in Patagonia (TdP) and another one in Atacama.
I am wondering if it is possible to fly from Punta Arenas to Calama within the same day (with a stop in Santiago) or the other way around from Calama to PA. Depending on feasibility we may decide to start in the North or South.
Any idea ? Thanks

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · March 01, 2015
Best side of the Andes  (1 Answer)

I am planning a trip by car in October-November in Argentina and Chile, and I am thinking of arriving to Cueva de las Manos from Peninsula Valdez and then drive north to Atacama, passing by Barilloche et Mendoza on the Argenitina side and Puerto Montt and Santiago on the Chilean side.
The doubt is whether it is nicer to drive between Cueva de las manis and Barilloche on the Argentinean side and then cross in to Chile, or to cross into Chile south and then enter Barilloche area and tour it.

Then I have the same doubt, i.e. is there anything worth seeing between Barilloche and Mendoza, or is it better to go back to Chile and drive to Santiago and then go to Mendoza from there.

I am quite experienced in driving in Argentina, having already driven more than 10.000km there in the north and extreme south, and given the cost of car drop-off, I am not interested in using planes or other means of transport, except maybe to cross the lakes (but is it possible to take the car across to Chile that way or is it only for pedestrians?)

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 15, 2015
paying with credit card  (7 Answers)

I saw that a hotel in San Pedro de Atacama indicating that if the hotel room is paid with a credit card, it will be charged at the local Calama exchange rate. Should we carry lots of CLP and settle hotels with cash? Is there any disadvantage in using US issued credit card in Chile (other than your card may charge fx fees - my card doesn't so this isn't an issue). Thanks!

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · January 12, 2015
What is the best way to purhcase airline tickets from Santiago to Castro?  (3 Answers)

We are planning on 2 week trip to Chile in June with our 8 year old. We will stay mostly in the northern area but would love to go visit Chiloe for a few days. I checked on LAN but it's about $400/person to fly from Santiago to Castro. Is this the best way to purchase airline tickets between Santiago and Castro?

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · December 31, 2014
Bus travel  (12 Answers)

We plan to fly to punto arenas and take buses north all the way back to Lima. Is this possible? I only see short bus travel, not any going north to Concepcion. Thanks

Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · December 04, 2014
bus from Santiago to Mendoza  (1 Answer)


I will leave Santiago de Chile with a bus from Andesmar to Mendoza in January 2015.
From which Terminal do they leave?

And on the website of Andesmar they talk about the Output Habilitation Rate for entering Argentina.
Does this apply for me? I have Dutch nationality.

I think it is very strange that I can buy a bus ticket on the website of Andesmar and that they don't give vital information. They don't respond on my email as well.



Q   a VirtualTourist member asked a question · October 19, 2014
Patagonia --- worth how many days?  (2 Answers)

Hi all!

I'm coming to Punta Arenas in december and just thinking how many days should I stay? Total trip is a month, so I could do up to 2 weeks I'd say.
We'd like to see Torres del Paine, Parque Nacional del Glacieres, El Calafate, maybe do the penguin tour, see some waterfalls and lakes. I can more or less guess how many days these will take but I have no clue about the logistics -- does it take long to go from A to B to C etc?
On a similar note, if anyone has done some neat itinerary there, suggestions are very welcome :)

Also, any idea how much a car hire would be worth -- for say 2 weeks? Does it work out cheaper than buses if we are 4 people? In general any guidance on prices of transportation (and in general ) will be much appreciated.

Thank you very much!

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