Chile, between wine, desert and glaciars

Valle Arcoiris at Río Grande, northern Chile.
Valle Arcoiris at Río Grande, northern Chile.

CC BY-SA 4.0 by Diego Delso

About Chile

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.

Currency

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.

Taxes

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.

Tipping

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.

General Tips for the Traveler

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, a World Heritage City

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).

Travelling to Chile and Valparaíso

The main entry point to Chile is the International Airport of Santiago de Chile (SCL). There are many direct flights available from all main cities in Latin America and also from overseas. A detailed list of origin, price, and connection time are provided at the end of this proposal. Examples of direct flights to Chile are:

  • Direct flights from North America: Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando, Toronto, Mexico City.
  • Direct flights from Europe: Frankfurt, Madrid, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, London.
  • Direct flights from Oceania: Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Papeete.
  • Direct flights from Asia: Doha, Tel Aviv.
  • Direct flights from Latin America: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Buenos Aires, Bogotá, Medellin, Lima, Panama.

Getting to Valparaíso

Valparaiso is 110 km from the International Airport of Santiago (SCL). The travel may be done by taxi, transfer shuttle, or bus. Direct buses from the airport to Valparaiso run twice a day at 9:50 and 14:30.

Check current prices and itinerary at the following webpage.

Airport SCL → Valparaíso (using the shuttle bus): 1:30 h

Alternatively, buses from the airport to the Pajaritos interconnection station are available each 10 min, from there buses to Valparaíso depart every 15 minutes, several companies provide this service. The transport time, by bus, for these two sections is as follows

Airport SCL → Pajaritos bus station: 15 min
Pajaritos bus station → Valparaíso: 1:15 h

VISA

To enter Chile, you have to present your identification documents, like your ID card or passport. Moreover, depending on your country of origin, a stamped VISA. The following map presents the VISA policies per country.

Visa policy of Chile.
VISA policy, Chile.

CC BY-SA 3.0 by Twofortnights

Citizens from South America can use their ID card, the European Union, the USA, Canada, Mexico, and Australia do not need tourist VISAs. Australian citizens can use their passport and have to pay US$117 during entrance at the airport as a reciprocity fee. Be aware that access is granted up to 90 days, and passport o credentials in use must not expire before or during your stay.

Also, remember that if you're bringing animal or vegetable products, upon entering you must declare them to the Agriculture and Livestock Service (Servicio Agricola y Ganadero – SAG); in this way, you’ll be contributing to protecting the varied flora and fauna of the country.

VISA information per country can be found here (2018), published by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile, where columns details country, consulate/embassy, temporary resident fee, work permit fee, student visa fee, tourist visa requirement, simple tourist visa fee, maximum stay length for the simple tourist visa, multiple-entry tourist visa fee, and maximum stay length for the multiple-entry tourist visa. Current year information, in lower resolution, can be found here.

For those how need a VISA, please keep in mind that the VISA process takes about 20 working days, and applications that are not presented with at least that time in advance are rejected. You should start the process 90 days in advance. Here is a list Chilean embassies and consulates worldwide https://chile.gob.cl/en/consulados/.

To apply for a Tourist VISA to enter Chile, you must:

  • Open an account on the following website: https://tramites.minrel.gov.cl/Solicitudes/visa.aspx.
  • Once you have opened an account, you must complete the VISA Application provided online (Register request / Type of application / VISA)
  • Then, you must scan and upload all the necessary documents (Please specify document file names, e.g., "BankStatement.pdf"). Below is a list of documents which are required:
    • Itinerary and flight reservation
    • A Hotel Reservation (covering the entire length of stay), or, a Letter of Invitation (must be authenticated by a Notary Public in Chile)
    • A Bank Statement (from the previous three months to the date of application)
    • A Valid Passport, with at least six months remaining validity (scan of the pages with VISAs)
    • One passport-size photograph (scanned)

Accommodation

The convenient location of the conference venue between Valparaíso and Viña del Mar combined with the strong tourism industry in the region permit a large offer of hotels at different prices. Below we provide an example of hotels, with distance to the venue and reference price. A comprehensive list can be found here.

Name Distance to Venue Estimated Prices per Night
Hotel Ibis Valparaíso 3 Km 55 USD
Hotel Diego de Almagro 2 Km 80 USD
WineBox Valparaíso 3.5 Km 100 USD
Hotel Brighton 3.9 Km 70 USD
Cirilo Armstrong 4.4 Km 100 USD
Fauna 4.3 Km 165 USD
Hotel Da Vinci 4.3 Km 53 - 88 USD
Cariño Porteño Bed & Breakfast 0.55 Km 29-46 USD
Tunquelen 2.9 Km 38 USD
Best Western Marina Del Rey 4.2 Km 100 USD
Sheraton Miramar 3.7 Km 230 USD
Vista Velero 3.6 Km 140 USD

Weather in September in Valparaíso, Chile

The weather in Valparaíso is classified as a Warm-summer Mediterranean climate (Csb), similar to northern Portugal, southern Australia, coastal California, among others. During September it presents, on average, a temperature between 8 to 16 [°C] (48 to 55 [°F]). During those days the city is, commonly, partially cloudy (40% of sunny daylight hours) with very low probabilities of presenting any precipitation at all (and if so, showers are short, soft, and highly isolated events). Also, as usual for coastal cities, Valparaíso has strong winds with an average of 16 [kmh] (10 [mph]).

See current weather conditions here. Statistics for the average weather in September here.

Power & Connectors

Chile uses the power plug & outlet type L, and power plug & outlet type C connectors and 220V, 50Hz mains power, so you might need a travel adapter.