Chile merges a wide variety of beautiful natural landscapes, by extending over 4.300 km (2.672 mi) from north to south, but narrowly covering 250 km (218 mi) between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Throughout this thin country, there is the driest desert up north and enormous forest and rainy weather down south, ending in eternal glaciers at Patagonia. This diversity with beautiful landscapes has been recognized by the World Travel Award as being the 2019 winner of the World´s Best Green Destination and the World's Best Adventure Tourism Destination.
The country's heterogeneity gives support to a broad and expanding set of exported Chilean products recognized by its quality, such as wines, seafood, fruits, wood, lithium, and copper as the most relevant outcome. The high availability of resources, with stable and strong banking and financial systems, has generated local and foreign investments with increasing inmigration, leveraging and improving access to goods and services for everyone, allowing to become one of South America’s most peaceful countries (Global Peaceful Index of 2015).
For more information about Chile, visit the official webpage.
Peso is the oficial currency in Chile (CLP from Chilean Peso), which exchange rate is around 1 US dollar = 790 pesos (see an updated estimation here).
While most places accept credit cards such as Visa, Master Card, Diners Club, and American Express, the use of foreign currency is unlikely in almost every place except for some hotels. Then, it is highly recommendable to carry enough Chilean cash, which can be retrieved from ATMs distributed all along with the country, or by using official money exchange institutions, such as banks and official currency exchange houses (e.g., AFEX, MoneyGram). ATMs can be found in universities, airports, banks, market and shopping places, pharmacies, gas stations and others.
Almost all goods in Chile includes a Value-added TAX (VAT) of 19%, with a minor set of goods having higher specific taxes, such as cigarettes and gasoline. The prices for any good exposed at shops or restaurants generally includes this associated taxes, being the final price to be paid by costumers.
Especially for foreign visitors, there is an exemption from paying VAT for accommodation in regular hotels. As a requirement, the hotel will ask for a valid passport and the receipt with the stamps from Immigration and Customs.
In restaurants and food delivery services, tipping is a general practice being recommended at the 10% of the whole amount of the check. Commonly, the addition of the tip is politely asked taking the 10% as a default amount. In supermarkets, where single-use plastic bags are not hand over, small tips are given for people in charge of packing (around a few hundreds of CLP). Regarding taxi drivers, tipping is not mandatory.
Chile is a safe place for living and travel, but you must be aware of your personal belongings as there are pickpockets and opportunistic thieves at the biggest cities, as Santiago and Valparaíso. So, be aware of where you are carrying and leave your smartphone, laptop, photographic cameras, purses, or wallets. Being aware is a key recommendation for avoiding an unpleasant situation. Besides, walking during both, daylight and nightlight, are a safe practice for local and foreign people.
Valparaíso is one of the oldest cities in Chile, and it was declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO in 2003. Greater Valparaíso is the third-largest metropolitan area in Chile. Its historic quarter with multiple urban elements that shows the cultural and architectural wealth of the city. Valparaíso is a coloured city, with a natural amphitheatre-like setting with impressive open views, characterized by a natural urban fabric adapted to the hillsides.
Neighbouring Valparaíso is the tourist capital of Chile, Viña del Mar, which is only 15 minutes from the conference venue, and thus, it is also an excellent alternative to look for hotels.
For more information about Valparaíso, visit the official webpage (In Spanish).